Welcome to Duval Audubon Society
Connecting people with nature, conserving and restoring natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and other wildlife.
We are a chapter of the National Audubon Society. We have a membership of about 1,100 and hold monthly meetings in Jacksonville from September to May. We offer field trips, programs, workshops and other activities throughout the year. Under the drop down menu, you will find our calendar of events. We hope you'll join us!
Please Donate to Duval Audubon!
As a volunteer-run non-profit, we are grateful for your support. Every contribution helps to continue our work in Northeast Florida!
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION (#CH4724) AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION FOR DUVAL AUDUBON SOCIETY, A FLORIDA-BASED NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION, MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE OR VISITING WWW.FLORIDACONSUMERHELP.COM. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.
Due to the current worldwide health crisis and per the recommendation of Audubon and Audubon Florida, all field trips and programs scheduled through the end of May 2020 have been cancelled. Please check back here for any further updates on chapter activities as the situation develops.
We are sorry to have to take this extreme step, but we take the health and safety of our members and volunteers very seriously, and want to err on the side of caution in these frightening times. We hope to be able to again offer our regular schedule of exciting field trips and informative programs in the fall.
--Jody Willis, President
Longtime Duval Audubon Society board member Carole Adams passed away in March after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Carole was an amazing person, full of energy and sass (as those who knew her can attest), and her contributions to our chapter over the years cannot be overstated.
Carole’s ‘spark bird’ was a Northern Cardinal which she recorded at the young age of ten while a Junior Audubon member living in Kansas with her grandparents. Fast forward twenty years and she found herself getting serious about birding and Audubon - so serious that she gave up being a passive member and became education chair of her local Audubon chapter in New York. It didn’t end there, however, and she became a board member and served two terms as chapter president. In June 1996 she received the Meritorious Service Award from the Council of New York State and the National Audubon Society.
After taking an early retirement from the New York State Office of Mental Health, she and wife Marge moved to Jacksonville in 1997. Carole says she had no intention of getting actively involved with the local Audubon chapter. She only held out for six months, though, and joined our board soon after.
During her tenure with Duval Audubon Society, Carole was recognized by local and national organizations for her significant contributions. In September of 2003 she was presented the Barbara Stephens Award by the Civic Round Table of Jacksonville in recognition of her valuable contributions to the Jacksonville community. In December of 2009 she was the recipient of the Carol and Bob Grimes Environmental Award. And the National Audubon Society Board of Directors awarded her the Presidential Recognition for Outstanding Service and Dedication in November of 2010.
In loving memory of Carole, here are some remembrances from those who knew her best:
Current chapter president Jody Willis:
“I met Carole when I moved to Jacksonville from Philadelphia in 1999. I had joined Duval Audubon Society and went to my first meeting in September of that year. Carole knew that I was a new member and walked right up to me and greeted me. I didn’t know anyone in Jacksonville, and she was very warm and welcoming.
We had a lot of fun doing volunteer activities together, and shared many wonderful birdwatching adventures. We went to Arizona, Key West and the Dry Tortugas, North Dakota, and many times to the Space Coast Birding Festival in Titusville, but the adventure I will always remember the most was our journey from Jacksonville to Ohio and Michigan in 2017. Carole had been battling Parkinson’s for several years by then and couldn’t drive anymore but was determined to see Magee Marsh and get the Kirtland’s Warbler for her life list. So I drove us to Ohio, stopping at several state parks along the way with our good friends, Jim and Cindy Beckman, who own Cheepers! Birding on a Budget, and then spending several days at Magee Marsh and the surrounding area. One day, I couldn’t find Carole on the boardwalk at Magee Marsh anywhere. I finally called her, and we met up back at the car. She had walked the entire boardwalk on her own without a cane and no support and was so proud of this accomplishment and I was proud for her too.
We had decided, when we put our itinerary together, that if we didn’t get the Kirtland’s Warbler at Magee Marsh, we would head to Grayling, Michigan and arrange to go on the Audubon trip to the breeding area. And that is what we did. I will never forget the sight of the beautiful male Kirtland’s Warbler singing on top of the pine tree in his breeding grounds. Carole started to cry and then I did too.
I am so grateful for that journey with my friend and I know that wherever you are now, Carole, you are standing straight and tall, without a cane to support you, and enjoying looking at all the beautiful birds.”
Past board member Pat Murphy:
“I think I met Carole before anyone else in Jax. I was at a field trip at UNF nature trails. Got there early. A big SUV with a NY tag drove in and parked and Carole and Marge appeared. They still lived in NY but were retiring and scoping out warmer places to move to. I chatted with them awhile and extolled the birding advantages of this area. A few weeks or months later, they showed up here for good!!
Carole made a big contribution to Audubon and birds by visiting and giving educational walks and talks at schools, nursing homes, and clubs for many years. This outreach, in my opinion, was the early start of DAS’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program (my favorite topic while on the board).”
Past president Lesley Royce:
“Carole was on the board starting in the late 1990s, first as membership director, then vice president, then president. She also served on the board of Audubon Florida.
