Wake Audubon has awesome members; we know that. It is great to see them recognized at the state level for the wonderful work that they do.
John Connors received the Audubon NC Bird Lore Conservation Education Award
John recently retired from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences where he was a tireless advocate for environmental education (especially birds), for decades. In his role as the Coordinator of the Naturalist Center, John had the opportunity to conduct literally thousands of programs for probably tens of thousands of children and visitor’s over his career. He is perhaps most famous for his interpretation of the annual Ground Hog day ritual where we get to see John in coat and top hat making his predictions. He has also been very active and engaged with Wake Audubon for years including his current passion of the Chimney Swift tower project. He has helped Audubon North Carolina get our work in Nicaragua established through his work with Finca Esperanza Verde and the Sister Cities program. He continues to work for birds including helping with our Bird Friendly Communities (BFC) Implementation team. In fact he had only been officially retired a few days when he attended his first BFC meeting and jumped right in. This award was presented for John’s lifetime of bird education activities and for the years of programs to come.
Mark Johns received the Audubon NC Honorary Warden Award
Mark Johns has spent his career working with wildlife, birds, and habitat management. As North Carolina’s Partners in Flight Coordinator, Mark deftly worked to coordinate the various partners that make up the collaborative, including academic researchers, non-profits, and agency representatives. Mark left that position to go to the Town of Cary and serve as a program specialist at the Stevens Nature Center at Hemlock Bluffs. Mark’s easy-going manner, organizational skills, and sense of humor moved bird conservation forward in North Carolina by leaps and bounds. His work included helping establish the North Carolina Birding Trail, working for on-the-ground partnerships that included agreements with private industrial forest owners, helping with the Forest Land Bird Legacy Program and many other projects. He left those pursuits to go back to what he loved and that is working at a local park, doing habitat management work and working with kids. Mark exemplifies the commitment to stewardship that makes him an ideal Honorary Warden.