Advocacy News

We Won! PA Wilds Saved From Low-Flying Planes

We won! The National Guard Bureau, Joint Base Andrews, MD, had proposed reducing the minimum height requirement for military training flights in part of the PA Wilds from 8000 feet to 100 feet. The PA Wilds contain the greatest concentration of public lands in Pennsylvania and low flying planes could have caused great harm to birds.

Many organizations, recreation planners, state agencies, and residents opposed this proposed change, including Audubon Mid-Atlantic. On May 10, 2023, VFAS submitted a comment (edited from a draft prepared by Audubon Mid-Atlantic) to the National Guard Bureau, Joint Base Andrews, MD, taking a stand against the proposal. The voices of opposition got the attention of Pennsylvania’s US Senators Bob Casey and John Fetterman, who worked against implementation of the proposal. On May 3, 2024, Senators Casey and Fetterman announced that the Air Force and National Guard Bureau had rescinded their proposal, a victory for birds in the PA Wilds.

Are you interested in working with Valley Forge Audubon to help birds thrive? Email us at advocacy@valleyforgeaudubon.org.

June 4, 2024

Swarthmore Creates New Bird-Friendly Garden

With funds for native plants from the Valley Forge Audubon Society, Swarthmore Bird Town started a native plant garden at Umoja Park on Earth Day. Some 40 people, including neighbors, schoolchildren, members of Borough Council and the Environmental Advisory Council, the Borough manager, and five Home Depot employees removed grass, dug beds, planted plants, mulched, watered, and enjoyed the sunny afternoon.  The plants include Buttonbush, Sweet Pepperbush, Virginia Sweetspire, Spicebush, Northern Bayberry, Virginia Rose, and Lowbush Blueberry. The two beds established on April 22 are envisioned as the first of a multi-stage effort to beautify Umoja Park and create habitat and food sources for birds and other wildlife.

Protecting the Birds You Love

Spring migration has started and soon many beloved species of birds will be returning to the Valley Forge Audubon Society area to build nests and raise their young. We can celebrate the return of vibrantly colored Yellow Warblers and Indigo Buntings, shy cinnamon-backed Wood Thrushes, scissor-tailed Barn Swallows, chattering Gray Catbirds, tiny Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and many other birds that flew south for the winter.

Photos: Rich Ailes

Migration is tough for birds, and sadly, many don’t survive. However, we can help. Here are some actions anyone can take – at the national, local, and/or personal level – to make a significant difference for birds:

National:

  • The bipartisan Migratory Birds of the Americas Conservation Enhancements Act (H.R. 4389/S. 4022) would preserve key habitats of migrating birds by increasing on-the-ground conservation projects. Audubon urges support for this legislation: Help Migratory Birds Across the Western Hemisphere.

Local:

  • Migrating birds can get disoriented by artificial lights as they fly at night and, since they can’t see glass the way people do, many die colliding with buildings, including single-story homes. At the urging of residents who love birds, local municipalities are joining the national Lights Out initiative by passing Lights Out resolutions or proclamations; here is Swarthmore’s resolution.

Personal:

If you’re interested in working with Valley Forge Audubon to help birds thrive, email us at advocacy@valleyforgeaudubon.org.

 

“Are There Any Native Plants That Deer Won’t Eat?” Conversations at Tabling Events

  • “If I plant a dragonfly pond, will birds eat all of them?”
  • “Are there any native plants that deer won’t eat?
  • “How can I have a native plant garden when my homeowners’ association requires a mowed grass lawn?

These are the sorts of questions people ask when trying to make their yards more friendly to birds. Offering support and information to help birds thrive in our communities, Valley Forge Audubon Society (VFAS) is staffing tables at numerous events this summer and fall.

The VFAS Advocacy Committee has joined with Bird Town PA for tables at the VFAS Annual Meeting, the Media Eco-fest, and the John James Audubon Center’s Community Day, and will be at the Master Gardeners of Delaware County’s Fall Fest September 30 at Smedley Park in Springfield. The VFAS Outreach Committee is also connecting with people through tabling at events, including the Charlestown Community Day on September 30 and the West Vincent Township Fall Fest on October 14.

