The Audubon Observer, May 2022
FAREWELL TO DEPARTING BOARD MEMBERS
This month we bid a fond and grateful farewell to two board members whose lives are now taking them in other directions. We appreciate their service to our chapter, and their work to help us achieve our mission to connect people with nature.
Carolyn Antman has been a member of Duval Audubon Society since early 2009 and joined our Board of Directors later that year. After attending a Chapter Leadership workshop at Audubon’s Hog Island Camp in Maine in August of 2011, Carolyn became our Education Director and presented educational outreach talks for schools and scout groups for the next two years.
She took on the role of President from 2013-2015 and during her term was instrumental in many improvements to our Crosby Sanctuary conservation property in Orange Park, including the construction of footbridges over the ravines on the swamp trail, installing an informational kiosk at the entrance area, and adding fencing and native plantings to enhance security and curb appeal. She also worked hard to champion the Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment, which was approved by voters in November of 2014 and sets aside a portion of state revenues for the Land Acquisition Trust Fund and a variety of environmental programs and initiatives.
Carolyn served as Vice President in 2016 and 2017, and during that time was selected to serve as the Chapters Representative from NE Florida on the Audubon Florida Board. This involved leading Audubon Florida’s NE Florida Regional Conservation Committee, which sets conservation goals for Audubon chapters in our area. She served in this role until January of last year. In 2018 she became our Conservation Director for Duval County, a position she has held to the present day. In that capacity, she has fostered relationships with various local and regional environmental and conservation organizations like the Riverfront Parks Now initiative, the Free the Ocklawaha Coalition, Resilient Jax and others.
In addition to her many contributions over the years as a member of our Board of Directors, Carolyn has participated in various Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) events in the NE FL area and has been the team captain for the Atlantic Beach section of the Duval County CBC for the last three years. She has mentored multiple college students participating in Audubon Florida’s Conservation Leadership Initiative as well as a UNF student enrolled in the Institute of Environmental Research and Education’s Environmental Leadership Program. She also instituted and managed the volunteer program for our Lights Out Northeast Florida partnership initiative during its first full year of operation in 2021, a huge accomplishment that laid solid groundwork for us to continue the initiative without interruption into the future.
Family responsibilities are taking Carolyn away from our area for the next couple of years, but she says, “If I can leave behind one message it is to PLANT, PLANT, PLANT native trees, bushes, and flowers. Avoid fertilizer and pesticides as much as possible (accept weeds and bugs in your yard). As much as you can in your own realm, make the environment friendly to birds and the insects and plants they depend on. Always be mindful of your carbon footprint and your trash output. Contribute as little as possible to environmental decline.”
We can’t even begin to thank Carolyn appropriately for her hard work and dedication on behalf of our chapter over the years. She has made many more contributions than we can possibly fit into this short article, and we will miss her energy, her commitment, and her friendship. We wish her all the best!
We’re also saying farewell to Chris Conner, who served as our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Director and Volunteer Director since 2020. Chris is also moving out of the area, but we sincerely appreciate his contributions to our chapter during his tenure on our Board of Directors. You can learn more about Chris in this profile article we published when he joined our organization. Best wishes to Chris as well!
Thanks to both Carolyn and Chris doing so much for conservation and the environment, and for helping us “Connect People With Nature!”
~ Carol Bailey-White, President
WORLD MIGRATORY BIRD DAY MAY 14, 2022
World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated on the second Saturday of May each year to bring attention to the wonders and perils of bird migration. This year’s theme is “Dim the Lights for Birds at Night,” and the focus is on the impact of light pollution on migratory birds. This dovetails perfectly with our Lights Out Northeast Florida initiative, which is currently in its second year of data gathering to collect statistics on how many birds are killed or injured by building strikes in downtown Jacksonville during the spring and fall migration seasons.
Because most songbirds migrate at night when the weather is calmer and there are fewer predators about, bright lighting can attract and disorient them, pulling them off their migration path and making them more vulnerable to building and window collisions.
But it’s not just tall buildings that present a danger to migrating birds. A study published in 2014 found that 56% of bird mortality occurs at low-rises (4-11 stories tall); 44% at residences (1-3 stories tall), and less than 1% at high-rises (12 stories and up). Taller structures have higher per-building mortality rates, but residences are responsible for a much larger percentage of bird deaths due to their sheer numbers: the United States has about 139 million residences, compared to around 21,000 skyscrapers.
The lesson is, no matter what size building you have, if the windows aren’t “bird-friendly,” they can present a mortal hazard to wild birds, especially during the spring and fall migration seasons. There are lots of different ways (many are easy and cheap!) to make your windows bird friendly; check out this brochure from the National Audubon Society to find out what you can do to help birds “see” your windows and avoid collisions.
One of the most important (and simplest) things you can do is keep your lights turned off at night, especially during migration (spring migration in our area is generally March through May, and fall migration is September through November). If indoor lights can’t be turned off, close the blinds to prevent light from spilling out of the building. If you have outdoor security lighting, consider putting a motion sensor on your lights so they only go on when triggered, and always make sure that outdoor lights are pointed downward rather than upward into the sky.
A recent study estimates that North America has nearly three billion fewer birds today as compared to 1970. This means that nearly a third of the total North American wild bird population has disappeared from the landscape in just 50 years! These staggering losses mean we must do much more to protect wild birds, and keeping lights turned off at night is just one way we can help them survive their perilous migration journey. Let’s celebrate World Migratory Bird Day every day (especially during migration), and “Dim the lights for birds at night.”
JOIN OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS!
We are still accepting nominations for our board of directors for the upcoming year. We are an all-volunteer Audubon chapter governed by a board of directors who work together to plan and coordinate 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.”
At the end of our current “season” on June 30, 2022, we will have several board director openings, including Education Director, EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) Director, Programs Director, and Volunteer Director. In addition, we are currently without a Vice President, an officer position that will be critical in the coming year as the current president’s final term will end on June 30, 2023.
Our proposed board officers and directors for 2022/2023 are:
Board members attend monthly board meetings (held virtually via Zoom) and participate in chapter activities when schedules allow. Officers are appointed for a one-year term, and directors serve for two years. Board members may continue serving beyond their initial term if willing and approved by the board and the general membership. Board members should become a member of Audubon if not already a member.
If you are interested in joining our board to help our chapter achieve its mission, we encourage you to apply (or download and complete our paper application form and send via US Mail to Duval Audubon Society, PO Box 16304, Jacksonville, FL 32245). If there are multiple candidates for any of the officer positions (President, Vice President, Treasurer, Recording Secretary), an election will be held.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about joining our team. Thank you!
BIRDS AND BREAKFAST
June 30th marks the end of another exciting season of exploring nature, finding cool birds, and learning about bird behavior and identification. We hope you've enjoyed this year as much as we have!
To celebrate, we're thrilled to be able to resume hosting our "Birds and Breakfast" annual end-of-season picnic on Saturday, June 4th at the Arlington Lions Club Park (4322-1 Richard Denby Gatlin Road, Jacksonville, 32277).
Please join us for coffee and pastries at 8 am, and at 9 am we'll explore the park (and adjacent Blue Cypress Park) to see what birds we can find. Please bring your own cup and/or water bottle to cut down on plastic trash at this event. Hope to see you there!
Here's what's happening this month:
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Duval Audubon Society, Inc.