Field trips are kicking off the National Audubon Society’s convention just after sunrise this morning, as one of the nation’s biggest and oldest conservation organizations gathers in Park City.
One field trip takes visitors to the Gillmor Sanctuary in Grantsville and the South Shore Preserve on the Great Salt Lake.
But this isn’t only about birding.
“You will certainly see some binoculars and wide-brimmed hats this weekend,” says David Ringer, the group’s chief network officer, chuckling. “But you’ll also see people who are working in their communities every day to make ecosystems stronger, to educate kids and to create the world that we want to see for the future.”
The National Audubon Society has about 1.1 million members with four chapters in Utah. About 425 are here to tackle pressing conservation issues big and small.
Singer says humans have known for a long time that birds are a good indicator about the health of the environment. (Remember that old phrase: “canary in the coal mine?”) So, convention-goers are also talking about everything from providing good habitat in your backyard, to advocating for bird-friendly government policies and solutions for climate change.
“We’ve got a network of people across the Western states who are looking at how to make sure our western water ecosystems and habitats stay healthy, so they can continue to support birds and people alike,” adds Ringer.
And there’s a session on social networking that naturally includes Tweeting.