Share |

Sea & Sage Audubon Society

 P.O. Box 5447
 Irvine, CA 92616
[P] (949) 261-7963
[F] (949) 261-8357
[email protected]
President Doug Lithgow
 Printable 1 Page Summary
 Printable Profile
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
Employer Identification Number 23-7003681 00000



Mission StatementMORE »

Sea & Sage Audubon Society's mission is to protect birds, other wildlife, and their habitats through education, citizen science, research, and public policy advocacy.

Mission Statement

Sea & Sage Audubon Society's mission is to protect birds, other wildlife, and their habitats through education, citizen science, research, and public policy advocacy.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year 2019
Projected Expenses $308,507.00
Projected Revenue $308,507.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • 1. Outdoor Adventures Science Discovery Program for Elementary School Children

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Sea & Sage Audubon Society's mission is to protect birds, other wildlife, and their habitats through education, citizen science, research, and public policy advocacy.

Background Statement

Sea and Sage Audubon Society is the largest Orange County chapter of the National Audubon Society, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the preservation of native birds and their habitats. Since its foundation in 1958, Sea and Sage Audubon has been a well-trusted resource for science-based information about Orange County’s diverse bird populations. For over five decades, we have provided many benefits and services for the local community through our environmental education programs, scientific research projects, and environmental advocacy. 

People can get close to nature through educational programs such as our birding skills workshops, free monthly bird-watching field trips, outdoor science programs for elementary school children, summer nature camp programs for youth, birding club for teenagers, summer bat walks, and community group tours.

People can contribute to scientific research by volunteering with our annual bird counts, assisting with monthly bird censuses at local wildlife areas, helping survey the county’s endangered shorebirds, and monitoring nesting activity of urban birds and endangered birds.

Public participation is also utilized for environmental advocacy as we promote responsible management and/or development of Orange County’s remaining natural resources. We review public documents and proposed development plans for biological impacts, speak out on environmental issues, and provide advice on proper tree trimming at county parks.

Historical highlights include (1) local Christmas Bird Counts that provide long-term data on the status of the county’s wintering bird populations; (2) five-year volunteer research project documenting nesting locations of bird that resulted in the publication The Breeding Bird Atlas in 1997; (3) free public California Birding Skills Workshops offered every year by the same dedicated scientific volunteer; (4) nine-year native plant revegetation project with Irvine Regional Park; (5) partnership with the Irvine Ranch Water District at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary since 1991; and (6) Outdoor Adventures science discovery program which has enabled over 52,000 elementary school children (two-thirds are urban inner city youth) to understand and appreciate Orange County’s natural resources since 1992.

Today, with over 3,000 members, an annual budget of $261,000, 4 paid staff, and hundreds of volunteers, we continue to foster programs for every age level and interest in our community.

Impact Statement


Achievements from 2018

1. Outdoor Adventures Science Discovery Program for elementary school children. We reached more classes than ever before in our 26 year program history at the marsh (89 classes); we provided more program scholarships than before (65 underprivileged classes); and we provided more bus scholarships than before (20 buses). Thus, we are reaching more school children about protecting birds and their habitat and how their actions affect wildlife.

2. Snowy Plover Nesting Success. Spring of 2018 marked the first time in over 50 years that Huntington Beach had two successful Snowy Plover nests at the Least Tern Preserve. One nest was outside of the Least Tern Preserve, the other was inside. Four fledged Snowy Plovers were the end result. This success highlights the cooperation between Sea and Sage Audubon Least Tern volunteers, California State Parks and California Fish and Wildlife Services. Another

milestone along the same line was the return of a first year Snowy Plover that was the result of a rescued egg from an abandoned nest found in the middle of Huntington State Beach in 2017. That find was made by Sea and Sage Snowy Plover Survey volunteers.

Goals for 2019

1. Continue and expand our Public Policy Advocacy efforts, which include meeting with local, state and federal officials, governing councils and commissions as well as promoting legislation for important conservation issues.

2. Continue effort to document our Chapter History project with oral interviews of past board members and catalog environmental achievements involving our chapter.

3. Continue to implement our Sustainability Project to document chapter policies and processes along with a succession plan for committee leadership.

4. We will re-design our free monthly Nature Walks outreach to the community plus train new naturalists to lead the walks using friendly interpretive techniques.


Needs Statement

  • Volunteer Naturalists are needed to instruct school children participating in our environmental education programs. Enthusiastic nature lovers, especially those who are retired school educators, are encouraged to share their love of nature with students at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine. Training provided.


  • Volunteers are needed to staff the Audubon House visitor’s center for a 4 hour shift at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine. The small historical building is open from 8 AM to 4 PM daily except holidays to help visitors enjoy nature at the 300 acre freshwater wetland. Volunteers greet visitors, answer questions, sell giftshop items, and answer the telephone.


  • Donations are sought for our education program: Sponsor a school bus so a classroom of children from the Santa Ana School District can attend Outdoor Adventures ($200). Sponsor an underprivileged child to attend Summer Camp ($200). Sponsor a taxidermy bird specimen for educational purposes ($220-$320).


  • Conservation Advocates are needed to help us influence governmental agencies and land owners to better manage the last remaining wild areas in Orange County. Consider joining us at our Conservation Meetings (

CEO Statement


Board Chair Statement


Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer

For ways to support us, please look under the "Needs Statement" in the "Statements and Search Criteria" section.
Or, consider making a donation to our chapter.  Kindly mail your check (made out to Sea and Sage Audubon Society) to Sea & Sage Audubon, PO Box 5447, Irvine, CA  92616.

