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James Taylor Sings for the Birds

VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia, May 18, 2008 (ENS) – When James Taylor picks up his guitar and sings in Virginia Beach on Thursday, May 22, he will be singing in part to protect land for migratory birds on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

Taylor will donate a portion of the proceeds from the benefit concert to the Southern Tip Partnership, a coalition of conservation organizations including the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

For nearly two decades the partnership has worked to protect land for migratory songbirds and wildlife on the southern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula, where the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge is located.


James Taylor’s music will support bird
habitat. (Photo credit unknown)

Taylor’s generosity in the past has supported land acquisition and habitat restoration projects in the area.

The partnership signed an agreement in 2006, formalizing a commitment to share funding, equipment and technical expertise to fully leverage available resources to buy land and restore habitat.

“We prioritize land parcels and rank them according to the goals of each partner group,” says Refuge Manager Susan Rice. “We determine the highest acquisition or easement priority and that’s where we focus our energy.”

The Nature Conservancy has just purchased a particularly expensive 82 acre tract that the Fish and Wildlife Service then bought to add to the Eastern Shore of Virginia Refuge.

“It is through the partnership that we have been able to accomplish so much for the resource,” says Rice.

In addition to buying and protecting land, the partnership works to improve wildlife habitat on the Eastern Shore.

Project include control of invasive species, planting of native shrubs and trees for songbirds, and establishing butterfly gardens for migrating monarch butterflies. Lands have been managed to favor vegetation which produces fruit to feed migrating songbirds.

At the age of 60, James Taylor has sold some 40 million albums. He has earned 40 gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards and five Grammy Awards for a catalog running from 1970s Sweet Baby James to his Grammy Award-winning efforts Hourglass in 1997 and October Road in 2002.

Taylor’s first Greatest Hits album earned him the RIAA’s elite Diamond Award, given for sales in excess of 10 million units in the United States. Honors include the 1998 Century Award, Billboard magazine’s highest accolade, bestowed for distinguished creative achievement.

The year 2000 saw his induction into both the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and the prestigious Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. In February 2006, The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences selected James its MUSICARES Person of the Year.

It is not yet known how much funding the partnership will receive from the Taylor concert, but ticket sales are brisk at the Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach Amphitheater.

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