Audubon International

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Audubon International is a not for profit 501(c)(3) environmental education organization based in Troy, New York. Established in 1987, the organization has helped thousands of communities, developments, resorts and golf courses in 36 countries to plan and implement sustainable natural resource management practices, as well as receive public recognition (through rigorous certification processes) for employing sound environmental stewardship. It is the first organization to work extensively with the golf industry on sustainability issues, and has a long history of partnering effectively with industry associations such as the United States Golf Association (USGA).

The organization has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other members of environmental community for enabling facilities adopt design and operations practices that are consistent with principles of sustainability. Central to Audubon International's core value system is the belief that voluntary education and certification programs can simultaneously advance ecological, economic and social goals.

The organization is not affiliated with the National Audubon Society. Some have suggested that it is using the Audubon name to confuse consumers, potential donors and program members.[1] However, proponents of the organization's work emphasize that Audubon International does not advocate transferring wildlife habitat (or other naturalized areas) into golf courses, residential areas, or other forms of development. Instead, Audubon International works with property managers to avoid or minimize the negative environmental impacts of development and other land use practices on those properties for which development already exists or is going to soon exist. The National Audubon Society sued to prevent the organization from using the Audubon name, but in 1991 a judge ruled that the National Audubon Society did not hold an exclusive right to the name Audubon, and had not shown that the use of the name by Audubon International was causing confusion.[2] The relationship between Audubon International and the National Audubon Society has since improved, and the two organizations have begun to identify opportunities for collaboration on projects of mutual conservation interest.

Vision and mission[edit]

The mission of Audubon International is to deliver high-quality environmental education and facilitate the sustainable management of land, water, wildlife, and other natural resources in all places people live, work, and play.

Through education, technical assistance, certification, and recognition, Audubon International facilitates the implementation of environmental management practices that ensure natural resources are sustainably used and conserved. Audubon International is able to positively impact environmental health at multiple geographic scales, including individual properties, communities, and ecoregions. In fact, throughout its history, Audubon International has enrolled over 3,000 properties (including golf courses, cemeteries, ski areas, housing developments, hotels, and many others) and communities in its rigorous certification programs. The organization has been successful due in large part to its successful relationships with a wide range of interested partners, including small businesses, large corporations, academic institutions, fellow not-for-profits, community associations, local governments, and state and federal agencies.


There are several programs in the organization that help members and non-members alike to understand and help the environment.

Environmental stewardship and management[edit]

Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program[edit]

This program focuses on helping companies and organizations learn about what they can do to help manage their surroundings that will in turn enhance their efficiency and conservation efforts. Audubon International will focus on many things, including: Energy and Water Conservation, Waste Management, Wildlife and Habitat Management and Outreach and Education.

Some of the developments that have received this certification are:

Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf[edit]

Similar to the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, this program works solely with golf courses and helping them to create environmentally friendly areas while still having great places to play golf. It also focuses on: Environmental Planning, Wildlife and Habitat Management, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, Water Quality Management and Outreach and Education. The entire process can take 1 to 3 years to complete.

There are over 2,110 golf courses that participate in this program in 24 countries.

Some of the courses that have earned this certification are:

Green Lodging Program[edit]

This program works with hotels to ensure that they are using green practices in their upkeep and everyday running of the establishment. It helps with cost savings, conservation, cost avoidance and the ability to increase market share. It also awards one of four precious metal designations (bronze, silver, gold or platinum) as part of its eco-rating.

Some of the hotels that have earned this certification are:


Signature Program[edit]

This program works with new housing developments and helps them to create living areas that are environmentally sound. There are three levels to this program: gold, silver and bronze with gold being the top of the list. After completing the program, a development can receive, among other things, certification as an Audubon International Sanctuary.

Some of the developments that have received this certification are:

Classic Program[edit]

This program is similar to Audubon Signature Programs, but it is for established developments that are either being redeveloped or restored or simply want to make their areas more environmentally friendly. There are some minimum requirements and a development will not get certification until they pass a final audit.

Community planning and engagement[edit]

Sustainable Communities Program[edit]

This program works with communities to ensure that they are great places to live, work and play. There are two different tracks: Public Sector and Private Sector. The public sector is geared towards the local government while the private sector is more for properties run by an association, landlord or other such private entrepreneur.

Some of the communities that have received this certification are:

Other programs[edit]

In addition to these programs, Audubon International also participates in the following:


  1. ^ Stephen C. Grigory, Audubon International Golf Course Farce, Hill Country Water website
  2. ^ Craig Pittman, Audubon groups at odds over names, objectives, St. Petersburg Times, August 7, 2000
  3. ^ Jones, Diana Nelson (November 19, 2012). "Schenley links in Pittsburgh certified as green". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 19, 2012. 
  4. ^

External links[edit]

Audubon International

Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program

Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf

Green Lodging Program

Signature Program

Sustainable Communities Program