Our annual Bird Town Summit was held virtually on November 6, 2021. This post includes a synopsis of the meeting.

Highlights:

The Demonstrated Resiliency of Our Bird Towns!

The Bird Town Pennsylvania Annual Virtual Summit took place on Saturday, November 6, 2021. The major “take away” of the Summit was that our Bird Towns are vibrant, durable, and continue to be effective voices for birds, pollinators, and conservation in the municipalities they serve. Despite limited or no coordinating support over the last three years coupled with the challenges of the COVID pandemic, our Bird Towns endured! The Summit featured the participation of representatives from over 15 Bird Towns, 4 Audubon chapters, leaders of the Pennsylvania Audubon Council, and the 5 members of the Bird Town Pennsylvania Working Group. The durability of our Bird Towns was evident in the response to the survey circulated to our Bird Town contacts in advance of the Summit and in the enthusiastic reports that were shared as part of the Summit.

Uploads on Our Google Drive:

  • Annual Summit Minutes (pdf)
  • Annual Summit PowerPoint Slides (pdf)
  • Recorded video of the virtual meeting

Bird Town Pennsylvania Survey Results:

An important segment of the Summit was a summary of the responses that were received from the Bird Town Survey. Despite the recent challenges faced by every Bird Town, the survey results revealed that amazing work was going on throughout the Bird Town network. Bird walks, Bluebird nesting boxes, native plant sales, installation of native plant gardens, and community science programs were wide spread. Work with municipalities to reduce mowing, adopt native plant related ordinances, and more were evident in the reports received from many of the Bird Towns. There were twenty-three Bird Towns that submitted a survey response. Please refer to the presentation slides

Bird Town Sharing!

A central feature of the Summit was the opportunity for each of the Bird Town Leaders to share a few slides and commentary about some of their projects and highlights of their work. We learned about the Bird Town/EAC connection, activities like bird walks in conjunction with partners like bird walks with the local Audubon chapter. Several Bird Towns highlighted their role in the establishment of demonstration gardens that featured native plants. Several Bird Towns talked about Bluebird Trails, Chimney Swift Towers, Purple Martin Towers. Several Bird Towns shared their success in having native plant ordinances and changes in building codes adopted in their municipalities. We heard about work on issues that range from pursing bans on single use plastic, and efforts to curtail pesticide and herbicide use.

Pop up gardens, tabling events. Tree planting, restoration of a municipal park, pursuit of “Community Wildlife Habitat Certification” from the National Wildlife Federation were profiled. Bird Town reports were shared by representatives from Abington Township, Chalfont Borough, Doylestown Township, New Britain Borough, Newtown Township (DELCO), Newtown Township (BUCKS), Upper Dublin Township, Upper Moreland Township and the Lehigh Valley Bird Town Coalition and the Lehigh Valley Audubon Society. The PowerPoint with the slides and narrative of the chapter-sharing segment of the Summit can be found here.

Looking Ahead To Sustainability — “Built to Last!”

Among the most exciting developments were the reports aimed to provide sustainability and long-term support to Bird Town network. The milestones achieved by the Bird Town Working Group over the course of the last several months were noted.

A robust social media presence has been established!

  • The Bird Town Pennsylvania website has been launched — birdtownpa.org.
  • Everyone is invited to join the Bird Town Forum Group Facebook Page.
  • The Bird Town Pennsylvania Flyer has been reestablished as a digital newsletter.
  • An email distribution list is being created to send important messages to our Bird Towns.

A New Bird Town Pennsylvania Logo

The Bird Town Pennsylvania Working Group has worked closely with graphics artist, Lauren Diamond!
She has created a new logo that was unveiled at the Summit. It features three iconic Pennsylvania Birds including the Eastern Bluebird, Northern Cardinal, and Wood Thrush.

New Connections and Partnerships are Being Forged!

The leadership of the Bird Town Working Group continues to strive to establish a network of support for Bird Town Pennsylvania and our Bird Towns.

  • The Pennsylvania Audubon Council serves as our fiscal agent — paauduboncouncil.org
  • WeConservePA has scheduled Heidi Shiver to provide a Bird Town Workshop – WeConservePA.org
  • Bucks County, Lehigh Valley, Tiadaughton, Valley Forge, and Wyncote Audubon Societies are each committed to supporting the Bird Towns within their chapter territories
  • We continue to work to forge new partnerships across the Commonwealth

Expanding the Network: Recruiting New Bird Towns

A major goal of Bird Town Pennsylvania is to establish new Bird Towns in Pennsylvania. We have a record of the municipalities that had made inquiries to Audubon Pennsylvania about the Bird Town program after their moratorium on establishing new Bird Towns. The Working Group will reach out to
these municipalities to see if interest can be rekindled.

  • A new Bird Town application was shared at the Summit and is in final review.
  • Promote an inclusive approach to a wider range of habitat certification/recognition programs.
  • A plan to reach out to enroll more Bird Towns across the Commonwealth is being formulated.
  • Bird Town Pennsylvania will work with “mission aligned” partners to help.
  • We will recruit Bird Town leaders to help mentor new Bird Towns.

A summary of the recorded summit is as follows:

00.00 – 09:13: Bird Town Leaders Personal Introductions
09:13 – 15:00: Introduction and Highlight of Events for Bird Town for 2021
15:00 – 19:42: Survey Results
19:42 – 26:55: Workshop Information

What’s New with Bird Town:
26:55 – 43:50:  Logo and website
43:50 – 50:45:  Fiscal Agent and Partners
50:45 – 56:30:  Bird Town Application and Recertification
56:44- 1:02:45: Backyard Habitat Certification and Recognition Programs
1:02:45- 1:07:12 Bird Town Working Group Structure and Needs
1:07:12 – 1:58:17 Bird Town Leader Share
1:58:51 – 2:07:59 Next Steps for Bird Town