For the Birds: Detroit Audubon Society Recognizes GM
Thu, Feb 21 2013
DETROIT – The Detroit Audubon Society today recognized General Motors for its continued participation in a program that helps birds avoid crashing into illuminated buildings during migratory night flights.
GM encourages employees at its world headquarters in Detroit to turn off their lights at night during spring and fall migrations, from March through May and from August through October. The automaker is participating for the seventh year in Safe Passage Great Lakes, a joint program of the Detroit Audubon Society and Michigan Audubon.
“General Motors has been an eager and committed partner of this initiative since its inception,” said Fred Charbonneau, Detroit Audubon Society board member. “GM’s continued support of Safe Passage Great Lakes is a testament to its commitment to wildlife protection.”
The U.S. Forest Service estimates that as many as half a billion birds die each year due to collisions with buildings. Many species of birds migrate at night, using the stars to navigate. Attracted by lights left on overnight in multi-story buildings, birds collide into windows or become disoriented, circling the building until they die of exhaustion.
General Motors manages nearly 2,500 acres of certified wildlife habitat across 25 of its global sites. Some of the habitats are particularly beneficial to birds that migrate, such as GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, which converted 16.5 acres of lawn area into a habitat for migratory birds that prefer grassland. Last year, GM China launched the first phase of the GM Restoring Nature’s Habitat Project, a three-year initiative that will provide water for and support the breeding of rare and migratory birds at three wetlands in China, the Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve in Shanghai, the Panjin Shuangtai Hekou National Nature Reserve in Liaoning province and the Changdao National Nature Reserve in Shandong province.
Safe Passage Great Lakes, launched in 2006, was the first state-wide effort in the nation aimed at protecting migratory birds. It was inspired by projects such as the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors and the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) in Toronto.
“Wildlife protection is an important part of our environmental commitment and overall sustainability strategy,” said Sue Kelsey, GM’s biodiversity manager. “We all share the same ecosystem and share a responsibility to support efforts that reduce our impact on the environment and wildlife.”