Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tricked into getting a national Audubon Society membership!

I decided to start investigating the issue since I'm still waiting to receive my first issue of the the Audubon Magazine and Audubon Society membership materials (I'm assuming a card and a sticker for my car).

They deducted $20.00 from my card January 16th but I still haven't gotten anything in the mail. There is a disclaimer on the website that it may takes 4-6 weeks for the magazine to arrive, but I'm more interested in the membership itself. I'm sure I'll enjoy the magazine of course, but it would be nice to have access to members-only birding areas and other perks.

I decided to do a Google search on "audubon membership" to see if I could start making sense of things. The first listing was for Audubon.org but the link was broken. The second listing was for the Massachusetts chapter, specifically the Benefits page. This helped clear things up tremendously. This membership was $44 by contrast and clearly stated the four primary benefits:
  • Free admission to 45 wildlife sanctuaries statewide (it even lists Drumlin Farm in Lincoln and Wellfleet Bay- two areas I would love to have access to and have been too cheap in the past to pay for)
  • Free color guide to the Massachusetts sanctuaries
  • Free subscription to Sanctuary magazine and the Connections newsletter
  • Members-only discounts on programs, special events and at the gift shops

The national website on the other hand lists these vague benefits:

  • "A nationwide network of chapters" Um, don't I have the same level of access to these chapters by searching "audubon membership" in Google?
  • "Audubon Sanctuaries and Nature Centers are found at 100 spectacular sites across the nation" Again, this says nothing about access and I could find information about them just as easily by going directly to the Mass Audubon Society website, which seems to be the only way to get free access to Massachusetts sanctuaries.

I won't go into the rest of the list since they're just more of the same. You can visit the page yourself to read the complete list. Let me know if you can decipher their vague language and let me know if I missed anything here.

I'm a little disappointed that I didn't play closer attention to what I was doing, but when I first scanned the list of benefits I assumed everything was ship-shape. It was Audubon.org- I trusted that was what I needed and would cover my Mass membership as well. Live and learn.

I'll let you know when I start receiving Audubon Magazine. I browsed a little bit of the current issue online and despite having to register for a Mass membership separately, I'm still glad that I'll be receiving the national magazine.

5 comments:

John said...

State chapters sometimes have separate membership programs from the national society, and in some cases are completely independent of it. I think it is a result of many state-level organizations pre-existing the national organization. Membership in NAS usually implies membership in your local chapter (as determined by zip code), but perhaps not in the case of Mass Audubon.

BirdingGirl said...

Thanks for the information John. I suspect that may be the case with Massachusetts since their chapter dues are much higher and the benefits are more clearly stated (free admission to sanctuaries etc.).

I'll definitely write a follow-up post once I receive my membership materials. The good news is that I like to go birdwatching when I travel so hopefully the membership materials will direct me to some National areas I can visit.

Bennet said...

Occasionally Mass Audubon has deals on new memberships. I got a membership that covers me and my wife for $25.00 last spring. Doesn't help you now, but maybe something to keep an eye out for if they do it again this spring.

I'm not sure if I mentioned this in a comment before, but my new goal is to visit all of the Mass Audubon sanctuaries. Maybe I should have done the Rhode Island Audubon Sanctuaries (some of which are apparently in Mass.) instead, there's only 12 or so of them. Anyway, if you've been to any of the Mass ones or once you get your membership up and running, I'd appreciate any tips on which ones to visit and what to look for

Larry said...

I belong to a local Audubon which is essentially a birding club that also gets involved with land conservation.-I don't know much about national audubon.

Nature Ali said...

Dear BirdingGirl,

I hope you have figured out by now that the National Audubon Society and Massachusetts Audubon Society are not one in the same. Both organizations are strong on conservation. Supporting legislation and protecting wildlife for the benefit of humanity is the main goal.
Audubon is not a trademarked name so you will see the Audubon name on many organizations that are not related to the national organization. Audubon International protects golf courses not habitat by capitalizing on the Audubon name. I joined National Audubon in 1985, not for the privileges that a $20 membership would provide but to promote the protection of wildlife and habitats for all generations. I have not been disappointed as their actions have allowed all of us to continue to see live condors and many other endangered species in the wild. If you love birding, then every bird you see in your backyard and local hotspot, you can thank Frank Chapman, Teddy Roosevelt and George Grinnell for beginning this organization that has done so much to protect birds and their habitats. The National Audubon Society is one of America's greatest treasures. Welcome... I hope your affiliation is a long one.