Creating Bird-Friendly Communities is one of five major strategies in National Audubon Society’s new strategic plan and will be implemented across the country. Audubon North Carolina has received a $40,000 Toyota TogetherGreen Innovation Grant to expand the Bird-Friendly Communities Program across the state. The goals are to educate North Carolina residents about how they can make an impact in their own backyards and neighborhoods and to give them the tools to do so. Forsyth Audubon’s own Kim Brand is Bird-Friendly Communities Coordinator for the statewide effort, and she was awarded a $10,000 TogetherGreen fellowship to lead a local partnership between our chapter and Habitat for Humanity to revitalize one of our own urban neighborhoods for birds and people.
Local efforts focused on the Boston-Thurmond neighborhood of Winston-Salem just north of downtown. It is a focal neighborhood for Habitat’s revitalization initiative. Community partners, including Forsyth Audubon and Habitat, joined forces to create six bird-friendly yards and two public area habitats to provide the range of food sources birds need to succeed during migration, nesting season and throughout the year. Volunteers gathered to landscape two yards near Paisley Middle School with bird-friendly native plants provided by volunteers and with funds generously donated by the Little Greens Garden Club. Audubon member Susan Andrews and Habitat volunteer Diane Evans came up with the landscape design. The first-time homeowners were thrilled about the results and ready to be dedicated caretakers.
Forsyth Audubon continues to be active in this partnership planting Native Plants at the campus and individual homes, offering educational events regarding birds and conservation, installing bird houses, and leading discussions regarding solar energy for Habitat homes. The rain garden and wetland project has been a success with the vast majority of plants surviving and thriving through this hot summer. Plant adjustments will be made this fall as needed. It is functioning as expected to hold storm water and filter it before entering a stream.
All involved have been quite pleased including our bird, butterfly, and pollinator friends. Recent additions have been a chimney swift tower, bird houses and vegetable garden beds. One of our planting days at Habitat Forsyth was truly a community partnership, with volunteers from Wells Fargo, Habitat Forsyth, Audubon North Carolina, and Forsyth Audubon. This video shows how rewarding these partnerships can be, and the importance of bird-friendly gardening. Check out the video.