Highlights from the 2018 Audubon California Assembly

Chapter members gathered in Long Beach for our statewide Assembly.

Estefania Palacio, Natasha Khanna, Frank Ruiz, Clayton Anderson and Casey Arndt, panelists on the Conservation for a New Generation session. Photo: Andrea Jones

Over 100 chapter members and staff from across the Audubon network gathered in Long Beach last weekend to listen to outstanding speakers, learn from each other, and participate in a diverse array of field trips. The program booklet is available here.

The statewide Audubon convention is an opportunity for chapter leaders, members and supporters to reconnect and learn about common conservation challenges. Many attendees walked away energized and ready to work together to protect birds and the habitat they need. One attendee said "I felt inspired and connected that will last me for a long time." Another echoed that sentiment, praising the workshops and the chance to network with other Audubon leaders: "Very productive workshops, created and strengthened many relationships, walked away feeling inspired." 

Rachael Bay, Assistant Professor, Department of Evolution and Ecology, UC Davis

Our keynote speaker, Dr. Rachael Bay of UC Davis, talked about her work with the Bird Genoscape Project, where she creates high-resolution maps of migratory routes and climate vulnerability in neotropical migrants that can be used to inform conservation decisions for vulnerable populations. Participants enjoyed learning about her research with Yellow Warblers and seeing the connections between their work and her project. 

Assembly Planning Committee: Dave Tyra, Dave Jensen, Robert Snow and Vic Leipzig. Thank you for all your hard work! Photo: Janine Kraus

Staff and chapter members led 10 different interactive sessions and panels. One of the most popular sessions was Peer Networking, where chapter leaders organized around common roles (President, Conservation, Newsletter, etc.) and discussed common challenges and shared resources and solutions. 

Bird fashion contest winners. Congratulations! Photo: Janine Kraus

Everyone had a chance to flaunt their best bird attire in an informal fashion contest. All contestants were asked to show off their birdy shirts, socks, tattoos, etc, and share a story about why and how they obtained their fantastic bird gear. The grand prize winner was Kelsey Wadman of San Diego Audubon, with her Audubon Pelican print dress!

Kelsey Wadman of San Diego Audubon Society wins the 2018 Bird Fashion Contest! Photo: Janine Kraus

On Sunday, participants chose between three field trips: Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Los Cerritos Wetland, and a Toxic Tour and tour of International Bird Rescue. Communities for a Better Environment led the Toxic Tour, where we learned about how multiple sources of toxics and pollution impact low income communities of color and the local environment. The tour included visits to the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, oil refineries and other sources that are linked to asthma, birth defects and cancer.  

Oil Refineries next to Machado Lake, a local park and wetland habitat for birds and other wildlife. Photo: Marlene Pantin

The tour also included a stop at International Bird Rescue L.A. Wildlife Center in San Pedro to learn about the life saving work they do for aquatic birds and tour their wildlife rehabilitation clinic, aviary and state-of-the art wash room for oil spill response. We got to see an Eared Grebe being examined and learned about possible treatment options for that bird. 

Eared Grebe being examined by International Bird Rescue staff. Photo: Andrea Jones

To view slides from the presentations and other resources provided at the Assembly, please visit Audubon WorksIf you do not yet have access to Audubon Works, visit click the green “Register” button, fill out the form and use the registration code “kingfisher.”

For a firsthand account of the Assembly from a participant and panelist, check out this blog post by Clayton Anderson on Golden Gate Audubon's website. We had a wonderful time at the Assembly and hope to see you at the next one!

And thank you to our sponsors for helping make this Assembly possible!

Faucett Family Foundation

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