National Audubon Society
|Purpose||Conservation of birds, other wildlife and healthy ecosystems.|
|Headquarters||Manhattan, New York|
President & CEO
|Board of Directors|
The National Audubon Society (Audubon) is a non-profit John James Audubon, a Franco-American ornithologist and naturalist who painted, cataloged, and described the birds of North America in his famous book Birds of America published in sections between 1827 and 1838.
The society has nearly 500 local chapters, each of which is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization voluntarily affiliated with the National Audubon Society, which often organize birdwatching field trips and conservation-related activities. It also coordinates the Christmas Bird Count held each December in the U.S., a model of citizen science, in partnership with Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Great Backyard Bird Count each February. Together with Cornell, Audubon created eBird, an online database for bird observation. The National Audubon Society also has many global partners to help birds that migrate beyond our borders, including BirdLife International based in England, Bird Studies Canada, and many partners in Latin America and in the Caribbean. Audubon's International Alliances Program (IAP) brings together people throughout the Western Hemisphere to work together to implement conservation solutions at Important Birds Areas (IBA's).
The society's main offices are in New York City and Washington, D.C., and it has state offices in about 24 states. It also owns and operates a number of nature centers open to the public, located in urban settings, including New York City, Joplin, Phoenix, Dallas and Los Angeles, as well as at bird refuges and other natural areas. Audubon Centers help to forge lifelong connections between people and nature, developing stewards for conservation among young and diverse communities.
- Development of Audubon societies 1.1
- Bird Protection 1.2
- Refuges 1.3
- Field guides 1.4
- DDT, whaling, and politics 1.5
- Television specials 1.6
- Audubon Medal 1.7
- List of Awardees 2
Current activities 3
- Sanctuaries and nature centers 3.1
- Drilling for natural gas 3.2
- Dan W. Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership 3.3
- Climate change report 3.4
- Leadership 4
- Audubon magazine 5
- References 6
- External links 7
Development of Audubon societies
In 1886 George Bird Grinnell was appalled by the negligent mass slaughter of birds that he saw taking place. As a boy, Grinnell had avidly read Ornithological Biography, a seminal work by the great bird painter John James Audubon; he also attended a school for boys conducted by Lucy Audubon. So when Grinnell decided to create an organization devoted to the protection of wild birds and their eggs, he did not have to go far for its namesake.
Within a year of its foundation, the early Audubon Society claimed 39,000 members. Eventually, it attained a membership of 48,862. Each member signed a pledge to "not molest birds." Prominent members included jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., abolitionist minister Henry Ward Beecher, and poet John Greenleaf Whittier. This society was later discontinued, but the name and plan survived.
Organizations for the protection of birds were not a wholly new idea. Even before Grinnell's Audubon Society was organized, the American Ornithologists' Union, founded in 1883, was aware of the dangers facing many birds in the United States. There were however influential ornithologists who defended the collection of birds. In 1902 Charles B. Cory, the president elect of the AOU refused to attend a meeting of the District of Columbia Audubon Society stating that "I do not protect birds. I kill them."
In 1895 Audubon societies were organized in
- National Audubon Society
- Audubon Magazine
- Great Backyard Bird Count
- The Feather Trade and the American Conservation Movement An online exhibition from the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
- Frank Graham, Jr., The Audubon Ark: A History of the National Audubon Society (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990) ISBN 0-394-58164-4
- Moss, Stephen (2004) A Bird in the Bush: A social history of Birdwatching. Aurum Press. p. 78
- Audubon mobile apps
- Women in Conservation
- Article- PC Oil Drilling in a Wildlife Refuge
- Audubon Birds and Climate Change report.
The National Audubon Society publishes a bi-monthly magazine called Audubon.
Yarnold's leadership plan with Audubon is to align its conservation work along migratory flyways, the "superhighways in the sky" that millions of birds travel each spring and fall. Yarnold is a Pulitzer Prize-winning former editor San Jose Mercury News. He joined Audubon from the Environmental Defense Fund, where he played a leading role in expanding partnerships with corporations and helped double revenue.
David Yarnold became Audubon's 10th president in September 2010, expressing a commitment to build on the organization's strong conservation legacy and expand its commitment to improving the quality of life for both birds and people.
In September 2014, the Audubon Society released its Audubon Birds and Climate Change report which found that expected changes to North American climate will have a major, detrimental impact on birds in the United States. The scope of the report includes 588 species of birds and found that 314 of those species could lose up to half of their climatic range during the 21st-century.
Climate change report
The Dan W. Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership is a new award that recognizes Dan W. Lufkin's lifetime commitment to the environment and honors individuals who have dedicated their lives to on-the-ground conservation. As part of this award, the recipient receives a $100,000 cash prize, made through an endowment established by Dan's family and friends, to help further his or her conservation efforts. This award will become a signature prize in the field of conservation innovation. George Archibald was the inaugural Dan W. Lufkin Prize recipient for his tireless efforts to protect all species of cranes and their habitats throughout the world. The Wall Street Journal featured Dan W. Lufkin as the Donor of the Day for the creation of this new Audubon prize.
Dan W. Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership
An August 26, 2009 letter included the Central New Mexico Audubon Society, Champaign County Audubon Society, Delaware Audubon Society, Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society, Huachuca Audubon Society, Kalmiopsis Audubon Society, San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society, Sequoia Audubon Society, and Audubon South Carolina.
The Audubon society opposes drilling for gas on national reserves. Natural gas has been drilled for and produced at its Paul J. Rainey Wildlife Sanctuary. The society said it was legally compelled to allow gas and oil drilling at the sanctuary under the terms of the land's donation by its original owners. This explanation, however, has been challenged. The presence of oil and gas drilling on Audubon's sanctuaries has been used to illustrate the difference between private and public decision making.
