Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Yosemite Audubon leaders survive Mariposa fire

Lowell & Sue Young of Yosemite Audubon report that none of the chapter leaders' homes have been damaged in the Telegraph Fire which has destroyed 32,000+ acres and 21 residences. The fire is 20% contained.

Lowell and Sue recommend that you go here to keep up to date on the fire in Mariposa near Yosemite.

Check out this Firefighter's blog here

Sunday, July 27, 2008

More bad news for raptors and chapters at Altamont wind farms

The mortality rate of raptors including Golden Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel and Burrowing Owl increased 27 percent over two years in an ongoing monitoring study, according to an executive summary of the data issued by Alameda County's Scientific Review Committee. The five member panel advises the county on progress being made to mitigate bird deaths in the Altamont Pass windmill area as part of a settlement with Golden Gate Audubon, Ohlone Audubon, Marin Audubon, Mt. Diablo Audubon and Santa Clara Valley Audubon and others. The settlement included a commitment to reduce raptor mortality by 50% by 2009.

The new data estimate a total of 2,236 birds from the four targeted species were killed annually.

For details, quotes from Golden Gate's Executive Director Elizabeth Murdock in Oakland Tribune story of July 23, 2008 and executive summary of the study, click here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

San Fernando Valley & Los Angeles Audubons celebrate CALTRANS victory

Chapters in SoCal celebrated CALTRANS selection today of Alternate 1 for a project to improve the southbound San Diego Freeway (I-405) connector to the Ventura Freeway (U.S. 101). A Negative Declaration (ND) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) have been approved. Activists including Muriel Kotin, Seth Shteir, Kris Ohlenkamp and Garry George from the chapters wrote comments and appeared publicly to defeat the other alternatives.

The project will involve a new, upgraded 50 mph two-lane connector that would replace the existing 20 mph single-lane connector, and require right-of-way from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers near the Sepulveda Dam but avoids direct impacts and encroachment on Sepulveda Wildlife Area, a 225 acre reserve that includes some of the best riparian habitat on the LA RIVER, a wildlife lake and extensive plantings of native annuals, shrubs, and trees.

Taking inventory on Owens Lakebed, Sat Aug 23

Saturday, August 23rd beginning 6 am Eastern Sierra Audubon is taking inventory of birds on the Owens Lake bed. This survey should take roughly half a day by beginning at 6:00AM. The areas to be covered will be the dust control ponded areas that will be shrinking and exposing lots of feeding habitat. The natural sites (seeps, springs and artesian wells) around the shoreline of the lake will not be covered because of their diminished size at this time of year. Eastern Sierra Audubon will need five teams of 3-5 counters to do the census. If you would like to be part of this first ever Fall survey contact Mike Prather by email (click here) or by phone (h)760.876.5807 (cell) 760.715.0692

Monday, July 21, 2008

AUDUBON AT HOME falls forward at chapters

Fall is the best time to plant native plants so that the rains (hopefully) can help them get established. Chapters throughout the state are hosting workshops and giving advice to kill lawns and convert useless dead zones to living, thriving habitat revegetations. "The health of an ecosystem is measured by it's biodiversity."-E.O Wilson.

San Diego Audubon former President Mel Hinton, who created a brochure and power point that chapters in SoCAL can use (click here), did a 1/2 hour internet radio interview on birds and gardening for wildlife on July 10, 2008. It's available on line at Click on Archives, then Dr Charlotte Thompson and it is listed as "Gardening for Birds and Butterflies."
Sacramento Audubon and the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the Native Plant Society are partnered with UC Davis Arboretum to make the San Diego Audubon's version of Audubon at Home Birds and Butterflies power point presentation compatible with Valley habitat and critters ,of course, we added a section on native bees and other insects as well. Presentations in August and September in various locations. Details here

Los Angeles Audubon is planing to release a comic book to promote Audubon at Home called KILL YOUR LAWN.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Rolling out a blog...

Can a blog replace an email newsletter to Audubon California chapters?

I sure think so, so I'm rolling out this blog in order to bring fast, direct information and news to you with links, photos, documents, and videos

It's a modern age of communication so let's use it. The 2001 Ad Hoc Chapter Committee of National Audubon identified "communication" as the number one issue between Audubon and chapters. My hope is that this blog will help close that gap.