 

 

While it’s not possible for our volunteers to give definitive answers to every question, there are some great resources available at tabling events, on the Valley Forge Audubon website, and elsewhere. For example, the National Audubon Society has a Native Plant Database that recommends native plants for your zip code.

Here are some responses to the questions above:

  • While famished deer will eat most vegetation, they dislike strong-smelling plants. Here’s a list of deer resistant native plants for eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Insect-eating birds do eat dragonflies, but birds and dragonflies have co-existed for a long time.
  • Bird Town PA has a webpage devoted to helping residents of homeowners’ associations support birds and other wildlife.

Are you interested in working with us to help birds thrive? Email us at advocacy@valleyforgeaudubon.org.

 

Need Help with a Native Plant Garden for your Community?

Do you need support to start, develop, or expand a native plant garden that residents of your community can enjoy? Want to attract more birds, butterflies, and bees? Valley Forge Audubon (VFAS) may be able to help!

Several members of the VFAS Advocacy Committee have helped start bird-friendly gardens on public properties such as libraries, parks, and municipal grounds. Advocacy member Shari Donath shared these pictures of the West Norriton garden she helped create.

We can suggest ways to get a garden started in your community and advise on great plants and shrubs to include. We can also provide templates for signage to identify plants and promote your garden. We may also be able to provide financial support for purchasing plants and signage.

Contact us at advocacy@valleyforgeaudubon.org. If your municipality is a Bird Town, you can request support from Bird Town PA as well, through www.birdtownpa.org

Give Birds a Boost: Support the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

An impactful way to help birds is to support bird-friendly legislation. While your senators and representatives may not always vote as you’d like, they pay attention to what their constituents request. Add your voice to thousands of others and advocate for birds!

A key piece of legislation has been reintroduced in the U.S. Senate – the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2023 (RAWA). If approved, RAWA would make supplemental funds available to manage fish and wildlife species of greatest conservation need as determined by State fish and wildlife agencies.

This bipartisan bill would protect biodiversity throughout the United States through proactive conservation. It could keep thousands of species from being listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Audubon’s Action Network provides a quick way to support the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act at https://act.audubon.org/a/rawa-2023. Or you can encourage Senators Casey and Fetterman to co-sponsor RAWA through the comments sections on their websites: for Sen. Casey at https://www.casey.senate.gov/contact/share and for Sen. Fetterman at  https://www.fetterman.senate.gov/contact/

Learn about more current U.S. legislation that supports birds by visiting https://www.audubon.org/takeaction You can sign up for Audubon’s Action Network on this page.

Interested in working with a group? Advocate for birds with Valley Forge Audubon! Read an Overview of our Advocacy Committee and check out our Advocacy Position Statements. Email us at advocacy@valleyforgeaudubon.org.

Make Your Home Welcoming to Birds

A spring 2022 article in Audubon magazine has excellent tips on how to make your home and yard safer for birds: https://www.audubon.org/magazine/spring-2022/seven-ways-make-your-home-more-bird-friendly  These tips are summarized and adapted for southeastern Pennsylvania below. Some of these tips actually mean less work for you!

1. Feeder Placement

Birds can’t see glass like we do, and millions are killed each year by crashing into buildings of all sizes. If you have a bird feeder, Audubon advises that you place it “less than 3 feet from your house—so [birds] don’t have enough space to gain dangerous speed—or more than 30 feet away.”

2.  Window Visibility

You can keep birds from striking your windows by making them more obvious. Ways to do this: (1) outside window screens; (2) decals spaced no more than two inches apart; (3) dirty windows during spring and fall migration – nice for those of us who don’t like scrubbing windows!

3.  Cat Protection

Outside cats kill birds. Audubon: “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that outdoor cats kill 2.4 billion wild birds every year in this country alone.” Keeping cats indoors is healthier for the cats and spares the lives of many birds, especially vulnerable young ones.

