Author Archives: Vince Robinson

Naturally Latinos 4

NEWS ALERT

Naturally Latinos Conference to Showcase Power of Latino Engagement

Otro mundo es possible (Another world is possible) Injects Hope into Climate Narrative

For Immediate Release -- February 24, 2022
For more information contact Lisa Goodnight at lglisagoodnight@gmail.com or 301-523-5394, or ANS Communications Director vince.robinson@anshome.org, or 904-710-8224

CHEVY CHASE - The Audubon Naturalist Society and its partners are proud to announce the dates for the fourth Naturally Latinos Conference (NLC4). Themed “Otro Mundo es posible/Another world is possible,” the event will take place virtually Tuesday, March 22 through Thursday, March 24, with an in-person day on Friday, March 25 at the Silver Spring Civic Center. Saturday, March 26 will include outdoor nature experiences.

“The serious environmental challenges that we face across our region, country, and planet affect us all. The Naturally Latinos Conference is important because it recognizes that all communities need to be part of the solution,” said NLC4 Conference Co-Chair Serenella Linares.

Naturally Latinos and its sister conference Taking Nature Black reflect the pressing need to engage a larger and more diverse community of people who treasure the national world and work to preserve it. Linares said NLC4 “is a place for Latine professionals to come together and have our voices centered and celebrated not only by our community but also by our allies.”

NLC4 session topics will include: "Land Acknowledgement & Indigeneity in the Latinx Community," "Hecho por Manos Verdes, The Role of Latinos in the Watershed Restoration Movement" and "Urban Agriculture: Growing, Sharing, Learning in Community."

Ana Luz Porzecanski, Director of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History, will deliver the opening day keynote presentation. Adam Ortiz, Regional Administrator for EPA's Mid-Atlantic Region (Region 3), will give the closing keynote.

The March 26 outdoor experiences will take place at 10 am ET in the Washington, DC area. Attendees who purchase "Hybrid" tickets will have access to the Friday & Saturday in-person activities. Bilingual English Spanish interpretation will be available. See the full agenda at: Naturally Latinos 2022 | Audubon Naturalist Society (anshome.org)

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Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

ANS Testifies on Proposed Beltway Expansion

ANS TESTIMONY TO MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION (MDOT SHA)

Audubon Naturalist Society’s testimony to Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on the I-495/I-270 Managed Lanes Study Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement.1 

Denisse Guitarra
Maryland Conservation Advocate, Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) 

November 1, 2021

Dear MDOT SHA and FHWA,  

For 124 years, the Audubon Naturalist Society has inspired people to enjoy, learn about and protect nature. ANS demands that last year’s DEIS “No Build” option still remains as the preferred alternative, as the SDEIS still lacks complete studies on environmental justice, climate change, wildlife, and waterways impact, and fails to include transit alternatives. The Managed Lanes highway expansion project pushes far beyond the climate constraints people and the environment are currently experiencing today. The United Nations IPCC report2 released earlier this year makes it clear – we have no time left to get ourselves off of fossil fuels and save as much of our planet as possible.  Maryland and Virginia need a more equitable, transit, and climate-friendly solution to solve our traffic congestion problems. We need excellent transit and not an inch more of car-coddling pavement. ANS demands that MDOT SHA and FHWA do not move forward with the project’s “Preferred Alternative” option.  

The preferred alternative would negatively impact people’s lives and wellbeing. On Chapter 4 of the SDEIS, it mentions that 501 properties would be impacted by the project, the majority of these being residential properties.3  Even more alarming, the SDEIS does not provide details on how communities, especially POC communities, would be impacted by the new bottlenecks on I-270 beyond its intersection with I-370. Equally disturbing, the SDEIS fails to include a complete study of the overall cumulative impacts the project will have on people. Under our four concurrent public health, climate, economic, and social crises, it does not make sense to add more air-polluting lanes. 

Moreover, the preferred alternative listed in the SDEIS does not properly mitigate the negative impacts the highway expansion project will have on air, water, wildlife, and people. The SDEIS, like its predecessor the DEIS, fails to properly account for and provide any solutions and dangerously underestimates the devastating impacts the project will have on people and the environment. The SDEIS fails to consider the mitigation of 1,000,000 sq ft of floodplains and over 186,000 sq ft of wetlands.4 Lacking these critical pieces of information, when climate change is already causing major flooding issues in the region, is completely irresponsible of MDOT SHA and FHWA. In terms of water quality, the SDEIS’s preferred alternative will reduce Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties capacity to reduce and meet its Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) goals. Furthermore, the project will impact 500 acres of forests and 26 acres of Parkland.5 In terms of rare, threatened, and endangered (RTE) species, 41 species are in peril due to the project.6 The irreplaceable destruction the “Preferred Alternative” is expected to have on the environment is so extensive that no built infrastructure could ever replace the natural infrastructure this project would take down, placing  Maryland and Virginia at a higher climate catastrophe risk for the next 50 years.   

