President’s Message



I’m penning this letter having just returned from the 2016 FL State Annual Audubon Assembly while it’s still fresh in my mind. It was an exciting adventure with a great opportunity to network, see what other chapters are doing, and meet with our FL State Audubon staff – believe me, we are well represented and in very capable hands. They seem to bend over backwards in providing whatever help they can to our local chapters. We probably don’t utilize them enough.

Some quick impressions – attendance was 60-70% female. I was deeply impressed with their energy, optimism, leadership, and courage to face difficult conservation issues – not to take anything from our male attendees (including myself).

The theme this year was “One Gulf”, and had to do with clean water impacted by many impediments – increased development, habitat disturbance, dwindling resources, predators, and sea level rise secondary to climate change. We discussed how to restore Florida springs, and support a healthy gulf ecosystem.

Climate change is foreboding. In 9/16, CO2 levels have surpassed 400 ppm, and 2015 was the hottest year on record with an increase of 1.5 degrees. A 12 inch rise in sea level is predicted over the next 100 years! Spoonbills have moved their nesting rookeries further north because of advancing sea level and increased incursion of salt water.

Multiple stressors were identified in satisfying our water crisis. A number of ‘fixes’ were put forward: get rid of septic systems; restore wetlands; create more water storage; and restoration of the Everglades will help. Partnering with community resources is beneficial, as public involvement is critical. The key to working with government is to first agree on the facts of the situation – this will lead to meaningful conversation. Discussion of a realistic timeline, and staying engaged is also paramount.

Overall, it was a great Assembly, and I left with a renewed sense of purpose and faith in our state leadership.