By Ann Paul, Tampa Audubon President
Okay, I find myself seriously impressed. And more than a little proud.
Why? You ask?
Because I'm working on our Annual Report for the National Audubon Society about the efforts of our Tampa Audubon Society volunteers in 2023. It is well worth mentioning again – work by volunteers, who do what they want to do to accomplish our mission - to conserve and restore our ecosystems, focusing on birds, wildlife, and their habitats, through education, advocacy, and community involvement.
We did a lot:
• Nine membership meetings, including Photo Club meetings and a joint meeting with our local conservation partners – the Suncoast Native Plant Society and the Tampa group of the Sierra Club.
• A Photo Contest with over 50 entries.
• Monthly publication of The Avocet newsletter.
• Thirty-eight field trips to great habitat sites near and far lead by expert leaders, including 12 Beginning Birder trips to Lettuce Lake Conservation Park.
• Two Christmas Bird Counts.
• Eight Bluebird Trails, where 345 Eastern Bluebirds fledged.
• Fifteen Colony Watch sites, where our members monitored, surveyed, and reported data nesting colonial waterbirds – Anhingas, herons, egrets, ibis, storks, and spoonbills.
• Volunteers were active in four additional conservation projects: Eagle Watch, Jay Watch, Project Bur-O and the Hooked Birds Education project.
• Our Conservation Committee volunteers attended key meetings and wrote letters supporting wildlife and habitats in our region.
• We hosted an eight-lesson adult education class in association with the University of South Florida’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Natural Hillsborough.
• Fifteen field trips or talks for other groups about birds and wildlife.
• Volunteer docents at the Joel Jackson Nature Center hosted the center on weekends and holidays and worked to enhance the educational displays.
• Installed a new water feature in the Lettuce Lake Conservation Park native plant garden.
• Supported the Florida Birding and Nature Festival and Audubon Florida’s Coastal Islands Sanctuaries.
This is a partial list! We were active and directed, we learned about birds, wildlife, and habitats, and we put our money and our energies in efforts to share our knowledge and increase conservation in our community.
It’s a lot to be proud of. I congratulate us!
This is your Society – and it’s time to join or renew your membership! It’s time to think about what you can do to help! Come along – the work’s fun, and we can use all the help we can get!