Stepping Outdoors With Ann, Highlands Audubon Society Volunteer
Ann Campbell
Nesting site of a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker Woodpecker. The woodpecker nests in a large cavity of a deciduous tree, often choosing one weakened by disease.

Ann Campbell is a lifelong learner and is passionate about encouraging everyone to learn more about the world around us.  

This is why she is a volunteer with the Highlands Plateau Audubon Society, celebrating it’s 20th Anniversary this year.

Before retirement, Campbell was a science educator and feels it is vital for people of all ages to step out of doors and experience the natural world.  That is why she is the Education Chairperson for our local chapter of the international Audubon Society.  She was deeply moved by the book “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv, after having lived in Atlanta and witnessed how infrequently children in large metropolitan areas get to simply walk in the woods.

There are many local Audubon programs available to children that stimulate curiosity about nature.  As a matter of fact, they were able to see 653 students during this year alone.  In April the local Audubon Society chapter, along with Mountain Wildlife Outreach, co-sponsored the Wings to Soar program on April 20, in celebration of Earth Day. 

In May Campbell and Michelle Styring went to Cullowhee to participate in the International Migratory Bird Day Festival, sponsored by Balsam Mountain Trust, and members of the local chapter participated in Mountain Wildlife Days, this past July.

They also work closely with Cashiers and Highlands Rec Camps, the Boys & Girls Club of the Plateau, and various international student programs as well as Blue Ridge School, Highlands School, and Summit Charter School.

Ann’s enthusiasm for our local chapter is contagious.  

“When I retired, I wanted to learn more about birds,” she said.  “I’m not an expert, but there are many experts in our chapter. It’s just fascinating! 

“I found a special group of people, dedicated, professional, knowledgeable people who dovetail their talents with other organizations so we can expand our reach.” 

She encourages everyone to take part in their many evening programs and bird walks during the spring, summer, and fall.

December 15 is the annual Christmas Bird Count and local members will be taking part in this, the nation’s longest-running citizen science bird project.  If you’d like to find out more about joining or volunteering with the Highlands Plateau Audubon Society, contact President, Brock Hutchins at brockhutchins@bellsouth.net.  You can see more on their website, HighlandsAudubonSociety.org.