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Steve is Audubon Pennsylvania's AAH Coordinator.
Featured Library Items
The Audubon Society Guide to Attracting Birds: Creating Natural Habitats for Properties Large and Small, Second Edition
In a book long awaited by landscapers, birders, gardeners, and naturalists, Stephen W. Kress provides a practical, comprehensive, and thoroughly illustrated guide to attracting birds to any property, be it a small patch of land in the city or a showplace countryside garden, a median strip or an e...
National Audubon Society North America Birdfeeder Guide
This is an extensive guide to attracting and observing backyard birds. It explains how to plant a bird-friendly garden, understand bird behavior and identify common North American backyard birds. It includes ample information on attracting birds, with tips on installing hanging birdfeeders, de...
Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants (Updated and Expanded)
In simple terms, this book connects the dots and makes it clear that increasing native insect biomass with native plants is the glue that holds together the web of life in the homemade habitat. Available at most book retail sources.
Noah’s Garden: Restoring the Ecology of our Own Backyards
A beautifully written examination of why restoring habitat on our properties is so important and how it can replace traditional landscaping practices which create a disconnect. If nothing else, read the first 100 pages and you will have a new perspective on your yard. Available on retail book we...
Planting Noah’s Garden: Further Adventures in Backyard Ecology
The follow-up to Noah’s Garden, the how-to’s on welcoming life back into the yard. Available on retail book websites, some retail book locations, and at some nature centers.
Backyard Conservation: Bringing Conservation From the Countryside to Your Backyard
Whether you have rural acreage, a suburban yard, or a city lot, you can help protect the environment and add beauty and interest to your surroundings. “Backyard Conservation" shows how conservation practices that help conserve and improve natural resources on agricultural land across the countr...
More Wildlife on Your Land: A Guide for Private Landowners
This handy book is full of great information geared to landowners with large acreage and/or working land (agricultural or ranch) who would like to provide for and protect wildlife.
The Woods in Your Backyard: Learning to Create and Enhance Natural Areas Around Your Home
A publication of the Natural Resource, Agriculture, and Engineering Service of the Cooperative Extension, Ithaca, NY. An excellent spiral bound workbook with reader-friendly information on land management, worksheets, and checklists including breakdown of trees and their relative wildlife value....
Landscaping with Native Plants in the Mid-Atlantic Region, 2nd edition
Manual for gardening with native plants for the Middle-Atlantic region.
Terrestrial & Palustrine Plant Communities of Pennsylvania
An in-depth breakdown of plant communities found in Pennsylvania specific to particular physiographic regions.
Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants
A book full of colorful photographs that profiles common invasive plants (national) and the native alternatives to take their place.
Win-Win Ecology: How the Earth’s Species Can Survive in the Midst of Human Enterprise
This book describes reconciliation ecology, “the science of inventing, establishing, and maintaining new habitats to conserve species diversity in places where people live, work, and play.” Available at retail book websites.
Audubon At Home Web Page
Audubon Pennsylvania offers a comprehensive approach to conservation that achieves measurable results.
Sustainable Forestry Fact Sheet
Two-page fact sheet about sustainable forestry for the benefit of birds and other wildlife. Information covers selective cutting, stewardship practices, composition of forest for nesting birds and forest health, and implementation tips.
Managing Deer for Ecosystem Health Fact Sheet
Two-page deer management guide for landowners including information on predator-prey balance and tools and options available to private landholders.
Planning for Grassland Birds Fact Sheet
Two-page fact sheet for landowners, planners, and others to maintain grassland birds, which have declined in recent years. Information covers causes of decline, importance of agricultural lands, amount of land needed for nesting, and what landowners and planners can do to help.
Protecting Against Woolly Hemlock Adelgid Fact Sheet
Two-page fact sheet on this aphid-like creature that feeds on hemlock trees. Information includes a description of the pest, its life history, and what landowners can do to help control and eliminate the woolly hemlock adelgid.
Exotic Invasive Vines Fact Sheet
Two-page fact sheet that includes a description of invasive vines; how they are introduced to an area; why they are a threat to forests, birds, and other wildlife; invasive vines in Pennsylvania; their impact on the ecology of natural areas; how landowners can control and eliminate them; and nati...
Phil Wallis, Pennsylvania Audubon Society, is the primary author of this tool.
Nothing contained in this or any other document available at ConservationTools.org is intended to be relied upon as legal advice. The authors disclaim any attorney-client relationship with anyone to whom this document is furnished. Nothing contained in this document is intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to any person any transaction or matter addressed in this document.
Copyright © is held by the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Text may be excerpted and reproduced with acknowledgement of ConservationTools.org and the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association.
Audubon At Home provides tools to improve yards -- whether they be at home, work, school or play -- so that people, birds and other wildlife can thrive.
Audubon At Home (AAH) and its Bird Habitat Recognition Program (BHR) provide techniques for: (1) improving backyard habitat at any property scale, and (2) increasing the understanding and appreciation of the connection between human-influenced landscapes and the conservation of common birds. These programs are managed by Audubon Pennsylvania.
AAH offers tools and techniques through its website audubonathome.org and direct, professional trainings and assessment to property owners. Its purpose is to assist property owners to alter or improve land use in ways that invites nature. AAH presents a perspective that allows a harmonious and beneficial existence of people with natural, native plant and wildlife communities.
Participants may utilize the resources that AAH/BHR provides, including: web, personal contact (such as Audubon Advisors and public presentations) other avenues of communication, partnership programs with Audubon Chapters and other environmental organizations. Newly-gained knowledge may influence personal choices that are intentionally ecological and support bird populations in urban, suburban, and rural communities.
