Congratulations to Audubon in Action Awardees from California!

Five California chapters were awarded Audubon in Action grants to support conservation, activism, volunteerism and leadership. Learn about which programs were funded!

Earlier this year, the National Audubon Society announced a new program called the Audubon in Action Award, to provide grants ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 to support Audubon chapters as they grow their conservation, activism, volunteerism and leadership development work in communities across the flyaways. Five chapters were awarded from California!

We are happy to announce that the following chapters will receive funding through the Audubon in Action Grant Program:

Los Angeles Audubon Society
Pasadena Audubon Society
San Diego Audubon Society
Sea and Sage Audubon Society
Ventura Audubon Society

Los Angeles Audubon - Western Snowy Plover Coastal Beach Stewardship Program.

Students on a field trip at Dockweiler Beach to observe Western Snowy Plovers and to learn about beach ecology and stewardship. Photo: Los Angeles Audubon Society

Los Angeles Audubon’s Conservation Program for the Western Snowy Plover, a federally threatened bird species found on beaches in Los Angeles County, faces an uncertain future. Federal funding that supported this program in the past, and appeared to be on track for a 3-yr renewal, has been unexpectedly cancelled. Since 2007, project biologists Thomas Ryan (Ryan Ecological Consulting) and Stacey Vigallon (Los Angeles Audubon Society (LAAS) have coordinated community-based conservation programs monitoring Western Snowy Plovers in Los Angeles County, engaging volunteers in bird surveys, habitat restoration, and outreach opportunities, and hundreds of under-served youth in shorebird/coastal awareness activities. In 2017, for the first time in nearly 70 years, Western Snowy Plovers nested in Los Angeles County. This is a critical time for plovers and it’s imperative that ongoing, uninterrupted data collection and public engagement is maintained to help support the survival of this threatened species.

Pasadena Audubon - volunteer engagement and community outreach

Outreach Chair Kathy Degner with kids at Tom Sawyer Camp introducing kids to the local birds Photo: Pasadena Audubon Society

In the past two years, Pasadena Audubon’s community outreach program has taken off! We now find ourselves in high demand to bring our vibrant and engaging outreach materials to large-scale community events like Earth Day fairs, farmers markets, and more, as well as to smaller, more direct programs with elementary schools, youth groups, and neighborhoods. Funding will be used to continue to broaden and expand our outreach so we can attend more events, reach new and diverse populations, expand our materials and message, and fulfill our mission to bring the excitement of birds to our community. Our community outreach program is also one way we attract new members and connect them to our initiatives and resources. PAS is primarily volunteer run, with a volunteer board and dozens of volunteers who lead field trips, teach classes, and deliver programs. Broadening our membership enables us to strengthen programming and further our mission. Making our organization accessible and welcoming is also an important goal.

San Diego Audubon - advocacy program in San Diego County.

San Diego Audubon Advocacy
Megan Flaherty (Left) and Rebecca Swartz Lesberg (Right) meeting with Assemblymember Todd Gloria (middle). Photo: San Diego Audubon Society

San Diego County is a biodiversity hotspot at the forefront of pressing ecological issues such as drought, wildfire, sea-level rise, urban sprawl, habitat fragmentation, and much more. To address these threats, it is urgent that we expand our grassroots advocacy efforts, build programmatic sustainability, and enhance our skills in navigating the complex and divided political landscape of our chapter’s large territory. To this end, we will launch an “Audubon Advocate” program in which 20 volunteers are recruited, trained and intensively mentored by SDAS staff in community advocacy and grassroots activism.

Sea and Sage Audubon - Least Tern monitoring program

Lana Ross training volunteers. Photo: Sea and Sage Audubon Society


Sea and Sage Audubon has partnered with California State Parks protecting California Least Terns since 1964 at a small nesting colony of terns in Huntington Beach. Our members funded the first fence around the 1.8acre nesting colony, which would later become the first officially protected least tern preserve under the ESA. In 2005, Sea and Sage and the park formed a volunteer docent/ambassador program which trains volunteers to educate beach visitors about the now 13-acre colony and help with essential protections for the nesting terns.

Ventura Audubon  - Coastal Bird Stewardship Program

Cynthia Hartley surveys the beach for nests and potential sites for symbolic fencing. Photo: Alecia Smith, Ventura Audubon Society

Ventura Audubon will continue to monitor the federally listed Western Snowy Plover (WSP) and California Least Tern (CLT) at Ormond Beach and Hollywood Beach in Oxnard, California. Since 2013, Ventura Audubon Society (VAS) has taken responsibility for securing funds each year to support the recovery program as there is no designated, consistent funding available and the land doesn’t fall under military or state jurisdiction as most nesting beaches do. Nest monitoring is the foundation of our recovery program for the WSP and CLT. Not only does it provide metrics on species breeding status, but it is the only way to inform the rest of the recovery program with scientific data and seasonal information on successes of and threats to recovery.

How you can help, right now