ANS and our partners recommend that MDOT SHA and FHWA do not approve the SDEIS’s “Preferred alternative” due to its incomplete, faulty, and deceiving information and instead opt for the “no build alternative” option listed in the DEIS. On behalf of ANS and our 28,000 members and supporters, ANS respectfully requests that MDOT SHA and FHWA to act responsibly and not move forward with the SDEIS’s Managed Lanes Preferred alternative today. 

 

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Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

Map of the proposed expansion of I-495 and I-270

Naming the Future

NEWS ALERT

AUDUBON NATURALIST SOCIETY ANNOUNCES DECISION TO CHANGE ITS NAME

New name will build on strengths of the past and usher in a more inclusive future

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 22, 2021

Media Contacts:  Caroline Brewer at caroline.brewer@anshome.org or Vince Robinson at
vince.robinson@anshome.org

CHEVY CHASE, MD – After listening to the voices of ANS community of members, volunteers, program participants, donors, board and partners, the organization has decided to update its name to signal a new chapter that builds on the strengths of ANS’s past and moves forward toward a stronger, more inclusive future. With temperatures climbing, fires raging, and storms becoming more deadly, it’s clear we cannot address the substantive challenges to nature conservation without engaging with all communities. 

“The mission and vision of the organization have not changed,” said Lisa Alexander, Executive Director of ANS. “The deliberate and thoughtful decision to change our name is part of our ongoing commitment to creating a larger and more diverse community of people who treasure the natural world and work to preserve it. It has become clear that this will never be fully possible with the current name,” she said. 

ANS acknowledges that the art of John James Audubon was a catalyst for bird conservation in our nation, and that the Audubon community has achieved much together over the past century. However, ANS knows that names matter and can cause harm and stress to many members of its community. Retaining the name Audubon without regard to the pain that John James Audubon inflicted on Black people and other people of color is a disservice to the ANS community. 

“This is about more than what we call ourselves,” said Diane Wood, incoming Board President. “We can and must do better to address equity and racial justice in everything we do. We are deeply invested in breaking down barriers and acknowledging our part in an exclusionary past,” she said. 

This name change is part of a process started in 2010, when ANS began to reassess its policies and practices and found that some of  its work did not fully realize its mission to connect everyone to nature in the Washington, D.C. metro region that ANS has a mission to serve. The decision to change the name is due to the organization’s increasingly diverse set of programs and is rooted in its commitment to the communities ANS serves in the DC region.

“Our organization has been on this path for more than a decade,” explained Alan Spears, ANS Board Member. “I appreciate the bravery, steadfastness and willingness to listen to members, staff, partners and allies on this issue, which is about the future of ANS and how we become a better organization.” 

ANS is excited to continue this work, and looks forward to collaboratively changing the organization’s name to one that reflects the growing and rich diversity of the region ANS serves and sends a clear message: Nature needs all of us.

The new name and brand identity will be decided after a deliberate and thoughtful process of listening and learning from the current ANS community as well as the nature lovers that the organization aspires to partner with in the future. 

Learn more at https://anshome.org/namingthefuture

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The Audubon Naturalists Society (ANS) is the oldest independent environmental organization in the Washington, D.C. region. ANS inspires residents of the greater Washington, D.C., region to appreciate, understand, and protect their natural environment through outdoor experiences, education, and advocacy.

Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

NTF Form

Nature Needs All of Us: Join Us!

Three water quality monitors are posing for a photo while standing in a stream.
An ANS educator shows a small bird to a group of young children gathered around her.
Three women, one in a wheelchair, are strolling along the accessible trail at Woodend Nature Sanctuary.
A man is looking up into the trees at Woodend Nature Sanctuary.
Adult students in a Master Naturalist program inspect a plant alongside an ANS instructor.
Two panelists are pictured during a presentation at a recent Naturally Latinos conference
Camp Audubon youth sit on a mountain ledge overlooking a green landscape
Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali talks to the crowd at a recent Taking Nature Black conference
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Participants at an Adult field trip pose for a photo outdoors
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A group of birdwatchers look through binoculars and point to something out of frame
ANS Garden coordinator Jenny Brown poses with a group of students holding vegetables they grew in the garden.
A group of teenage campers walk through a wooded area.
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Bicyclists are riding on a nature trail during an ANS field trip
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Northern VA Advocates Take Action

NEWS ALERT

Climate Change, Inclusivity Top Northern VA Advocates To-Do List

ANS Brings 14 Groups Together to Take Action on Route 1

For Immediate Release: Friday, October 15, 2021
For more information, contact renee.grebe@anshome.org or 703-261-4668 or caroline.brewer@anshome.org

CHEVY CHASE, MD – Saturday, October 16th from 1-4pm, residents living along the Richmond Highway Corridor will come out to the “Day of Action” outside of the Creekside Community Center, 7941 Janna Lee Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22306, to learn how they can become "waterkeepers" and make Richmond Highway a more environmentally friendly, walkable, bikeable, and inclusive place.

The Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) has advocated for improvements along Richmond Highway for years and community engagement is as important as ever as it faces big changes: the drastic widening of the highway, a new bus-rapid transit system, and redevelopment.

Renee Grebe, ANS’s Northern Virginia Conservation Advocate, said, “Through our Water Keepers of Little Hunting Creek program, we’ve partnered with United Community to help residents act on the fact that the health of the stream is directly related to their health. The choices about our land and water directly affect our health. When trees are removed and nature replaced with pavement, the air we breathe is dirtier and our streams – the sources of our drinking water – get polluted.”

United Community’s Director of Community Empowerment, Tamara Cobbs said:: “The Water Keepers program has been a phenomenal asset to the Creekside Community. United Community has seen the families in Creekside take a stronger interest in their watershed. The children of the Creekside Village Community Center have been excited to learn about clean water and combatting climate change. The impact of this project has made a generational shift towards conservation involvement.”

Fairfax County’s Lee District Supervisor Rodney L. Lusk will participate in the day as well, as he celebrates the forthcoming tree plantings: “A healthy, natural environment is directly connected to the health and well-being of all residents. This ‘Day of Action’ will celebrate the incredible benefits of trees: fresh air, clean water, reduced CO2, cooler temperatures and more. Planting trees in targeted areas supports the County’s commitment to create green spaces for all communities. Furthermore, these new trees will provide beauty and enjoyment to adults and children for decades to come.”

A tree can absorb from 760 to 3,000 gallons of water each year. This means that, as storms are getting stronger and more frequent, Little Hunting Creek could see 72,000 fewer gallons of runoff after storms once these newly planted trees are established.

The “Day of Action” brings together ANS and the following 14 community organizations to provide resources to residents to be the voice for improving their neighborhoods:

· Audubon Naturalist Society
· Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture
· Casey Trees
· Fairfax County Communities of Trust
· Fairfax County Health Department providing free Pfizer vaccines
· Fairfax County Neighborhood & Community Services
· Fairfax County Master Gardener Association
· Fairfax County Police
· Fairfax County Urban Forest Management Division
· Fairfax NAACP
· Fairfax County Department of Transportation
· Financial Empowerment Center of South County
· Northern Virginia Soil & Water Conservation District
· United Community’s Opportunity Neighborhood
· Volunteer Fairfax

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Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

ANS Outdoor Party

NEWS ALERT

Accessibility & Sustainability are a thing with Woodend Sanctuary's Grand Opening on October 6 

For Immediate Release - October 4, 2021

For more information, contact: caroline.brewer@anshome.org or lglisagoodnight@gmail.com

Chevy Chase, MD – Whether you run, walk, crawl, fly, hop, use a wheelchair, walker, cane or stroller to get around, you are welcome to ANS’s All-Day Outdoor Party to celebrate the Grand Opening of its remade nature sanctuary October 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Woodpeckers, cardinals, and bluebirds will be there. Wood frogs, Eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies, and bumblebees too. Thousands of new trees, shrubs, native plants and wildflowers will be visible along our new accessible trail and waving at you from our restored meadows and gardens saying, “How do you do?”

New memories will be made and dreams will come true for hundreds of people with disabilities, children looking for places to run wild, and anyone desiring a moment to meditate and just take in the healing view.

Everybody! Everybody! is welcome to join ANS for naturalist-led forest tours, a scavenger hunt, native plant sale, membership and gift shop deals at our grand opening celebration of our $4-million, 3-year-long restoration project, made possible with the support of our members, donors, local, state, and federal officials, and environmental partners.

Learn more about the Grand Opening here: https://anshome.org/grand-opening/

Find video here of the new wildlife and visitors blooming at the sanctuary, https://drive.google.com/file/d/19zSgGZnq7re81Jq_gnX6VQSuhoE3rEUO/view

Contact us to learn more and for a tour before, during, or after the Grand Opening.

Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.

Caroline Brewer

Caroline Brewer is the Director of Marketing, Communications, and Media for the Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) in Chevy Chase, MD. ANS's mission is to inspire residents of the greater Washington, DC, region to appreciate, understand, and protect their natural environment through outdoor experiences, education, and advocacy.

