Main Picture
audobon logo THE BEGINNING

During the late 1880s, in response to the vast destruction of birds in the name of fashion, George Bird Grinnell, editor of Forest and Stream Magazine, began the first Audubon Society. The fanciful style of wearing bird feathers in hats and bird wings on coats nearly caused the extinction of several species. To change this fashion trend, Grinnell used his magazine to organize a national bird protection organization. Grinnell was greatly influenced by John James Audubon's passion for birds and felt that "Audubon" would be a fitting name for the movement. Grinnell also felt the best way to create change was to encourage the collective action of individuals. He urged women to pressure the fashion industry by signing pledge cards that promised they would refrain from wearing bird feathers and men promised to shoot birds only for consumption. In order to have the greatest impact and reach as many people as possible, he helped form small, grassroots groups dedicated to bird preservation throughout New York and other states. Massachusetts Audubon was formed in 1896, followed by New York State Audubon in 1897. During the next five years, thirty-five Audubon Societies were incorporated and later joined to form a loose coalition of independent state groups. As with most social and political movements, there were changes in direction, focus, and structure over the years. In the 1940s, a small group of individuals decided to form a separate organization that would focus on issues they felt were beyond the scope of individual state Audubon Societies. This organization, then called the National Association of Audubon Societies, is what we now know as the National Audubon Society.


Today, there are more than 500 Audubon Societies in the United States, and many more in other countries around the globe. Each of these groups is independent and separately incorporated and each is free to establish its own goals, develop its own programs, and take positions regarding environmental issues. In Canada, the Canadian Nature Federation was known as Audubon Canada until it adopted its current name in the early 1970's.

The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System of Canada, and our U.S. affiliate - Audubon International, as well as the state Audubon Societies of New York, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Illinois, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and the Audubon Naturalist Society are not affiliated with the National Audubon Society.

The diversity of Audubon Societies is not meant to confuse the public. Rather, it serves to broaden public involvement and increase the number of approaches taken to enhance and protect the environment.


Audubon International arose from the Audubon Society of New York, and was created to help expand efforts for sustainable resource management throughout the United States and internationally. The Mission of Audubon International is: improve the quality of the environment through Research, Education, and Conservation Assistance.

The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System (ACSS) was developed by the Audubon Society of New York in 1991. This program is now under the Direction of Audubon International. The goal of the ACSS is to educate and encourage landowners and land managers to become actively involved in protecting and enhancing wildlife habitats and conserving and sustaining natural resources on their own properties. Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Programs (ACSP's) designed for golf courses, schools, businesses, and backyards provide conservation assistance specific to the unique location, resources, and needs of each site.

Audubon Signature Program provides comprehensive environmental planning assistance to landowners around the world with projects in the design and development stages. Audubon International staff work with owners, architects, consultants, and managers from the design stages through construction. Once completed, Audubon staff help to establish a maintenance program that focuses on sustainable natural resource management. The Signature Program focuses on wildlife conservation and habitat enhancement, water quality management, waste reduction and management, energy efficiency, and water conservation. Projects that receive Signature Status are valuable demonstration sites for sustainable resource management.

Siena-Audubon Institute was formed in 1996 as a partnership between Siena College in Loudonville, NY and Audubon International. The Institute=s mission is to improve our ability to manage wildlife and habitat resources on properties that are, or may be, actively used for development. The Institute conducts scientific research to discover appropriate management practices and trains future resource managers through an environmental science major at Siena College. Members of the ACSS can take advantage of the biological and technical expertise and environmental planning assistance of Institute staff on a fee-for-service basis. ACSS staff work closely with the Institute to plan needed research projects and disseminate relevant conservation management information to members.

For more information about Audubon International or any of its programs, please call or write to:

46 Rarick Road, Selkirk, NY 12158(518)


As the popularity of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System - as administered by Audubon International - grew, many Canadian properties became active members. It was soon realized, that there was enough interest in Canada to support a separate, Canada-based, Canadian-"owned" and operated organization to administer the various Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Programs. In 1995, the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System of Canada Inc. (ACSSC), was formed and registered, as a national, non-profit, environmental organization. The goals of the ACSSC are the same as those of Audubon International's ACSS. However, we recognize that there are significant differences in environmental law and management between countries, and that Canadians tend to have a strong personal relationship with our natural surroundings. As such, we have ensured that "Co-operators" in our various programs receive Canada-based informational and educational materials, and that all members that attain the designation of Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary are actively participating in, and educating others about, environmental conservation and enhancement projects at the highest standards of the Canadian environmental community.For more information about the ACSSC, contact:

115 First Street, Suite #116
Collingwood, ON L9Y 1A5
Phone: (705)429-2277
Fax: (705) 429-1435

Turf Line News April/May 2000

Back to Turf Line News Article Index click here

© No information on this website can be reproduced in any way without the expressed permission
of the Western Canada Turfgass Association