Audubon Announces 2024 Strategic Goals: Accessibility, Biodiversity and Climate Resiliency
Smithfield, RI (October 25, 2023) – The Audubon Society of Rhode Island celebrated 126 years of environmental conservation, education, and advocacy at the annual meeting of the organization held on June 22, 2023, at the Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium in Bristol, RI.
Executive Director Jeff Hall spoke about the numerous milestones achieved in 2023 and highlighted the organization’s goals for the upcoming year:
- In 2023 the Audubon Avian Research Initiative reignited the organization’s focus on the protection of birds and their habitats. This research has positioned Audubon at the forefront of avian research in New England.
- Audubon recognizes the pressing issue on climate-induced rainstorms and flash floods and their leadership at the Stormwater Innovation Center in Providence has been key in developing nature-based solutions for climate resiliency.
- Pollinators, the essential workers of our ecosystems, face dramatic declines in their populations. Audubon is committed to restoring native species to their properties by creating pollinator-friendly habitats. The Audubon Palmieri Pollinator Garden in Bristol serves as a living laboratory to study and support pollinator health.
- Audubon’s advocacy efforts led to a significant win in forest protection through new legislation for solar siting.
- Inclusivity in environmental education is paramount and Audubon educators have developed accessible nature-based programming that is inclusive to all learners.
Hall also outlined three major areas of focus for Audubon for 2024:
Accessibility, Biodiversity, and Climate Resiliency.
Accessibility is a core commitment for the organization. A 2024 initiative will make Audubon facilities easier to access for all. That means improved and bilingual signage and maps at Audubon wildlife refuges, additional benches, and more accessible trails to lower the barriers of getting people outside and engaging with nature. Resources at the Audubon Caratunk Wildlife Refuge will become a hub for their environmental outreach in Pawtucket, Central Falls, and Providence, ensuring that nature is within reach for all Rhode Islanders.
Biodiversity remains a priority, involving avian research, pollinator habitat conservation, and advocating for the ban of neonicotinoid pesticides. Audubon protects thousands of acres of forested land using science-based habitat management plans. The organization looks to acquire over 500 acres for conservation in 2024.
Stormwater management is vital for climate resiliency. The Stormwater Innovation Center, with leadership from Audubon, is leading efforts to implement green infrastructure solutions across the state. Audubon also leads efforts to transform landscapes and promote healthy, vibrant habitats for wildlife in yards and communities across Rhode Island.
At the meeting on October 22, Stephanie Beauté of North Smithfield, Richards Staples, Jr. of Barrington, and Dr. Sara Sweetman of Narragansett were elected to the Board of Directors.
Rhode Island Representative June Speakman was also honored with the Audubon 2023 Legislative Leadership Award for her dedication to Rhode Island’s environment, action on the climate change crisis, and the protection of birds, wildlife, and the people of Rhode Island. She is a resident of Warren, RI.
April Alix, Conservation Program Coordinator of the Providence Parks Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership, received the Audubon Society of Rhode Island 2023 Educator of the Year Award. She was honored for her work in connecting diverse and underserved communities to nature through outdoor play and exploration. Alix resides in Cumberland, RI.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here