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Highland instructor Juliet Moderow is the recipient of the National Audubon Society William Dutcher Award

Juliet Moderow is a recent recipient of the National Audubon Society William Dutcher Award.  She attended the National Audubon Leadership Conference held in Estes Park, Colorado from Nov. 2-5, where she accepted the award. Moderow is a Biology instructor at Highland Community College, and is active with the local Northwest Audubon Society. 

She has been a board member in different capacities over the past 10 years ranging from Education chair, Publicity, Vice President, and President for two years. She implemented Equality, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (EDIB) initiatives during her time on the board, focusing on belonging and accessibility in birding. She also has made it a goal to ensure that people of color can be welcomed into the birding community, which has historically lacked diversity. This connects with her work as Co-chair of the Highland Diversity Committee.

“I’m proud to represent the Northwest Illinois Audubon Society for the initiatives that I have led for our chapter related to diversity and inclusion in birding over the past few years,” Moderow said. “I am humbled by the honor because the work I have done in the community is something that I truly enjoy — teaching people of all ages, color, abilities, and identities about the beauty of birds. I am very appreciative of this recognition and hope it can inspire others to do similar work.”

Some local initiatives she developed with the Northwest Audobon Society were donating binoculars for children and adults to check out at the Freeport Public Library, holding various events for youth in the community, starting a bird club program at the Freeport Boys and Girls Club, giving programs at local nursing homes and independent living housing, developing accessible bird outings for individuals with physical disabilities, and helping Freeport become one of the first of three Bird Cities of Illinois (which is also a program she helped develop). In addition, she voluntarily teaches HCC Lifelong Learning courses on Basic Birding. Overall, she is committed to teaching people of all ages, abilities, races, ethnicities, and identities about birds which helps in the conservation and protection of birds. 

The William Dutcher Award was established to recognize outstanding Audubon volunteers who exemplify the standard of service to Audubon established by William Dutcher, the first chairman of the National Association of Audubon Societies in 1905. A tireless birder, researcher, and scholar, he was one of the first to promote the idea of bird sanctuaries, conservation education, and bird photography. He was instrumental in convincing President Theodore Roosevelt to set aside Pelican Island, the first federal wildlife refuge, and fought for early wildlife laws. Recognizing the need for effective local organizations, Dutcher helped create the first Audubon chapters and oversaw Audubon’s growth from a loose-knit federation to a powerful society.

Photo: Marshall Johnson, Chief Conservation Officer from the National Audubon Society presents Juliet Moderow with the William Dutcher Award. Photo Credit: Sydney Walsh/Audubon