Contact: John Bianchi 212/979-3026 jbianchi@xxxxxxxxxxx MAKE YOUR BACKYARD BIRD FRIENDLY: AUDUBON AT HOME LAUNCHES WEBSITE Program to Create Healthy Habitats Ties into Great Backyard Bird Count Ivyland, Pennsylvania, Thursday, February 5, 2004 - You know where you live, but do you know your "ecological address?" Audubon At Home, a new program made possible in part by the US Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is bringing conservation home through an exciting, interactive website designed to give guests useful information on making their backyards more bird-friendly, and their homes healthier and safer for their families. It accomplishes this by helping users identify the natural characteristics of their property and its role in local ecology. As the centerpiece of this year's Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) www.birdsource.org/gbbc/ <http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/>, Audubon is stressing the value of backyard habitat and asks participants to make their yards not only bird-friendly, but also bird-safe. The new Audubon At Home website, <http://www.audubon.org/bird/at_home/index.html>, contains a treasure trove of information that gives users the tools they need to create backyards that will attract birds and safeguard them as well. "Each yard, no matter the size, has the potential to help birds," said Sally Conyne, Director of the GBBC. "By providing just a few neccessities, your home landscape will attract birds, beneficial insects, and other wildlife. You'll be rewarded with a low-maintenance yard bustling with the variety of colors and textures you would find in far wilder places." Historically, conservation efforts have focused on open space and wilderness tracts. Fragmented by development and industry, natural lands, especially those near metropolitan areas, are dwindling even as you read the words on this page. In the United States suburban sprawl increases by more than 2 million acres every year. Audubon At Home is an innovative program designed to mitigate some of the problems created in suburban areas. Birds and other wildlife don't recognize property lines and travel into yards where food and shelter are provided. What individuals do in their own yards can make a difference in the lives of birds; the healthier American yards are, the better for the health of the environment. The GBBC, conducted by Audubon and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in cooperation with Bird Studies Canada - and sponsored by Wild Birds Unlimited and the NRCS - takes place February 13-16. People throughout the Americas are being asked to count birds in their backyards or local parks so that Audubon and partners can assess the health of wild bird populations and the value of backyards as bird habitat. By helping with the seventh annual count, participants can help protect our great natural heritage. Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Our national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in positive conservation experiences. # # # You are subscribed to Audubon-News. To unsubscribe, send email to audubon-news-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with 'unsubscribe' in the Subject field. To adjust other settings (vacation, digest, etc.) please visit, http://www.freelists.org/list/audubon-news.