4.  Native Plants

The best food and shelter for birds are the plants, trees, and bushes that the birds evolved with over centuries. The Backyards for Nature page at Valley Forge Audubon has a list of native plants can be added to yards in our geographic area to provide food and shelter for birds: https://valleyforgeaudubon.org/native-plants/

5.  Social Influence

Let family, friends, and neighbors know what you’re doing to support birds and the environment. One way to do this is to post a sign in your yard noting your commitment to native plants, such as an Audubon Plants for Birds yard sign.

6.  Benign Neglect

You’re likely to see more birds in your yard if you do less yardwork! Leave the leaves to enrich the soil and provide spaces for bugs and food for birds. Let flowers go to seed for more bird food. Many birds hide in brush piles and use twigs to build nests.

7.  Routine Cleaning

Birds get sick through dirty bird baths and feeders, so clean both about every two weeks. Use nine parts water to one part bleach, then make sure your feeder is totally dry before adding more seed. Shovel up seeds and bird poop below your feeder to keep rodents away.

Enjoy the birds in your yard this spring and feel good knowing you’re helping them thrive!

 

Swarthmore Celebrates New Bird Town Status with Scott Weidensaul Events

Bird Town PA President Heidi Shiver formally welcomed Swarthmore as the 38th Bird Town in a well-attended Borough Council meeting February 13. She noted Bird Town’s mission to partner with municipalities “to promote community-based conservation actions to create a healthier, more sustainable environment for birds, wildlife, and people,” and praised Swarthmore’s already substantial environmental efforts.

Among the Swarthmoreans participating were Council President Mary Walk, Mayor Marty Spiegel, Environment Committee Chair Scarlett McCahill, and four members the new Swarthmore Bird Town Committee: Margaret Betz, Andrew Bunting, Shirley Dodson, and John McKinstry, who among them represent Swarthmore’s Environmental Advisory Council, Tree Committee, and Horticultural Society, as well as the Valley Forge Audubon Board and Advocacy Committee.

Everyone is welcome to two free events planned by Swarthmore Bird Town Committee: an in-person discussion of naturalist Scott Weidensaul’s 2021 book, A World on the Wing: the global odyssey of migratory birds, on March 1, and a Zoom presentation and Q&A by Scott Weidensaul, “Living on the Wind: The Miracle of Bird Migration,” on March 9. The March 9 talk was co-sponsored by the Swarthmore Environmental Advisory Council, Swarthmore Public Library, Swarthmore Horticultural Society, and the Valley Forge Audubon Society.

Interested in learning more about how your community could become a Bird Town? Visit https://birdtownpa.org or contact the VFAS Advocacy Committee, where four members have supported their communities in becoming Bird Towns (Tredyffrin, Newtown, Nether Providence, and Swarthmore), at advocacy@valleyforgeaudubon.org  

Nether Providence Township is the 36th Bird Town in PA

On Thursday, November 10th Bird Town PA officially welcomed Nether Providence Township as the 36th designated Bird Town in Pennsylvania. The ceremony occurred at the regular meeting of the Township Commissioners, with the official presentation made by Bird Town PA Director Heidi Shiver. VFAS Advocacy Committee and Bird Town Board members Phil Witmer and Janet Krevenas also attended as did two members of Nether Providence Township’s new Bird Town committee, Krikor Panossian who also serves on the Township EAC and Ralf Graves who is a member of the Parks Commission and co-chair of the VFAS Advocacy Committee.

Ralf Graves, VFAS Advocacy Committee; November 15, 2022

We Won! Heinz Refuge Improvements are Happening Now!

If you’ve entered Heinz National Wildlife Refuge recently at the Philadelphia entrance, you may have seen and heard construction equipment. Maybe, like me, you were annoyed that a major trail is temporarily blocked.

However, this project is a big victory for birds. The Henderson Marsh Restoration Project is regenerating the water flow of 150 acres of tidal marsh habitat by excavating new channels and developing new openings in the impoundment dike to reconnect the tidally restricted marsh to Darby Creek, a tributary of the Delaware River. Among the many birds likely to benefit are Belted Kingfishers, Osprey, and Bald Eagles which depend on healthy habitat for catching fish.

