[audubon-news] Audubon to Manage Historic Mill Grove Home

  • From: "Lynn Tennefoss" <ltennefoss@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: audubon-news@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, chapter-communicator@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 16:34:27 -0400

AUDUBON & MONTGOMERY COUNTY SIGN HISTORIC AGREEMENT

Society to Assume Management of Mill Grove, J.J. Audubon's
First Home in U.S., on the Eve of Naturalist's 218th Birthday

Audubon, PA April 23, 2003 - The National Audubon Society and the
Montgomery County Commissioners today signed an historic partnership
agreement for the benefit of Montgomery County and nature enthusiasts
everywhere.  The agreement allows Audubon to manage this site, the
first home in the United States of famed artist, naturalist, and
writer John James Audubon, build a gallery displaying hundreds of
pieces of his art work, and create a world-class Audubon Center here
that connects people with nature.

"This signing is especially appropriate, as it comes on the eve of
John James Audubon's 218th birthday (April 26th)," said Audubon
President John Flicker.  "Being able to work with Montgomery County to
bring management of Audubon's home to the Society that bears his name
brings with it a feeling of completeness.  Through partnering, we can
bring donors and visitors to the County who understand the special
significance of Mill Grove."

This fall will also mark the bicentennial of the teenaged Audubon's
arrival at Mill Grove.

Montgomery County has known Mill Grove needed significant upgrades and
renovations but was unable to come up with the money, Commissioner
Chairman Michael D. Marino said.  "This partnership will allow us to
protect a priceless asset in the artwork we have, do so at no cost to
the taxpayer, maintain public access to the site, draw tourists, and
increase educational opportunities for our residents," Marino stated.

The Audubon Society will lease 67 acres of the site - and the
buildings on that acreage - on Jan. 1, 2004 under a 50-year lease with
the County.  Audubon will build a multi-million-dollar art gallery and
visitors center, and undertake the long-term preservation of
county-owned Audubon artwork valued at between $10 million and $12
million.  The hundreds of works in the collection spans Audubon's
career, and includes a prized four volume "elephant folio" of The
Birds of America, published in London in 1838, and a rare oversized
oil painting entitled "The Eagle and the Lamb."

In addition, the national conservation group will establish an Audubon
Center here to teach environmental education.  Mill Grove will now
become part of the national network of Audubon Centers.  Audubon staff
will create and provide high-quality outdoor education for the
community and visitors, specifically tailored to the unique habitat,
wildlife and historical aspects of the Montgomery County site, which
is on the National Register of Historic places.

"Audubon Centers are places on the land that open new eyes to nature,"
continued Flicker.  "At Mill Grove, guests will not only experience
what's beautiful and important about this part of Pennsylvania,
they'll also be able to learn about John James Audubon, right where he
lived and learned his art.  That experience will truly be unmatched
anywhere else in the world, making Mill Grove one of the flagships of
the Audubon Centers' network."

Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the
habitat that supports them.  Our national network of community-based
nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and
advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations,
engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in positive
conservation experiences.

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