INDIANA (August 12, 2021) – Today, Congressman Jim Baird (R-IN-04) and his son Indiana State Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle) went birdwatching with Audubon Great Lakes on the Baird’s family farm in west-central Indiana to discuss the impact of climate change on birds, and the importance of bipartisan climate and conservation solutions for all Hoosiers.
A rich agricultural state, more than 80 percent of Indiana’s land is devoted to farms, forests and woodlands. Located within the Mississippi Flyway, Indiana is part of an important migration corridor that brings hundreds of bird species to the state each year. Audubon’s science found that rapidly changing climate could lead to population declines and local extinctions for as many as 27 percent of Indiana’s birds if species are unable to adapt. Common sense solutions to climate change, like the Growing Climate Solutions Act, can help protect the majority of birds at risk.
“Farmers are the original environmentalists. I’m proud to support bipartisan solutions to climate change like the Growing Climate Solutions Act, which would help farmers and ranchers in our communities leverage the sustainable practices that they already use to boost our rural economies to further protect the environment for birds and people,” said Congressman Jim Baird. “I’m grateful to Audubon Great Lakes for surveying the birds that live here on our family farm and for their conservation efforts across Indiana. I look forward to continuing our work together on bipartisan solutions that are smart for the economy and our environment.”
Marnie Urso, Senior Policy Director for Audubon Great Lakes, Adam Forrer, Policy Director, Climate for Audubon Great Lakes, and Andrew Mills, Vice President for Political Affairs for National Audubon Society led the bird walk. They were accompanied bird experts Stephanie Beilke, Conservation Science Manager at Audubon Great Lakes, Nick Gabry, President of Wabash Valley Audubon Society, and Susan Ulrich, Board Member, Sycamore Audubon Society.
During the bird walk, the group saw Indigo Buntings, Red-Winged Blackbirds, heard the croaking calls of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo and kept an eye out for Pileated Woodpeckers that are frequent visitors to the farm. They also made a visit to the resident Bald Eagle nest. The emblem bird of the United States, the Bald Eagle has made an incredible comeback in many areas since the 1970s thanks to conservation efforts and the banning of the pesticide DDT. Audubon Great Lakes discussed conservation solutions that can help protect birds like eagles and their breeding habitat for generations to come.
Much of Audubon Great Lakes’ conservation work, including its plan of protecting and restoring more than 8,000 acres of wildlife habitat in Indiana alone, is made possible through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). Audubon thanked Congressman Baird for supporting the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act, which allows Congress to increase the GLRI funding incrementally from $300 million to $475 million by 2026.
“Audubon Great Lakes thanks Congressman Jim Baird and Rep. Beau Baird for going on a bird walk with us today to discuss solutions that will protect birds across Indiana, and for supporting policies like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act and the Growing Climate Solutions Act,” said Urso. “Further investments in common-sense bipartisan solutions at the state and federal level are crucial for building a healthy future for all Hoosiers and we look forward to continuing to work with them on common-sense solutions to protect birds and people.”
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive.