We've developed this Georgia Audubon FAQ to answer some of the questions you may have about the new Georgia Audubon.
Why is Atlanta Audubon becoming Georgia Audubon? There is a real need for coordinated, statewide efforts to protect birds and to focus on conservation efforts through the lens of birds. We need to think bigger for birds and for the protection of the habitats they depend upon. As the only staffed Audubon chapter in the state, and with a history of successful conservation, education, and community engagement programs, Atlanta Audubon is uniquely qualified to become a statewide organization. Being a statewide organization will allow us to do more good work for birds by partnering with other organizations to build upon the important work that is already being done and by expanding into new areas. As a statewide organization, we’ll be able to compete for grants and resources to conduct conservation, education, and community engagement work across Georgia, not just in the Atlanta metro area.
What happens to Atlanta Audubon now that the name has changed to Georgia Audubon? Our current staff remain, but the name of our organization changes to Georgia Audubon. In addition, all current Atlanta Audubon memberships will automatically convert to Georgia Audubon memberships. Atlanta Audubon will cease to exist, but since Georgia Audubon is based in the metro Atlanta area, you will continue to see all the great programming and events to which you’ve become accustomed. Our statewide focus, however, will allow us to expand many of our conservation, education, and community engagement programs statewide, allowing us to reach more people and do more good work on behalf of birds.
What happens to my Atlanta Audubon membership? Your Atlanta Audubon membership automatically becomes a Georgia Audubon membership with the exact same benefits. You don’t need to do anything! Your membership dollars and other financial support will now support bird conservation and environmental education on an even larger scale throughout Georgia.
How will this change affect our relationship with National Audubon? National Audubon is excited to see us taking this next step in our organization’s evolution. Georgia Audubon will remain an independent 501c3 nonprofit chapter of National Audubon, with our own staff, board of directors, strategic priorities, and budget. We look forward to continuing to partner with National Audubon on a number of important initiatives such as Plants for Birds and ClimateWatch.
Will Monthly Meetings at Manuel’s Tavern continue? Yes, absolutely! COVID-19 threw a wrench in our in-person Monthly Meetings at Manuel’s, but we were able to pivot and begin offering that content as webinars. We plan to continue holding regular Monthly Meetings at Manuel’s Tavern once it’s safe to gather in-person again, but we’re also going to continue offering webinars and other digital content to reach a statewide audience. We’ve been at Manuel’s Tavern a long time, and we don’t want to give up that great space or the camaraderie we get from these events. We would also like to collaborate with interested local Audubon chapters across the state to co-host compelling speakers on birds and environmental issues.
Will Georgia Audubon be competing with or absorbing other Audubon chapters in Georgia? No! Before we made this change, we met with the other Audubon chapters in Georgia, the Georgia Ornithological Society, the Department of Natural Resources, and other conservation groups. We received their full, unequivocal support for this transition. We are not looking to supplant any of the good work being done in Georgia, nor will we be absorbing the memberships or territories of other Audubon chapters. Rather, we are hoping to enhance and amplify the critical work of conserving birds and their habitats by becoming a part of a larger team right here in Georgia.
I am already a member of another Audubon chapter in Georgia. How will my membership be affected? It will not be affected at all. If you are a member of another chapter, you will remain so. We will be working with other chapters across the state to help organize and amplify their events, to roll out additional programs, and to share information across the network. As a member of another Audubon chapter in Georgia, you will have the opportunity to join Georgia Audubon at a discounted rate to take advantage of early registration and discounts for Georgia Audubon-sponsored trips and events, receive the Wingbars and Bird Buzz newsletters, and receive discounted store purchases.
What happens to Atlanta Bird Fest and Georgia Grows Native for Birds Month? Atlanta Bird Fest will become Georgia Bird Fest in 2021, and we’ll be offering additional trips and outings all across the state to celebrate birds and birding. Georgia Grows Native for Birds Month will also become a statewide celebration.
What are the staffing implications of becoming Georgia Audubon? How can you possibly do all this work with existing staff? As Georgia Audubon, we will work with statewide Audubon partners to scale out conservation and education programs for the benefit of birds and people. Additional capacity
will come from two key positions we plan to hire in the near future: 1) a
coastal staff position focused on building monitoring and science capacity on
the coast, and 2) a community engagement position devoted to reaching
diverse communities throughout the state by incorporating existing
conservation and education programs . We’ll be collaborating with other Audubon chapters to build a statewide presence of diverse volunteers such as field trip leaders, naturalists, and program leaders to ensure representation of all races and cultures in our work and programs. Existing staff will expand their work to include statewide duties, but, other than the two new positions listed above, we anticipate being able to accommodate the change to Georgia Audubon with existing staff capacity.
Why was the Red-headed Woodpecker chosen for the new Georgia Audubon logo? The new Georgia Audubon logo features a Red-headed Woodpecker on a native oak branch. The Red-headed Woodpecker is a striking bird that may be found across Georgia, in rural, suburban, and urban settings. It is also a bird that was identified as most at-risk in National Audubon’s recent report, Survival by Degrees: 389 Species on the Brink. The report builds on the 2014 Birds and Climate Change Report using the latest climate science research methods and modeling to capture a deeper, more extensive analysis of the effects of climate change on North American bird species. You’ll also note that the woodpecker is perched on an oak branch to signify the important connection between native plants and birds. We didn’t get too specific on the species of oak, as there are a variety of oak trees found across the state, all of which are host to insects vital to Georgia’s resident and migratory birds. The Red-headed Woodpecker fiercely defends its territory, mirroring the commitment that Georgia Audubon brings to protecting birds and habitat, educating the public, and engaging communities in our work.
How will Conservation programs be impacted? Atlanta Audubon has had great success building our conservation programs in recent years. As Georgia Audubon, we will be looking to build on these successes and roll some of these programs out statewide with support (and financial benefit) for other Audubon chapters in Georgia. Current programs that lend themselves to scaling include:
How will Education programs be impacted? We will continue to offer the excellent educational resources to which our members are accustomed, but we plan to scale some of our popular programs statewide to increase reach and educate more people about birds and the natural world.
How will Community Engagement programs be impacted? If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that we are already well-equipped to reach statewide audiences through virtual programs. We can’t be in every place at once, but we are eager to engage more communities and more diverse communities in our field trips, classes, events, programs, volunteer efforts, and habitat work. We also plan to:
I’m excited about this change! How can I help? If you’re not already a member, consider joining Georgia Audubon. And, if you’re a member of another local Audubon chapter, consider joining Georgia Audubon as well to take advantage of all the programs, workshops, travel opportunities, and virtual and in-person events that we offer. When you join Georgia Audubon, you are contributing to on-the-ground education, conservation, and community efforts that protect birds and their habitats across Georgia. And please share this great news with your friends and encourage them to become involved with our organization. Together we can do more good for Georgia’s birds … from the mountains, to the coast, and everywhere in between!
Birds Georgia is building places where birds and people thrive.