My 6 Favorite Causes (Twelve Days of Favorites, day 7)
Over the years I have been blessed to have been able to learn from and take advantage of the teaching and opportunities created by a number of organizations. Other organizations have fought to protect and preserve things that are important to me in my life. I am lucky to be in a position at this point in my life that I can support those organizations and give something back and pay forward into them so that those that follow me can also benefit the way I have.
These six organizations are the ones doing things that are most important to me, and the ones that I have put the most time and money into over 2019. Each is worthy of your support as well, if you should choose to give something to them.
In August, I kicked off a personal project, the goal of which was to stop getting paper mailings from organizations I donate to, since that’s wasting money I gave them on sending things back to me I don’t want and hate seeing donation money being wasted on. I’ll be doing an update on which organizations I support are doing a good job in January (and which aren’t), but the data I’ve collected has helped me understand which organizations are wasting too much money on sending me things asking for money, and some of those groups will see my donations cut back in 2020 — and that money will be added to what I give to these groups instead.
- Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society: SCVAS is my primary organization and has been for a few years. I’m actively involved with them as a volunteer, chairing their outreach committee, which handles all sorts of things from social media and marketing to volunteer recruitment. I previously also chaired their birdathon committee, which organized the big spring annual fundraiser. I also lead outings a few times a year, and write for the newsletter, the Avocet. And donate money, of course. Why do I do all this? Because it is an organization strongly committed to making changes on a very local basis, iwth boots on the ground trying to protect the birds and their habitats around us, and we’ve been seeing some nice successes including new regulations about bird-safe building design in some cities and the recent agreement to buy and protect a significant chunk of land in Coyote Valley by the City of San Jose in conjuntion with POST. I’ll be continuing to work with the organization for the next year or more, because the birds around me are important to me and this is the group focusing on helping them here, where I live.
- Audubon National Organization: I also support the National Audubon organization. The national chapter has a strong focus on lobbying efforts, advocacy and education on the national stage. They have also been very active in trying to bring the younger generations into the birding fold with some good success. It should be noted that very little money shifts from the national organization to the local chapters, so if you have a local chapter, I’d encourage you to donate to them as well (as I do).
- San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory: SFBBO is another bird-related organization here in the bay area, with a focus on creating science and doing outreach to help support the birds in the area, especially along the edge of San Francisco Bay. They are actively involved in ongoing educational actitivies as well as working on habitat protection and restoration, and have a number of ongoing science study programs going on to help monitor the health of the bay and understand what needs to be done to improve our area for the birds and for us. This is another organization I’ve done volunteer work with in the past, and there is a project we’ve discussed we may try to kick off in 2020.
- Nature Conservancy: Mature Conservancy is the group I’ve been donating to the longest, over 17 years now. Their work involves protecting land, rivers and ocean areas through acquistion or through negotiating agreements; exploring ways to support this planet and make adequate food and water available to all sustainably, and increasingly over the last few years, searching for ways to tackle the ongoing climate change crisis through science, advocacy and taking direct action where it can.
- International Bird Rescue: International Bird Rescue is the organization that gets involved when birds are injured or get sick along the California coast. They will capture them if they can or accept them from others who have picked them up, and then care for and rehabilitate them until they can be released back into the wild. They are a primary rescue and care giver for birds when there are major disasters such as oil spills. One recent example of their work: A huge tree that was being used as a nesting site for egrets and other birds new Lake Merritt in Oakland collapsed, spilling birds and nestlings out onto the sidewalks. over 90 birds were rounded up and taken to IBR facilities for care. The first group of rehabilitated birds were released in July, and care of this group is continuing as they raise the chicks and prepare them all to be returned to the wild.
- Marine Mammal Center: What International Bird Rescue does for birds, the Marine Mammal Center does for the aquatic mammals that inhabit the coast, including sea otters, seals and sea lions. This organization is dedicated to caring for and returning to the wild as many of the injured and sick animals as it can, and when you stop and think about it, keeping an elephant seal supplied with fish is not cheap.
There’s still a few days to leave any of these organizations a donation before the end of 2019. Please consider doing so, as I’ve worked with them all for years, and I believe they are all worthy of our continuing support.
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