BARTRAMIAN AUDUBON SOCIETY BIRD & BUTTERFLY SANCTUARY PROGRAM
"Help Wildlife Survive: Share Your Property" The Bartramian Audubon Society is pleased to offer an educational service for private and public landowners, businesses, corporations, municipalities, and individuals: the Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary Program that has enrolled scores of landowners in just a few years. Each year in the USA more than a million acres of natural wildlife habitat are buried under the bulldozer's blade. House Sparrows, European Starlings, Rock Pigeons, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and American Crows adjust easily to such human development but most wild birds, butterflies, and other native wildlife disappear when their homes are buried under.
The Bartramian Audubon Society believes that ecology (the study of interrelationships among plants, animals, and their environment) should begin at home. So BAS started its wildlife sanctuary and bird and butterfly sanctuary programs that have spread widely in western Pennsylvania and beyond. Positive community promotion about the program has attracted so much awareness that it led to requests by private businesses, such as Scrubgrass Generating, an energy producing company, to join. Then requests followed from state agencies (e.g., Moraine State Park) and state institutions of higher education (e.g., Slippery Rock University) in the four-county eco-region served by our chapter of the National Audubon Society. In short, the B&B program introduces a 'natural organic way' to invite wildlife to your home grounds, living, or working site.
The whole idea is to think 'endemic' and breed birds, butterflies, and other native life. Wise property owners strive to establish as many vertical and horizontal micro-habitats as possible, and by doing so, encourage maximum biodiversity. Ideally, think native, shun all invasive plants, and shrink your mowed lawn little by little each year. Birds and butterflies are especially suited for emphasis. They are highly mobile, have specific habitat requirements, and react rapidly to changes in their surroundings. Furthermore, they are scientifically unique, esthetically beautiful, easily seen, and socially appealing. In fact, the songs of birds and the colorful sprightly activities of butterflies add much to the joys of country, suburban, and city living.
Likewise, birds help reduce the insect pests that attack flowers, lawns, gardens, and people. Butterflies are primary pollinators of flowers. In sum, birds and butterflies are excellent key indicators of the quality of environment. Thus, this program introduces a natural way to invite birds and butterflies to your home, grounds, living, or working site. Simply plant shrubs, trees, vines, and other forms of native vegetation that serve the various needs of birds and butterflies. Such plants not only attract wildlife but also bring beauty to your property. With the same stroke that you get your landscape done, you provide places where wildlife can feed, court, nest, produce, rest, hide, and do all of the other things that they do. Even the pond built for wildlife, or the dead tree saved in the forest, can serve as sites for family recreation.
In May 2009, the Western Pennsylvania Environmental Council announced that BAS sanctuary programs were a prestigious 2009 Western Pennsylvania Environmental Award winner for "demonstrating a commitment to environmental excellence, leadership, and unique accomplishment in the field of conservation." The chapter is proud about this award.
Please join us; see why........ ============================ WHAT IS IT? Since the inception of the Bartramian Audubon Society's Certified Wildlife Sanctuary Program in September 1995, members and friends have requested that the chapter consider a landowner's conservation strategy that would have less stringent requirements than our original program, yet benefit the natural environment and its wildlife. WHY HAVE IT? Our chapter has fostered a public interest in wildlife, natural habitats, and biological diversity since its origin in 1983, recognizing that certain life forms are key and sensitive indicators of environmental quality. With this tradition, interest, and commitment in mind, the chapter has continuously expanded its outreach capability to the public through the specific theme that ECOLOGY BEGINS WITH BIRDS.
The chapter stresses ecological interrelationships in its eco-region of Butler, Lawrence, Mercer, and Venango Counties as illustrated by its many field trips and nearly monthly membership meetings. B&B PROGRAM: Therefore, based on requests, The BAS Board of Directors approved and inaugurated a Certified Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary Program in September 1997. Any landowner, private or public, is welcome to enroll in this program simply by agreeing not only to encourage wildlife (especially birds and butterflies) to use such property but also strive to improve or even inaugurate natural habitats and biodiversity there. This new conservation effort is a timely, beneficial, ecological complement to our already successful certified Wildlife Sanctuary Program emphasizing that "ecology truly begins at home." (over)