Drilling for natural gas
Nature centers and wildlife sanctuaries continue to be an important part of Audubon's work to educate and inspire the public about the environment and how to conserve it. Some of the Audubon's earliest nature centers are still teaching young and old alike about the natural world. In August 2011, Audubon's Hog Island Camp in Maine marked its 75th anniversary. Audubon's national network currently includes more than 45 nature centers and 150 sanctuaries nationwide. After nearly three-quarters of a century, the National Wildlife Refuge Campaign also remains a key component of overall NAS policy.
Sanctuaries and nature centers
Audubon also helped to secure preservation of 240,000 acres of wild lands at the Tejon Ranch, the largest land conservation area created in California history.
In Wyoming and across the Intermountain west, Audubon's Sagebrush Initiative works with industry government, ranchers and conservationists to protect 15 million acres of greater sage grouse Core habitat. It also helps promote the development of renewable energy projects in the area.
Audubon's Important Bird Area program has been protecting 370 million acres along migratory bird flyways in the United States and is a key part of Audubon's work with BirdLife International and other conservationists around the globe. Audubon is leading the campaign for U.S. Congressional Reauthorization of the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act which would generate as much as $100 million each year to advance hemispheric bird conservation.
Audubon's Mississippi River and Louisiana Coastal Initiatives have been helping to restore coastal wetlands and to rebuild Mississippi River delta marshlands. The Mississippi Delta loses an area the size of Manhattan to the sea every year, stripping away coastal protections for both human communities and wildlife habitat.
In 2011, Audubon created a new model for positioning energy BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. Audubon recruited over 34,000 volunteers to assist in rescuing, cleaning and releasing injured brown pelicans and other water birds. In addition, Audubon was a leader in pushing for legislation to use BP oil spill penalties to rebuild the Gulf Coast.
List of Awardees
The Audubon Medal is given in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of conservation and environmental protection. Launched in 1947, the Medal is one of the highest honors in conservation. Only 52 people have received the honor in Audubon's 108-year history.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the National Audubon Society produced a notable series of Great Lakes. This series included a special documenting the rescue efforts to save the black-footed ferret from extinction. Arthur Unger of the Christian Science Monitor reviewed this special very favorably and wrote that this special was "further proof that the Audubon series deserves a place in television's splendid wildlife triumvirate alongside Nature and National Geographic Specials."
By the 1970s, NAS had also extended to global interests. One area that NAS became actively involved with was whaling. Between 1973 and 1974 alone, the poorly regulated whaling industry had succeeded in harvesting 30,000 whales. But by 1985, following the 37th annual meeting of the
Through the 1960s and 1970s, the society began to use its influence to focus attention on a wider range of environmental issues and became involved in developing major new environmental protection policies and laws. Audubon staff and members helped legislators pass the Clean Air, Clean Water, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and Endangered Species acts. In 1969 the society opened an office in Washington, D.C., in an effort to keep legislators informed of Audubon's priorities.
Today Audubon selects outstanding women in conservation to receive its prestigious Rachel Carson Award. Honorees include Bette Midler, founder of the New York Restoration Project; Dr. Sylvia Earle, oceanographer and founder of Deep Search International; Majora Carter, Founder and Executive Director of Sustainable South Bronx; actress and conservation activist Sigourney Weaver, and NRDC President Frances Beinecke.
During the post-World War II period, the NAS was consumed by the battle over the pesticide DDT. As early as 1960, the society circulated draft legislation to establish pesticide control agencies at the state level. In 1962 the publication of Silent Spring by long-time Audubon member Rachel Carson gave the campaign against "persistent pesticides" a huge national forum. Following her death in 1964, the NAS established a fund devoted strictly to the various legal fights in the war against DDT.
DDT, whaling, and politics
In 1934, with membership at a low of 3,500, and with the nation in the throes of the  and uses photographs instead of the commissioned paintings or other drawings that many other field guides possess, such as the Peterson Field Guides.
In the late 20th century, the organization began to place a new emphasis on the development of Centers in urban locations, including Brooklyn, New York; East Los Angeles, California; Phoenix, Arizona; and Seattle, Washington.
The association also purchased critical areas itself. Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center in New York was established in 1923, and the Audubon Center of Greenwich, Connecticut was founded in 1943. The Paul J. Rainey Wildlife Sanctuary in Louisiana was acquired in 1924, and at 26,000 acres (110 km2) it is still the largest.
In 1918, the NAS actively lobbied for the National Wildlife Refuge system.
But public opinion soon turned on the fashion industry. Bolstered by the support of Boston socialite Harriet Hemenway, President Theodore Roosevelt, an avowed Audubon Society sympathizer, and a widespread letter-writing campaign driven by church associations, many of whom distributed the Audubon message in their various newsletters, the plume trade was halted by such laws as the New York State Audubon Plumage Law (May 1910), which banned the sales of plumes of all native birds in the state. By 1920, similar laws were enacted in about 12 other states. Audubon Society activities are responsible for many laws for the establishment of game commissions and game warden forces, or prohibiting the sale of game.
Birds in the US were threatened by market hunting as well as for the fashion industry. Pressure from shooting enthusiasts was intense. For example, great auks, whose habit of crowding together on rocks and beaches made them especially easy to hunt, had been driven to extinction early in the century. During one week in the spring of 1897, nature author Florence Merriam claimed to have seen 2,600 robins for sale in one market stall in Washington alone. By the start of the 20th century, the sale of bird flesh had never been greater. The second equally great threat to the bird population was the desire for their plumage. In the late 1890s the American Ornithologists' Union estimated that five million birds were killed annually for the fashion market. In the final quarter of the 19th century, plumes, and even whole birds, decorated the hair, hats, and dresses of women.