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Audubon North Carolina Announces 92 Important Bird Areas

Wilmington, NC, Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - Last week, Audubon North Carolina announced the release of Important Bird Areas of North Carolina, a scientific assessment of the most important habitats for birds in the state. The culmination of six years of study, the publication identifies 92 places from the mountains to the coast that are vital for breeding, migrating, and over-wintering birds.

The nearly 4.5 million acres of land and waters encompassed by the report range from internationally known natural heritage sites such as 300,000 acres of Great Smoky Mountains National Park to a handful of two-acre islands that are little known but vital to breeding water birds. Manmade features, such as Falls and Jordan lakes, known for their growing populations of Bald Eagles in the midst of developing cities, also made the list. One Important Bird Area (IBA) includes 600,000 acres of ocean off Cape Hatteras where seabirds congregate and forage in huge numbers.

Important Bird Areas have no minimum or maximum size limit, said Audubon North Carolina Deputy Director Walker Golder, leader of the IBA program in the state. What these sites have in common is that all are important and all are essential to North Carolina`s birds.Oklawaha Valley Audubon Society`s Vice President Rolls Out Another Lake County Water Day

Lake County, FL, Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - On November 22, 2004, approximately 8,000 Lake County third, fourth, and fifth graders celebrated their second Lake County Water Day, so designated by the Board of County Commissioners, the Lake County School Board, and the Lake County Water Authority. This event is sponsored by the Oklawaha Valley Audubon Society who received a grant from the Lake County Water Authority with the help of Vice President and Education Chair of the Oklawaha Valley Audubon Society, Mary Anderson.

Each student received the Audubon Adventures nature news magazine It`s Only Water, Our Only Water. This is an award-winning educational newspaper with challenging activities and materials that address water conservation, pollution, and the water cycle to illustrate that water equals life and is an essential habitat or home for many animals and plants. These studies will be followed by an essay writing contest for the children and will be judged at both the school and county levels, and awards will be given for the winning essays. Audubon Florida Launches Sustainability Plan for Everglades Agricultural Area

Palm Beach, FL, Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - Audubon Florida, working with Florida Wildlife Federation and the conservation organization 1000 Friends of Florida, has launched a sustainability plan for Florida`s Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA). Covering nearly 700,000 acres, the EAA represents one of the largest undeveloped landscapes in Florida and maintaining the area as a rural landscape is vital to restoring the Everglades. The launch of the sustainability plan presents a blue print for future land use in the EAA, taking into account the need for increased water storage, improved water quality measures, increased wildlife habitat, revitalizing human communities, and ensuring that farming is able to continue as a viable economy in the region. Recognizing that the management of land and water in the EAA profoundly affects Lake Okeechobee, coastal estuaries, the Everglades, and Florida, the plan builds a case for decision-makers to adopt measures in the plan prior to adopting further development densities.

Through being proactive in presenting a sustainability plan that supports, agriculture, local communities, and birds and wildlife, Audubon Florida is offering an alternative to a surge in proposals to develop western Palm Beach County`s sugar fields. This counterproposal: a sweeping, 10- to 20-year plan to keep most of the land in agriculture, puts about a fifth of it under water, and steers appropriate development to existing western cities such as Pahokee and Belle Glade.

Audubon of Florida Policy Director Eric Draper said taxpayers would have to spend billions of dollars on roads, schools and myriad other needs if development sprawls across the 450,000 acres of farms. If we don`t do anything, this will just be one big series of developments, Draper said. We think it`s important that our communities and wildlife have an alternative to what developers are proposing.Great Turnout for 3rd Annual Rivers and Bluffs Birding Festival

Lansing, IA, Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - The Nov. 12-14, `04 3rd Annual Rivers and Bluffs Birding Festival has come and gone, but the assistance of eleven co-sponsors and numerous other partnering businesses, organizations, and individuals made this three day event a significant success. A total of at least 257 individuals from 53 cities in 9 states attended this year`s 3-day event headquartered at Kee High School in Lansing. Birders came from Florida, California, Ohio, Kansas, Illinois and Michigan, plus Iowa and nearby Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Half-day birding trips on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning explored Mississippi River habitats teeming with Tundra Swans and many varieties of ducks, as well as some upland habitats, all within easy driving distance in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Two boat trips each day took participants nearer to waterfowl on Pool 9 of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge - one of Iowa`s 70 officially recognized Important Bird Areas (IBAs).

