This September, Audubon North Carolina members flocked to Asheville to celebrate birds for our 2018 Summit “Migration in the Mountains.”
Thanks to our hosts, Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society (EMAS), the Summit was an incredible success!
Over 100 members from across the state gathered to meet new people and spot new birds. Some even ran into “bird people” they already knew, like Lynn Moseley, who was surprised to reunite with former student and teaching assistant Chris Groh!
Chris and Lynn hadn’t seen each other since Chris graduated from Guilford College 30 years ago. The Summit was Chris and his wife Nancy Groh’s first birding trip together ever, AND an anniversary gift from Nancy to Chris.
The Summit was filled with moments to remember, starting on Friday during our opening “Birds, Brews and Bluegrass” social at Wedge at Foundation in the River Arts district. Attendees gathered to meet their fellow bird lovers and catch up with friends. Thanks to Summit sponsor The barrelhouse and EMAS member Emilie Travis for the delicious food!
On Saturday morning, we set out on field trips to Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Charles D. Owen Park (amongst others).
We saw a total of 102 bird species including Tennessee Warbler, Peregrine Falcon, Chestnut-sided Warbler, and Red-breasted Nuthatch! A full list of species is available here.
On Saturday night, we gathered again to celebrate our network’s accomplishments on behalf of birds over the past year.
David Ringer, chief network officer for the National Audubon Society, set the tone for the evening with an inspiring presentation and reading of Alice Hall Walter’s 1917 call for “definite, effective action” on behalf of birds and our society – still so very relevant today. You can read the full text here, including an early call to plant for birds.
Our success depends on the grassroots support of our members, whose dedication never ceases to amaze! We were proud to present three awards to members who have made a big impact on North Carolina’s birds and our efforts to protect birds across the state. Our award winners were:
Sara Schweitzer, “Honorary Warden Award” for exemplary service in protection of our state’s most important bird habitats and sanctuaries. Through her work with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, Sara has been our go-to partner in nesting colonial waterbird conservation for eight years and counting. They may not know it, but our birds have a tireless champion in Sara Schweitzer!
Will Stuart, “Bird-Lore Conservation Education Award” for exceptional efforts to inspire conservation of the special landscapes we share with all wildlife. Dozens of times over the years we’ve called on Will to ask permission to use his bird and native plant photos for website, media, and other materials and his answer is always the same: Use my photos for anything that does good. Will’s iconic photo of an American Goldfinch on a Purple Coneflower is THE photo for the National Audubon Plants for Birds database!
Tom Tribble, “Volunteer of the Year” for his outstanding effort in support of the state office, staff, local chapters and our shared conservation goals. A dedicated birder and Audubon member since 1975, Tom is known to friends as “the Ambassador of Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary.” His work extends throughout the greater community, where he is determined to build his chapter’s capacity for inclusivity.
“I was incredibly honored and humbled to receive this award,” Tribble said. “As I told many of my friends, none of us who love birds and work to protect them do so for the recognition. But as several of our younger UNC Asheville student-chapter members came up to congratulate me, I realized that my work may motivate them to a lifetime devotion to birds, and for that I am most thankful.”
Thank you again to everyone who joined, and to everyone across our network who continues to do great work for our birds!