[chapter-communicator] FW: St. Louis Board Meeting - update

  • From: "BIANCHI, John" <JBIANCHI@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <chapter-communicator@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 15:05:47 -0400


 Dear Auduboners:


We had a very successful Board of Directors meeting earlier this month in St. 
Louis, Missouri, and summarized below are some of the highlights.  


First, and most importantly, Audubon elected a new Chair, Carol Browner, who 
will lead the board when Donal O’Brien ends his term this fall.  I hope you 
saw my previous email on this important event.


Audubon has relied on Donal's talents and energy for a decade and more.  He has 
helped build Audubon and served tirelessly as a guide and resource for the 
organization.  Audubon has never had a truer friend or supporter.  


Carol Browner, the longest serving Administrator in EPA history, was elected to 
the Board in 2001.  Since then, she has become an indispensable member of the 
team.  Her abilities and experience bring new skills to Audubon: her tenure 
will be exciting and marked by new accomplishments.


Also at this meeting the full board approved a 2004 budget for the organization 
of approximately $78 million.


I must thank Roger Still, Director of Audubon Missouri, his excellent staff, 
and Audubon Missouri Board President Charles Burwick for graciously hosting the 
Board and their guests, and Audubon senior staff.  Roger and Charles have 
created a successful state program in very short order, and they also found 
time to make us all feel very welcome.


There is more to tell you about, so please read on.


Thank you,


John Flicker 




Audubon Board Meeting Update

St. Louis, Missouri

June 6-8, 2003




Friday Pre-Meeting Field Trip and Business Committee Reports


The meeting began Friday with a visit by a number of NAS board members, Audubon 
Missouri staff and board, and NAS staff members to a site where the Missouri 
and Mississippi Rivers meet.  Audubon Missouri is assessing its viability as a 
possible Audubon Center location.


Also taking place Friday was a joint meeting of the Development and Marketing & 
Communications Committees.  The two committees met separately as well.


At the joint meeting, discussions were held on the best approaches for 
maintaining a robust Audubon membership.  Staff offered some ideas about 
specific new programs to test in the marketplace.  The board asked that these 
programs be further refined and discussed at the board meeting in September. 


At the Marketing & Communications Committee an exciting new addition to the 
Audubon web site was presented.  It will be a reference for 150 of the most 
common birds in America, complete with an identification system, range maps, 
bird songs, and information on how people can help protect each bird.  Research 
has shown that nearly half of all visitors to www.audubon.org 
<http://www.audubon.org/>  seek such “basic bird information” and this new 
site addition will address those needs.



Program Committee Reports


Science Committee

The Committee reviewed the Science department’s proposed FY04 Science budget. 
 Science staff has raised $3.5M of the projected $3.9M budget, with revenue 
sources comprised of support from major donors, foundations, corporations, and 
fees.  The committee discussed policy guidelines for acceptance of corporate 
money, and approved support of the Waterbirds/IBA initiative from the Monsanto 
Fund.  Several committee members enthusiastically endorsed greater effort to 
work with model programs in Wildlife Friendly Agriculture.


The second half of the meeting was devoted to the broad question of factors 
contributing to annual mortality of birds. Roughly half of each bird population 
die annually mostly as a result of food or habitat limitations and predation. 
Incidental mortality, especially collisions with man-made objects, is rarely a 
driving source of annual mortality.  This includes collisions with wind farm 
structures, which now are designed to minimize bird deaths.  Our working 
position is that we support renewable energy, including wind power, subject to 
siting issues, including environmental impact assessments.  The committee 
discussed particularly the controversial, large scale wind farms proposed for 
the Massachusetts coast, and agreed that NAS should follow the lead of 
Massachusetts Audubon.  The potential impact of this farm on wintering 
waterfowl and staging Roseate Terns requires study.  Plate glass windows are of 
much greater concern as a source of bird mortality.  Recent estimates project 
annual losses of 100's of millions to perhaps a billion birds annually.  Slight 
adjustments of window angles can substantially reduce collisions.  The 
committee agreed to put this topic on next meetings agenda for a more 
substantial discussion.


