From left: Heather Hahn, Executive Director, Audubon NC; Tom Tribble, President, Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society; Kim Brand, Field Organizer, Audubon NC Photo: Hugh Simmons
On July 15, at the Biennial Audubon Convention in Park City, Utah, Tom Tribble, President of Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society
in Asheville, was presented with the William Dutcher Award
for his dedicated work on behalf of birds and the places they need to thrive.
Tom was an Audubon Ambassador
long before we created a program by that name in North Carolina. Friends affectionately refer to him as "the Ambassador of Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary" because he spends so much time leading bird walks for birders, faith groups, garden club ladies, anyone and everyone who asks; helping tend the native-plant garden; meeting Boy Scouts on Saturday mornings to scope out projects; and welcoming every visitor in his open, friendly way.
Tom's roles for Audubon include:
- A birder and Audubon member since 1975.
- Current President of Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society in Asheville, covering parts of six counties in western NC. Served on the chapter's Board of Directors since 2008.
- Climate Watch coordinator since January 2017 – the first count including Brown-headed Nuthatch as a focal species.
- Current Christmas Bird Count compiler for the Buncombe County circle.
- Leader of outreach to local plant nurseries through Audubon NC's Bird-Friendly Native Plants program.
- Proud Audubon Ambassador: Tom has given numerous presentations on the impact of climate change on birds.
- When he saw the Audubon Birds and Climate Change Report map for the Wood Thrush, he immediately grasped the responsibility of western NC Audubon members to protect this bird, as the report predicts that western NC will be the last refuge for these beloved songbirds in a warmer climate. Because of this sense of responsibility, the chapter now donates its Birdathon funds to Wood Thrush conservation in Central America.
We know we'll see Tom at every Chapter Day, biennial meeting, Lobby Day, and Audubon Convention. Tom works incredibly hard for Audubon, and we're so grateful for an opportunity to recognize his dedication.
In his own words, "I am deeply honored to be one of this year's recipients of the William Dutcher Award. I was totally surprised and remain stunned but will be forever honored and grateful for the recognition."
"I don't think anyone involved with Audubon volunteers their time in hope of being recognized. We do it because we love birds and recognize the need to save the places that both birds and people need. I treasure my involvement with Audubon. As I have shared with others, it is what gives meaning to my retirement. "
Watching Tom receive the Dutcher Award was a beautiful and satisfying way to meet Tom's gratitude for Audubon with our gratitude for all he does to protect birds and to build an ever-more-effective Audubon network in western North Carolina.