Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170;

February 2020 Prez Sez

Greetings form your co-presidents. It's February already and this is a big election year. Audubon is a player in the political arena at the national, state and even local level. As your representatives we have recently participated in 2 Webinars focusing on issues of the environment. They were both very enlightening and both delivered a political perspective. Both focused on the concerns of birds and the environment. And both provided hope.

As you may have guessed, bills proposed at both the state and national level start out seeming to address a problem by providing opportunities for a solution. But, by the time they reach the floor for a vote many have been watered down and changed so they are not recognizable. The changes may at first seem innocuous enough but on careful examination they  are shown to be almost deadly.

An example of that is the new regulation proposed by the Trump administration to weaken the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 which will put millions of birds in danger. The original Act made it illegal to hunt, kill, capture, possess or sell migratory birds and their feathers, eggs and nests. It called for establishing refuges to protect habitat and monitoring bird populations for conservation. This Act led to the establishment of many conservation organizations, including the Audubon Society. Over 1,000 bird species are now protected. But, under the Trump administrations "change" to the law, Oil and gas companies, construction crews and other organizations that kill birds as a result of their business activities would be free of prosecution. The new law would only apply to hunters and poachers that kill birds illegally. And, unless changes like this are scrutinized by conservation activists they get passed unnoticed and our birds suffer the consequences.

This is just one example of many issues out there that call for our interest, knowledge and action. SEVAS can be a player in this environmental arena. In the coming months we expect to send emails to all on our list with concrete ways to make our voices heard. Some will simply encourage writing letters to your representatives, or speaking at public forums, or some organizing neighbors and friends to also act and/or join forces with other activists at rallies.Please watch your emails from SEVAS. We will do our best to keep you informed. We can all be part of the solution. Thanks for your concern