National Audubon Society created Audubon At Home in 2002. Publications and web content were developed in subsequent years with some localized efforts taking place in Ohio, Northern Virginia, and California. Pennsylvania hired dedicated AAH staff in January 2007 to implement a state-wide effort and facilitate partnerships with environmental organizations, schools, parks and workplaces. With its simple ethos and focus on birds, AAH has quickly been embraced by a variety of audiences and partners.AAH has helped several hundred property owners throughout the state transform land into habitat with emphasis on native plant communities that provide for birds while also reducing chemical pollutants. Several schools and parks in the state have created educational demonstration gardens. AAH has helped other environmental organizations by co-hosting events such as native plant sales, leading programs and presentations at nature centers and other facilities, and co-sponsoring conferences and other events. BHR has created a network of “birdscapers” and trained professional advisors throughout the state, assessing properties in the urban environs of city centers to large-acre properties in rural counties.A cohesive message espousing the benefits of habitat gardening has gained a presence in the state due to AAH and has improved bird habitats where people live, work, and recreate.
Typical End Users
- Property owners of any kind and size of property seeking better resource management techniques and property recognition
- Land trusts seeking to engage property owners in better natural resource management and ongoing recognition
- Schools administrators, students, teachers, and parents at elementary, middle, high school, and universities
- Park authorities, including municipal, state, federal
- Corporations seeking to improve native plant species on their campus and potentially reduce operating costs
- Nature centers and preserves implementing a natural resource management plan
- Townships wanting to advance recognition of local Audubon Important Bird Areas
- Audubon Chapters and other environmental organizations desiring local programming
- Enhancement and extension of natural areas and Important Bird Areas: For those properties within or in the vicinity of natural areas, preserved land, or Important Bird Areas, AAH will improve the best management practices at many property sizes and scales by engaging people to become better stewards within a natural area around a recognizable and attractive feature – birds.
- Improved “backyard habitat” for birds: By landscaping with ecological intent, property owners can increase their carrying capacity for common bird species. Better management of natural resources will yield greater nest success for breeding birds, better survivorship of winter residents, and increased utilization by migrating birds.
- Ecological Literacy and Property Owner Recognition: Fostering an understanding of the natural world and the human connection to it will have positive, long-term impacts on conservation through future decisions and actions.
What You'll Need
- Property that can be improved or transformed into habitat.
- A desire to “go natural” and plant natural species in one’s garden and landscape. This will challenge one’s use of showy non-native plants and shrubs and accept the concepts of landscaping for birds.
- A desire to seek knowledge of and then accumulate best management tools and techniques regarding native plants to nurture birds, their allies, and what they need to survive.
Obstacles and Challenges
- User and public acceptance of a different perspective on what “beautiful” means and the practices this new perspective entails.
- The availability of native plant materials, learning about them, and the associated costs with implementation. While readily found, native plants take a bit more effort than standard exotic landscape plants commonly found at commercial nurseries and retail outlets.
- The dangers posed to birds on human-influenced landscapes (plate glass, cats, pesticides, etc.)
Contents of Main DescriptionTargeted Guidelines
Audubon At School
Bird Habitat Recognition
Audubon At Home is a means to an end – the improvement of all backyards whether they be at home, work, school or play so that birds and all wildlife can thrive in a healthy environment. It provides simple information backed by scientific evidence which supports the ethos to encourage people to transform property and their thinking. It’s attractive to a wide audience because, in general, people enjoy birds and would like to see more of them. AAH’s message of bird conservation offers ways to not only attract and support birds, but to sustain them. At the same time, people are rewarded with a connection to nature just outside their door. With a bit of knowledge and enthusiasm, people can make a difference by embracing a “green” perspective on their landscape. Just as the desire for “organic” foods have dictated the market, AAH hopes to increase the desirability of native plants, organic amendments, and information about sustainable landscaping and consumer choices. There are several key components of Audubon At Home that can help fulfill the needs of other conservation organizations:
AAH/BHR resources and alliances offer concise guidelines to a general audience to better understand the natural world and their connection to it. By visiting the website or contacting Audubon Pennsylvania, these resources can be made available to partners.
Audubon At School
AAH assists schools in the creating/enhancement of bird habitat on the campus of each facility. The assistance includes on-site evaluation of the property, recommendations for planting, help in securing plant material, and linking the habitat garden and its use with state ecological standards to fulfill curricular requirements. Audubon encourages schools to also partner with local conservation organizations as part of a committee or team to create a practical project. When available, Audubon offers financial resources to help begin the process of property transformation and a third, non-profit partner is necessary for this dynamic. Partnerships are sought to advance this program.
Audubon's partnership with the Friends of the Wissahickon and the Morris Arboretum to train volunteers to conduct backyard assessments has been a success endeavor and needs to be duplicated throughout the state. This invaluable service helps people learn about private land use issues and learn about simple things they can do to improve their ecological footprint. Having site-based face-to-face experiences has become an important feature of Audubon At Home. Audubon is seeking other partners to advance the Advisor program.
Bird Habitat Recognition
BHR is a way for people to gain recognition from a 100 year-old conservation organization in response to the action they’ve taken on their property. As a result, they gain exposure to other “birdscapers” (through a listserv), news (through quarterly newsletters) and events (posted on website) that will help them in their quest to gain better knowledge about their natural world and its management. They are provided with a yard sign intended to raise awareness in their community. Audubon is able to track the actions and needs of the BHR constituency. This tool can be promoted by partners to help facilitate their own conservation agenda and celebrate the good work of its members and constituents.
Audubon Pennsylvania offers expert presentations on bird conservation and converting property owner’s yards. These presentations are often custom-tailored to fit the conservation agenda of requesting organizations.
For more information, visit http://audubonathome.org.