Chapter of the Month

Chapter of the month: Wake Audubon- Recognizing our local conservation heroes

Audubon North Carolina has 10 amazing chapters across the state who help put a local focus on bird preservation and conservation issues. In this special blog series, we’ll focus on a chapter each month to learn more about their history, what they are working on, and to increase the statewide understanding of special ecosystems and habitats. Each month will include a series of posts about each chapter including a post from our biologists that will share a unique research project that is happening in the chapter’s geographic footprint.

This month, we get to know Wake Audubon – Read on to learn more about our chapter based in Raleigh.

The Wake Audubon chapter has many extraordinary volunteers and bird advocates. We are proud to recognize three individuals awarded in honor of the terrific work that they do in promoting conservation.

Jeff Beane: NC Wildlife Federation’s 2013 Wildlife Conservationist of the Year

“The Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards Program, sponsored by the NC Wildlife Federation, now in its 50th Year, honors those individuals, governmental bodies, associations and others who have exhibited an unwavering commitment to conservation in North Carolina.”

Jeff is Wake Audubon Society’s vice-president, and is a hero of North Carolina conservation. He has terrific expertise in the amphibians and reptiles of North Carolina, in particular their natural history and conservation. He serves as an important resource to numerous councils, committees and government agencies that deal with the natural heritage of North Carolina, as well as to members of the public.

Not only has Jeff served conservation advocacy on councils, committees and government entities, he was the lead author on the 2010 guide Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia (UNC Press), has published numerous scientific papers on the natural history of amphibians and reptiles in North Carolina, and is a regular contributor to many popular publications such as Wildlife in North Carolina magazine.

Jeff was presented his award at the NC Wildlife Federation’s Annual Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards Banquet on Saturday, September 7, 2013.

John Connors: 2013 Audubon NC Bird Lore Conservation Education Award Winner

John recently retired from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, where he was a tireless advocate for environmental education (especially birds) for decades. In his role as the Coordinator of the Naturalist Center, John had the opportunity to conduct thousands of programs for tens of thousands of children and visitor’s over the course of his career.

John is perhaps most famous for his interpretation of the annual Ground Hog day ritual, where we get to see John in a coat and top hat making his predictions.  He is a past president of Wake Audubon, and continues to be active and engaged with chapter projects, including his current work on the Chimney Swift tower project.  He has helped Audubon North Carolina get work in Nicaragua, established through his work with Finca Esperanza Verde and the Sister Communities program. He continues to work for birds, including helping with Audubon’s Bird Friendly Communities (BFC) Implementation team.

The Bird Lore Conservation Education Award was presented to John for his lifetime of bird education activities and for the years of programs to come. The award was presented at the Audubon North Carolina Annual Meeting in June, 2013.

Lena Gallitano: The National Audubon Society 2013 Atlantic Flyway William Dutcher Award winner

Lena is a past-president of Wake Audubon, and currently an active member of the chapter. She was recognized for her outstanding leadership in several projects aimed at protecting and understanding birdlife.

Lena instigated the North Carolina Birding Trail, which she views as a pathway for bringing economic benefits to North Carolina through nature based tourism, and in turn, creates ethics of conservation through education.

A former member of the Audubon North Carolina board of trustees, she rode her bicycle 500 miles across the state to raise funds for bird protection, and served as the liaison between the state office and 10 statewide Audubon chapters.

In addition to these accomplishments, Lena was instrumental in the successful protest against the US Navy’s Outlying Landing Field proposal for Eastern North Carolina.

She previously won the Volunteer of the Year award from Audubon North Carolina, and the Governor's Conservation Achievement Award for Wildlife Volunteer of the Year. This honor was announced at the National Audubon Convention in Stevenson, WA on July 14.

For more information on this chapter, visit or visit the chapter on Facebook. If you would like to donate to the Wake Audubon chapter, please click here.

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