Working Lands

Audubon Forester Training and Endorsement Program

Creating a national network of professional foresters working in partnership with Audubon to promote healthy forest ecosystems that provide high-quality habitat for priority bird species, at scale.
Working Lands

Audubon Forester Training and Endorsement Program

Creating a national network of professional foresters working in partnership with Audubon to promote healthy forest ecosystems that provide high-quality habitat for priority bird species, at scale.

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Looking to Become an Endorsed Forester?

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Habitat for birds and other wildlife remain one of the primary management objectives for Vermont landowners.

Audubon is excited to offer foresters a new opportunity for assistance in meeting your land management objectives through our new Audubon Forester Training and Endorsement Program. We welcome consulting, agency, industry, and procurement foresters to participate in the program.

Information learned in our training can be applied to private and public land, and is compatible with many objectives, including timber production, water quality, recreation, and carbon sequestration.

The purpose of Audubon’s forester endorsement program is to create a national network of professional foresters working, in partnership with the National Audubon Society, to promote healthy forest ecosystems that provide high-quality habitat for priority bird species, at scale.

An Audubon endorsement means that participating foresters have completed our bird-friendly forestry training curriculum and demonstrated that they can apply the concepts we have taught them. Once endorsed, you will have access to our wide landowner base, and Audubon will promote and support your ongoing habitat work. 

Program Success to Date:

Audubon Announces First-Ever Endorsed Foresters in Vermont and in New York (Feb 2023)



To receive an Audubon endorsement, foresters must complete the following steps (Note: This program is currently in a pilot phase and may change based on feedback provided by participating foresters. Check back for program updates as we work to build a program that benefits foresters and bird conservation.):

  1. Completing the training webinar series,
  2. Write an example silvicultural prescription that integrates bird habitat management based on a stand scenario we provide, and
  3. Provide two examples of new or revised management plans, updates, or amendments that integrate bird habitat management. For large management plans (e.g. public lands, industrial forests, etc.), foresters can revise two stand prescriptions rather than the entire plan.


The pilot program begins with a series of four weekly training webinars, where foresters will learn about birds in decline, landscape and stand-level planning and management to improve forest habitat diversity, resources available to assist foresters, and details about the pilot Audubon Forester Endorsement Program.

Upon completion of the webinar series, foresters can choose to continue with the next steps in the endorsement process. By completing these four sessions, foresters are eligible to receive 4 SAF CFE credits before moving on to the endorsement process.

Training sessions can be accessed at any time and streamed at a time conducive to your schedule.  However, we ask that you watch all four sessions before advancing to the next steps of the endorsement process.

SAF CFEs have been approved for recorded webinars (1 Cat 1 CFE per webinar). To receive CFEs for viewing a recorded webinar, foresters will need to submit answers to two questions for each webinar.

How to submit answers: Please submit your answers by either uploading them via the links below, or by emailing them to an Audubon New York or Vermont staff member via the information listed below. Include the subject “CFE Training Questions” along with your SAF or state license identification and we will make sure you receive the necessary credits. We suggest you familiarize yourself with these questions before watching so that you’re prepared to provide answers.

Webinar #1: Forester Training and Endorsement Program and Introduction to the Healthy Forest Initiative

Webinar #2: Forest Bird Habitat Management Planning and Assessments

Webinar #3: Forest Management for Birds

Webinar #4: Resources for Foresters, Engaging Landowners and Current Audubon Projects


Now that you’ve completed the four endorsement-training sessions you might be asking yourself, what’s next?  

You are not obligated to continue past the training into the endorsement process to receive CFE credits however, should you chose to, Audubon will provide access to our wide landowner base while promoting and supporting your ongoing habitat work.  We also will remain available to you as a resource when incorporating bird habitat considerations into your forest management planning.


Choose one of the mock stand scenarios below and respond to questions provided therein, developing a stand-level prescription that incorporates some of the bird-friendly forestry concepts we outlined in the training. After completion, you can upload your stand prescription here. 

Here is an example scenario response.  

Choose and address one of the following:


Develop two forest management plans (either brand new plans or new activity schedule updates) that incorporate these concepts OR take a previously written plan and add apply these bird-friendly concepts where suitable within the calendar year. For large management plans (e.g. public lands, industrial forests, etc.), you can choose to revise two stand prescriptions rather than the entire plan.

