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Green Bay Audubon chapter takes part in National Audubon D.C. Fly-In

The UW-Green Bay Audubon Student Conservation Chapter, which has been recognized as the first Audubon college chapter in the nation, participated in a “fly-in” hosted by the National Audubon Society in Washington, D.C., April 10-12, 2019. The purpose of the fly in was to put people who are passionate about birds and conservation in front of lawmakers in order to advocate for solutions to the seabird and forage fish crisis.

National Audubon provided scholarships for a select number of individuals across the nation, including five students from UW-Green Bay who are Audubon Student Conservation Chapter members, to advocate for seabirds. Attending were:

  • Tara Hohman, Environmental Science and Policy Graduate Student, Mansfield, Tex.
  • Jade Arneson, Environmental Science and Policy Graduate Student, Newton, Wis.
  • Megan Hoff, Environmental Science and Policy Graduate Student, Sleepy Hollow, Ill.
  • Demetri Lafkas, Environmental Science and Policy Graduate Student, Marquette, Mich.
  • Mari Mitchells, Biology, Madison
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UW-Green Bay students prepare to meet Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin and others on behalf of Audubon.

“I think I could easily speak for everyone by saying it was a such a wonderful learning experience,” Hohman said. “We worked with amazing staff from Audubon’s D.C. Campaign crew, and were trained on advocating and interacting with congressmen. We all have a better understanding of how much work the politics of advocating and introducing a bills to the house is!”

“Seabirds have declined by 70% on a global scale in the last 60 years due to over fishing of forage fish, which acts as the primary food source for seabirds, as well as the rapidly warming ocean waters which is driving forage fish to go deeper in search for cold water. Currently there is no federal management of forage fish despite forage fish being a key component of the ocean ecosystem.”

National Audubon is asking lawmakers to take the crisis of seabird decline and climate change impacts on the oceans seriously and to pass federal legislation that manages forage fish in a way that is sustainable, takes the needs of seabirds into consideration and prepares us to live in a warming world.

In the photo above, from left to right: Tara Hohman, Mari Mitchell, Demetri Lafkas, Jesse Walls (senior director of Government Affairs for Audubon), Megan Hoff and Jade Arneson.

Story by Marketing and University Communication intern Alicia LeBoeuf