Audubon Florida News

Topic: Coastal Conservation,Media,Wildlife

Video: Tips for Successful Wildlife Photography

posted on February 10, 2014 in Coastal Conservation,Media,Wildlife

audubon_photoethics_video_playerBreeding season gets off to an early start in Florida—and where there are adult birds in showy breeding plumage and adorable chicks clamoring to be fed, wildlife photographers are sure to follow. While many of us enjoy glimpses into the secret lives of birds, we don’t often think about the ecological risks involved in taking wildlife photos.

Each year, Audubon biologists and wardens spend countless hours educating photographers who have approached nesting birds on our sanctuaries too closely—disrupting their natural behaviors and threatening the birds’ health and the safety of their chicks. Many photographers just don’t realize what the impacts can be…and unfortunately a small, harmful minority care more about killer photographs than the birds.

Click here to watch Audubon Florida’s new web video for tips on ethical wildlife photography

When you are done, please consider sharing this important video with your friends, family, and colleagues – see the social media links above. If you are a wildlife photographer, make sure you are educated on the issues, so the birds will be there to photograph for years to come. And if you are an admirer of wildlife photography, learn about the issues so you can choose wisely which photographs to praise and which photographers to patronize.

Thank you. Here’s to a terrific 2014 nesting season!

WMFE Audio: Turn Water into a Cash Crop

posted on November 14, 2013 in Media,North Everglades,Water Issues

Dispersed Water Storage PumpsAudubon Florida has been working for over two years to promote projects that store and cleanse water on ranchlands north of Lake Okeechobee. The concept, known as “Dispersed Water Management” and  “Water Farming” has been supported by the South Florida Water Management District through a program that solicits proposals from landowners for the construction of projects.

Charles Lee, Director of Advocacy for Audubon Florida says “Its time to ramp up this program, give it some real basin wide reach by planning, and engineering projects where they do the most good and provide the most benefit for each dollar spent.”

Audubon has called on the South Florida Water Management District to both increase the planning and engineering effort for the program and increase the funding.

Click here to listen to the audio report from WMFE radio on Rafter T Ranch and learn the benefits to water management and the environment that “Turning water into a cash crop” can achieve.

WFSU Audio: Beachgoers, Look Out For Baby Birds, Audubon Says

posted on May 23, 2013 in Coastal Conservation,Media,Wildlife

Black Skimmer and Chick by Bonnie Shedd

Audubon’s Director of Wildlife Conservation Julie Wraithmell was profiled in this audio essay from WFSU Public Radio in Tallahassee about the upcoming Memorial Day holiday and what beach-goers can do to protect Florida’s most vulnerable coastal wildlife.

From WFSU Radio:

Many beach-dwelling birds make their nests in the Florida sand. And when threatened species, like the least tern, hatch, Julie Wraithmell, with Audubon of Florida said, “They’re basically these little fluff balls on legs that are scrambling around the beach.”

Listen to the full broadcast by clicking here.

WSLR Radio: Audubon’s Eric Draper on the 2013 Florida Legislative Session

posted on May 13, 2013 in Media,State Government

Orlando Sentinel: The Great Florida Public Land Giveaway

posted on January 31, 2012 in Media,State Government

St. Johns River by Ed JurgensenTwo of Audubon’s most closely monitored bills of 2012 – HB 1103 and SB 1362 – have drawn interest in the form of an opinion editorial from one of Florida’s most widely circulated newspapers. What do you think?

From the Orlando Sentinel:

In essence, these bills would change that high-water mark from the waterway’s reach during an ordinary wet season to a drier time of the year…

Under these bills, that shore would effectively revert from public ownership to private ownership, without compensating the public. Estimates of the loss of public land range from 100,000 acres to 500,000 acres, an area about the size of the Smoky Mountains National Park. (The issue doesn’t apply to beaches and waterways whose levels are influenced by tides.)

It’s a windfall for property owners, but a rotten deal for hunters, kayakers and fishermen who lose access to public recreation areas. A kayaker who pulls her boat onto a riverbank during the dry season might face an angry property owner accusing her of trespassing. And woe to the hunter who gets caught with a firearm on public-turned-private property — he might get charged with a felony.

