Please welcome Audubon North Carolina Executive Director Heather Hahn. Heather joined the ANC team in 2011 and has successfully lead the organization and chapters in expanding our reach and impact in bird conservation across North Carolina. Read on to see Heather’s experience at the 2014 Chapter Day.
Since coming to Audubon North Carolina in 2011, our annual chapter day has always been one of my favorite events. Getting to meet with members from around the state and hear what they are doing in their own communities is always inspiring, and this year’s Chapter Day proved no different!
I got to Haw River State Park in Greensboro around 9 am to set up. Our chapter members started trickling in around 9:40, and by 10:00 we had 40 people from across the state in one room to discuss what they were doing and to learn from each other.
Each chapter gave a presentation on their amazing work accomplished this year.
Cape Fear and Wake Audubon each presented on their work and methods to educate people about birds in their community. Wake Audubon discussed topic boxes they made to be used in middle-school science classrooms that focused on Chimney Swifts that have made homes in many of Wake County’s school buildings.
T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon from Greensboro presented on their conservation efforts in Southwest Park where they have built an overlook—and Elisha Mitchell Audubon from Asheville talked about their conservation work in the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, which they own and manage.
New Hope Audubon shared a presentation they give to new birders—using it to explain how easy it is for people to appreciate birds, and the ways in which we can help encourage others to take up birding as a hobby or passion.
One of the most exciting things for me to see was how our chapters were so energized by Audubon’s Bird-Friendly Communities project—coordinated in North Carolina by Audubon NC staffer and Forsyth Audubon member Kim Brand. Forsyth and Mecklenburg Audubon both gave great presentations on how they were working to make urban counties more bird-friendly. After the chapter round robins were over, Kim gave a presentation on native plant gardening that chapters could use when talking to other groups about ways to help birds in their own back yards!
Looking back on what everyone presented, I am so grateful to work in a state where our local chapter members do so much for conservation. Going forward, I hope that our Bird-Friendly Communities program will continue to grow with more chapter involvement, and that chapter leaders will continue to engage their local communities about bird conservation in ways that are creative and that will inspire the next generation of bird conservationists.
Heather Hahn, Executive Director Audubon North Carolina