States and Chapters Committee

Senior Vice President of Field Operation Les Corey and Committee Chair Dave 
Pardoe introduced Peg Olson, a new Vice President of State Programs who will 
oversee the eastern section of the country.  


Board Member Bill McQuilkin gave a progress report for the Audubon Chapter Ad 
Hoc Committee, which has been working to identify Audubon Chapter priority 
issues.  To facilitate communication, the committee has established a list 
serve with Regionally Nominated Directors; held a conference call with State 
Directors; requested input from Audubon board members and; and held a meeting 
of chapter leaders in Columbus, Ohio on May 31, 2003.  A discussion will be 
held at the Audubon-California board meeting in June; Bill will also attend the 
State Directors Conference in August to obtain their input ; and Regional 
Directors will distribute a draft document to all Chapters and organize 
meetings for Chapter leaders to discuss potential solutions.  The committee 
will present a report and request initial action by the Audubon Board at its 
meeting in September 2003.  Further dialogue with Chapters and Audubon State 
programs will take place through autumn, with a final set of recommendations 
going to the Audubon Board in January 2004.


Glenn Olson apprised the committee of the following National/Chapter 
collaborative projects: the Audubon California Morris Doyle Luncheon honoring 
chapter leaders involved in San Francisco Bay Restoration; a dinner hosted by 
NAS with Chapter sponsorship from the Orleans and Baton Rouge Audubon societies 
to focus attention the rapid deterioration and loss of Louisiana’s coastal 
wetlands; the Seattle Audubon/NAS collaboration, Audubon at Home in Seattle; 
Gardening for Life; and a $9000 donation presented to Montana Audubon for the 
planned Center in Billings at the 50th Anniversary of the Yellowstone Valley 
Audubon Society.


The States and Chapters committee also heard detailed updates from Texas State 
Director Terry Austin on the bird conservation and education progress being 
made in Texas; and Missouri State Director Roger Still and Audubon Missouri 
board chair, Charlie Burwick on the progress and challenges of building a 
start-up state program and important projects including the Center in Joplin 
and the feasibility of extending the Audubon Ark program to St. Louis.

The committee also received an update from Director of Real Estate on a 
proposed 900-acre addition to Beidler forest in South Carolina and a land 
exchange at Strawberry Plains in Mississippi that would consolidate the site 
and improve access to the Center: both proposals passed unanimously.


Public Policy Committee

The Committee spent time first reviewing the 2004 budget for policy and the 
expense projected for policy work throughout Audubon.  The Committee received 
and discussed a report on highlights of recent activities in Washington, 
including efforts to improve funding for conservation.  Work on State Wildlife 
Grants, Tax incentives for conservation work on private property, and funding 
for Audubon Centers were discussed.  Team efforts between State offices and the 
DC office are working on about 15 different Audubon centers; Audubon was also 
the largest contributor of participants in a “lobbying day” in DC for State 
Wildlife Grants.


The Committee recapped efforts on Arctic voting in Congress and the continuing 
efforts there, the work on Dept of Defense exemptions from environmental and 
conservation laws, and the tremendous efforts organization wide on the 
regulatory process in DC on defining which waters in the US will receive 
protection under the Clean Water Act.  Not only was a significant national set 
of comments worked on with our partners in conservation, but also, 10 state 
offices separately commented on the regulations and almost 3000 Audubon 
Advocates sent in individual comments.  All advocated keeping the broadest 
definition of “waters of the US” and maintaining Clean Water Act 
protections for them all.  The basic premise - if small streams and wetlands 
are polluted, we won’t be able to clean the larger ones, was our theme.


