Although the world has changed dramatically since last December, some things still remain constant at Silver Bluff. Bald Eagles can be seen soaring over the stork ponds as they nest, the toy-like squeak of Brown-headed Nuthatches echoing in the woods nearby. A passionate team committed to working every day to protect our birds and the places they need. And dedicated supporters like you, who make this important work possible. Your tax-deductible donation is critical to fulfilling our mission.
When the pandemic stopped our world in its tracks, our team rose to meet the moment. We found new ways to share the joy of birds and nature with people, even as we sheltered at home.
For the first time in 35 years, we moved our annual Storks & Corks event to a digital format, allowing thousands of people from around the world to gather online to witness the spectacle that is the annual return of hundreds of Wood Storks and other wading birds, which stop by Silver Bluff’s managed ponds to feast on bluegill, catfish, and bass on their southward migrations (it costs on average $127 per year to feed a stork visiting Silver Bluff). Sponsor a stork today and help keep our feathered friends full and healthy on their journey south!
Because of your support, we were able to bring national attention to the work we’ve done to restore populations of this once federally-listed species, while accomplishing other important projects at Silver Bluff and across the state, including:
- Continued management of Audubon South Carolina’s 22,000 acres of land using bird and climate-friendly practices to ensure the protection and restoration of vital habitat for birds as they live out their life cycles, which is the primary goal of Audubon’s Healthy Forests initiative. At Silver Bluff, this includes the installation of five artificial Red-cockaded Woodpecker nest cavities this past summer, with the hope that the birds will nest in them this upcoming spring and the development of a management plan for Silver Bluff’s bottomland hardwoods, which represents critical habitat for many species including Swainson’s Warblers. In May and June of 2021, we will begin deploying geolocators and nanotags on Swainson’s Warblers to better gauge population health and improve our conservation planning. Swainson’s Warblers are among the rarest and most secretive warblers that nest in the Carolinas, and are a priority species for Audubon’s bird-friendly forestry work at Silver Bluff.
- Maintaining Silver Bluff’s 5.75 miles of trail systems, ensuring that Aiken area residents and visitors had a safe way to get outside and enjoy nature throughout the pandemic. We are also preparing to install automatic gates at the sanctuary by year’s end, which will allow us to extend our hours for visitors. For the first time, the public will be able enjoy the sanctuary seven days a week.
- Working to provide a better experience for visitors, educators and students with the addition of a pavilion, picnic area and outdoor classroom, demolishing the defunct classroom trailer and clearing sweet gum trees to open the main sanctuary campus to a spectacular view of our native plant gardens and Longleaf pine stand, and adding a rain garden that will provide a demonstration site for individuals interested in adding one to their own property. Rain gardens serve as a flooding deterrent, keeping pollutants out of our waterways. We’re also making great progress on a beautiful outdoor mural that we can’t wait to show you.
We’re excited for the work we’ve accomplished in 2020, and even more so for what’s in store for the new year.
Birds need us now more than ever and there’s no time to lose, so I hope we can continue to count on your partnership into 2021 with a gift to support our work at Silver Bluff Center and Sanctuary.
100% of your donation to Silver Bluff stays at Silver Bluff!
Thank you for all that you do for Audubon. On behalf of all of us at Silver Bluff Center and Sanctuary and Audubon South Carolina, we are deeply grateful for your ongoing commitment to birds and the places they need.
Warm wishes to you and yours during the holiday season and new year.