New Hope’s Newest Committee Advocates for the Birds
Author: Megan Cherry
New Hope Audubon has a new fledgling committee – the Advocacy Committee was formed in 2021 to speak up for birds. This new group campaigns for local and state policies that will make our community a safer place for both birds and birdwatchers.
Working at a state level
The Advocacy Committee works with AudubonNC to accomplish state-wide goals at a local level. In 2021, most of the advocates’ energies were spent trying to help AudubonNC lobby for North Carolina’s clean energy bill, HB951, which ensures that North Carolina will reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
In order to accomplish this momentous achievement, New Hope advocates participated in action alerts, sent petitions, spread the word to other bird-lovers through peer-to-peer texting campaigns, and hand-delivered petitions to local legislators at the Capitol. Several of New Hope’s advocates were crucial in these endeavors. For example, Ashley Robbins sent more peer-to-peer texts than any other volunteer in the state (around 8,000)! New Hope members were a critical part in promoting the clean energy bill by completing ‘action alerts’ throughout the summer and fall that helped the clean energy bill get through the state Assembly. And in August, a New Hope delegation (pictured below) delivered the signed petitions for the clean energy bill to our society’s legislators.
and Ben Graham pointing out some state-bird love in Senator Natalie Murdock’s office.
The Advocacy Committee also spearheads New Hope’s participation in the annual, statewide Advocacy Day. In 2021, member Anne Dayer seamlessly managed the Advocacy Day’s transition to an online format, and all were able to speak up for the birds while remaining safely distanced! We’re already gearing up for our 2022 statewide Advocacy Kickoff on February 17 – find out more about that here!
The Advocacy Committee is committed to making birds’ needs clearer to local officials and policy-makers, and has started inviting legislators to come on bird outings with us. We hosted a walk with Senator Mike Woodard in September to talk to him about the importance of clean energy and bird-friendly communities. We hope to meet with all of our state legislators in 2022!
Working at a local level
In 2022, New Hope’s Advocacy Committee hopes to achieve several local wins for the birds. Thanks to the work of the Bird-Friendly Habitat Committee, in February 2021, the Durham City Council and Durham County Commission unanimously approved a slew of changes to the Durham Landscape Manual that placed a greater emphasis on planting natives and using eco-friendly landscaping methods on Durham-owned lands. Moving forward from this, the Advocacy Committee plans to emphasize making municipal buildings more bird-friendly by implementing a ‘lights out’ policy during migration season that will reduce bird-window collisions.
Not all advocacy work is political, however! The Committee works closely with other NHAS committees to help with critical bird-friendly programs, like promoting the newly-created annual pledge to Leave Your Leaves.
If you’re interested in helping advocate for a better world for birds, there are a number of ways you can help!
- Every member can continue to complete ‘action alerts’ when they’re emailed to you, whether from New Hope Audubon or AudubonNC.
- You could participate in our occasional volunteer events, such as Advocacy Day, peer texting campaigns, talking to the public about specific campaigns, etc.
- You could write letters to the editor or blog posts supporting our advocacy efforts.
- Or you could help us get resolutions and ordinances about ‘Lights Out’ campaigns and reducing bird-window collisions passed!
To find out more, share ideas on local advocacy, or to express your interest in advocating for the birds, contact the Advocacy Committee chair at meganlcherry [at] gmail [dot] com.« Back to All Press