The Audubon Observer, January 2024
2023 YEAR IN REVIEW
As we begin a new year of connecting people with nature, here’s a look back at chapter milestones and accomplishments in 2023:
Chapter Leadership Transition – Carol Bailey-White resigned as chapter president at the end of June after nearly 10 years of dedicated service. We welcomed Rich Egan as our new president in July but unfortunately, Rich was only able to stay with us for a few months and resigned his post in October. Vice president and longtime board member Pete Johnson has taken up the reins as acting president, but the chapter is still without anyone officially holding the office of president. We are hoping that someone will step up soon to take that on, as Pete is also continuing as our Crosby Sanctuary director and, while also working full-time, has way too much on his plate.
We also welcomed several new board members in 2023, including Nora Bertacchi as corresponding secretary, Jamie De Nisco as recording secretary, Paul Grybb as at-large director, Kim Lamb as programs director, Kate Zeray as youth outreach director, and Jo El Snyder as volunteer director. You can view the full list of chapter officers and board members here.
Conservation Initiatives – Conservation director Elizabeth Filippelli worked with the Timucuan Partnership of the Florida Shorebird Alliance to enhance community engagement with their Shorebird Stewarding program. Elizabeth reports that 45 dedicated volunteers (including Elizabeth herself) donated their time to help protect shorebirds nesting at Huguenot Memorial Park as well as other beachfront parks in Northeast Florida. On February 19, 2024, City of Jacksonville Parks Naturalist Supervisor Jolie Friedrich will present a program on birding while on the beach, with a special focus on nesting shorebirds and seabirds, so we encourage you to join us for her excellent presentation.
Our Lights Out Northeast Florida (LONF) partnership initiative continued in 2023 with 38 dedicated volunteers who took to the streets of downtown Jacksonville during spring and fall migration seasons to monitor bird deaths and injuries due to window collisions. The LONF outreach team stepped up efforts to engage with local businesses and community leaders, and we’re thrilled to report that Lindsey Pest Services is the first business to sign our pledge to keep outdoor lighting to a minimum while birds are migrating. Several individual homeowners in our area have signed the pledge as well.
Crosby Sanctuary – As mentioned above, VP Pete Johnson continues to serve as director of our 510-acre conservation property in Orange Park. Developments at Crosby this past year include the installation of a composting toilet, enhancements to our native plant garden, invasive species removal, and ongoing trail maintenance. We are so grateful to the student members of Ridgeview High School’s Earth Club, who volunteered many hours at Crosby in 2023, picking up trash, weeding the native garden, making signage, marking and clearing trails, and many other chores.
2023 was a good year for bird sightings at Crosby as well; in the fall we reached 154 species of birds documented on eBird. Prothonotary Warbler, Short-tailed Hawk, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron and Rusty Blackbird are just a few notable species that can be observed there depending on the season.
Activities – In 2023, we continued to offer expert-led bird walks and field trips as well as monthly informational programs featuring a variety of speakers on fascinating topics, and 2024 will be no different. We look forward to another year of offering quality programs and birding outings that are open to everyone, and continuing our conservation efforts to benefit birds and the habitats they rely on for survival.
Please join us - everyone is welcome!
AUDUBON’S CLIMATE WATCH INITIATIVE
Audubon’s 2019 “Survival By Degrees” report concluded that nearly two thirds of all North American bird species are at risk of extinction due to climate change. Since then, Audubon has stepped up its efforts to advocate for climate-wise public policy and work cooperatively with governmental organizations as well as other environmental groups to protect the land and resources that birds need to survive current and future challenges. One of the critical elements supporting these efforts is in-depth research on birds and their habitats, and this is where YOU come in!
Climate Watch is an Audubon community science program that aims to test the predictions in the report with the help of volunteers who are documenting specific species’ responses to climate change in their local areas. Climate Watch volunteers survey bird species targeted by Audubon based on climate models and ease of detection. Target species for our Northeast Florida area include Eastern Bluebird, Brown-headed Nuthatch, American Goldfinch, Painted Bunting, and Eastern Towhee, all of which are easy to identify and relatively common in our area.
The next survey starts on January 15, so there’s still time to sign up to participate. Using Audubon’s Climate Watch protocol, volunteers can conduct their surveys on any one day during the survey period, which ends February 15. There are multiple ways to participate, but the simplest is to volunteer as an individual. After “claiming” their 10 km x 10km square using Audubon’s online mapping tool, participants survey the target birds in their areas and report their findings on the Climate Watch website.
Learn more about how to participate on Audubon’s Climate Watch page.
NEW COMMUNITY PROJECT BY ARTIST KATHY STARK
Introducing Kathy Stark's latest community project: 1930's WPA National Park Service inspired Local Wilderness Park Posters! You can enjoy these posters in your home or office. They come in 3 sizes: the traditional size 14 x 20 on paper $50 and 24 x 36 on paper $150 or canvas $325. They are giclee fine art prints, using archival inks on archival paper, to capture the look & quality of the historic park posters which were serigraphs (silkscreened).
A Jacksonville native and resident, Kathy Stark specializes in watercolor and oil painting. Her favorite subject matter is her natural Florida surroundings which she explores by hiking, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking and dog walking. Kathy’s work has been collected both privately and corporately and has been shown in museums and galleries in Northeast Florida and beyond.
CALL FOR NEWSLETTER CONTRIBUTORS
Have you had an exciting birding adventure you’d like to share? Or maybe some helpful tips for bird ID? How about some birding or nature-related artwork, or a review of a great book you’ve read recently? We’re looking for volunteer contributors to our monthly Audubon Observer newsletter, so if you’d like your article or creative work to be featured in one of our upcoming newsletters, here’s what we’re looking for:
If you would like to contribute to our newsletter (which goes out to more than 2,500 subscribers every month!), please submit your content to us at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than the 20th of each month for publication the following month.
Questions? Please feel free to contact us. Thank you!
Here's what's happening this month:
Hope to see you soon!
Duval Audubon Society, Inc.