By Alexis Baldera, Audubon Texas Coastal Program Senior Manager and Dallas Kelley, Audubon Texas Public Affairs Director
A new year, new reflections, and new opportunities abound. Looking back at 2023 Audubon Texas is grateful for 100 years of coastal conservation alongside our local partners and Audubon Chapters. Last year, Audubon Texas celebrated our Coastal Program Centennial. It was a year of exploration that allowed us to reflect on where we started, the work we do today, and what we need to do next to protect birds across Texas.
We discovered stories of coastal wardens and Audubon employees who dedicated their careers and personal time to understanding coastal waterbirds, protecting their habitats, and defending their nesting groups. We uncovered documents dating back to 1923 filled with interesting anecdotes and images.
Audubon Texas also enjoyed sharing the story of our current work and had the pleasure of hosting journalists and photographers at our nesting islands. This was captured in a new, exciting Coastal Bird Explorer, a blog about Green Island, an Audubon video at Green Island, and Birds Everywhere featured in Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine. Last year we also coined our call to action, Birds for All, Y’all, and will continue to embrace this ideology and the opportunities to engage those around us. Because what matters to birds matters to people.
At Audubon Texas, we seek to create safe spaces for people to enjoy the outdoors, experience the joy of birds and other wildlife, and grow their awareness of the habitat protections that benefit us all. This comes with an honest intention to engage with local communities in the ways in which they want to be engaged. There are many opportunities for people to make a connection or entry point to conservation. No one way exists – and no one way is “right”.
Audubon Texas is focused on the “All”. How we get there needs your design and your leadership within your community. Work will continue and evolve forever, but our needs stay the same. With increasing impacts by people, many critical climate challenges are at the precipice of irreversible impacts on our local communities. Decisions at the local, state, and federal levels can – and are – influenced by Audubon members, supporters, and partners alike. The Audubon network was recognized for its centennial of work and defeated a potentially irreparably harmful habitat bill last legislative session. Next year, the Texas legislature will convene for its bi-annual session. Birds tell us where we are headed, and together, we can be their voice for change...flying high for the next 100 years.