The survey results are fascinating, surprising, and slightly distressing in some ways. I've summarized them below for all who are interested. This was written after about 10% of people I emailed responded to the survey. My responses are in italics.
1. All respondents found our mission statement to be generally valid.
2. 63% of respondents found our slate of programs to be somewhat compelling while 36% found them compelling.
Comments on programs(paraphrased)
- Not well publicized
- We should give farmers a forum to discuss their issues.
The farmers already have more than adequate forums for their views. It is Audubon's job as an enviro organization to present our arguments.
3. 81% felt that the Friends of Lost Lake efforts resonated strongly or very strongly with them - 19% were neutral.
4. 2/3 felt that our Nest Box Project resonated strongly or very strongly - 28.6% were neutral and 4.8% said the cause didn't resonate with them.
5. 52.4% support suggesting a small donation for non-members who wish to participate in walks - 23.8% opposed and 23.8% were neutral on the issue
6. 50% wished to see Fresno Audubon remain a bird club. 45% wished to see birding activities on equal footing with education and advocacy. 5% wanted to see a heavy emphasis on advocacy and education with a decreased, but still significant role for birding activities.
I was hoping more people would want a departure from the status quo which is the bird club model. I think that if Audubon is to be a viable organization we need to expand beyond field trips, walks, and bird-centric programs. Birding without some kind of action, be it scientific research or education is simply a person driving around/burning up gasoline.
7. Top policy areas of concern in order(found to be either important or very important by majorities): Water quality/supply of wetlands and rivers, promoting water conservation/efficiency, Responsible land use planning, public lands management, California Delta issues.
8. Large proportions, but not majorities did not want to see us involved in Temperance Flat Dam or national policy issues such as cap and trade.
9. All means to achieving policy goals were favored by majorities. The most popular were educating the public, service projects, and partnerships with builders, farmers, etc.
10. Other comments(paraphrased mostly):
- I'm concerned with the effects of pesticide use on birds.
- I would support a small fee for member participation of field trips.
- Audubon needs "new blood." K-12 outreach and sponsorship of "nature clubs" on campuses. A better venue and better advertising for monthly meetings is also needed.
- I would like to see a yearly program on optics (cameras, scopes, binoculars, etc)
- I hope Audubon's focus remains on local birds rather than policy issues.
-"If we are going to educate the public, we ought to provide input from all aspects of the issue. ie. Turn on the pumps, and then we can talk about the issues of west land water. What is the problem? Can Audubon do something with donations to restore the minnow populations similar to the "Peregrine Fund" It is absolutely farms or fish, and right now both are losing."
THE PUMPS ARE ON!! They were never off. And yes, they are still killing fish. Estimates vary, but farmers would probably only receive about 2-5% more water if Smelt restrictions were lifted.
11. 47.6% favored an online only newsletter, 47.6% favored online only with paper copies by request, the balance of responses favored our current system which is online with four "mini newsletters."
Brandon Hill, President