Article Published: Jun. 27, 2013 | Modified: Jun. 27, 2013
The High Country Audubon Society isn’t just looking for birds these days.
If you enjoy nature, categorizing and identify different types of winged wildlife, the Audubon Society could be a welcomed respite from the confusions and frustrations of modern society.
With an already healthy membership base, the local chapter of the state and national organization is looking for new volunteers to help lead programs.
“We have a good, active core of volunteers who lead the walks and organize other things,” said HCAS board president Bob Cherry. “As with any nonprofit organization, we are always looking for volunteers and people to become more actively involved in the organization.”
Cherry said the program might be a good fit for those who enjoy spending time outdoors and are good stewards of nature.
“People who are outside a lot time who are on hikes might hear a noise and wonder, ‘What is that singing?’” Cherry said, describing potential members. “It (bird watching) is one of those things that you can teach yourself with a pair of binoculars or a field guide, but it’s easier if you have people with you. We have monthly walks that we will probably do more often in the summer. We also do other programs on dragonflies and bats to offer something a little different.”
Along with educational programs, the HCAS also gives back to the community through research grants that are available for high school and college students.
Currently, the HCAS offers the Sue Wells Research Grant Program. This program is in support of the organization’s mission statement, which is to encourage beginning birders and experts alike to engage in conservation, education and research for birds of North Carolina, according to the chapter’s website.
This grant was created in 2012 to support local students involved in bird research in the High Country.
The regional affiliate supports membership in Watauga, Wilkes, Ashe, Alleghany and Caldwell counties.
HCAS is affiliated with the National Audubon Society and the North Carolina state chapter.
“Our mission is to encourage people to get out and enjoy the birds, protect the habitat and to educate people,” Cherry said.
Currently, the local chapter supports a membership of 80 people.
“We don’t have that many young members,” Cherry said. “Birding is one of those things most people don’t pick up until later on. We have some retired people, and few bring their kids along, too. A lot of people (members) are just here during the summer. We have a nice mix of people.”