Broadcast Audubon

Looking for Lawns

According to a recent report from NASA, as people convert natural landscapes to human-tailored ones, they change the cycling of water fractional turfand carbon dramatically. Across the United States, water supplies are under increasing pressure as populations grow. Forests and soils that were once a sink for atmospheric carbon can become sources as the natural landscapes are disturbed.

Among the human-tailored landscapes that influence carbon and water cycles in America are lawns. NADA has produced a color-coded map shows satellite-derived estimates of the fractional turf grass (lawn) area across the United States in shades of green. Areas where a large fraction of the land surface is lawn-covered are deepest green, while locations where the lawns cover a very small (or no) fraction of the land surface are lightest green or white.

The map shows how common lawns are across the country, despite a wide variability of climate and soils. Indeed, the scientists who produced the map estimate that more surface area is devoted to lawns than to any other single irrigated crop in the country. For example, lawns appear to cover more than three times the number of acres that irrigated corn covers. The large image shows a more detailed look at fractional lawn surface area in urban areas. In many cities, the urban core—where buildings, parking lots, and roads are densest—appears paler green.

To read more about how NASA-funded scientists developed this map and used it to estimate the impact of lawns on America’s water and carbon cycles, please read LOOKING FOR LAWNS

SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

The Origins of Audubon

John James AudubonJohn James Audubon was born on April 26, 1785, in Haiti (then called Saint Domingue). He grew to become a famous American ornithologist, naturalist, hunter, and painter. He painted, catalogued, and described the birds of North America in the early nineteenth century, and published Birds of America, a massive book containing 435 hand-colored plates of 1,065 individual birds.

Audubon became the chosen name and symbol for a movement that began in the late 1890s to stop the unrestricted slaughter of birds. Early Audubon Society members pledged to shun the fashion of the day of wearing hats and coats adorned with bird feathers and wings, and to hunt birds for consumption only, rather than sport or trade.

Early Audubon members studied birds, improved their habitats, and fought for bird protection. Their activism fledged a broader conservation movement and eventually led to passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918. The Act ended trade in migratory birds, and was among the first federal protections ever afforded to wildlife.

Audubon Lifestyles
Audubon Lifestyles accomplishes its goals by developing partnerships with individuals and businesses that embrace the same set of principles and ethics. By linking together individuals, businesses, universities, communities and not-for-profit organizations we work to create a unified team approach based on the International Sustainability Council’s Principles of Sustainability. It is our belief that together we collectively accomplish more than any one individual, business or organization can accomplish alone. The Audubon Lifestyles mission is to assist people in how they live, work, play, and learn to promote sustainable living and lifestyles.

The Audubon Movement
Today there are over 500 Audubon societies, and thousands of organizations, sanctuaries, centers, and businesses around the world using the Audubon name. Each of these groups is independent and separately incorporated, and each is free to establish its own programs. Audubon organizations vary greatly in their scope and missions: some remain small bird clubs or societies, while others focus on state, national, or international bird conservation and environmental issues. Through a diversity of approaches, Audubon organizations today carry on the conservation ethic that began at the turn of the 20th Century.

Fast Facts:

  • Massachusetts Audubon Society was the first Audubon organization created in 1896, and is still in existence today!
  • John James Audubon is the illegitimate son of a French sea captain and plantation owner and a Creole chambermaid who died months after his birth. He was educated in France, and in 1803 came to live in his father's estate, "Mill Grove," near Philadelphia. 


References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon International

The International Sustainability Council

The US Environmental Protection Agency

Organic Farming Research Foundation

United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service

Natural Resources Defense Council


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Sponsors are a critically important part to the success of ISC-Audubon. As a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating sustainability, we offer all of our programs to our members free of charge, and are publicly available for download on our website.

ISC-Audubon is proud to extend the opportunity to select businesses and organizations to become sponsors of our sustainability education and advocacy programs. As a sponsor, your business or organization can realize significant value.

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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

Read more