Sometimes two organizations come together to better achieve their missions. The Whatcom Museum and the North Cascades Audubon Society (NCAS) are an example of this. Through an ongoing partnership, the Museum and Audubon Society have produced a variety of events, and an exhibit, that have informed and inspired people throughout Whatcom County.
Museum and Audubon Society form partnership
The partnership began in 2013 when the Museum opened an exhibit in the Syre Education Center that showcased its collection of taxidermy birds and Native American artifacts on a limited basis. Shortly after the exhibit opened, Museum staff invited NCAS to help assist with programs about the birds. NCAS agreed, and representatives spent time each month volunteering in the exhibit to answer questions.
Then the Museum decided to move its founding collection of taxidermy birds from the Syre to Old City Hall in 2016-17 to create the John M. Edson Hall of Birds. The North Cascades Audubon Society played a key role in the exhibit development.
“When planning began for moving the birds to Old City Hall, knowledgeable NCAS birders joined in and we discussed key birds to move and important themes for the exhibit. These became foundational to the new exhibit,” said Chris Brewer, a previous Museum educator involved in getting the Audubon active at the Museum.
The Hall of Birds showcases more than 500 mounted birds and helps visitors learn about migration, conservation, and more. The North Cascades Audubon Society is still involved with the Hall of Birds exhibit. Every fourth Sunday of the month from 1:30-3:30pm is Audubon at the Museum. There, volunteer experts from the Audubon Society answer questions about the exhibit and birds in general.
Beyond the Hall of Birds
The North Cascades Audubon Society holds monthly meetings in the Rotunda Room of Old City Hall. Educational presentations are on the fourth Tuesday of every month. The programs are open to the public and highlight a diverse range of topics.
NCAS has also been a key financial contributor to many of the Museum’s programs. It helped fund four summer camps in 2015 and 2016, providing scholarships for four children as well as purchasing materials. NCAS also co-sponsored two presentations by well-known bird photographer Paul Bannick. During the Vanishing Ice exhibition in 2013-14, NCAS helped facilitate family educational events.
The Audubon Society does a lot of work for the community outside of the Museum. It continues to support scientific research about local wildlife and the environment. It has also provided grants for more than 30 college students who have completed work on 31 research projects. NCAS also served as Whatcom County Coordinator for a five-year, state-wide study on seabird mortality. Through all of these actions, the Audubon Society continues to provide opportunities for the public to engage with the natural world.
“Audubon is not only a birding organization, but an educational and conservation oriented [organization] as well,” said Pam Borso, current president of the North Cascades Audubon Society. “The Museum has provided us the opportunity to further our presence in the community.”
The Whatcom Museum thanks the North Cascades Audubon Society for their contribution to the community, and to our visitors.
–Written by Colton Redtfeldt, Marketing Assistant