Lights Out Indy is an initiative of Amos Butler Audubon. Founded in 1938, the not-for-profit organization has been a leader among local environmental groups in education, conservation and outreach programs focusing on birds. Approximately 2,000 members currently belong to Amos Butler Audubon.
Aware that other cities across North America have successfully implemented Lights Out programs, chapter leaders, in early 2008, decided it was time for such a program in Indianapolis. A small grant from Birdathon 2008, the chapter’s annual fundraising effort to fund worthwhile education, research and conservation projects, made possible the first steps towards organization.
A committee of dedicated Audubon volunteers was formed in early 2009 to plan the Lights Out Indy initiative. The committee quickly made progress in establishing partnerships and gaining supporters. Much of what was accomplished between 2009 and 2012 was demonstrating that a problem exists. Audubon volunteers noted more than 1,200 bird strikes in downtown Indiana between 2009 and 2012. The majority of birds died from their injuries, primarily blunt force trauma to the brain and other organs. Others languished and were in the throes of death when found. Some were able to fly off, apparently unharmed.
Wile monitoring will continue, the focus for 2013 is to enlist as many participating downtown buildings as possible. If enough buildings have a lights out policy during migration it will lead to fewer bird deaths and reductions in energy usage.
The Lights Out Indy program is completely voluntary. Buildings owners and managers who participate will see substantial energy savings, thereby saving financial resources. In the process they will also save the lives of birds. Participants will find this program attractive because there are virtually no downsides or negative features. Indeed, everyone wins.
Partners in the initiative include the City of Indianapolis through the Office of Sustainability.
Read more about Lights Out Indy from an article that ran in the Indianapolis Business Journal in September 2011. The article, without accompanying photos, can be read HERE.