She was also present when we spotted the Greater Sand-Plover at Huguenot Memorial Park in May of 2009. I was in charge of the weekly shorebird survey at Huguenot, beginning in April of 2009. On May 14, 2009, Carole Adams and Doris Leary were assisting me. We were counting birds in the inlet. Doris first spotted the bird, but none of us knew what it was, other than some kind of plover, as it was not in any of our field guides. Fortunately, Carole had brought her copy of The Shorebird Guide. Imagine the three of us, heads together, as she flipped through the pages of this book. And then there it was. Greater Sand-Plover! I was so excited trying to get my digiscoping system set up. I remember Carole reassuring me and calming me down so I could get the photo. Then we started calling people, and either they were not at home, had never heard of the bird, or did not believe us. It was such a thrilling time for the three of us. We got together each year on the anniversary of the Greater Sand-Plover sighting until the last couple years when Carole’s Parkinson’s made it too difficult for her.
The three years that I was president, Carole was vice president. I only agreed to be president if Carole would be vice. She had experience (from before moving to Florida) and I did not. She was my right hand. I shared and discussed everything with her. Not only because I wanted a seamless transition when she would step up to become president, but especially because I valued her guidance and experience. Her dedication and contributions to Audubon were impressive.”
Past president and current Crosby Sanctuary director Pete Johnson:
“Carole Adams was/is a shining example of a good person. She had a strong personality but was not overbearing. You could tell she had been around the block a few times. I met her in 2000 when I started coming to Duval Audubon meetings and field trips. I think Rob Sanford was president and she was vice president at the time. More than anyone else, she made me feel welcome and drew me in with Duval Audubon.
My memories of her as a person:
- Loved her partner Marge; loved dogs; loved birds and nature.
- She was a doer, not one to sit on the sidelines. Not afraid to step up to the plate.
- Open and encouraging to new people and bringing them into the Audubon Society.
- A born leader: could not only direct/run Duval Audubon, but also control a room full of people with ease and grace.
- Funny with a great sense of humor.
- Stood up for herself and her beliefs.
- She was an effective advocate for the environment, always in a firm yet reasoned and positive way.
- Educator: loved to work with children and adults. Taught Birding 101 classes and developed presentations/programs for groups.
- Saw potential in people and tried to help bring it out.
- Recognized people publicly for their accomplishments and achievements.
- Engaged with other organizations to be more effective.
- Not afraid to push people out of their comfort zone to help them learn and grow.
- Not shy about asking people to do things worthwhile.
I could go on, but I think you get the picture! She will be greatly missed and always remembered.”
Duval Audubon Society is an all-volunteer organization operated by a Board of Directors who manage the day-do-day business of running a chapter of the National Audubon Society. The following individuals have indicated their interest in serving on Duval Audubon's 2020/2021 Board of Directors:
- President, Social Media Director, Webmaster: Carol Bailey-White
- Vice President, Community Outreach Director: Jody Willis
- Recording Secretary: Bess Ebbinghouse
- Treasurer: Helen Kehrt
- Conservation Director for Clay County, Crosby Sanctuary Director: Pete Johnson
- Conservation Director for Duval County, NE FL Regional Conservation Committe Chair: Carolyn Antman
- Conservation Director for Nassau County: Andrew Schumann
- Education Director: Cristina Tuckness
- Hospitality Committee: Nancy Crowley and Millie Abercrombie
We bid a grateful farewell to our current treasurer Maria Quiros - thank you for your service to Duval Audubon Society and our community! Thank you also to former Field Trips / Programs Director Deborah Kainauskas for your hard work these last few years.
We are an all-volunteer chapter governed by a Board of Directors who work together to determine the activities offered by the organization to further our mission, “Connecting people with nature, conserving and restoring natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and other wildlife.”
Currently there are two Board vacancies and we encourage anyone interested in serving as a Board member to apply. Board members are expected to attend monthly meetings and participate in chapter activities on a regular basis. Board Officers are appointed for a one-year term, and Directors serve for two years.
- The Programs and Field Trips Director works with the Volunteer Director and the rest of the Board of Directors to plan and coordinate the chapter's field trips and monthly program presentations. The Programs and Field Trips Director serves a two-year term but may continue if willing and approved by the Board.
- The Volunteer Director helps with recruiting volunteers from the chapter membership and the community for chapter projects and activities such as leading field trips, representing the chapter at outreach events, helping with monthly cleanups, and other projects as determined by the Board. This position serves a two-year term but may continue if willing and approved by the Board.
If you are committed to helping to connect people with nature, please consider applying to join us in managing our chapter. You don’t have to be a great birder but having a love for nature and a passion for protecting and conserving birds and other wildlife would make you a wonderful addition to our team!
Questions? Please feel free to contact Jody or any current Board member.
To help you create bird friendly habitat in your landscape, we are spotlighting a native plant every month that is beneficial to birds and pollinators.
