Projects and Goals March 2024

From the desk of
Katherine Emery, Executive Director

Through our Education Committee and our Conservation/Science Committee, Santa Barbara Audubon Society (SBAS) is actively working on many projects. This update provides an overview of selected current projects, goals, and opportunities for member engagement.

Dear SBAS Friends, Members, and Supporters,

Hope this finds you well and that you are having a happy and healthy start to 2024. SBAS is bustling with fresh energy. We work determinedly to protect area birdlife and habitat and connect people with birds through education, conservation, and science.

We continue to have informative, fun, and free bird walks, field trips, and evening programs, such as the recent owl presentation “What an Owl Knows: The New Science of the World’s Most Enigmatic Birds” by Jennifer Ackerman. We thank the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History for partnership in hosting this and other events. We welcome two new staff members, Sarah Clement, who is helping with administrative work, and Hilary Peattie, an additional teacher for our popular and growing Meet Your Wild Neighbor (MYWN) three-week educational program in local elementary schools. This spring, we are expanding MYWN to reach 16 classrooms, incorporate more bird sounds and music, and integrate a bird walk around school campuses to teach children about the birds sharing their school grounds with them. Thank you, generous donors and grantors, for making this SBAS educational outreach possible.

Year after year, the SBAS Winter Bird Count for Kids thrives. Thank you to the team for making the 10th year a success: City of Goleta, SBAS volunteers, high school students, and bird-loving and nature-seeking families. One parent, Wim van Dam, wrote: “Thank you to the organizers of the Winter Bird Count for Kids at Lake Los Carneros. It brought back great memories of child-friendly bird walks that I enjoyed myself many decades ago. Despite the rain the birds were cooperative, with the best ones being a Summer Tanager near Stow House and a Violet-green Swallow over the lake.”

Thank you, also, to Christmas Bird Count leadership for masterly orchestrating another vibrant event, and to members for braving the rain, donning boots, and collecting meaningful data. On a side note, while the total count was lower than expected (likely due to the storm and lack of a boat survey), I feel like I’m hearing and seeing more birds than ever in our post-rain, very green yard.

Gratitude to the Conservation/ Science Committee for their time and expertise working to increase conservation-focused management of open spaces, riparian zones, and other important bird habitats, and advance habitat protection initiatives, such as advocating for educational signage plans for critical birding areas and advancing research and community science (e.g., the Breeding Bird Study).

We welcome new members to our Board. Please contact SBAS President Janice Levasheff if you’re interested in learning more about our open positions on the Board.

Thank you, all, for protecting birds and their habitats.

Katherine Emery, Executive Director
Santa Barbara Audubon Society