Tony Davis | Arizona Daily Star
The Tucson Audubon Society is broadening its primary focus from birds and wildlife habitat to water and, particularly, global warming from carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
“It’s clear that unless we do something about CO2, habitats will continue to deteriorate, and we won’t have the birds to watch,” said the group’s director, Paul Green, explaining the provocative shift.
Sixty years ago, when 25 people held the society’s first local meeting at Tucson High School, they were volunteers interested mainly in watching the hundreds of species that make Southern Arizona one of the country’s premier birding hot spots.
Today, the Audubon group is a local fixture, on its own and as one of 35 groups in the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection that pushes for the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan.
It has 3,500 members, a paid staff of 17 and about a $1 million annual budget. It operates two nature shops. It just upgraded its half-century-old bimonthly newsletter, the Vermillion Flycatcher, into a glossy magazine-style format. The group has a new logo, displaying the flycatcher’s flaming crimson on a yellow background to reflect the Sonoran Desert sun.
But its biggest change comes next.