Based on widely accepted scientific data from multiple credible sources, including their own research, National Audubon Society has concluded that the greatest challenge facing birds is from our changing climate, primarily due to human use of fossil fuels. In fact, 314 species, nearly half of all North American bird species, are at great risk. Conservation actions to help mitigate this threat can vary widely, from advocacy and legislation, to small changes that anyone can make in their everyday lives.
Wildcat Glades has been involved in this strategy since before we opened our doors in 2007. Believing that you should practice what you preach, we designed the Center with many features to reduce our energy usage and carbon footprint. We used everything from natural and efficient lighting, energy efficient windows and on-demand water heaters, to geo-thermal heating and cooling and even a green roof! Our efforts resulted in being awarded a Silver Level L.E.E.D. (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, the first building receiving this designation in the Joplin area. Signage both inside and outside the building explain these sustainable features to the visitors.
With the 2014 release of the latest National Audubon Society study on the impact of climate change on birds in the U.S., they created a guidebook using complex computer modeling that predicts future ranges of many species based on their known requirements. From these new range maps, Audubon has begun emphasizing the protection of future critical habitats for birds now, in order to give them a greater opportunity to adapt to future climate conditions.
We examined the entire list of birds that would be impacted and created a separate list just for our area, containing 97 species either future climate threatened or endangered.
While climate change isn’t a threat that is easily reversed and will take many years of combined efforts from everyone, we believe that there is hope for improving the future for birds and people, and is very much worth the effort.