Conservation is the primary goal of Flathead Audubon – conservation of bird populations and bird habitats, conservation of other wildlife populations and their habitats, preservation of clean air and water, preservation of ecosystem diversity, nurturing dedication to conservation values through education and by providing outdoor experiences that deepen understanding and love of the natural world.
The official declaration of this goal is Flathead Audubon’s Mission Statement. The concrete expression of this goal is evident in everything we do – our life-long learning programs; our speakers and birding field trips, all open to the public; our newsletter and other publications; our website. In addition, we engage in projects and activities that are directed explicitly at safeguarding wildlife populations and habitats.
The Owen Sowerwine Natural Area
The Owen Sowerwine Natural Area is 442-acres of state school trust land covered with cottonwood forests that provides crucial habitat for a wide variety of native birds, as well as other native wildlife and native plants. The Area is open to the public for non-motorized recreation, and is an outdoor classroom used by local schools and by Flathead Audubon’s education program. Check out our Owen Sowerwine Natural Area section to get a virtual tour of the area, learn where it is and what you can do there, and find out how you can volunteer to help.
Jewel Basin Hawk Watch
Flathead Audubon’s Jewel Basin Hawk Watch is a scientific data collection project that each year monitors autumn raptor migration at site above Jewel Basin in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Flathead Audubon recruits and trains volunteer observers, many of which are Flathead Audubon members. The data collected is sent to Hawk Watch, International, an organization whose mission includes raptor conservation, trend monitoring, data collection from Hawk Watch sites around the world and dissemination of information regarding the status of raptor species world-wide. For more details and a look at the Hawk Watch data visit our Jewel Basin Hawk Watch page.
Flathead Audubon Conservation Activities
Flathead Audubon gets involved in carefully selected conservation issues. The Flathead Audubon Board of Directors formulates the chapter’s position on the issue. Then Conservation Committee members and Board members take appropriate action to promote that position. For details and some examples see our Conservation Advocacy page.
Flathead Audubon also works in partnership with other organizations to provide conservation protection for local at-risk bird and wildlife habitat in Flathead County. Working cooperatively with Montana Audubon, we protect and manage the Owen Sowerwine Natural Area. And recently we worked with the Vital Ground Foundation and other groups to create the Alvord Lake Community Forest.
Important Bird Areas in the Flathead
Audubon’s Important Bird Areas (IBAs) Program is a global effort to identify and protect sites that are critical for the conservation of birds. There are three IBA’s in Flathead Valley – one of them is the Owen Sowerwine Natural Area. Find out more about all three on our Important Bird Areas page.
Conservation Achievement Recognition Program
Several times each year, Flathead Audubon recognizes an individual, group, or organization that has made significant contributions to conservation in the Flathead Valley. This Conservation Achievement Recognition Program was initiated in 2001. For a list of all the recipients and their conservation achievements visit our Conservation Achievement Recognitions page.