This project is funded by a 2021 grant through the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP) administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, matching a grant from Ducks Unlimited. For the past two years, Valley Forge Audubon Society (VFAS) has advocated for increased funds for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program through direct lobbying and letters to legislators, in cooperation with many other environmental organizations. It’s great to see success in progress!

The Henderson Marsh Restoration Project is just one of many projects funded by the DRBRP that benefit bird habitat in our area. You can see a list of 2022 grants here.

Want to learn more about advocacy for birds? Contact the VFAS Advocacy Committee at advocacy@valleyforgeaudubon.org

Bald Eagles at Heinz NWR 
Photo: Rich Ailes

Shirley Dodson, VFAS Advocacy Committee; November 7, 2022

West Norriton Plants a Pollinator Garden

On Saturday, September 24, residents of West Norriton gathered to plant a pollinator garden on the lawn of the Township Building. VFAS Advocacy Committee member Shari Donath garnered support for the project with other members of West Norriton’s Environmental Advisory Council, and approval was given by the West Norriton Board of Commissioners. The plantings include native species particularly attractive to pollinators like bees and butterflies. Shari notes that benches will be installed in front of the garden, and she and other residents hope that schools will use it as a teaching garden.

West Norriton Pollinator Garden

Shari Donath, VFAS Advocacy Committee; October 14, 2022

Starting a New “Meadowito” in Kennett Square

This summer, I was able to help begin a native bird and bug pollinator garden called a “Meadowito” in Kennett Square, PA. I was able to help “Meadowitos” creator, Laura Florence from the Kennett Square Library, take out the invasive and struggling plant species that were located to the right of the Kennett YMCA. When there are so many places that can hold a habitat with an abundance of wildlife, why not try? Luckily, I was able to start this with the help of Laura and the Valley Forge Audubon Society Board and Advocacy Committee. It’s so great to see other people who are invested in conservation too and I am looking forward to seeing another complete “Meadowito” this fall with more native species of plants and animals!

Hannah Begg and Laura Florence

Hanna Begg, VFAS Summer Intern; August 28, 2022

We Won! PA Budget Increases Environmental Funding

In June, Valley Forge Audubon sent letters advocating for Growing Greener III and robust funding for the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to every state representative and senator in our territory. This initiative, organized by the Pennsylvania Audubon Council, aimed to support birds as well as people through investment in water and habitat quality.

In a win for the environment, the PA General Assembly approved a 2022-23 budget that includes funding we advocated for in our letters. As reported by PennFuture, the budget includes:

  • $884.75 million for clean water, land conservation, state parks, infrastructure, energy efficiency, and investments in forests;
  • $696 million of this for the new State Parks and Outdoor Recreation Program, previously called the Growing Greener program, along with fresh funding for water infrastructure and the new Clean Streams Fund;
  • Increase of $63.75 million over the current budget for agencies including the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, meaning funds to hire more staff, increase programming, and improve land and water quality.

Nearly $700 million of the budgeted funds come from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). This spending source won’t be available every year. It’s important for bird advocates to keep speaking up in support of the clean water, food sources, and habitat birds need.

Shirley Dodson, VFAS Advocacy Committee, Co-Chair; July 26, 2022

 Local Advocacy Works!

“Think globally, act locally” has been an environmental mantra for fifty years. Why? Because it’s essential and it works. VFAS Advocacy Committee members are deeply involved in their local communities, making a difference for birds.

Phil Witmer, when asked why he’s active locally, notes that reversing the 29% decline in bird populations since 1970 depends on restoring their habitat: “Imagine birds flying hundreds of miles migrating overnight. When daylight comes, they need to find a habitat that provides nourishment, shelter from predators and a chance to rest for the next leg of their journey.”

Nature preserves and parks alone can’t provide enough habitat, however. What can? Phil says: “With over 40 million acres of lawn in this country we can provide critical habitat by replacing non-native grass with native plants. A transformation like this can only happen at the local level, one yard at a time.”