Geographic Area Served

South Orange County
Central Orange County
West Orange County
North Orange County

Organization Categories

  1. Environment - Environmental Education
  2. Education - Primary & Elementary Schools
  3. Animal Related - Protection of Endangered Species



1. Outdoor Adventures Science Discovery Program for Elementary School Children

Outdoor Adventures for 4-5th grade students combines classroom science activities taught by elementary school teachers with outdoor exploration guided by trained volunteer naturalists at a local freshwater wetland.  Outdoor Adventures begins in the classroom with a curriculum kit borrowed from Sea and Sage that includes a wetland bird research project, real taxidermy bird specimen, and water runoff awareness presentation.  During their 2.5 hour visit to the wetland, students perform simple water quality tests, use microscopes to examine common invertebrates,  use binoculars to identify birds and their behaviors during a walk around the ponds, examine bird adaptations on specimens, and investigate the San Diego Creek to learn how their actions affect wildlife.  Through direct observation, students understand a wetland habitat is an important source of healthy water, food and shelter for a wide range of wildlife including birds that travel long distances during migrations.
Budget  $100,501.00
Category  Education, General/Other Elementary & Secondary Education
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Program Short-Term Success  Over 1,400 Santa Ana students have a greater respect for wildlife inhabiting the world around them in addition to knowing how they use outside water at their homes and schools affects wildlife at the wetland and ocean.
Program Long-Term Success  By enabling elementary school children to have real-world experiences with science beyond the classroom, the Orange County community will have an adult population with the proper scientific foundation so they can be responsible stewards of the environment.
Program Success Monitored By  Repeat teacher participation.  Field Trip Evaluation Form for teachers.  Student thank you letters and drawings. 
Examples of Program Success 
Currently, 23 teachers (33% of all teachers) have been with Outdoor Adventures for 5 or more years, and 14 teachers have participated for an astonishing 10-18 years which sends a clear message of program success.
Santa Ana school teacher writes: "This field trip helps solidify the concepts we teach in science.  It also helps build their academic language pertaining to science.  Our students don't get many opportunities to visit places like the Audubon.  These field trips truly expand their world and their knowledge.  It's a valuable experience.  Thank you."  


CEO/Executive Director Not Applicable
CEO Term Start --
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 1
Number of Part Time Staff 3
Number of Volunteers 375
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 100%
Staff Professional Development Yes

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: --
Asian American/Pacific Islander: --
Caucasian: 4
Hispanic/Latino: --
Native American/American Indian: --
Other: --
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 4
Male: --
Not Specified --

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No

Risk Management Provisions

Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy --

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Government Licenses

US Fish & Wildlife Service

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments



Board Chair President Doug Lithgow
Board Chair Company Affiliation retired customer engineer for IBM
Board Chair Term May 2018 - May 2019
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term May 2015 - May 2016

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Director 2021 Bruce Aird principal scientist at ISTA Pharmaceuticals Voting
Director 2021 Jenny Golden retired Voting
Director 2020 Ann Harmer retired professor of biological sciences, founder/director of Orange Coast College Plastination Laboratory, and co-director of OCC Cadaver Project Voting
Director 2020 Debbie Hays retired elementary teacher and writer/editor of educational materials Voting
Director 2019 Star Howard retired psychiatric technician and volunteer at two wildlife rehabilitation centers Voting
Past President G. Victor Leipzig instructor and consultant in biology and ecology; former mayor of city of Huntington Beach Voting
Director 2019 Joan McCauley retired academic librarian and retired commander with U.S. Navy Reserve Voting
Vice President Gail Richards retired biology teacher and high school principal Voting
Secretary Sandy Smith retired attorney Voting
Treasurer Tom Van Huss retired bookkeeping and business services provider Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Additional Board Members and Affiliations

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 11
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: --
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 6
Male: 5
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 1
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 74%
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy No
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Board Orientation Yes

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments


Standing Committees

  • Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Membership
  • Program / Program Planning
  • Scientific Advisory
  • Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2019 to Dec 31, 2019
Projected Revenue $308,507.00
Projected Expenses $308,507.00
Form 990s

2017 Form 990

2016 Form 990 - 2016 Sea & Sage

2015 Form 990

2014 SAS 990-2014

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $281,088 $259,453 $292,413
Total Expenses $218,902 $224,115 $212,381

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Revenue By Revenue Source
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$148,991 $164,508 $173,673
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- $0
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support -- -- $0
Earned Revenue $87,246 $72,901 $84,457
Investment Income, Net of Losses $15,478 $14,272 $20,183
Membership Dues -- -- $0
Special Events $6,873 $7,772 $8,319
Revenue In-Kind -- -- $0
Other $22,500 -- $-2,538

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Expense By Type
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $191,250 $197,685 $184,071
Administration Expense $27,652 $26,430 $28,310
Fundraising Expense -- -- $0
Payments to Affiliates -- -- $0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.28 1.16 1.38
Program Expense/Total Expenses 87% 88% 87%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 0% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $1,036,527 $898,251 $843,164
Current Assets $474,159 $399,344 $375,839
Long-Term Liabilities -- $57,875 $58,567
Current Liabilities $51,861 -- $0
Total Net Assets $984,666 $840,376 $784,597

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 9.14 inf inf

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 6% 7%
Endowment Value $493,507.00
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments

Summary financial data is per the form 990s and consultation with the organization. Foundation/corporate and individual contributions are combined under Foundation and Corporation Contributions. 


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.