Contact: Norm Brunswig (843) 462-2150 nbrunswig@xxxxxxxxxxx AUDUBON AND NATURE CONSERVANCY WORK TO ADD 900-ACRE PARCEL TO SOUTH CAROLINA'S BEIDLER SANCTUARY Pine Tree Conservation Society Joins Audubon South Carolina and Nature Conservancy in Raising the $1.6 Million Purchase Price Harleyville, South Carolina, Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - The Nature Conservancy has purchased a 909-acre tract in Berkeley and Dorchester counties for inclusion in the National Audubon Society's Francis Beidler Forest, a Registered National Natural Landmark, it was jointly announced today by the Conservancy and Audubon. The land, which runs along the Edisto River, was sold by Mead Westvaco Corp. for $1,650,000 and provides much-needed habitat for South Carolina's forest birds. The site was puchased with funds from several conservation partners and a one million dollar grant to Audubon through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). "Today's annoucement means that more than 900 acres of irreplaceable bird and wildlife habitat will be saved for future generations of South Carolinians to enjoy," said Audubon President John Flicker. "Mead Wesvaco has done the right thing in selling this land for conservation, and it is a pleasure to be working with our friends in this, especially the Nature Conservancy, our original partner in the creation of Beidler Forest." "We are truly fortunate to have the extraordinary number and diversity of conservation partners committed to preserving South Carolina's world class coastal landscapes," said Michael Prevost, who lead development of the NAWCA proposal for the Conservancy. "The Edisto River is deserving of conservation focus, and we are pleased to have been a participant in protecting this critical tract as an addition to the Francis Beidler Forest." "This land, located just downstream from the 11,406 acre Francis Beidler Forest, is one of the top three protection priorities for Audubon at this site," said Norman Brunswig, Audubon South Carlina Exective Director. "Today's remarkable acquisition adds more invaluable habitat to Beidler for forest birds, which are at particular conservation risk due to habitat loss. Once again, we are delighted to be working with the Conservancy." The initial acquisition establishing Beidler Forest in 1969 was a collaborative effort between Audubon and The Nature Conservancy protecting approximately 3,400 acres. Named for early 20th century conservationist Francis Beidler, the Forest supports some of the densest breeding populations of migratory songbirds in the eastern United States. Audubon has conducted ongoing breeding bird inventories here for 25 years, and the data suggest that as many as 1,363 Prothontary Warbler territories and 227 Swainson's Warbler territories occur in Beidler Forest. The Forest supports high concentrations of other migratory birds, including Northern Parula, Hooded Warbler and Wood Thrush, and it has been named a globally Important Bird Area. The Conservancy will sell most of its interest in the property to Audubon, resulting in expansion of Beidler Forest to 12,723 acres. Audubon will purchase a majority interest in the tract with the aid of a $1 million grant competitively awarded through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). Additionally, Audubon and The Nature Conservancy each contributed $200,000 towards purchase of the tract. The Pine Tree Conservation Society, a group that opften partners with Audubon in the acquisition of priority migratory bird habitat, provided the remaining $250,000. Audubon's contribution was also aided by a $150,000 loan from The Community Foundation Serving Coastal South Carolina's new Lowcountry Conservation Loan Fund, the first loan from this important new source for habitat conservation funding. The Loan Fund was established earlier this year to provide critical, interim financing to conservation organizations for land acquisition. "We are delighted that the fund's initial loan has made a pivotal contribution to such an important and collaborative habitat conservation effort", said Loan Fund Chairman, Jody Tamsberg. "The NAWCA grant is particularly significant in that this funding proposal, jointly prepared by the Conservancy and Audubon, was considered the highest ranking coastal project in the entire country", stated Craig Watson of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who administers the NAWCA program. In addition to The Nature Conservancy, Audubon, and the Pine Tree Conservation Society, other NAWCA partners included: Ducks Unlimited, Lowcountry Open Land Trust, Mead Westvaco Corporation, Bear Island Club, S.C. Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Services and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Each of these partners made substantive contributions toward the protection of strategically important tracts in the Edisto River corridor either through direct funding or securing or granting conservation easements. 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. # # # You are subscribed to Audubon-News. To unsubscribe, send email to audubon-news-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with 'unsubscribe' in the Subject field. To adjust other settings (vacation, digest, etc.) please visit, http://www.freelists.org/list/audubon-news.