The Story of Audubon Centers & Sanctuaries
Nature centers and wildlife sanctuaries have long been an important part of Audubon’s efforts to educate and inspire the public about the environment, its importance, and how to conserve it. Some of our earliest nature centers are still teaching young and old alike about the natural world. Those include the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center in New York, established in 1923, and the Audubon Center of Greenwich, Connecticut, founded in 1943. From these beginnings, we continued to expand the network of Centers through the remainder of the 20th century, broadening our expertise in designing and building these facilities. As we approached the new century, we added a new emphasis on the development of Centers in urban locations. Now, in the 21st century, Audubon’s network has expanded to more than 45 centers and 150 sanctuaries nationwide, and it is still growing.
The programs and activities at Audubon Centers and Sanctuaries reflect the three pillars of Audubon’s mission: education, science, and conservation action, adapted to the specific Center site and to the community it serves. With its goal of helping people discover, learn about, and care for nature close to home, Audubon is continuing its commitment to establishing Centers in communities that have the least access to nature. Through this initiative, Audubon is helping to turn areas that were community liabilities into community assets. Audubon Centers and Sanctuaries in so many diverse communities across the country are helping to develop the next generation of conservation leaders.
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Audubon Centers & Policy
Audubon Centers are places where people can connect to nature in a positive and meaningful way. But they are more than traditional nature centers; they are hubs of local and regional conservation efforts. Center programs nurture a culture in which citizens care about the natural heritage of their communities and act to protect it. Audubon Centers are places where local residents, representatives of local businesses, community-oriented organizations, elected officials, and other governmental authorities can come together with the common purpose of producing positive results for the entire community. In turn, the concerns that underlie these local efforts extend outward to neighboring communities, the wider region, the country, and even the world. Audubon Centers give citizens opportunities to take part in grassroots conservation actions and policy initiatives that can reap benefits close to home, nationally, and globally.
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Audubon Centers & Science
To promote high quality conservation science, Audubon Centers use an ecosystem approach to restoration, conservation, and education. We are dedicated to the conservation and restoration of functioning ecosystems that will benefit plants, wildlife, and habitats that play a major role in ecosystem health. To achieve this, our educational programs, although often interdisciplinary in focus, are grounded in science and strive to positively influence people’s behavior, because their actions directly affect the natural heritage of their community. The Centers are often situated in places where habitat and wildlife conservation are critically important. They are living case studies where interested people can see how science, supported by conservation action, protects and preserves our priceless natural heritage.
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