This month's plant is:
Snow Squarestem (Melanthera nivea)
This plant is a long-lived perennial which grows 2-5 ft high, 2 -4 feet wide and can get rangy without pruning. It is deciduous in the winter and very adaptable to a range of soils. It is drought tolerant, salt spray tolerant, and very easy to grow from seed or cuttings.
It has beautiful button-shaped white flowers with black accents, hence another name for it is the salt and pepper plant. My plants are starting to burst with blossoms right now and they will continue to bloom throughout the spring and summer.
It is native to the southeastern United States, Kentucky, and Ohio. It is also found in the Caribbean Islands, Mexico, Central and South America.
It is commonly found in disturbed, open habitats and is a terrific background plant for your pollinator garden as it is beloved by butterflies, wasps, bees, skippers for nectar. It is also visited by hummingbirds
For additional information on native plants for birds, check out Audubon's excellent Plants for Birds website: Audubon.org/plantsforbirds.
For local sources of native plants, check with the Ixia Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society. They often have native plants as well as cuttings available at their monthly meetings on the first Tuesday of each month. Check out their Events Calendar for all of their upcoming activities.
--Jody Willis, President, Duval Audubon Society
A recent study of bird populations in North America published in the journal Science revealed that nearly 3 billion fewer wild birds are alive today compared to avian abundance in 1970, a loss of 29%! In addition, Audubon's new report, Survival by Degrees, estimates that two-thirds of North American birds (389 species) are at increasing risk of extinction from global temperature rise.
In the face of these threats it's easy to lose hope, but we want to focus on what we as individuals, families, and communities can do to turn these trends around. In the past, some species have been nearly eliminated by hunting or pesticides, yet conservation measures (like eliminating DDT) helped these populations to recover, so we still have a chance to bring birds back from the brink!
Here are twelve things YOU can do to give birds a better chance of survival:
- Vote for candidates who place environmental issues front and center. Public policy has a huge impact on survival of the bird species we love.
- Stop using single use plastics, especially straws, plastic bags, and balloons. These items can end up in our waterways where they can be mistaken for food by birds, fish, and sea turtles, often killing them. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store. Refuse straws and bring your own take-out containers when dining out. Dispose of cigarette butts properly - butts are the most common trash found on the beaches during cleanups, and the filters contain plastic. (Another reason to quit smoking.)
- Keep cats indoors - they will live longer and healthier lives. Support measures to eliminate feral cat colonies over time. There are 60-100 million free-ranging cats in the US, and they are non-native predators against which our wild birds have no natural defenses. It is estimated that cats kill 1 billion birds and 6 billion mammals each year in the US alone. Outdoor cats typically have a very short life span and can transmit diseases to humans and wildlife. Audubon supports the American Bird Conservancy's Cats Indoors program.
- Use traps for a rodent problem instead of rat poison, many forms of which move up the food chain to also kill eagles, hawks, and owls, which eat rodents.
- Swear off herbicides and pesticides and reduce or eliminate fertilizer use in your yard. A chemical-free yard provides safe food sources for birds and other pollinators. Organic farms provide the same benefits on an agricultural scale. Pesticides containing neonicotinoids are directly responsible for the disastrous decline of bees, monarch butterflies, and other beneficial insects. We are joined by other organizations including the Garden Club of America, St. Johns Riverkeeper, and the Florida Wildflower Foundation in opposing the use of them.
- Plant native plants in your yard, especially fruit and nut bearing trees and berry producing shrubs, which are an excellent food source for birds and pollinators. An easy way to learn what will work in our yards here in northeast Florida is to use Audubon's Plants for Birds website. Go to the native plants database and type in your zip code, and you will get a list of plants for our area, including pictures for easy identification.
- Maintain a brush pile so birds have a place to hide from predators.
- If you can do it safely, let dead trees stand in your landscape as nesting sites for cavity nesting birds such as woodpeckers. They are also a source of insects which provide protein for birds.
- Keep fresh water readily available. In a drought, it’s easier for birds to find food than water.
- Reduce deadly bird collisions with glass by keeping screens up year-round. Or, install feather guards which interrupt reflections. Window decals to reduce bird strikes are also available from several vendors, including Wild Birds Unlimited.
- Enroll your company in Audubon’s Lights Out Program, which promotes safe migration for birds through urban areas by taking actions such as turning off outside lights on buildings and using window shades during nighttime work. There are currently 30 cities participating in this program throughout the US already and we hope to add Jacksonville to that list soon. At this time there are no cities in Florida that participate in this program and we would like to be the first.
- Buy shade grown, bird-friendly coffee. Not only will you be helping small farmers in South and Central America use good growing practices but you will also help our bird species that migrate there in the winter. It is easily obtainable online and several local retailers carry it as well. Ask your local coffee shop to stock it.
If everyone would do at least one of these things now, such as bringing your own reusable bags when shopping, keeping your cat indoors, stop using chemicals on your lawn, or stop using plastic straws, we can have a positive impact on the survival of the birds we love. Doing nothing guarantees that nothing will change.
Chapter president Jody Willis and Duval County conservation chair Carolyn Antman appeared on WJCT's First Coast Connect radio show on October 30, 2019 - read the story and listen to the program here.