Madison Audubon earns national land trust accreditation!

accred_announcement.png

Announcing our new Land Trust Accreditation!

Madison Audubon is a non-profit that works to acquire, steward, and conserve land – in other words, a land trust organization. Back in 2012, we made a bold decision to seek national land trust accreditation, a mark of distinction awarded to organizations meeting the highest national standards for excellence and land conservation permanence. This was no easy undertaking. Indeed, of roughly 500 Audubon chapters in the U.S., there is only one other chapter that has received this distinction. We're proud to say that Madison Audubon is now the second nationally-accredited Audubon chapter and among an elite group of other land trust organizations around the country that have received this recognition!

WHAT IS ACCREDITATION?

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of an organization’s policies and programs. Think of it like an audit of how a land trust does business. It gets deep into the nitty gritty – policies, procedures, record-keeping, finances, governance, land stewardship, and so much more. So we’ve been working diligently to demonstrate that Madison Audubon meets rigorous standards for excellence, accountability, and permanence of our conservation efforts. If you'd like more information about land trust accreditation, you can find it here

Madison Audubon is honored to continue to protect the land we all cherish, and the species that rely on healthy ecosystems. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to the many people who helped make national accreditation possible. And of course, we couldn't do any of this work at all without our generous, vibrant donor and membership base -- you are the heart of our work!

Into the Nest: Cowbirds, everybody’s favorite villain

Into the Nest: Cowbirds, everybody’s favorite villain

A lot of people really dislike - even hate - cowbirds. I get it. It can be hard to watch a small warbler trying to keep a huge cowbird chick fed, and it’s sad when host species eggs get destroyed. But objectively and unemotionally, cowbirds are amazing, smart, resilient, and cool. Their reproductive strategy allows them to produce many more offspring than the average bird. Hopefully by the end of this post, you’ll be thinking about cowbird behavior in a new light too.

Into the Nest: What goes in must come out

Into the Nest: What goes in must come out

Keeping the nest clean is a pretty big deal. Some large raptors are able to defend their nest from nearly anything, so it doesn’t matter how messy they are. Not so for our grassland birds. They are ill-equipped to fight back against most predators, and fare much better when they’re able to go unnoticed. Dirty nests could smell strongly, and attract curious - and hungry! - mammalian predators.

Into the Nest: Remember how beautiful eggs are?

Into the Nest: Remember how beautiful eggs are?

It's been a little bit since we've peeked Into the Nest of grassland birds. But not because of a lack of interesting stuff to talk about! We are working on a run down of everyone's favorite topic: poop; you won't want to miss the upcoming post on fecal sacs.

In the meantime, feast your eyes on these awesome eggs. The size, shape, color pattern are all unique to the species they come from. Learn more about how grassland birds lay their clutch of beautiful eggs in our Into the Nest post from May 31: There is nothing so beautiful as a bird's egg.

July 2018 Keystone Volunteer: Kerry Wilcox

JULY 2018 - Keystone Volunteer.png

The birding world is blessed to have people with a variety of skills and interests, and a willingness to share them. Kerry Wilcox is a perfect example of this: he came to Madison Audubon with the idea to run a "Birding by Ear" field trip that was particularly geared for folks with visual impairments. His idea blossomed into a wonderful class that exceeded all of our expectations!

"I'd recently moved back to Wisconsin after a couple decades in California where I worked for the National Audubon Society as a biologist and was looking to get involved with the local Audubon chapter," said Kerry. "I'd also had a long time interest in birding by ear--in particular with people who had different levels of sightedness." So Kerry pitched that we partner with a local non-profit, the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired, to host a meaningful, enriching class that opens up the birding world to those who might otherwise be unable to fully experience it.

Kerry leads one of the small groups through Pheasant Branch Conservancy to listen for and learn a variety of bird calls. MAS Photo

Kerry leads one of the small groups through Pheasant Branch Conservancy to listen for and learn a variety of bird calls. MAS Photo

The class was part of our new Audubon Naturalists Series, and had both an indoor and outdoor component, and the 20 participants learned a variety of songs, calls, and other identification cues -- as well as the importance of knowing when and where you are to help hone in on which potential species you can hear. Kerry took the lead on creating all class materials and pulling together a variety of resources for participants, with support from Madison Audubon and great partners at the Council.

We're so grateful to Kerry for being such a champion for birders of all varieties and an advocate for increasing accessibility to birding. We look forward to working with Kerry and the Council for another Birding by Ear class! To learn how you can volunteer with Madison Audubon, visit our volunteer page.

Written by Brenna Marsicek, Director of Communications