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Audubon Convention Lands In Utah

The Great Salt Lake is one of the birding hotspots members of the conservation group, the National Audubon Society, are visiting while in Utah this weekend for their biennial convention.

Field trips are kicking off the National Audubon Society’s convention just after sunrise this morning, as one of the nation’s biggest and oldest conservation organizations gathers in Park City.

One field trip takes visitors to the Gillmor Sanctuary in Grantsville and the South Shore Preserve on the Great Salt Lake.

But this isn’t only about birding.

“You will certainly see some binoculars and wide-brimmed hats this weekend,” says David Ringer, the group’s chief network officer, chuckling. “But you’ll also see people who are working in their communities every day to make ecosystems stronger, to educate kids and to create the world that we want to see for the future.”

The National Audubon Society has about 1.1 million members with four chapters in Utah. About 425 are here to tackle pressing conservation issues big and small.

Singer says humans have known for a long time that birds are a good indicator about the health of the environment. (Remember that old phrase: “canary in the coal mine?”)  So, convention-goers are also talking about everything from providing good habitat in your backyard, to advocating for bird-friendly government policies and solutions for climate change.

“We’ve got a network of people across the Western states who are looking at how to make sure our western water ecosystems and habitats stay healthy, so they can continue to support birds and people alike,” adds Ringer.

And there’s a session on social networking that naturally includes Tweeting.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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