We’ll hear about this amazing bird and its dramatic nuptial flight, then walk to the “dance floor” and wait for the program to begin! More »
Scholarships for two different summer camp experiences are available this year — a Family Camp Scholarship for an eligible adult and child to spend a week on an island in Maine, and three full environmental camp scholarships for 11-13 and 14-17 year olds. More »
Pennsylvania’s mining, fracking and timber industries are pushing to pass a bill next week that would eviscerate our state’s Endangered Species Act. House Bill 1576 aims to strip our wildlife experts of the authority to decide which species are protected. It wants to hand that authority to the industry-dominated Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC).
Our voices count. The only reason this bill wasn’t rammed through and into law last autumn was the incredible outpouring of opposition from Audubon supporters and other concerned citizens, but now industry is pushing hard to get it passed in the State House of Representatives on March 11.
The bill is designed to slow the designation process for all species and makes headwater trout streams more vulnerable to impairment. Among other habitats that will be at greater risk of destruction, this bill will make it easier for Marcellus gas drilling companies and other industries to fragment our fragile songbird nurseries in Pennsylvania’s remaining large blocks of forests.
HB 1576 reduces protection for rare plants and animals, and prolongs and politicizes the process through which they are protected. It jeopardizes critical federal funding of the Game Commission and Fish and Boat Commission; increases the likelihood that federal agencies will exert greater authority on rare species protection in the absence of good state protection; and weakens protection for high-quality streams.
One especially bad aspect of this bill is that it requires agencies to create a redundant database of the location of all threatened or endangered species in the state and share that information with anyone who asks, thus placing sensitive species at risk. There are black-market smugglers (of rare herps like bog turtles, orchids and more) who would love to have that become law. It’s a road map for poaching.
We are up against some powerful forces, especially extractive industries (particularly shale gas) with very deep pockets, and so far we’ve stopped them.
Take Action Now
Speak up to keep our current endangered and threatened species protection program safe and strong. We want species protected based on sound science determined by biologists in the PA Game Commission and the PA Fish and Boat Commission, not through the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC).
Please contact your PA House Representative today and urge him or her to stand up for Pennsylvania’s endangered species and oppose HB 1576. Even a simple phone call in opposition will help.
Your state representatives depend on where you live. Follow the links below to find your legislators.
The most effective talking point is that you care about wildlife, this bill puts rare species in Pennsylvania at risk, and you will take your rep’s vote on this issue squarely into account at election time.
We are presently accepting applications for our annual $4,000 college scholarship available to students who wish to pursue a career in an environmental field such as Forestry, Natural Resources, Environmental Planning, Environmental Engineering, Fish, Game, or Wildlife Management, Ecology and/or Environmental Science.
Applicants must be from Pike, Wayne, Lackawanna, or Susquehanna County and must enroll full-time in an accredited two- or four-year college or university program. The winning applicant will receive $1,000 per year for up to four years. The scholarship is funded by our annual Audubon Arts and Craft Festival held each July.
Interested students can find the application form on our Scholarships page or they can use the universal scholarship application form available at their high school guidance office. Applications are due by April 30, 2014.
Bird watchers around the world needed to gather crucial data
If you can tell a robin from a Red-tailed Hawk and you have 15 minutes to spend in your backyard, a local park, or even at your living room window, then you can participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). A four-day event that generates a real-time snapshot of bird life in the U.S. and around the world, the 2014 GBBC will run from Friday, February 14 through Monday, February 17.
The GBBC unites birders from more than 100 countries around the world in a common goal: tallying and discovering more about the birds in their community. GBBC data tells scientists how weather influences bird populations, where irruptive species occur, how current year migrations compare with previous years, how bird diseases affect population, and more. The information gathered by tens of thousands of volunteers helps track the health of bird populations at a scale that would not otherwise be possible.
“People who care about birds can change the world,” said Audubon chief scientist Gary Langham. “Technology has made it possible for people everywhere to unite around a shared love of birds and a commitment to protecting them.”
In North America, GBBC participants will add their data to help define the magnitude of a dramatic irruption of magnificent Snowy Owls. Bird watchers will also be on the lookout for the invasive Eurasian Collared-Dove to see if it has expanded its range again. GBBC observations may help show whether or not numbers of American Crows will continue to rebound after being hit hard by the West Nile virus and whether more insect-eating species are showing up in new areas, possibly because of changing climate.
Anyone anywhere in the world can count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count and enter their sightings at www.BirdCount.org. The GBBC is a great way for people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with nature and make a difference for birds. It’s free and easy.
Last year, more than 134,935 citizen scientists counted 34.5 million birds in the first ever global bird count. An astonishing 3,610 species were recorded—nearly one-third of the world’s total bird species documented in just four days!
“This is a milestone for citizen science in so many respects—number of species, diversity of countries involved, total participants, and number of individual birds recorded. We hope this is just the start of something far larger, engaging the whole world in creating a detailed annual snapshot of how all our planet’s birds are faring as the years go by,” said Cornell Lab of Ornithology director Dr. John Fitzpatrick.
Learn more about the count at www.BirdCount.org where you can get started by creating an account and downloading a checklist. On this site you will also find photos, identification tips, sounds, maps and other useful tools to make the most of your GBBC experience. Be sure to submit your checklist!