Galveston is now certified as a Bird City Texas community, according to Audubon Texas and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, partners in the Bird City Texas Initiative. Galveston is one of three cities in the state to achieve Bird City designation this year, joined by San Antonio and Surfside Beach.
Bird City Texas is a community-focused certification program created to help protect birds and their habitats where people live, work, and recreate. The program’s research shows that bird-friendly environments increase property values, help control insects and generate tourism dollars.
“Galveston’s Bird City certification is a result of communitywide efforts to recognize the importance of bird conservation and lead the way through education, action and preservation,“ said Julie Ann Brown, Executive Director of the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council (GINTC).
The rigorous Bird City application process was a collaborative effort coordinated by GINTC’s Anna Deichmann. Team members included Sabrina Dean, Better Parks for Galveston president; Alice Anne O’Donell, local birding leader; Kyle O’Haver, Galveston Island State Park assistant superintendent; Martha Suiter, GINTC board member; Kristen Vale, American Bird Conservancy Texas coastal program coordinator; and Greg Whittaker, Moody Gardens animal husbandry manager and Houston Audubon president-elect.
Project partners and advisors included American Bird Conservancy; Dr. Anna Armitage; Artist Boat; City of Galveston; Denice Franke; Galveston Bay Foundation; Galveston.com; Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council; Galveston Island State Park; Galveston Island Tree Conservancy; Galveston Ornithological Society; Galveston Park Board of Trustees; GO Native Landscaping for Birds and Butterflies; Gulf Coast Bird Observatory; Houston Audubon; Laffites Cove Nature Society; Moody Gardens; Scenic Galveston; Texas Master Naturalist; UTMB Osher Lifelong Learning Institute; and Vision Galveston.
Bastrop, Dallas, Houston, and Port Aransas achieved Bird City certification in 2020. Bird City Texas certification lasts for three years.
GINTC presents Galveston FeatherFest Birding and Nature Photography Festival, Galveston Winter Nature Program, Sea Turtle Saturday, Holiday with the Cranes and numerous educational programs at the East End Lagoon Nature Preserve as part of its mission is to connect people with Galveston’s natural environment. For further information, visit GalvestonNatureTourism.org.
Reddish Egret photo is by Stan Bravenec. The Reddish Egret is Galveston’s official bird.