Caroline Brewer

Caroline Brewer is the Director of Marketing, Communications, and Media for the Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) in Chevy Chase, MD. ANS's mission is to inspire residents of the greater Washington, DC, region to appreciate, understand, and protect their natural environment through outdoor experiences, education, and advocacy.

Ms. Brewer is also chairwoman of ANS's Taking Nature Black Conference, which helps elevate awareness of Black Americans’ historic and contemporary contributions to environmental protection and stewardship.

She has more than 20 years of experience in storytelling for good causes as a journalist, public relations professional and children’s book author.

Grady Mitchell

Grady Mitchell is a Roots of Success (ROS) Master Trainer and motivational speaker and consultant with Grady Mitchell Consulting. Mitchell has been a guest speaker on programs hosted by Microsoft, Yale University, Boston College, the Washington (state) Bar Association, and the Rotary Club, among many others.

Grady Mitchell

Grady Mitchell is a Roots of Success (ROS) Master Trainer and motivational speaker and consultant with Grady Mitchell Consulting. Mitchell has been a guest speaker on programs hosted by Microsoft, Yale University, Boston College, the Washington (state) Bar Association, and the Rotary Club, among many others. The ROS curriculum covers a wide variety of environmental issues including land use, waste, energy, transportation, buildings, health, agriculture, urban sprawl, the effects of landfills, and chemical pollution. ROS now offers certified apprenticeships in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor. Mitchell became a ROS instructor in 2013 while serving a life without parole sentence in Washington state prisons.

Mitchell has taught and mentored hundreds of students in the ROS program and trained men incarcerated in Washington’s prisons to teach ROS classes. In January 2021, after Mitchell’s 37-year sentence was commuted, he joined the ROS team, serving as Corrections and Re-Entry Program Director and as an Advisory Board member with the Roots of Success program. Mitchell volunteers for the Washington Department of Corrections in developing volunteer and re-entry policies and continues to mentor.

He is the married father of six and grandfather of a college freshman.

Bekura Shabazz

Bekura Shabazz is a trailblazing environmentalist, community activist, mother, and founder of First Alliance Consulting, LLC, in Chester, VA. She was the first formerly incarcerated Black woman to sit on the following Boards: the Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative, the Virginia Human Rights Network, the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, the Citizens Advisory Council, and the African American Families First and Preservation Association.

Bekura Shabazz

Bekura Shabazz is a trailblazing environmentalist, community activist, mother, and founder of First Alliance Consulting, LLC, in Chester, VA. She was the first formerly incarcerated Black woman to sit on the following Boards: the Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative, the Virginia Human Rights Network, the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, the Citizens Advisory Council, and the African American Families First and Preservation Association.

Shabazz was also the first formerly incarcerated Black woman vice president of the Coalition for Justice for Civil Rights, the first formerly incarcerated Black woman president of the Newport News Chapter of the Coalition for Justice for Civil Rights, the only formerly incarcerated Black woman to run a workgroup within the Virginia Green New Deal (Social Justice and Health Disparities Workgroup), and the first formerly incarcerated Black woman Criminal Justice Chair for the Chesterfield NAACP. Shabazz, in her role as advocate for mother’s rights and family unificaton, is also the first formerly incarcerated Black woman to win cases against Chesterfield Social Services on the wrongful application of CFRs on SNAP cases with children in college, the Hampton Department of Child Support Enforcement, and the Newport News Circuit Courts Office on the issue of suspended driver’s licenses.

Climate Change report

ANS STATEMENT

In response to devastating IPCC report, ANS pushes for "All we can save!"

Statement by Eliza Cava, Conservation Director for the Audubon Naturalist Society on the new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): 

"We might get horribly sad and mad about the news in the IPCC's report out today. And that's okay. In our grief, though, we have an opportunity to think about all we can save – all the animals, plants, places, and humans that we must work our tails off to bring through this crisis as whole as possible. And every action to reduce emissions matters – because every tenth of a degree of warming is worse than the one before. There is nothing too small or too large to do, especially if we do them together. In coming weeks, ANS will be speaking to thousands of members and supporters about the IPCC report and all that we can save. We also, will continue to join our friends in defeating Governor Hogan's ill-advised Beltway expansion plan, which will only exacerbate the climate crisis in our region."

Eliza Cava, ANS Conservation Director, is available for additional comment and an interview: eliza.cava@anshome.org

Caroline Brewer, Director of Marketing, Communications and Media, can be reached at caroline.brewer@anshome.org

Additional resources:

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Follow ANS at: www.Facebook.com/AudubonNaturalistSociety,  www.Twitter.com/ANStweet 
and @ANSNature on Instagram.

 About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region's iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS's nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.