This past July, Chris Fischer, who just completed a two-year term as our president, joined fellow Audubon chapter leaders from the Atlantic Flyway at Audubon’s Hog Island Camp in Maine for the annual Audubon Chapter Leadership Program.
The week-long program was filled with presentations, workshops and plenty of opportunities for chapter leaders to engage with each other. Participants shared their experiences and ideas about challenges common to their respective chapters such as attracting new members, recruiting volunteers, fundraising, and more. Leaders from National Audubon shared their priorities for chapters, including creating bird-friendly communities, growing international connections, and the forthcoming Climate Change initiative (stay tuned!).
“Continuing its recognition that the power of Audubon is in our grassroots network — our chapters — it is clear that National Audubon is committed to growing the vision of ‘one Audubon,’ providing chapters with the guidance and support needed to establish these initiatives across the Audubon network,” said Chris.
While it was a full week, participants did get out of the classroom a few times. Atlantic Puffins, Black Guillemots, Arctic Terns, and Roseate Terns are just a few of the seabirds seen on an early morning excursion to Eastern Egg Rock island. Participants also spent a morning in the rain exploring the many varieties of life that can be found in the intertidal zone, topped with a late-morning snack, a Hog Island specialty — freshly-boiled periwinkle snails, picked from their spiral shells and dipped in melted butter.
This year, the chapter leadership group was fortunate to share the island with the “Raptor Rapture” program for the week, thereby having the privilege of being able to sit in on fascinating evening presentations by Scott Weidensaul (PA ornithologist and best-selling author), Rob Bierregaard (raptor expert), Yossi Leshem (Israel’s best known ornithologist), and Steve Kress (founder of Project Puffin). One of the week’s highlights was when Scott and Rob decided to band the osprey chicks, known to thousands through the Osprey Cam.
“I want to thank both the Northeast Pennsylvania Audubon Society and the National Audubon Society for their support, making it possible for me to attend this program,” Chris said. “Attending the leadership program was an enriching experience, both personally and professionally. I am excited to have come away with new friends and connections throughout the Audubon network. While I completed my term as President of the Northeast Pennsylvania Audubon Society at the end of July, I look forward to maintaining my involvement on the board of directors as we continue working to make a difference for both birds and people here in Northeast Pennsylvania.”