Ventura Audubon Society, located in Ventura City, California is one of more than 450 chapters of the National Audubon Society and one of 49 chapters in California. Separately incorporated, we are a 501(c)3 non-profit formed in the early 1980’s and incorporated in 1998. VAS depends upon volunteers for its operation. We do not have a paid staff nor do we have a “brick and mortar” office.
Protecting waterbird populations has been part of Audubon’s mission even before the official establishment of the National Audubon Society. Outrage over the slaughter of millions of waterbirds, particularly egrets and other waders, for the millinery trade led to the foundation, by Harriet Hemenway and Mina Hall, of the Massachusetts Audubon Society in 1896. By 1898, state-level Audubon Societies had been established in Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, Illinois, Maine, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Minnesota, Texas, and California.
In 1901, state-level Audubon groups joined together in a loose national organization, which helped to establish the first National Wildlife Refuge in the U.S. – Pelican Island, in Florida, in 1903 – and facilitated the hiring of wardens to protect waterbird breeding areas in several states. In 1905, the National Audubon Society was founded, with the protection of gulls, terns, egrets, herons, and other waterbirds high on its conservation priority list.