So Phil is vice-president of Bird Town Pennsylvania, an organization which partners with municipalities and organizations to promote community-based conservation, including the use of bird-friendly native plants, and he’s also active locally with Radnor Bird Town and Tredyffrin Bird Town to help them increase their presence in the community. He also leads bird walks, encouraging more people to notice and support the birds they see.

Janet Krevenas played key roles in the decision her community, Newtown  Township (Delaware County), made to become a Bird Town and to establish a permanent native plant garden on township grounds. Like Phil, she is an officer of Bird Town Pennsylvania, working at both the local and state level on behalf of birds.

Ralf Graves influenced her community, Nether Providence Township, through service on the Parks Commission. “We recommended to the Township Commissioners that we should apply to be a Bird Town,” she says, and “at their last meeting, they approved doing this,” meaning that a committee can now be formed to ensure that bird-friendly policies and practices are put into place.

Both Janet and Shari Donath serve as members of their local Environmental Advisory Councils (EAC). Shari says that in West Norriton Township “we are trying to pass an ordinance to ban single use plastic bags” and “also looking into putting a pollinator/monarch butterfly garden in front of the township building.” Why does it matter to her to have local birds? “They keep us sane in a crazy world!” She adds: “Beautiful to hear, look at, as well as they keep the bug population down.”

In addition to promoting ordinances at the local level, Advocacy committee members make sure their legislators hear their views on state legislation that impacts birds. Ralf and Janet both participated in Penn Environment’s Climate Change Lobby Day on June 2 with advocacy calls to their PA state legislators, urging conversion to 100% renewable energy, a key way to reduce the negative impacts of climate change on birds.

Interested in getting involved in your local community? Some possibilities:

  • Check your community’s website to see if there’s an Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) and arrange to attend a meeting
  • Join a park or stream clean-up
  • Create a habitat for birds
  • Consider joining Valley Forge Audubon’s Advocacy Committee!

Shirley Dodson, VFAS Advocacy Committee, Co-Chair; June 20, 2022

Give Migrating Birds Some Love!

Yesterday I saw my first Baltimore Oriole of the year near Crum Creek in the Swarthmore College Woods. Actually, I heard this gorgeous male singing repeatedly before I saw him perched high in a tree between the creek and a meadow.

Baltimore oriole

Baltimore Oriole by Deborah Bifulco

Baltimore Orioles winter well south of Pennsylvania, including in Latin America and the Caribbean, and face many dangers during migration. We can help them by keeping lights out at night during migration periods in spring and fall, making sure windows where we live and work are bird-friendly, providing natural habitat, and more.

Another way to help migrating birds is by supporting bird-friendly legislation. Recently Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced legislation to enhance the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA), a matching grant program to assist over 350 bird species in the U.S. that fly each year to Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada. The NMBCA supports the conservation of bird habitat along with research, monitoring, and education. National Audubon is encouraging members to come out in favor of this legislation. Get more information and take action here. Maybe I was imagining it, but did I hear that Baltimore Oriole tweeting “Thank you, thank you!”?

Shirley Dodson, VFAS Advocacy Committee, Co-Chair; May 14, 2022

Lobbying is Good for Birds

March 8-10 Valley Forge Audubon joined other member organizations of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed (CDRW) in their annual Hill Week. With 175 member organizations, CDRW can have an impact in promoting legislation and funding for significant environmental programs, including The Delaware River Basin Restoration Program, the Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers, and the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. It was exciting to see legislative aides scribbling notes and requesting bill numbers as lobby team members made their “asks.”

During Hill Week, the Delaware River Basin Conservation Reauthorization Act of 2022 was introduced in the US House and Senate to extend the program that has already supported 90 projects, including those that restore wildlife habitat and protect the rivers, streams, and wetlands that birds need. One program funded in 2021 benefits golden-winged warblers, cerulean warblers, and wood thrush through carefully planned forest management.

Hill Week shows that legislators care about our concerns. Interested in future lobbying? Read our Advocacy Overview and check out our Advocacy Position Statements. Email us at advocacy@valleyforgeaudubon.org.

