By Jessica Parrish, Vice President and Outreach Coordinator
As head of the Membership Committee, I'm often asked “why join?” or “what do I get by joining Audubon?"
The Board's position has been that our events (membership meetings, field trips, etc.) are not for members only – anyone and everyone can attend and join in. From those who are curious to those who have been in the know for decades, anyone can attend our events.
In a time where it seems most everything has a cost, I don't want money to be the prohibitive factor in not attending something that you are interested in when it comes to Audubon. That said, everything does have a cost, and I'd love to hear from you when you do have an opportunity to give and be a member where it becomes financially feasible.
Tampa Audubon Society is run by unpaid volunteers. From our board, to your field trip leaders, and those who are running our conservation efforts, all of those people are spending their time and resources toward Tampa Audubon Society. There are times where some of our efforts do require money. Some of those efforts include sponsoring schools and giving them printed education material, funding the Joel Jackson Nature Center at Lettuce Lake Park with new displays that captivate the visitors, and sometimes more practical measures like insurance and event space for our meetings.
Now, to the original questions presented of “why join?” and “what do I get by joining?”
The local chapters (in this case, Tampa Audubon Society), are connected to the state chapter (Audubon Florida), and we all funnel up to the National Audubon Society. A portion of your membership dues goes to us, and another portion goes all the way to the top with the National Audubon Society.
Tampa Audubon Society works on our local issues in Hillsborough County. Audubon Florida works at the state level and publishes a quarterly magazine about their efforts. National Audubon Society sends out monthly magazines and works on issues at the national level.
If you have spent any time with me, you'll hear me say “when you join one, you join them all." We do a lot of cross-promotion with other local Audubon organizations, go on trips together, and go to the same festivals. You'll also see many of the state-level community science programs (Jay Watch, Eagle Watch, Bird Stewarding, etc.) promoted as well.
Though I am the Vice President of Tampa Audubon Society, you'll also see me occasionally on the Bird Stewarding roster (Florida Audubon program), promoting Birdability (a National Audubon Program), and maybe birding with a different chapter.
If you have any questions about your membership status, feel free to e-mail me, and I'll be happy to look it up and get you on our roster!