Local Roots Has Launched!

Local Roots, Audubon NC’s newest Bird-Friendly Communities initiative to bring back native plants that specifically benefit birds and our local economy, was launched on January 8 and 9 at the Green and Growin’ Show with assistance from several members of our own T. Gilbert Pearson chapter.

local_roots_logoThe Local Roots program targets the entire green industry from growers to landscapers, retailers, and gardeners, with the goal of getting a commitment from growers and retailers to grow and sell a select list of native plants each year for the next three years, beginning in 2015. In return for this commitment, Audubon NC provides marketing and education to promote the Bird-Friendly Native Plants of the Year collection.

Bignonia Capreolata; Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia
Bignonia Capreolata; Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia

Using a “collect as you grow” model of marketing, Audubon NC will emphasize the current year’s list of new plants while continuing to market the full list of native plant options. Growers and nurseries that signed on with Local Roots will receive digital tools to help market native plants on their website or social media, including photos of birds and native plants and fast facts.

Contact information for Local Roots growers will be included on a flyer sent to Local Roots retailers, and growers will receive a list of Local Roots retailers. Retailers will receive plant markers to label plants as bird-friendly natives. Audubon NC will also send periodic e-bulletins to growers, retailers, landscapers, and gardeners who want information about our Bird-Friendly Native Plants of the Year and updates on the program.

Audubon Volunteers at the Green & Growin' Show
Audubon Volunteers at the Green & Growin’ Show

Many thanks to T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon volunteers Dennis Burnette, Marie Dow, Barbara Hughes, Jack Jezorek, Margaret Kane, Howard Millican, Lynn Moseley, Deborah Staves, Ann Walter-Fromson, and Peggy Young for their help getting Local Roots launched. Kim Brand, the Bird-Friendly Communities Coordinator for Audubon NC, guided our efforts from set-up time on Wednesday until closing on Friday afternoon; Lena Gallitano from Wake Audubon, who is an Audubon NC board member, volunteered on Thursday afternoon and Friday.

Audubon Volunteers, photo courtesy of Robert Jones
More Audubon Volunteers, photo courtesy of Robert Jones

We were successful in getting 16 growers, retailers, and landscapers signed up to participate in the Local Roots program, and a total of 73 people signed up to subscribe to Local Roots e-news. That’s a great start! We found that nearly all the people we talked with were supportive, interested, or even excited about the the Local Roots program.

Coreopsis Verticillata Photo by L. Chrump courtesy of Wikimedia
Coreopsis Verticillata Photo by L. Chrump courtesy of Wikimedia

Our focus now is to sign up more growers, retailers, and landscapers to participate in Local Roots; they can sign up online at Growers/retailers sign-up. Gardeners who want to get the Local Roots e-bulletin can sign up online at Gardeners sign-up, and soon you will be able to find a list of retailers selling native plants on the Audubon NC website. Here’s the list of 2015 Bird-friendly Native Plants of the Year — which ones will you plant in your yard this year? — Article by Ann Walter-Fromson

Eastern Blue Phlox           Phlox divaricata

Threadleaf Coreopsis       Coreopsis verticillata

Eastern Aromatic Aster    Symphyotrichum oblongifolium

Purple Coneflower           Echinacea purpurea

Switchgrass                     Panicum virgatum

Virginia Sweetspire                    Itea virginica

Winterberry                     Ilex verticillata

Spicebush                        Lindera benzoin

Downy Serviceberry         Amelanchier arborea

Eastern Red Cedar           Juniperus virginiana

                   Piedmont Alternatives

Cross-vine                       Bignonia capreolata

Overcup Oak                    Quercus lyrata

Red Oak                          Quercus rubra



Rescue, Recovery and Release: Wildlife Rehab in the Piedmont

What: T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Society February Program
When: February 12 at 6:45 pm
Where: KCE Family Branch library

Chirp. Chirp. You hear the soft call of a bird on the ground. It’s a baby. You look up and see a nest. Should you return the baby bird to its nest? You have heard that the mother will reject a baby bird if touched by human hands. Is it true? Is the bird injured? If so, whom do you call? How do you transport it?