March 16, 2022

We Won! Funding For Projects that Support Birds

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (BIF) approved by Congress in November includes $26 million for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program over five years, or $5.2 million a year, in addition to what Congress appropriates each year. Valley Forge Audubon played a role in this victory both through lobbying our legislators last March and by signing onto letters from the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed.

Why do these funds matter for birds? The Delaware River Basin Restoration Program provides much-needed funds for projects designed to restore and protect habitat for birds and other wildlife. Last year, National Audubon Society received a grant for “The Philadelphia Pollinator Project: Working at the Intersection of Community and Conservation,” a project designed to improve urban habitat for pollinators, birds, and people while deepening community involvement. Grants to other organizations will improve habitat for birds through stream, marsh, beach, and forest restoration. You can see a list of 2021 projects here.

In the face of climate change, habitat loss, and other threats to birds, it’s easy to wonder how to make a difference. Valley Forge Audubon supports many efforts that help birds thrive, including our advocacy for increased funding for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program to ensure more good projects can get done. Check this page again soon for ways you can be involved – and for more wins for birds!

February 13, 2022

Support Laws that Support Birds

One way to help birds thrive is to support bird-friendly legislation. As a constituent, you can have an impact by sharing your concerns on issues affecting birds and their habitats. Join thousands of others in giving birds a voice!

Learn about current U.S. legislation that supports birds by visiting https://www.audubon.org/takeaction. You can sign up for Audubon’s Action Network on this page.

Three actions you can take now:

  • Contact your U.S. Representative to support the Growing Climate Solutions Act, a proposal empowering America’s agricultural producers to mitigate the impacts of climate change and slow habitat loss for many species of birds. You can take this action through the National Audubon website.
  • Urge your members of Congress to cosponsor and support the Bird-Safe Buildings Act, designed to help birds avoid collisions with buildings. Building collisions kill 300 million to a billion birds every year, and we can prevent many of these deaths.
  • Work with Valley Forge Audubon! Read an Overview of our Advocacy Committee and check out our Advocacy Position Statements. Email us at advocacy@valleyforgeaudubon.org.

February 7, 2022

Valley Forge Audubon Partners with Bird Town PA

Bird Town Pennsylvania is a newly reorganized group that partners with local municipalities and like-minded organizations to promote community-based conservation actions, with the goal of creating a healthier, more sustainable environment for birds, wildlife, and people. In November, the VFAS Board made the decision to become a partner. Bird Town Pennsylvania was started 10 years ago and has 34 programs across 8 counties in Pennsylvania.

Several municipalities within the VFAS area are already Bird Towns (including the townships of Kennett, Newtown, Radnor, Schuylkill, and Tredyffrin), and more are interested in joining. Ralf Graves, co-chair of the VFAS Advocacy Committee, noted “The proliferation of Bird Towns within our territory gives us an opportunity to build a network of ‘bird-friendly’ communities.”

VFAS and Bird Town PA share the goals of promoting native plants for home and community gardens, addressing climate change issues, and working to reduce bird window strikes. Heidi Shiver, chair of the Bird Town PA Working Group, said “I look forward to working with VFAS and finding opportunities to network, to collaborate and to support the work that you’re doing.” She has supported VFAS already by asking Bird Town leaders to help VFAS find more volunteers for our December 26 Christmas Bird Count. Watch this space for news of collaborative initiatives in the new year!

December 10, 2021

Kennett Square and Kennett Township Celebrate “Birds, Books, and Brews”

If you like birds and want them to thrive, you may know how important it is to have native plants available to provide food and shelter. However, many of the trees and plants in our yards and public places are “invasives” – they’re not native to this area and don’t provide the food that many birds need.

Over the last three years, Valley Forge Audubon Society (VFAS) has been working with several communities to build awareness of the crucial role of native plants in maintaining healthy habitats with “Plants for Birds” projects that include pop-up gardens, in-person and online programs, informational materials, and celebrations. In its most recent project, VFAS joined many local partners in Kennett Township and Kennett Borough for the “Birds, Books, and Brews” project that culminated in a marvelous closing party on September 18 at Braeloch Brewing in Kennett Square.

