CHARLESTON, S.C (May 16, 2018) – Audubon South Carolina has received a $10,000 grant from the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation in support of its Bird-Friendly Communities program. As part of this initiative, Audubon South Carolina partners with local schools, organizations and communities across the state to build urban oases that will serve as local community learning spaces to support ongoing workshops, trainings and events.
Audubon’s efforts will include the planting of native species to help create and restore productive habitat for birds, pollinators and other wildlife; as well as outreach and education about the importance of native plants to South Carolina’s ecosystem and economy, and efforts to expand the market for bird-friendly native plants in the state. In addition to promoting native plants for birds, awareness and education about bird safety and protection in our communities will be a staple of the educational outreach and programming, not only restoring and creating habitat in our urban and suburban environments but also creating safer places for these birds to thrive.
“We are so grateful for Dominion Energy’s support of this important initiative,” said Audubon South Carolina Executive Director Sharon Richardson. “Where birds thrive, people prosper, and this grant will help us engage, educate and beautify local communities, while providing essential habitat to the birds and wildlife that depend on native plants for survival.”
South Carolina birds depend on South Carolina insects, which in turn, depend on South Carolina trees, shrubs and grasses. A native oak hosts more than 500 types of caterpillars – a staple of the chickadee diet, for example — whereas a non-native tree would host only four types.
In suburban and urban areas, more than 80 percent of plants are non-native. For example, turf grass — the grass you’ll find planted in most lawns – is non-native. As our state experiences a boom in population growth and development, it is important to urge folks to consider planting sustainable, low maintenance native landscaping alternatives local grasses and plants help protect soil integrity and provide increasingly critical food sources for birds.
The benefits of native plants extend beyond the vital habitat they provide for birds and wildlife. Because they are adapted to South Carolina’s climate, they require less water, fertilizer and pesticides than nonnative species; have deep roots that protect soil and create more resilient watersheds and ecosystems; and contribute to healthier communities by providing increased opportunities for people to connect to nature, especially in underserved communities.
When it comes to landscaping, native plants are better than non-native plants because:
Native plants provide insects that birds rely on as a primary food source.
Once established, native plants are extremely easy to maintain.
Native plants are drought tolerant, adapted to our climate, and don't require the addition fertilizers or chemicals when placed in the right locations.
Used at scale, low-maintenance native landscaping can help combat climate change by reducing resource use and pollution.
“We are so impressed by the environmental programs and education efforts of Audubon South Carolina,” said Kristen Beckham, external affairs representative with Dominion Energy. “We are extremely pleased this grant will support its Bird-Friendly Communities program, which will protect and improve natural spaces in the communities we serve. As a company, Dominion Energy believes in a sustainable future by minimizing impacts on the environment. With our footprint continuing to grow in South Carolina, we will continue working to improve natural spaces and to encourage environmental stewardship.”
From efforts in yards, schoolyards, business campuses, parks, and neighborhood greenspaces — Audubon’s Bird Friendly Communities program is growing a rich, connected network of habitat in urban and suburban communities — as well as fellowship among the residents, businesses, students and families participate in their stewardship.
To learn more about Audubon South Carolina’s Bird-Friendly Communities, contact program coordinator Jennifer Tyrrell: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional resources include:
About Audubon South Carolina
Audubon South Carolina protects birds and the places they need, right here in South Carolina, using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. We’re the state office of the National Audubon Society, which has more than one million members and a century-long track record of success. In South Carolina, we represent nearly 20,00 Audubon members and supporters, nine Audubon chapters and bird club partners, two Audubon centers and 22,000 acres of land that we own and manage. Learn more about what we do and how to help at sc.audubon.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @AudubonSc and Instagram at @audubonsc.
About Dominion Energy
Dominion Energy (NYSE: D), headquartered in Richmond, is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy. The Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation is dedicated to improving the physical, social and economic well-being of the communities served by Dominion Energy. The Foundation supports nonprofit causes that meet basic human needs, protect the environment, promote education and encourage community vitality. Since 2003, Dominion Energy has donated nearly $32 million specifically to a wide variety of environmental projects. For more information, visit the company's website at www.DominionEnergy.com.
Angelina Ricci Eisenhauer