Our featured speaker will be Melissa Coe, President of Piedmont Wildlife Rehab (PWR), a local cooperative of home-based licensed wildlife rehabilitators. Their mission: to help injured and orphaned wildlife through rehabilitation in order to release them back into a natural habitat. They are also committed to sharing the importance of environmental stewardship and encouraging a better understanding of our local wildlife through educational programs.

Join us for this program to learn about the local wildlife rehabilitated by PWR, answer your questions and maybe have a visit from a surprise animal or two.

Holiday Home for Nuthatches

Make even more homes for nuthatches this season. When you BUY ONE, we GIVE ONE.

The Brown-headed Nuthatch needs your help to find a good home. Our southern birds are losing ground to urbanization and deforestation as North Carolina loses its pine forests.

nuthatchhomefortheholidaysThis holiday season, we are participating in a special promotion with Audubon North Carolina to reach our goal of distributing 10,000 nest boxes for nuthatches by the end of 2014. When you buy one box from a participating local bird store, Audubon will install a second box at a local school, church or park in our community.
Join us in showing your southern hospitality for this quintessential southern bird. Click here to find a participating store near you, and give twice as many nuthatches a cozy place to rest this winter and nest this spring.
Learn more about how you can help Brown-headed Nuthatches in this video.

Making Ours a Bird-Friendly Community

Brown-headed Nuthatch (Photo Credit: Wikimedia)

We had a good turnout for our special meeting on Bird-Friendly Communities on November 18th, and folks offered lots of good ideas on how our chapter can move forward with the Nest Boxes for Nuthatches project and the Bird-Friendly Communities initiative. Lynn Moseley provided an overview of the nuthatch PowerPoint presentation, and Stella Wear gave us an update on our chapter’s efforts to help that quintessential Southern bird, the Brown-headed Nuthatch. To date we have distributed 121 nest boxes and at least 30 metal excluders for turning bluebird houses into nuthatch houses by making the entry hole smaller — if the hole is only 1.25” or 1” in diameter, bluebirds will leave the nest box alone (they can’t fit in!) and will allow other, smaller birds like our nuthatches to nest there in peaceful co-existence.

We currently have placed nest boxes in private yards and public parks. Ideas for other places to locate boxes include schools, retirement homes, and office parks. If you have connections with some place like this that might be willing to put up a nuthatch nest box, please let the Bird-Friendly Communities Team know so we can follow up. We also need people to monitor nest boxes from March to June each year.

Ann Walter-Fromson showed Audubon NC’s “Bird-Friendly Gardening” PowerPoint presentation and talked about why native plants are so important for helping birds (native insects can eat native plants, and insects are what 96% of land birds feed their young in the nest), the different kinds of foods native plants provide for birds, and what else folks can do to make their yards welcoming to birds. As you probably know, Audubon NC produced a beautiful brochure on Native Plants for Birds for each of the three regions of the state (Coast, Piedmont, Mountain) and these are available in Spanish, as well. We discussed where else we could distribute these brochures, and what groups in our community might be interested in learning about Bird-Friendly Gardening. If you know of a scout group, garden club, neighborhood association, school, or church group that would like to hear about Bird-Friendly Gardening, please let us know.

While the brochures and the Bird-Friendly Gardening presentation help to create a demand for native plants, Audubon NC is also working with growers across the state to create a supply of native plants through the Local Roots initiative. We have a special opportunity to assist with that effort by staffing an Audubon NC exhibit at the Green and Growin’ Trade Show at the Greensboro Coliseum on January 8 and 9, 2015. We will talk to growers and encourage them to make a commitment to grow a set of Native Bird-Friendly Plants of the Year in exchange for marketing tools and publicity. Thanks to the seven people who have already signed up to help at the trade show. We still need volunteers for Friday, Jan. 9 in the morning and for an hour in the afternoon. If you have time to spare that day, and would like to help, please contact Kim Brand at kbrand@audubon.org.

For more information on Local Roots, Bird-Friendly Plants, and how to Make a Little Room for the Brown-Headed Nuthatch, visit http://nc.audubon.org. And please, send us your ideas on how we can make Greensboro and Guilford County a more bird-friendly community, and volunteer to help us talk to other groups about native plants and nuthatches and to put up and monitor nest boxes. Together we can accomplish much more!

— Ann Walter-Fromson for The Bird-Friendly Communities Team of Lynn Moseley, Stella Wear & Ann Walter-Fromson