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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 works with 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 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 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, which sued to prevent the organization from using the Audubon name. 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.
Vision and mission
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.
Audubon International is a membership organization and a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit. Most of the funding for the organization comes from golf courses, who each pay thousands of dollars to become certified, and hundreds of dollars per year for membership. In addition, accordingly to its online list of sponsors, the organization gets funds from turf, irrigation, and landscaping companies.
There is no additional fee for certification in any of Audubon International's programs, and membership fees include the ability to become certified, educational resources and staff guidance.
There are several programs in the organization that help members and non-members alike to understand and help the environment.
Environmental stewardship and management
Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program
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:
- Bakery Feeds, Inc., Centre, AL
- Aurora Sports Park, Aurora, CO
- Amelia Island Plantation, Amelia Island, FL
- Griffin Industries, Inc., Florida
- Kapalua Land Company, Hawaii
Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf
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:
- Bob O'Connor Golf Course at Schenley Park.
- Dwan Golf Club, Bloomington, MN
- The Golf Club at Briar's Creek, Johns Island, SC
- Ocean Winds Golf Course, The Town of Seabrook Island, SC
- Crooked Oaks Golf Course, The Town of Seabrook Island, SC
- The Greenbrier Resort, White Sulphur Springs, WV
- Gull Lake View, Augusta, MI
- Lake Malaren Golf Club, Shanghai, China
- Prairie Dunes Country Club, Hutchinson, KS
- The River Club, Suwanee, GA
- Victoria National Golf Course, Newburgh, IN
- Westfields Golf Club, Clifton, VA
- Wu Fong Golf Course, Taichung, TW
Green Lodging Program
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:
- Hotel Sofitel Chicago Water Tower, Chicago, IL
- Resort, Cedar Grove Lodge, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada (4 Leaves)
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:
- Evergrene, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
- Black Forest at Lake James, Morganton, NC
- www.oitavosdunes.com, Portugal
- Conserve School, Land O' Lakes, Wisconsin
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
Sustainable Communities Program
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:
In addition to these programs, Audubon International also participates in the following:
- Craig Pittman, Audubon groups at odds over names, objectives, St. Petersburg Times, August 7, 2000
- Bale, Rachael; Knudson, Tom (May 14, 2015). "The other Audubon: The one that allows golf courses to kill birds". Reveal. Center for Investigative Reporting. Retrieved 2015-05-15.
- Jones, Diana Nelson (November 19, 2012). "Schenley links in Pittsburgh certified as green". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
- "Muskoka Resorts & Lodge - Waterfront Cottage Rentals Open Year Round". Cedar Grove Lodge | Muskoka Resorts & Lodges, Huntsville Ontario. Retrieved 2018-11-19.