by Dottie Head, Director of Membership & Communications
Atlanta Audubon has been awarded an Audubon in Action grant from National Audubon Society for on-the-ground conservation and equity, diversity, and inclusiveness work in Atlanta. Atlanta Audubon will partner with Atlanta’s historic Washington Park and the Greening Youth Foundation to fulfill grant requirements.
As part of the grant, Atlanta Audubon will partner with the Greening Youth Foundation to create an annual internship opportunity for a young adult. The intern will work closely with Atlanta Audubon’s Wildlife Sanctuary Program to learn about native plants and birds, to present outreach programs, and to help certify additional landscapes as Wildlife Sanctuaries. Greening Youth Foundation’s mission is to work with diverse, underserved, and underrepresented children, youth, and adults in an effort to develop and nurture enthusiastic and responsible environmental stewards. The goal of the Wildlife Sanctuary Program is to create a swath of certified wildlife habitats across metro-Atlanta to make Atlanta a more bird-friendly community.
“The Greening Youth Foundation looks forward to connecting one of our interns to this exciting project with our partner, Atlanta Audubon Society,” says Angelou Ezeilo, CEO and founder of the organization. “I have no doubt that by providing this type of opportunity to young adults creates a conservation ethic that will stay with them for life.”
In addition, Atlanta Audubon will work with Washington Park to install a bird-friendly native plant demonstration garden. Founded in 1919, Washington Park was designated as the first recreational greenspace in Atlanta for African-Americans. The bird-friendly native plant demonstration garden, or “Exhibitat,” is designed to enhance Atlanta Audubon’s efforts as part of National Audubon’s Plants for Birds initiative with the goal of installing one million native plants across the United States by 2020.
"The Conservancy at Historic Washington Park is thrilled to partner with Atlanta Audubon on this project. Washington Park is an incredibly diverse urban ecosystem, and we look forward to working with Atlanta Audubon and Greening Youth to draw attention to the birds that call this space home,” says Christi Jackson, CEO of the Conservancy at Historic Washington Park. “As we approach the park's centennial year, an important goal is to encourage the citizens who use the park to appreciate and value the natural habitat and beauty of this landmark Greenspace.”
Nikki Belmonte, Atlanta Audubon Executive Director concurs. “We are delighted to be the recipients of this local action grant from National Audubon. We are looking forward to installing our second ‘Exhibitat’ in an iconic Atlanta park where people can see what it means to be “bird-friendly”, and we look forward to engaging the community in bird watching. We are also eager to continue working with our partners, Greening Youth, to find an intern who can not only help us advance our Wildlife Sanctuary Program, but also to give this young person an opportunity to learn first-hand how non-profit conservation organizations operate in hopes that they may pursue an environmental career. ”
Atlanta Audubon Society is building places where birds and people thrive. We create bird-friendly communities through conservation, education, and advocacy.