The Pennsylvania Audubon Council met at 7:00 PM on Wednesday April 21, 2021. The program featured a panel that included:
- Peg Rooney, President of the Audubon Colorado Council
- Jacqueline Augustine, President of the Council of Ohio Audubon Chapters
- Marcy Boyle, past president of the Audubon Council of New York State
- Bill Heck, former National Audubon Board member for the Mississippi Flyway North
- Sally Jeffords, National Audubon Board member for the Atlantic Flyway North
Both Sally Jeffords and Bill Heck have had an association with the New York and Ohio Councils. Jim Bonner, Executive Director of the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, served as the moderator for the panel discussion.
We learned that each Council was an independently organized not for profit entity with the governing boards comprised of chapter representatives from each of their respective states. Each of the Councils existed for decades dating back to the 1970s and 1980s. The Ohio Council had an extended hiatus and is now reestablished. All of the Councils have regular meetings of the boards on a quarterly or even monthly basis and convene general Council meetings or gatherings at least twice each year. The budgets of the Councils are relatively small with major expenses for participation in Council meetings or gatherings borne by the chapters. The Colorado chapters help to support a lobbyist in Denver.
Each Council reported a strong working relationship with the Regional Audubon Offices in which their Councils operate. The Audubon Council in New York cited that the relationship is defined in a memorandum of understanding between the Council and Audubon NY. The Colorado and New York Councils have advocacy as the major focus of their work with extensive chapter involvement in the prioritization of conservation issues. The Ohio Council indicated an emphasis on chapter strengthening activities as part of their work. The Ohio and New York Councils cite participation and support from the majority of chapters in their states. Colorado reported that all ten chapters in Colorado participate in their Council.
Each panelist encouraged the formative efforts of the Pennsylvania Audubon Council. Jim Bonner noted that the perspective and information that was provided in the discussion will be helpful as the chapters in Pennsylvania move ahead to create a strong voice for chapters through the Council.