Winter 2017/2018 Letter from Chair Jud Laird

Dear Audubon Members and Supporters,

Audubon Florida has experienced a big year, and it’s been an honor to serve as chair while we celebrate another year of conservation together. First of all, I am excited to share that Eric Draper was tapped to lead Florida’s State Park System, a system of parks and public lands that Audubon members helped to create and that we all love. If you had a chance to attend the Audubon Assembly in October, you saw the kind passion and commitment that Eric has brought to all of his roles during his 22 years at Audubon.

Please join me in wishing Eric the best, and we look forward to accomplishing great things together for Florida. Audubon Florida’s Julie Wraithmell will serve as interim executive director while a national search is undertaken.

As we celebrate for Eric and welcome Julie, I am reminded of the hardy volunteers, dedicated chapters, expert staff, and generous supporters who all made 2017 a big year for Audubon. Together, we:

  • Secured a huge win for America’s Everglades in the signing of Senate Bill 10 (2017) into law after a long battle in Tallahassee,
  • Sold-out another Audubon Assembly- bringing together hundreds of chapters, experts and conservation leaders to discuss water for Florida’s future,
  • Answered the call to help when Hurricane Irma devastated special places across the state including damage at Audubon centers and sanctuaries, and
  • Much more.

Wow! The new year is right around the corner, and the birds are counting on our strong Audubon network to continue advancing conservation in Florida.

We’re going to need you to make 2018 a great year for birds and special places. Can you help Audubon start off 2018 strong?

  • Join your local Audubon chapter at
  • Sign up to engage in our action network at
  • Make a generous, tax-deductible gift to Audubon Florida at

The new year brings new opportunities for conservation in Florida, and I hope the stories in this edition of the Naturalist inspire you in the same way they inspire me. Stay tuned to our website and social media to get the latest on conservation in Florida, and I hope you continue joining me in spreading our message with your family, friends, and neighbors.

With gratitude and appreciation,
Jud Laird
Chair, Florida Audubon Society

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