Audubon North Carolina has an amazing staff across the state dedicating their time and expertise to protecting birds and their habitats, and engaging others to support bird conservation efforts. In this blog series, we will introduce you, our supporters, to the names and faces behind Audubon North Carolina.
Describe your job with Audubon NC.
I work to connect conservationists with environmental projects that will have a lasting impact. We are so fortunate to have donors that care about preserving the natural beauty of this state as well as protecting birds and habitat. So many donors are inspired to give to support Audubon’s innovative research and conservation strategies that will have a lasting impact across the nation.
What inspired you to pursue a career in conservation?
I believe strongly in protecting the beauty of North Carolina. Audubon North Carolina is dedicated to on-the-ground conservation work, so the research and land management techniques are fascinating. I really enjoy going out to our island sanctuaries and removing overgrown vegetation so that the birds have the bare sand they need to nest.
What brought you to work with Audubon NC for the benefit of birds?
I love animals, and our work to protect threatened bird species is so important, especially to help the chicks survive. Heather Hahn, our Executive Director, is so passionate about our conservation work and she inspires all of us. I really wanted to help Heather raise funding to support conservation research and land management techniques to protect ecosystems and bird species found in North Carolina.
Why do you feel it’s important to protect and conserve birds in North Carolina? Globally?
Birds tell us about our environment so we can learn more about our ecosystems. If birds are leaving an area, then we know the environment is possibly being negatively affected by a variety of factors. Audubon’s scientific bird data tells us very quickly about the health of the environment we share with birds and other wildlife. Many times birds are the first to indicate a declining ecosystem.
On a global scale, protecting our land and water is so important – knowing where birds migrate helps Audubon North Carolina protect land and water in our state and across the globe so it is preserved for future generations. It is so special to be a part of an organization that wants to protect birds in North Carolina but also in other parts of the world.
How is your work with Audubon specifically helping to protect birds in NC? What particular birds does your work help protect.
Charitable gifts help support new discoveries in the conservation field. Birds require specific ecosystems for survival, including the Black Rail that lives in the marsh. As the marshes decline, so will specific bird species. A brand new conservation technique to manage marsh migration will help protect ecosystems that support marshes and the birds that rely on them. Financial gifts help inspire the next big conservation discovery that will support healthy ecosystems, habitat and land management efforts, birds and other wildlife.
What is your favorite bird? Why?
Any chick! They are so tiny and have to endure such hardships at a young age. The parents are so diligent in protecting the babies on the beach. After a storm, we work with bird rehabilitators to help chicks that have been injured on our sanctuaries.
What is the most exciting bird you’ve ever spotted? What happened?
Any Piping Plover chick that I see on our sanctuaries is really exciting! The babies are so fluffy. We are working so hard to protect threatened and endangered bird species along North Carolina’s coast. Approximately 8,000 Piping Plovers remain in the world, so protecting their chicks is critical. They nest in North Carolina, so we have a big responsibility to protect this tiny bird for the species to survive.
What advice do you have for someone interested in becoming involved with bird conservation efforts?
It is so enjoyable and hands-on! You’ll meet wonderful people coming together to protect bird species across the state.
What would you like people to know about birds that they may not already know?
They are nesting all around you, so watch for the little chicks on the beach and in the forest.
Being in the development field for more than nine years, I have enjoyed connecting wonderful people with causes that are important to them. I so enjoy watching a donor connect with a specific project – it is just magic. Just last month, I was on a natural barrier island that Audubon North Carolina worked hard to preserve. While watching families from the Wilmington community enjoy the beauty of the natural barrier island, I realized that we are helping protect bird species but we are also protecting some of North Carolina’s most beautiful places for future generations to enjoy. As a development officer, that is inspiring.
Tatum earned a bachelor’s degree from Missouri State University where she studied history and secondary education. To follow, she earned a graduate degree in marketing and communications from Drury University in Missouri.
Want to learn more about the team members of Audubon North Carolina? Click here to continue our staff profile series.