Play Ball! For Audubon

Play Ball! For Audubon

Katherine Tweed
Published: 04/07/2009

York Revolution stadium
York Revolution Baseball

Baseball season is here. And in York, Pennsylvania, students are ditching the classroom for the baseball stadium, and a good cause.

On top of lessons from the first baseline on May 27, $4 of every ticket at the York Revolution game will go to Audubon Pennsylvania to raise money for a summer internship program for students from William Penn High School.

This summer, teens will work to improve habitat in Kiwanis Lake Rookery, York’s urban Important Bird Area (IBA). The man made lake is an important nesting site to three endangered heron species: the great egret, night heron, and yellow-crowned night heron.

For anyone in the York area, you can buy tickets online and enter "birds09" for the promotional code to ensure that a portion of your ticket sales goes to Audubon.

With habitat degradation a significant problem in and around industrial York, areas such as Kiwanis and the surrounding Codorus watershed are critical places for the endangered birds. Urban renewal is not only important for the birds that call this city home, but also the students at local schools, where graduation rates are only at 63 percent.

“This is to get everyone to take ownership of this great resource that they have,” says Devon Reeser of Audubon Pennsylvania.

Audubon isn’t just engaging students and the community at the IBA, either. In 2005, Audubon got kids together to plant 200 trees in a local park. In previous years, trees had been vandalized or ripped out, so this time Audubon had all the kids put tags with their names around the trees.

“Not a single one was vandalized,” says Reeser. “Now they see [the park] as theirs. And now this whole thing is blossoming all over the city.” Many of the students involved in the internship are enrolled from the English as a Second Language program, and getting them into an internship has provided a career path, says Robert Wallis, the development director for Audubon Pennsylvania.

To date, students at a local high school have also planted a garden, and there are plans to incorporate an Audubon art project into art classes next fall. And with the money raised from the York Revolution game on May 27, a new class of students will get a chance to take ownership of their natural resources.