Effort to Increase Forest Health Expands into the Entire Lake Champlain Basin of New York and State-wide in Vermont

The region’s forests provide globally important bird habitat.

ALBANY, NEW YORK. August 31, 2020 – Audubon’s “Woods, Wildlife, and Warblers” program grew this week thanks to a $200,000 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation award to expand bird conservation into the 16 counties which encompass the Lake Champlain Basin in New York, and all of Vermont.

“Our work to advance bird-friendly forest management keeps forests as forests, allowing for the sustainable harvest of forest products, while promoting excellent habitat for birds and wildlife,” said Steve Hagenbuch of Audubon Vermont. “This work is particularly vital at a time when we are seeing disturbing declines in forest bird numbers, and while our region’s rural forest economy is struggling.”

Audubon New York and Audubon Vermont, in collaboration with New York Tree Farm Program, and Vermont Woodlands Association, launched “Woods, Wildlife, and Warblers” in 2016 to create and improve forest habitat for declining bird species like the Wood Thrush and Golden-winged Warbler, and Black-throated Blue Warbler, while providing family forest owners with information and technical assistance to meet other management objectives, such as timber production and improved water quality. The New York Forest Owners Association is also joining the project as a new partner, helping reach and engage their members throughout the project area.

“We’re very happy with the response to Woods, Wildlife, and Warblers in the Adirondack Region and VT,” said Suzanne Treyger, forest program manager for Audubon New York. “We have provided over 350 forest owners and land managers with the knowledge, tools, and resources they need to create quality habitat for priority birds while also improving the health of their forests for the future, and we look forward to the next phase of this project.”

Within the expanded project area, Audubon Vermont and Audubon New York will identify contiguous forest blocks greater than 5,000 acres that are best-suited for management and improvement by public and private landowners, including family forest owners.

Over 1,000 acres of early successional forest habitat and 8,000 acres of mature forest will either be treated through forest management action, or assessed—at which point forest owners will be provided with management recommendations to implement on their own timeline.

Expanding the program will also help further develop two market-based partnerships:

First, it will extend a priority procurement program with International Paper (IP), wherein their Ticonderoga Mill, situated on the La Chute River on the NY-VT border, will purchase low-quality material from habitat projects. This helps move projects into the implementation phase more effectively.

Second, it will open opportunities for more maple producers to partner with Audubon through the Bird-Friendly Maple Project in New York and Vermont, and enhance the habitat value of their maple-producing forests. The shift in management will benefit nesting songbirds, including Scarlet Tanagers, Wood Thrushes, Black-throated Blue Warblers, and Veeries—and make the resulting product more appealing to bird-loving consumers.

Art Wager, President of the New York Forest Owners Association said, "Careful timber harvests and other best forest management practices improve bird habitat, provide economic returns to landowners and their local communities, help mitigate climate change, and ensure the future of this important resource in the Champlain basin. The New York Forest Owners Association in cooperation with Audubon New York and other partners, looks forward to conducting education and information sessions to show landowners how they can meet their goals while sustaining their woods and contributing to the environmental and economic health of the region."

Mary Jeanne Packer, Tree Farm System Program Administrator for New York State said, “The New York Tree Farm Program appreciates the opportunity to have participated in the project these past several years; and recognizes the value of that participation in terms of our increased capacity to involve and engage with the many Tree Farms in the Adirondack region in forest management planning and practices. We look forward to continuing the effort to connect Tree Farmers with the unique set of resources provided by this project and our partner Audubon New York. These resources will enable Tree Farmers to manage their woods more effectively for songbird habitat in the future. We are also happy that NY Forest Owners Association will be participating in this new phase of the project; and the NY Tree Farm Program looks forward to collaborating with NYFOA on woodland owner communications initiatives."

David Campbell, Partner at Mapleland Farms LLC in Argyle and Hebron, NY, said, “Our farm is very excited to have been one of the first in New York State to have been recognized by Audubon New York in their Bird Friendly Maple project. We have always tried to ‘do the right things’ with our sugarbush management; and it means a lot to us to know that our efforts are making a difference for the birds. We appreciate the recognition; and look forward to sharing our management strategies with other sugarmakers in the region through woodswalks or presentations at upcoming maple producers conferences.”

If you are a woodland owner or manager interested in learning more, or attending an upcoming workshop, visit


Media Contact: Sharon Bruce,, 914-263-3083

About Audubon
Audubon New York and Audubon Vermont, state offices of the National Audubon Society, protect birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive.

Learn more at:


Woods, Wildlife, and Warblers
Forest Programs

Woods, Wildlife, and Warblers

Adirondacks-based workshops for landowners and managers.

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Bird-Friendly Maple
Working Lands

Bird-Friendly Maple

A collaborative conservation project that aims to sweeten sugarbush habitat for songbirds.

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Top 10 New York Forest Birds
Forest Resources

Top 10 New York Forest Birds

Without picking favorites, here are some of the birds that depend on New York's forests for feeding, nesting, and raising young.

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