Wildlife Care Center
With volunteer support, our Wildlife Care Center provided care for over 5,000 patients and responded to over 10,000 phone calls in 2021! Throughout the year, Care Center volunteers supported the work in new ways. As it became safer to do so, we brought limited numbers of volunteers into the hospital. Meanwhile, outdoors volunteers continued to serve in a variety of ways including caring for the wildlife patients in our outdoor cages on and off site, and helping with admissions during the busiest time of the year. By the end of 2021, Care Center volunteers had contributed more than 13,000 hours of service!
2021 was also the year of “Hawkpocolypse”, the deluge of Cooper’s Hawks at the end of June. As the heat wave blanketed the area, we set an all-time record for intakes, including a stunning 110 young Cooper’s Hawks. Volunteers worked alongside staff to admit and treat the animals, and get as many back into the wild as possible.
Our Ambassador Animal volunteers also continued to work outdoors throughout 2021. Each day in all kinds of weather our Ambassador Animal volunteers provided essential care and enrichment to the four birds and turtle that call Portland Audubon home. They learned new training methods, cleaned enclosures, fed and trained animals, and together logged over 1,300 hours of service!
Our Wednesday Work Crew had an exciting year! Each Wednesday morning you will find a crew of 8-18 volunteers gathered outdoors in work clothes, with tools, gloves, and at times hard hats. After a hot cup of coffee and check-in about the work for the day, the crew heads out into the Sanctuary. In 2021, our Wednesday Work Crew logged over 1,500 hours of time! The majority of that time was spent removing invasive plant species, clearing trails, addressing safety hazards, and making improvements to our trail system. Together with our partners Trail Keepers of Oregon, our Wednesday Work Crew completed a major re-route of a dangerous section of trail in the upper sanctuary. They ventured into corners of the Sanctuary that had not been tended recently to tackle invasive plants and continue to improve our safe haven for native flora and fauna.
Throughout 2021 our volunteer presence grew at the Nature Store. As it became safe to be on campus, our Nature Store volunteers assisted staff to keep our store running smoothly. By late fall we were back to having our store open 7 days a week! Together our Nature Store volunteers provided 2,461 hours of service.
Our Community Science volunteers remained active throughout 2021 and together gave more than 4,000 hours over a variety of projects, from monitoring Black Oystercatchers on the coast to taking part in the Christmas Bird Count in the metro area. The data they collect helps us advocate for habitat and species protections across the state!
Wild Arts Festival
In November 2021 we hosted our first in-person Wild Arts Festival since 2019! We were thrilled to raise $174,000 with two-thirds the normal attendance. The festival would not have happened without the volunteer leadership of the Wild Arts Festival Planning Committee and the 130 event volunteers! Together they contributed over 1,000 hours of time.
We were excited to again host a couple of outdoor special events. In August we hosted our Used Book Sale on campus, and in September we joined our friends at the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon to co-host another annual Catio Tour. Volunteers made both events possible!
Backyard Habitat Certification Program
Our Backyard Habitat Certification Program which is co-managed with the Columbia Land Trust also had an astounding year. Volunteers engaged in new ways including a robust series of online trainings, shadowing each other to learn how to certify yards, native plant ID walks around the metro area, and quarterly online conversations about the program and beyond. Together they contributed more than 1,500 hours. Their support enabled 493 new sites to achieve certification, which equaled 99 more acres and over 45,000 native plants!
In the last half of 2021 we were able to begin offering Outings, which are free bird walks open to the public. A dedicated team of volunteers prepare for and host the walks. They adjusted to new COVID-19 protocols, and were able to begin offering walks beginning in the late summer, and together dedicated more than 175 hours of volunteer time!
All volunteers participate in our activism in some way – just by being Portland Audubon volunteers, they vote with their time about what matters! Hundreds of volunteers and members of the public made their voices heard regarding several key issues in 2021: striking down the Trump Administration’s attempt to reverse the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the passing of the Elliott Forest Plan, the uplisting of the Marbled Murrelet from threatened to endangered, and encouraging the city to deny Zenith Oil a Land Use Compatibility Statement. Thank you for your persuasive emails, phone calls and testimonies in support of our Conservation agenda!
Volunteer Program Committee
Our Volunteer Program Committee is a Board Committee that helps advise and guide the Volunteer Program. Beyond planning and advising, they also help with all-volunteer events like our online Zoom trivia night, and our online celebration in September 2021. Our popular Ovenbird walks also fall under the leadership of our Volunteer Program Committee
For all the highlights and bright spots of 2021, we are still missing some of our long-standing volunteers and volunteer activities. Who knows what 2022 may bring, but we look forward to re-engaging with all our Sanctuary Tour Guides, having our Receptionists back on campus regularly, and again celebrating the Swifts at Chapman Elementary School during September.
Cheers to another successful year of volunteerism at Portland Audubon! On behalf of the staff, the board, our visitors and supporters THANK YOU Portland Audubon volunteers, for the work you do to make Portland Audubon the incredible organization that it is. We simply could not do it without you!