Brentwood, New York - On Saturday, October 28th Audubon held their first Long Island Climate Conference to discuss simple actions participants could take at home, in their community, and politically to help birds at-risk in a changing climate. Over sixty members across seven local chapters attended this program, which was led by trained Audubon Ambassadors.
The conference focused on Audubon’s Climate Report and the effects of climate change on bird populations. The Report found that 314 species of birds are climate threatened or climate endangered, including a number of beloved species like the Osprey, the Common Loon, and the Eastern Whip-poor-will, all of which can be found on Long Island.
Despite the grim projections of the Report, organizers say there is much cause for hope. “The future of birds will depend on how we face up to and work to mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Gwynn Schroeder, vice president of North Fork Audubon Society, one of the local chapters planning the event. “We have tough choices to make as a society and clear public policy goals to articulate and promote on such issues as land use, renewable energy development, and coastal zone management. The good news is we have the capacity to accomplish this; we just need the political will.”
The keynote address was delivered by Zach Slavin, program manager of citizen science for National Audubon, on the topics of utilizing citizen science to inform conservation and the importance of taking action locally. According to Mr. Slavin "Conservation at any scale can seem like a daunting task but there are lots of things that people can do in their own communities to help inform local, national, and even global conservation efforts by participating in community science programs and sharing their passion for birds and the environment with their friends, families, and neighbors."
NY State Assemblyman Steve Englebright, chair of the Committee on Environmental Conservation stated “I applaud Audubon New York and the Audubon Chapters on Long Island for working to bring together this important Climate Conference. With an emphasis on citizen science and advocacy, this conference empowered ordinary people to take action locally and use the power of participation to push leaders to make critical choices. Climate change is here and we are already seeing the unraveling of longtime patterns of our natural systems.”
This conference brought together prospective volunteers to learn about and advance climate solutions for both birds and people. Speakers presented on a wide variety of topics that were intended to inspire positive action and included Audubon’s citizen science project, Climate Watch; Plants for Birds, Audubon's first-of-its-kind Native Plant Databse; preserving Plum Island; renewable energy siting on Long Island; coastal resiliency; and citizen advocacy.
From this event, the planning committee hopes to expand their membership and make the Climate Conference an annual event on Long Island. Please contact Kelly Knutson, New York Field Organizer at Kknutson@audubon.org if you’re interested in getting involved in climate advocacy with Audubon.