A total of 91 species of birds were observed during the event, the most popular bird of the festival being a Red-necked Grebe. The composite total of 78 species observed during the first two festivals was easily exceeded this year. Recent mild weather and the involvement of a higher number of excellent birders as bird trip leaders helped push the total species seen to a new high. Audubon New York Receives $5000 Member Item Grant for Audubon at Home Demonstration Garden

Albany, NY, Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - Building on Audubon`s priority promotion of the Audubon At Home program, Audubon New York is working with Chapters across the state, urging them to advocate for the elimination of pesticide use, water conservation, water quality protection, and planting native species in their local communities. As part of this initiative, Audubon New York is proud to announce that they have helped secure a $5,000 Member Item grant through State Senator Vincent Leibell for the Bedford Audubon Society`s creation of a demonstration garden at their Bylane Farm Sanctuary in Katonah, NY. The demonstration garden at this sanctuary will help connect area residents to their local environment by providing education programs and opportunities to learn the goals and benefits of managing their backyards in an environmentally friendly, non-toxic way.

This grant highlights the strong collaboration between our state office and the local Chapters for a national priority, and we can`t thank Senator Leibell enough for all his efforts said David Miller, Executive Director Audubon New York. We look forward to building on this success with other Chapters, and expanding this excellent program across the state. Audubon New York is engaged in a broad campaign, encouraging and helping Chapters and Audubon Nature Centers to create demonstration gardens that can illustrate to local residents the ease and benefits of turning their backyards into healthy backyard habitats that can and should support a wide variety of birds and other wildlife.NY Times Editorial Highlights Audubon New York`s Save the Sound Initiatives

Albany, NY, Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - In the Sunday, November 14, 2004 issue of the New York Times City Editorial page, the column brings attention to the environmental plight of the Long Island Sound - one of America`s great estuaries - and the efforts that must be taken to clean up its nitrogen polluted waters. Audubon New York`s work to come up with a plan that keeps the City of New York on time and on target with restoration efforts was praised in the piece: Earlier this year, the city, with the help of environmental groups like Audubon New York, devised and submitted to Albany a plan that assuming some wiggle room in the timetable, promises to meet the 58.5 percent target at just over half the original estimated cost.Heather Starck to Head Columbus Audubon Center

Columbus, OH, Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - Last week, Audubon Ohio announced the appointment of Heather Starck as the new director of the future Columbus Audubon Center on the Whittier Peninsula. The announcement was made at a welcoming reception in her honor at the law offices of Porter, Wright, Morris, and Arthur. A major gift of $75,000 from the Estabrook Trust (a fund managed by Porter Wright) was also announced at the reception, and a letter of intent spelling out the terms of future collaboration between COSI and Audubon on education programs at COSI and the center was distributed.

Starck`s role as director of the Audubon Center will cover a range of duties, including responsibility for all aspects of planning, developing, operating and managing the center. She will also be charged with carrying out Audubon`s conservation mission of protecting birds and habitat through the center`s educational programming. Starck begins her duties immediately, working out of the Audubon Ohio state office in Columbus until the center opens in 2008.

Heather brings the perfect blend of environmental education experience and on-the-ground field work to this position, noted Audubon Ohio`s Executive Director Jerome Tinianow, at a welcoming reception for Starck. Her previous work with urban nature education programs has given her the skills necessary to get the Audubon Center off the ground, and to serve Columbus` families and children successfully.Audubon Science Department Makes New Fact Sheets Available for Member, Chapter, and Staff Use

Ivyland, PA, Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - The Audubon Science Department announced today that fact sheets summarizing all of science`s programs are now available for use by all Audubon Chapters, members, and staff. A good resource for anyone wishing to know more about Audubon`s activities, they provide general descriptions of Science`s most important work. These fact sheets may be useful in creating proposals, conducting community outreach, and responding to requests for information.Annual Meeting of Members and National Board Meeting 2005

Naples, FL, Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - The Annual Meeting of Members of the National Audubon Society is scheduled to take place on Friday, January 28, 2004 at 10 am at the Blair Audubon Center at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. The meeting is open to all Audubon members and attendees are encouraged to stay to enjoy the Sanctuary after the close of the Annual Meeting. It is helpful to know in advance who will be attending, in order to assure that adequate seating is available. For that reason, anyone planning to attend the Annual Meeting is asked to contact Lynn Tennefoss in the Chapter Services Office at ltennefoss@audubon.org or 800-542-2748. The Chapter Services Office will also be happy to answer any questions about the meeting. The National Board Meeting will take place at 9 am on Sunday, January 30, 2004, at the Naples Beach Hotel. The Board Meeting is open to members, who are asked to please inform the Chapter Services Office if they plan to attend.

4th July 2014