After completion, upload new or updated management plans here.

For bird-friendly forest management plans or stand prescriptions, remember to include the following important components:

  1. Describe landowner objectives towards managing their property for birds
  2. Provide a landscape-level assessment
    • Quantify and describe forest cover and land use in a 2,500 acre landscape, including, if possible, a map displaying the landscape and areas of suspected or confirmed young forest stands <15-20 yrs old.- see the Audubon New York Forester’s Guide (appendix B) for more details on this process.   
    • Address forest age class diversity levels at this landscape level:
      1. Conditions of young forests, <15-20 years old
      2. Conditions of advanced forest cover, >20 years old
        1. How do these levels compare to targets for the region of (broadly, 5-10% young forest, 90%+ mature forest).
  3. Provide a stand-level assessment
    • Assess and address stand-level habitat characteristics as they relate to focal groups of bird species (hint: check out the Birders Dozen Pocket Guide and/or Birds with Silviculture in Mind Guide). Habitat elements to describe include: vertical and horizontal structural diversity, native tree species diversity, downed woody material, snags and cavity trees, large diameter trees, etc.

Additional resources for writing prescriptions and management plans:
Audubon New York Forester’s Guide
Audubon Vermont Silviculture with Birds in Mind Guide

Need more examples? The following plans were developed and/or amended to create or improve forest bird habitat while meeting additional landowner objectives. Examples range from NY 480a harvest plans, NRCS conservation activity plans, Use Value Appraisal plans, and general forest management plans.

The first two plans with stars next to them are great examples of bird-friendly forest management plans. We encourage you to apply the same landscape and stand-level considerations to your stand scenario prescription in Step 2 and new or revised management plans or stand prescriptions in Step 3.

Please note that some of the management plan examples were written with forest birds in mind but might not directly address landscape or stand-level habitat considerations. However, we learned these plans were written with birds in mind from the foresters that wrote them. As discussed in Webinar #4, we understand that every plan or prescription you develop may not directly address bird habitat (e.g. 480a plan), but that you did consider and propose management that will indeed improve forest age class diversity and within stand structure and complexity. Once you are endorsed by Audubon, we encourage you to still include those plans that may not directly address forest bird habitat in your annual reporting.


Foresters will be asked to share baseline information annually, and participate in at least two continuing education programs every other year.

Share information with Audubon so we can assess our cumulative impact on forest bird conservation. Information we need includes the number of bird-friendly forest management plans written, number of acres included in those management plans, and the number of acres that received management that benefits birds. We may reach out for this information in late May or early June. We hope to have an easy-to-use online form for information sharing, perhaps something similar to this: Information sharing form available here.

Participate in at least two continuing education opportunities provided by Audubon or other agencies and organizations. These programs will also be preapproved for SAF credits and participation certificates will be provided.  Audubon will notify endorsed foresters of the continuing education programs in advance and welcome your suggestions for topics we cover and field sites we visit for in-person programming.

Additional resources that may help when developing your plans can be found here:
NY Forest Resource Center
VT Forest Resource Center

Share your endorsement process feedback! We want to hear from you and be a better resource for your work.



Generously Supported By:

Audubon's Forester Training and Endorsement Program is funded by a Landscape Scale Restoration grant by the U.S Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, an equal opportunity provider, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation New England Forests and Rivers Fund, Davis Conservation Foundation, LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, Overhills Foundation and High Meadows Fund (now the Daybreak Fund - Vermont Community Foundation).

Additional program support & partners:

  • New York and Green Mountain Division - Society of American Foresters
  • NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
  • VT Woodlands Association
  • Forest Stewards Guild


Audubon Announces First-Ever Endorsed Foresters
Working Lands

Audubon Announces First-Ever Endorsed Foresters

We are thrilled to share that Caitlin Cusack (Vermont) and John MacNaught (New York) have become endorsed for prioritizing bird habitat in their management recommendations.

Read more

Working Lands

Audubon Endorsed Forester Directory

Find a forester that can work with you to develop a bird-friendly forest management plan for your property.

Read more

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