The meeting ended with a consensus of continuing to build momentum toward 
making Audubon a national force for the strengthening of clean water 
protections.  As more than 50% of our IBAs will be dependant on clean available 
water, this is an important cross-cutting issue. The Committee asked the DC 
office, working with Carol Browner, to continue refining a 3- to 5-year 
strategy and to develop a strong fund raising plan to build capacity in DC and 
the states.  The committee also discussed working on proactively building 
relationships with key members of the US Senate.  Getting them involved with 
positive activities to build these relationships will be a priority. 


Grass Roots activities this year include over 35,000 letters to Congress and 
the Administration on issues as varied as the Arctic to protecting Cerulean 
Warblers.  50 presentations, 10 training sessions, 25 Congressional District 
office visits, 6 “Audubon evenings”, 23 tabling efforts, and a major policy 
discussion reception in Louisiana on Coastal restoration.


Centers and Education Committee

The joint committee examined the sustainability of Audubon Centers during 
difficult economic times.  Tamar Chotzen, SVP of Centers and Education traced 
the 80-year history of Audubon Centers, which endure regardless of economy, 
politics, or changes in Audubon leadership.  Tamar emphasized the important 
roles that staff, volunteer leadership, and strong local constituencies play in 
sustaining Centers, and she described Audubon’s business model, emphasizing 
its three-part revenue mix of contributed, earned, and endowment income, which 
is being closely adhered to.  She presented the cumulative budget for Audubon 
Centers, which continues to balance each year, and demonstrates controlled 
annual growth.  Tamar described the role Centers play in leveraging state 
program success, integrating with policy and science, and attracting new 
donations to Audubon; more than $85 million in the past five years.  The 
committee passed a new Center approval process ensuring appropriate oversight 
and accountability at all levels of the organization.


An update on the status of the Waimea Audubon Center was provided, along with 
news articles on the project and the announcement that the grand opening will 
be in October 2003.  Finally, the joint committee approved a resolution to 
pursue the establishment of three new Audubon Centers: Jones Beach Audubon 
Center, a partnership with New York State Parks; Kalers Pond Audubon Center, a 
partnership with the Moriches Bay Audubon Society, also in New York; and a 
Center in the Bitterroot Valley of Missoula, Montana.


The Centers and education committee then focused on evaluation and outcomes of 
Audubon Centers.  Tamar Chotzen showcased a program evaluation tool designed 
for peer-to-peer review.  She emphasized Audubon’s desire to create a culture 
of continual improvement and professional development through the peer review 
process, and developing long-term research to demonstrate the outcomes of 
Audubon Centers.  The committee discussed existing standards for Centers and 
proposed four core outcomes be measured: developing the next generation of 
conservation leaders; engaging a diverse constituency in conservation; 
increasing personal conservation actions; and improvement to local resources 
and habitat.  A task force of the committee was established to develop a plan 
for researching some or all of these outcomes.


The committee also was given brief updates on our green building program and 
Audubon Adventures.


Regional Directors Committee


The Regional Directors brainstormed ideas for the format and content of the 
Annual Members' Meeting, tentatively scheduled for early December, and then 
spent the majority of the committee meeting reviewing the Priority Issues paper 
developed by the Ad Hoc Committee, of which Bill McQuilkin is chair.  The 
Committee focused on identifying the best methods for soliciting and compiling 
feedback from Chapter leaders.  Following the Board meeting, the Priority 
Issues paper will be sent to Chapter Presidents and Treasurers for their review 
and consideration with cover letters from each Regional Director.


Board Forum

The Forum on Saturday featured a presentation on the ecological threats to 
bays, estuaries and sounds, by Bob Perciasepe, senior vice president of public 
policy and acting chief operating officer.  It was noted that Audubon has a 
long history of working to protect these vital areas for birds and would 
continue to do so in the future.  The second half of the forum focused on 
Audubon's activities in Latin America.  Presentations were made by Audubon’s 
Director of International Bird Conservation Bob Ridgely, Director of Latin 
American Programs Alejandro Grajal, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds 
Chief Executive Graham Wynne, and Executive Director of Guyra Paraguay Alberto 






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