Key to the success of this project were all the individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and civic and governmental organizations that participated through organizing, planning, and hosting pop-up gardens, contributing funds and plants, holding programs, creating webpages and signage, and staffing information tables at events, including during the Kennett Square Mushroom Festival. They included:

 

    • Kennett Township and Kennett Borough: Both municipalities passed Native Plant Resolutions during the life of the project. These milestones were publicly celebrated at the party by Brenda Mercomes, President of Kennett Borough Council and Richard Leff, Chair of Kennett Township Board of Supervisors;
    • The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County: Kathryn Freilich provided superb local project management;
Venue: Braeloch Brewing—Site of a native plant pop-up garden and a member of the Delaware River Watershed Brewers Association
Brenda Mercomes, President of Kennett Borough Council celebrating the recent passage of the Borough’s new Native Plant Resolution.
Kathryn Freilich, The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County; Christina Norland, Kennett Trails Alliance; Richard Leff, Chair of Kennett Township Board of Supervisors
Beth Brown, Director of Audubon’s Delaware River Watershed Program, Audubon MidAtlantic
One of the many mini native plant pop-up gardens displayed by merchants, restaurants, etc. around town
    • Square Roots Collective, the parent organization for Kennett Trails Alliance, whose Christina Norland played a key organizing role;
    • Kennett Library: Hosted a pop-up site and integrated the BBB loop into their Pollination Celebration which ran from June through September;
    • Braeloch Brewery, a member of the Delaware River Watershed Brewers Association: Hosted a pop-up site which will become a permanent native plant garden, and held the closing party, serving their own beer and superb refreshments to all who came;
    • Deborah Gillespie, PA Master Naturalist: Provided garden designs;
    • More than sixteen businesses that hosted pop-up gardens;
    • The Spade and Trowel Garden Club;
    • The Four Seasons Garden Club;
    • Pennsylvania Master Watersheds Stewards;
    • The Kennett Borough Shade Tree Commission;
    • Many individual volunteers; and
    • Audubon Mid-Atlantic staff.

The “Birds, Books, and Brews” Project illustrates the value of many people and organizations working together in support of a worthy cause. The beneficiaries are all of us who enjoy stronger communities, improved natural spaces, and thriving wildlife.

Do you think your community might be interested in exploring Plants for Birds? Contact us at advocacy@valleyforgeaudubon.org.

October 19, 2021

 

Kennett Square to Host “Plants for Birds” Native Plant Gardens Walking Tour

Valley Forge Audubon’s next “Plants for Birds” pop-up gardens will be installed on September 7th, 2021 in Kennett Square in partnership with Kennett Township, Kennett Square Borough, The Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County, and the Square Roots Collective. The sites for the pop-up gardens include Braeloch Brewing, The Creamery, Kennett Library, and the entrance to the annual Kennett Square Mushroom Festival on September 11th and 12th. In addition, a designated walking loop through the town of Kennett Square includes 15 additional local shops, pubs, eateries, and organizations that will host smaller native plant displays with interpretive signs and information. The loop will also include a permanent streamside native plant demonstration garden that was planted last fall as Phase One of this project. The pop-up gardens will remain in place until September 18th, and during that period a number of interactive activities will engage and educate the community about the importance of native plants for birds, wildlife, clean water, and healthy habitats. These include:

Thursday, Sept 9th‘Intro to Wildlife Gardening’ by Erin Reed Miller, Patterson Park Audubon, MD (Zoom link)

Monday, Sept 13th  ‘Birds, Fish, Watersheds, and Native Plants’ by Vince Smith, Valley Forge Audubon, PA  (Zoom link)

Saturday/Sunday, September 11th/12thMushroom Festival manned project info table at Braeloch Brewing, 225 Birch Street, Kennett Square 19348

Saturday, September 18thClosing Party. 4:00—6 :30pm at Braeloch Brewing, 225 Birch Street, Kennett Square 19348

Sundays – Bird walks at Bucktoe Creek Preserve led by Delaware Nature Society

August 24, 2021

Newtown Square to Install Permanent Native Plant Garden

The Native Plant demonstration Pop Up Garden is finding a permanent home on the grounds of the Township Building. The garden, which was partially funded by Valley Forge Audubon, had been on the move within the Township to inform residents on the importance of having Native Plants for pollinating insects and birds.