Not every chapter in the Audubon network has the time or energy to accomplish goals outside of basic monthly meetings, filling the Board, taking folks on field trips to connect them to nature, but if you do want to increase your capacity that is one of the stated goals of my new position as Chapter Network Director. I'm creating a network of chapters to chapters, Audubon California to chapters, and chapters to Audubon California.

Here's how!

There's a new chapter site with

  • Chapter contact info
  • Chapter BLOG!
  • Chapter Grant Opportunities
  • Chapter Resources section with info on Assembly, Council Meetings, Audubon California Board meeting minutes and Committee reports, Audubon at Home, Newsletter Assets for Newsletter Editors and a link to NAS Chapter Services

COMING SOON! More resources including Speakers Bureau for Program Chairs

Click here to go to the site

What else do you need? Send me an email and let me know

California chapters continue to grow...
Audubon recently released a spreadsheet of data compiled from Chapter annual reports for year ending June 30, 2007.

Number of California chapters: 50
Number reporting: 45
Total Gross receipts: $ 3,335,025.32
Total Gross expenses: $ 2,812,619.37
Fund balances: $ 5,993,540.94
Safety net income from Audubon: $ 128,939.53
Collaborative Funding income from Audubon $ 21,613.00*
Chapter members in California: 9,788
Audubon members in California 39,000 apprx.
Total Volunteers at California chapters: 4,925
Total Volunteer hours: 89,087

*not included are Packard shorebird grants to coastal chapters administered by Audubon California

Some pretty impressive statistics here on capacity of chapters ($ 6,000,000 in fund balances! Over $ 3,000,000 in income with around $150,000 from Audubon! That means chapters generated over $ 2,850,000 in income from donations, membership and grants! Chapters also gave 90,000 volunteer hours which translates to $ 1,800,000 in kind donation of volunteer hours if you value at $20/hr). I expect the numbers to go up for year ending June 20, 2008. I know Los Angeles Audubon's numbers did.

Now for the chapter news:

May 1, 2008: 5 chapters of Audubon tour Tejon Ranch

Prior to the signing of the agreement between Audubon California and other resource groups. Kern, Kerncrest, Los Angeles, Pasadena and San Fernando Valley Audubon leaders were thrilled at the ten species of oaks on the property and great views of Golden Eagles, but saddened at the thought that any of it would be developed, especially the Antelope Valley joshua tree and poppy (in full bloom!) habitat in Los Angeles County. All couldn't wait to spend more time poking around in the valleys and corners of this habitat looking for birds, with some discussion of a quest for the Mt. Pinos subspecies of Sooty Grouse which hasn't been seen in decades.

June 19, 2008: San Bernardino Valley Audubon leads the way in local policy changes to combat global warming.

Environment Now gave an award this month to SBVA and Center for Biological Diversity for their litigation against the County of San Bernardino for not addressing the impacts of global warming in their latest plan. The County settled when the State of California Attorney General came in on the side of the local Audubon chapter.

President Drew Feldmann, a jedi in the war against the evil empire, wrote an op-ed printed in the Press Enterprise in response to cries for drilling in Alaska and off California's coast:

June 20, 2008 LA and Pasadena Audubons launch AUDUBON FILM FRIDAYS

Los Angeles Audubon and Pasadena Audubon joined forces with Audubon Center at Debs Park to present AUDUBON FILM FRIDAYS, a series of free nature films outdoors under the stars in East Los Angeles. First film was "Arctic Tale" in Spanish with English subtitles, delivering the message of polar bear, now an endangered species, and global warming. On July 11, students from South Los Angeles' Dorsey High School showed their 3 min film (click here for YouTube broadcast) in Spanish and English on sharing LA County beachs with threatened Western Snowy Plovers, followed by an IMAX film "Ocean's Oasis" on Baja, California, under and above the Gulf of California. Trader Joe's provides free snacks and drinks. Free, outdoor film screenings are a great way to spread the Audubon message to new audiences, especially when accompanied by a bird walk before the screening. Local NPR station KPCC covered the outreach campaign and event and broadcast to 400,000 Angelenos just before the bird walk. Listen

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