Chapter of the Month – T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon: Volunteer Extraordinaire, Jim Eldrett

Audubon North Carolina has 10 amazing chapters across the state who help put a local focus on bird preservation and conservation issues. In this special blog series, we’ll focus on a chapter each month to learn more about their history, what they are working on, and to increase the statewide understanding of special ecosystems and habitats. Each month will include a series of posts about each chapter including a post from our biologists that will share a unique research project that is happening in the chapter’s geographic footprint.

This month, we get to know the T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon SocietyRead on to learn more about our chapter serving Guilford County.

Where would we be without our standout volunteers donating their time and energy to bird conservation through their local chapters? Jim Eldrett has been involved with T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon for several years.

Read on to learn more about Jim’s dedication and leadership with our chapter serving the Triad.

“Jim rose to the occasion of helping with the Audubon Natural Area without being asked. His attitude about his work is modest – yes, he works across the street from it, but it takes a huge effort to do more than just keep an eye on the area. He pitches In with hard physical work, eradicating invasive plants, maintaining the trail and removing trash and debris. He often visits the NA before or after his 12-hour shifts as a nurse at the hospital.” – T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Society Leadership

 How long have you been volunteering with Audubon?

I’ve volunteered sporadically for a few years, but have been more involved regularly the last year or so.

Describe your role within your chapter. (volunteer duties, board member, etc.)

I've become more actively involved by way of the Audubon Natural Area (NA). I also enjoy events such as nature walks, monthly meetings and participating in our beginning birder events. I have also obtained a nest box for the Brown-headed Nuthatch and am participating in that project.

Describe how your chapter works to support birds in your community.

The chapter works in many ways, to support our birds:

  • We participate in various Bird-Friendly Communities programs.
  • Event promotions, such as hikes. Folks become more aware and appreciative of our natural world through these events.
  • We’ve joined in putting up 10,000 Nest Boxes for Nuthatches
  • The Bluebird Box project.
  • Outreach to beginning birders with walks designed with them in mind.
  • Backyard Bird Count Class, as well as group counts to put what is learned into practice.

Tell us about your work maintaining the Audubon Natural Area.

The natural area is adjacent to my place of work (Cone Hospital), so it was natural that I became interested in its maintenance. A driving force in its earlier development was another Cone employee. Now, I feel that I am walking in his footsteps. I can't knock off ten-mile hikes on the AT like I used to, but the natural area is small enough that I can put in an hour here or there and really feel that I can make a difference.

Most of the work there involves trail maintenance, general clean up and control of invasive species. We had a cleanup event at the NA in conjunction with a citywide cleanup event, and I volunteered to do the creek portion, getting waist-deep in water—and knee-deep in mud in the process.

Where else can you play in the mud and get an "atta boy?”

How does the Audubon Natural Area support birds in your region?

While it is relatively small in size, the NA is part of a greater greenway area along Buffalo Creek. By controlling invasive plants and promoting native species, we assist the avian community with food and shelter. There are several nest boxes located within the area, both for Bluebirds and Brown-headed Nuthatches.

What inspired you to contribute to this project?

This particular area is adjacent to my place of work, Cone Hospital, so it is literally in my backyard. Because of this, I can keep an eye on the area for any activities that might not be compatible with Audubon's mission.

What inspires you to volunteer with Audubon?

As I observe others making a difference in so many ways, I'm inspired to do my part in thinking globally and acting locally for the betterment of our planet.

Why should someone volunteer with Audubon?

You are rewarded by knowing that you have played a part in something greater than yourself. You can do worse than spending time with like-minded folks, from whom you learn so much, while also improving the natural world in your own backyard. While the objective of the "work" may be limited in scope, you really do gain a sense of satisfaction in having contributed to keeping our environment healthy and balanced.

How can others get involved with your chapter?

Gilbert Pearson Audubon meets at 7 pm, the third Thursday of each month from September through May at the KCEF Branch Library in Greensboro. All visitors are welcome.

We also have monthly Second Sunday Nature Walks that are open to beginning birders as well as more seasoned ones. Supervised older children are welcome. Visit our website at http://tgpearsonaudubon.net, or visit the T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Society page on Facebook.

Get to know more of our 10 chapter across North Carolina. Read our Chapter of the Month series here: link to chapter of the month tag.