Salisbury Press

Sunday, February 23, 2020

SALLISBURY TOWNSHIP BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS Bird Town status approved

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN pwillistein@tnonline.com in Local News

Salisbury Township is now officially a "Bird Town."

The township is only the third Lehigh County municipality to obtain the Audubon Society of Pennsylvania designation, which advocates promoting bird habitats and education to ensure environmental safeguards.

The City of Allentown and Lower Macungie Township are the other Lehigh County municipalities that have "Bird Town" status.

The Salisbury Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the "Bird Town" designation, which was advanced by the Salisbury Township Environmental Advisory Council.

"Whenever you have a healthy environment, you have a lot of birds," Salisbury Township Director of Planning and Zoning Cynthia Sopka said at the Feb. 14 township meeting. "I think it's vital," she added.

Sopka also touted the potential tourism aspects of birding for the township and Lehigh Valley at, for example, the still developing 500-acre Walking Purchase Park.

"Once we see those habitats [improved], you're gong to see a lot more people out there walking. It's entertainment. It's healthy," Sopka said of bird-watching.

"Get your binoculars out," quipped Township Manager Randy Soriano.

"You can get an ap for that," Township Police Chief Allen W. Stiles said, regarding bird-watching and bird species indentification.

"You have an ap?" Sopka asked the chief.

"I'm for the birds," Soriano joked.

On a serious note, Sopka said there's a strong education component to the "Bird Town" program, which could lead to a partnership with the Salisbury Township School District for classroom education.

The Audubon program has an annual $850 fee, which the township will pay. The fee includes "Bird Town" training programs, education materials and signs.