Top ten reasons to be a citizen-advocate May 10, 2017

Posted by GGAS in Conservation

Audubon members are great at being citizen-scientists!  No one lets their lack of a PhD stop them from contributing to the understanding of birds through Christmas Bird Counts, breeding bird surveys, and other field work.

But protecting the birds we love takes more than citizen-scientists. We also need citizen-advocates… people who care about California wildlife and are willing to convey that passion to government policymakers.

Audubon California will hold its third annual Advocacy Day in Sacramento on Thursday, June 8, 2017. We need some people to take part representing the Bay Area! No prior political experience necessary — only a love of birds and wildlife.

Advocacy Day is fun, fascinating, and empowering. You’ll come away with a firsthand understanding of how our legislature works and how your voice can have a real impact. Golden Gate Audubon Society member Chris Winn took part last year. Here are his Top Ten reasons to become a citizen-advocate:

1.  The Capitol is a beautiful building, especially when the surrounding gardens are in bloom as they are in June.

2.  I don’t think of the Capitol as “their” building but instead think of it as “our” building.

3.  The State Senators, Assemblypersons, and staff people I speak to always make me feel at ease.

Audubon members met with East Bay Assemblyman Tony Thurmond in 2016

4.  Important bills are up for consideration each year, especially this year when California is trying to bolster our environmental standards against federal rollbacks.

5.  I like to show newcomers the older, historic side of the building especially the contrasting portraits of Governors Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The famous portrait of Gov. Jerry Brown from his first terms in the late 1970s-early 1980s / Photo by Chris Winn

6.  I found a perfect hidden coffee shop, one block from the Capitol and I’m willing to share!

7.  The orientation meeting before going into the Capitol is informative and answers all my questions.

8.  There are always enough folks so that nobody sees a legislator/staffer alone, but is usually sent in with someone fairly expert at the pieces of legislation under consideration.

9.  There is usually a little after-party somewhere to meet new friends and compare notes.

10.  I like birds!

Sign up now! California birds need your voice. See audubon.org/get-involved/2017-audubon-california-advocacy-day for details, the day’s schedule, and registration. And email us if you want to find out Chris’s secret coffee shop.


Chris Winn has been birding for about 20 years and advocating for animals in Sacramento for about ten, as a volunteer citizen-advocate for Audubon and other organizations. The leader of his very first birding trip was the late Rich Stallcup of PRBO (now Point Blue) fame. The first wildlife bill that he played a major role in passing was the bill banning sale or possession of shark fins. 

YOU can be a citizen-advocate!

Audubon citizen-advocates outside the governor’s office in 2015 / Photo by Ilana Debare

Tags: Audubon California, Audubon California Advocacy Day, citizen-advocate, lobbying.

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