As we look back on 2022, Madison Audubon celebrated some wonderful successes thanks to the support of our community, members, and volunteers. We helped band 300 American kestrels with the Central Wisconsin Kestrel Research team and 580 purple martin nestlings with the Wisconsin Purple Martin Association, which will eventually provide data to conservationists and researchers studying these amazing avians facing population decreases. Migrating monarch butterflies, which were listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, will benefit from hundreds of pounds of native plant seed collected and the 3,819 total acres that are being protected in our sanctuaries as habitat for wildlife. It’s been an incredible, joyful year, and we owe so much of it to the communities we serve.
Humans are capable of so much good, yet some of the biggest issues facing wildlife are caused entirely by humankind. From habitat loss to pollution to climate change, the science is certain; we have been going in the wrong direction for too long. Committing to take action, no matter the scale, matters. With the new year just around the corner, we are counting down a few great ways to protect birds and nature in 2023.
The world is constantly changing, all of us along with it. A crucial aspect of protecting our whole natural community—people and wildlife alike—is to keep building our own knowledge by staying informed of new and existing challenges and solutions. For people who care about the environment, this includes breaking down the barriers that many people face when accessing, enjoying, and protecting nature by:
• Signing up for a course, meeting, or listening session that deepens your understanding of your community.
• Learning from people with diverse perspectives on the great outdoors, such as through Madison Audubon’s speaker series.
• Reading new books about how conservation and access to nature intersects with diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. Our Nature Up Bookshelf offers bimonthly recommendations and a long list of previously recommended titles.
Raise Your Voice
Big change is needed to protect nature and wildlife. Everyone can make a difference by having conversations with loved ones and pressing their local and federal government representatives to stand up for what’s right. A big part of this is also sharing your support for conservation, especially those in your area, including:
• Following local conservation projects and getting involved in initiatives that protect nature, wildlife, and communities you care about.
• Signing petitions and writing letters to the editor to encourage environmental responsibility.
• If you can, consider becoming a member of a local conservation organization. Did you know every single penny of your $20 yearlong membership to our Madison Audubon supports habitats and wildlife in Wisconsin?
Take Action Close to Home
There’s so much value in the individual actions that each of us can take each day, month, and year. Within your home, yard, and workplace, small adjustments or big changes can really add up to do a lot of good, including:
• Adding at least one more native plant to your planter, garden, or yard. There are so many pretty and interesting ones.
• Looking for ways to reduce waste, like composting.
• Preventing bird window collisions by installing screens, stickers, or zen wind curtains.
• Volunteering for local efforts in your neighborhood, like seed collecting or citizen science programs (we have lots to choose from in 2023).
Keep Spreading and Sharing in the Joy
Last, but certainly not least, be sure to keep feeding your curiosity and love for nature in the coming year. Some of us wander trails with family and friends or take field trips to appreciate how habitats and wildlife behaviors change throughout the year. Some of us take our cameras, sketchbooks, or journals and get creative while we’re basking in the splendor of the seasons. Let 2023 also be the year that you decide to:
• Learn how to identify a new bird, a new plant, or a new insect.
• Visit a new place in nature—maybe it’s a park up the street or one of Madison Audubon’s sanctuaries.
• Go on your first birding adventure on your own, with a buddy or local bird club, or by joining our Beginning Birder outings.
Hopefully, you’re feeling ready to take the next year by storm. In the next issue, we’ll share some of the wonders of winter birds and wildlife. Until then, happy holidays and have a wonderful new year!
Kaitlin Svabek is the communications specialist at Madison Audubon. Connect with the team at email@example.com or follow them on social media @madisonaudubon.