Palomar Audubon Chapter was founded in 1994 and is part of the nearly 500 nationwide chapter network of the National Audubon Society. We are incorporated in the state of California as a Domestic Nonprofit. We bring a local focus to Audubon’s mission, “To conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity”.
Through the efforts of our members, two magnificent local natural sites have been internationally recognized as Globally Important Bird Areas – Lake Hodges and The Santa Margarita River Valley. In addition, Lake Hodges was listed as a key bird watching site by the National Geographic Society in a guide to such locations in the west. This recognition brought public attention on the need to preserve both these critical habitats.
Palomar Audubon has supported the Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) and the Multiple Habitat Conservation Program (MHCP) plans since their inception. The implementation of these plans has preserved vast areas of coastal sage scrub. In fact, California Gnatcatchers thrive and will certainly continue to maintain a large population in the well over 2,000 acres of coastal sage scrub surrounding Lake Hodges.
Palomar Audubon was actively engaged in efforts to acquire and preserve strategically important areas of natural open space in Inland North San Diego County. One such area that was the center of our attention was Boden Canyon. Palomar Audubon was a leader in the battle to save and preserve Boden Canyon. The last of this 2,058 acre natural area just east of the San Pasqual Valley was purchased by the State and is now an Ecological Reserve managed by the California Department of Fish & Game.
During 2002 we participated in two crucial land acquisitions in the Lake Hodges area. The 292-acre parcel on the northeast slope of Bernardo Mountain was acquired and is now an integral part of the San Dieguito River Park. The 345-acre Montreux Derbas property will become a County Park linking the Elfin Forest Recreational Preserve with the Olivenhain Reservoir. Palomar Audubon battled with the City of Escondido for almost 10 years over the use of this property. Twice the Escondido Planning Department, Planning Commission, and City Council had approved residential developments there, so it was especially gratifying that ‘Mr. Derbas finally sold the property to the County, clearing the way for its inclusion in the County Open Space Park System.
For years Dick Barber, a Palomar Audubon member, served on the Coalition of Environmental Organizations, which includes every influential environmental group in this area. The Coalition met monthly to share information and to plan and organize collective action. They coordinate closely with the Endangered Habitats League and are represented at all of their regional meetings. One partnership during Dick’s tenure was with the National Audubon’s Heritage Forest on a campaign to save what remains of old growth forests in local Cleveland National Forest as well as in other national forests throughout the state.
Many of our members were deeply involved in the five-year major scientific effort sponsored by the San Diego Natural History Museum to compile an atlas of the birds of all of San Diego County.
Our education program reached schools throughout San Diego County, presenting photographs and vocalizations of local birds and information about the habitat in which they live and the importance of protecting that habitat. We reached over 1,500 students per year. Teachers and students both learn from and enjoy this exciting and unique presentation accompanied by stuffed birds, nests, and teaching handouts for the students.
Our organization through our members is actively engaged in hands-on efforts working with The Escondido Creek Conservancy, the Daley Ranch, and the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy. Our focus remains on local areas as they are paramount to the quality of life for birds and habitats and the citizens in northern San Diego County.
We service the North Inland San Diego County area as defined by the following zip codes: 92025-27, 92029-30, 92033, 92059-61, 92064-65, 92070, 92074, 92082, 92127-28, 92531, 92562-64, 92584, 92587, and 92595. Even if you live outside this area, you are welcome to join us as a “Chapter Only Member”. You are invited to participate in our bird walks and programs. You are welcome on our bird walks, even if you are new to bird watching.
We invite you to join our membership in accomplishing our mission and to enjoy the birds and other wildlife in our local area with us.