Connecticut Audbon Society

Join our Climate Change Advocacy Network

Saltmarsh Sparrows, like this one photographed at Milford Point in October 2018, might become extinct because of rising sea levels. © C.S. Wood

January 29, 2020 – Climate change is an overarching issue – the biggest threat to Connecticut’s birds and other wildlife, and their habitats. It’s a global problem with local and regional implications, and local and regional opportunities for meaningful conservation action.

New England is in a leadership position on climate change nationally. The state of Connecticut plays a key role in New England, and the Connecticut Audubon Society, which sets the highest standards for conservation, plays a crucial role in Connecticut. Connecticut Audubon addresses climate change issues by:

  • working on conservation projects that help protect birds and other wildlife and their habitats from the effects of climate change;
  • presenting education programs that position climate change as the key conservation issue facing the state and help participants including students understand the issue;
  • advocating through our own efforts and through the efforts of our grassroots supporters for laws, policies, and programs that combat, mitigate, and help wildlife and habitats adapt to the effects of climate change.

Please join our Climate Change Advocacy Network. Throughout the year we will be asking you to contact your local, state, and federal representatives. We’ll provide you with simple ways to do so, and to make your individual voice part of a larger, effective whole.

Climate change has been an important component of Science in Nature almost since its start in 2012.

Conservation of birds and their habitats

The Connecticut Audubon Society’s 20 sanctuaries encompass 3,300 acres across the state, a number that represents a 35% increase in recent years. Land preservation is a climate change issue because protecting forests and grasslands results in carbon sequestration – locking up carbon in plants and trees to keep it out of the atmosphere. Larger blocks of conserved land also help habitats and wildlife to be more resilient to the effects of climate change. 

Protecting, improving, and restoring habitats also affords protection for birds that are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Connecticut Audubon’s bird conservation work includes protecting vulnerable beach-nesting habitat as part of the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds. The Alliance’s 100 volunteers and 20-plus staff are out on the state’s beaches from April through August protecting and keeping track of birds such as Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, and Least Terns. As sea levels rise and beach habitat becomes increasingly imperiled, the Alliance’s work will become even more important.

Among the fastest declining birds in New England are the species that nest in shrublands. As Prairie Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, and others struggle to adapt to a warmer climate, prime nesting areas will be essential to help them survive. Connecticut Audubon is managing, creating, and restoring at least 200 acres of shrub habitat at sanctuaries in Pomfret, Hampton, Westport, Fairfield, Sherman, and Goshen.

Education/Science in Nature
Climate change science has been a component of Connecticut Audubon’s award-winning Science in Nature outdoor education program almost from its start in 2012.

More than 70,000 Connecticut students have completed Science in Nature, and virtually all of them have been introduced to the subject with instruction appropriate to their grade levels.

Rising sea levels imperil coastal habitats in Connecticut. Photo courtesy of Prof. Mark Beekey, Sacred Heart University

Connecticut Audubon’s members constitute a large, committed, knowledgeable, and active group of grassroots advocates. The organization’s annual Connecticut State of the Birds report has frequently delved into climate change and its effects on the state’s birds. The 2019 report was largely devoted to the future of Long Island Sound and its habitats under climate change scenarios.

In recent years the Connecticut Audubon Society and its members have publicly supported:

  • the state’s efforts to procure up to 2000 megawatts of electricity from wind farms to be built south of Block Island and Nantucket. Connecticut Audubon also worked with a coalition to advocate for best practices to protect birds and other wildlife during construction and operation.
  • a new state law that authorizes municipal climate change and coastal resiliency reserve funds.
  • funding for the state Community Investment Act, to buy and preserve open space, for habitat protection and carbon sequestration.
  • permanent funding of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides land acquisition money to states, helping to sequester carbon and to make habitats more resilient;
  • authorization of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which would provide an estimated $12.6 million a year to Connecticut to be used for projects such as protecting coastal habitats that are under increasing threats from sea level rise and severe coastal storms.

Connecticut Audubon also supported and submitted comments on Governor Lamont’s Executive Order on Climate Change.

Climate change is an over-arching issue, with direct impacts on conservation. There’s a role for everyone, at the individual level, the state level, the regional level, and the national level. Please join our Climate Change Advocacy Network.






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