On June 14th the Board of Supervisors of Newtown Township voted unanimously to have the garden come back to the Township grounds for permanent installation along with the signage that also highlights the value of Native Plants in the control of rainwater runoff.  A portion of the VFA grant will provide funds to create a Garden for All Seasons by adding the summer and fall blooming Native Plants.

Be an Advocate for Birds!

Your lawmakers care about your views and opinions. As a constituent, you can share your concerns about issues affecting birds, wildlife, and their habitats—and get more attention than lobbyists do!

To learn about current U.S. legislation that supports birds, visit https://www.audubon.org/takeaction.  You can sign up for Audubon’s Action Network on this page.

Three actions you can take now on behalf of birds:

  • Urge your representatives in Congress and President Biden to act quickly to permanently protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where many migrating birds raise their young. You can take this action through the National Audubon website here.
  • Ask your U.S. Senators to ensure that seabirds (including Atlantic Puffins) have enough to eat by supporting the Forage Fish Conservation Act.
  • Interested in joining a group? Read an Overview of the work of Valley Forge Audubon’s Advocacy Committee and check out our Advocacy Position Statements. Contact us at advocacy@valleyforgeaudubon.org

June 10, 2021

Save Birds – Don’t Use Glue Traps for Spotted Lanternflies!

Many people in southeastern Pennsylvania want to get rid of invasive Spotted Lanternflies. Last year a common solution was glue traps. Unfortunately, glue traps (sticky tape on trees) maimed and killed many other species besides Spotted Lanternflies. Victims included woodpeckers, nuthatches, wrens, hawks, bats, squirrels, and beneficial native insects. Even glue tape “protected” with wire or mesh killed birds that poked underneath, attracted by insects stuck to the tape.

Valley Forge Audubon Society’s partner organization, Lehigh Valley Audubon Society, has some good resources on dealing with Spotted Lanternflies without hurting birds and wildlife. Birds have a tough enough time finding food and shelter. Help support their survival by rejecting glue traps.

June 10, 2021

Visit a Native Plant Pop-Up Garden in Newtown Square

Valley Forge Audubon Society (VFAS) uses a variety of strategies to encourage homeowners, businesses, and municipalities to plant the native species that birds and insects need to thrive. One of them is providing resources and expertise for native plant “pop-up” and demonstration gardens in public spaces of collaborating municipalities. The local government of each of the municipalities with which the chapter has partnered has passed a Native Plant Resolution committing them to using native plants whenever possible.

Starting May 5, Valley Forge Audubon and the Newtown Square Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) in Delaware County will install the next of these demonstration gardens at the Township Administration building. On May 8, World Migratory Bird Day, and during the following week, in-person and virtual programs will be held with speakers including VFAS President Vince Smith. A similar project with another native plant pop-up garden is planned at the Kennett Square Borough Library in Chester County in the fall. See https://valleyforgeaudubon.org/native-plants/ for more information on native plants.

Read about the gardens in Newtown Square Friends & Neighbors magazine.

April 15, 2021 (Updated May 13)

Advocacy Committee Members Lobby to Support Birds

Recently, VFAS Advocacy Committee members met with State and National elected officials representing districts within our chapter territory to discuss policies and priorities that support birds, other wildlife, and healthy habitats. In early March Audubon staff arranged “meet-and-greets” with new PA senators and representatives to get to know them and to share Audubon’s perspective on key issues likely to come before the legislature. From March 8 to 12, two VFAS members took part in the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed’s Virtual Hill Week, joining members of many other groups in urging US senators and representatives to support policies that promote clean water for people, birds, and other wildlife. Read our Advocacy Position Statements at https://valleyforgeaudubon.org/advocacy-position-statements/.

April 15, 2021