Audubon’s Charles Lee: Everglades Headwaters Proposal Critical to Future Success

posted on October 19, 2011 in Media,North Everglades

Audubon’s Director of Advocacy Charles Lee was published on with an editorial about the proposed Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge:

Your Sept. 27 editorial, “New wildlife refuge and conservation area north of Lake Okeechobee may be great idea, but what are state’s priorities?” regarding the Everglades Headwaters Refuge and Conservation Area makes a good point when it says “Maybe it’s time to prioritize the most important Everglades restoration projects — and fund and complete them, in order, before launching new projects.”

That is precisely why we think moving forward with the Everglades Headwaters Refuge and Conservation Area now is so important. The very first Everglades effort was the Kissimmee River Restoration, authorized by Congress almost 20 years ago in 1992. The Everglades Headwaters Refuge and Conservation Area proposal helps the long-awaited Kissimmee River Restoration project succeed by assuring that land surrounding the restored river will be maintained in conservation, and provide water storage and cleansing opportunities rather than slipping toward development.

Read more here.

AUDIO: Listen to Audubon’s Charles Lee on WMFE’s “Intersection”

posted on May 19, 2011 in Growth Mgmnt,Media

Audubon’s Charles Lee was a recent guest on Intersection, a show on WMFE Orlando public radio. The 2011 Florida legislative session brought sweeping changes to Florida’s ability to manage growth and development. Click here to listen to Audubon’s take on these impending changes.

NY TIMES: Florida Legislature Votes to Ease Rules on Development

posted on May 11, 2011 in Growth Mgmnt,Media

On the heels of one of the most difficult legislative sessions in Florida’s recent memory, even the New York Times has noted the drastic changes coming to our state’s growth management process and environmental regulation.

The New York Times:

Just before the Republican-led Florida Legislature finished up its session for the year, it gave developers a parting gift: It pushed through measures that would reverse 25 years of growth management law by loosening state oversight of builders and making it harder for people to challenge development…

“It was the worst session for the environment I have seen in 20 years,” said Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon of Florida. “We saw more bad bills proposed and more bad bills passed than we have ever seen before. Any claim that a bill would increase jobs by decreasing regulation was accepted on its face with no consideration given to the financial consequences or the environmental consequences of the proposal.”

Audubon of Florida sent a letter to Governor Rick Scott asking for a veto of the four most offending bills passed during the 2011 session.


Russell Peterson, Former President of National Audubon Society, Passes Away at 94

posted on February 25, 2011 in Media

The National Audubon Society (NAS) family suffered a loss this week when former President Russell W. Peterson passed away at at the age of 94. Current NAS President David Yarnold said:

“The world has lost a champion for the environment. Russ Peterson distinguished himself as president of the National Audubon Society from 1979-1985. Throughout the country Audubon staffers join me in recalling his visionary contributions, and the extraordinary example he set.”

The New York Times writes:

As president of the National Audubon Society from 1979 t0 1985, Mr. Peterson vigorously fought President Ronald Reagan’s efforts to weaken enforcement of environmental regulations to help business. When Reagan said conservationists would not be happy until the White House was a “bird’s nest,” Mr. Peterson snapped back that it was already “a cuckoo’s nest.”

Mr. Peterson pushed Audubon well beyond its traditional mission of protecting wildlife into newer environmental battles like population control, energy policy and curbing toxic chemicals. He hired more scientists, established an environmental curriculum for elementary schools and recruited Ted Turner to finance a film series, “The World of Audubon,” which used narrators like Robert Redford.

Russell’s family and friends are in our thoughts.

Florida Today Editorial: Stop the Veto Override

posted on November 16, 2010 in Media

Old Florida CapitolAudubon of Florida’s own Director of Advocacy Charles Lee was published in Florida Today earlier this week, writing an editorial regarding the potential state legislature veto override of last session’s HB 1565.  The legislature is expected to take up this veto, along with others, later this morning.

From Florida Today:

HB 1565 would require that any regulation — even those most vital to protecting water and air quality and our health — be ratified by the Legislature if it has a $1 million statewide economic impact over a five-year period.

This threshold for a legislative ratification requirement is far too low in a state 600 miles long with 67 counties and 18 million people.

When you do the math, it means that a regulation requiring only $2,985 in annual effort to implement or comply with in each county must be ratified by the Legislature.

I am afraid the real intent of HB 1565 is to give paid lobbyists for polluters, land developers and similar interests the last say over Florida’s environmental regulations.

Today, legislators will take up a series of veto overrides from the aftermath of last session.  See this memorandum released by the Speaker of the House’s office.

Please click here to read an earlier post from Audubon of Florida regarding HB 1565.

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