October 30, 2020
To the Seattle Audubon community:
We miss seeing you and we hope that you are staying well! How’s your home bird-list shaping up during this fall migration? We’ve seen lots of migrating geese, crows flocking to their seasonal roosts, and sparrows kicking up the fallen leaves.
Staff have also been receiving frequent inquiries from volunteers and members regarding our plans for reopening ‘normal’ activities—those affected by the COVID pandemic. Here’s an update on our strategy and decision-making process.
The health and safety of our staff, volunteers, program participants, and our community continues to be our top priority. That is why we’ve chosen to focus on what we’re calling “COVID-resilient” activities at this time.
Since the start of the pandemic, Seattle Audubon’s staff and volunteers have been adapting many of our programs to suit a safe and socially distanced environment. We don’t want to invest resources in restarting in-person activities before we’re confident they’ll be able to continue. Should COVID activity spike again in our area, we don’t want to have to go backwards. That is why we’re prioritizing COVID-resilient activities, such as our online offerings and the Seattle Conservation Activist Network, which can continue even if we have to return to stricter lockdown measures in the future.
We know that not everything we do can be recreated or even closely approximated in a virtual format. We have consulted with public health officials regarding guidelines for resuming outdoor activities, and we are developing the internal systems that will be necessary for groups to gather safely when the virus activity is more stable. In the meantime, we’re reaching out to the volunteer groups whose activities can be resumed on a solo or household basis, providing guidance around COVID safety measures and adaptations. Volunteers will be contacted by the staff liaisons with updates for their specific programs. Seattle Audubon also remains committed to resuming activities as equitably as possible, considering the diverse needs of our staff, volunteers, and community.
While technically allowed to open under current COVID guidelines, The Nature Shop has no immediate plans to reopen for in-person shopping at this time. Our building’s aging HVAC system does not provide for an adequate level of air exchange that would make us comfortable opening our doors to the public. The Nature Shop staff remain happy and able to assist you over the phone, (206) 523-4483, or online to arrange contactless pick-up or shipping (seed excluded) of all your favorite items, including our regionally-recognized selection of optics.
Seattle Audubon is grateful for your thoughtfulness, patience, and understanding as we navigate the uncertainty and complexity of the challenges presented to us all by the pandemic. Thank you. Again, we miss you! Stay tuned for additional updates and more opportunities to connect with Seattle Audubon and with birds in the time ahead.
Claire Catania, Executive Director
Jennifer McKeirnan, Board President