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Audubon Society to manage Audubon`s home

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

The National Audubon Society and the Montgomery County Commissioners today [April 23, 2003] signed an historic partnership agreement for the benefit of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania 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.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`scareer, 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. Their national network of community-based nature centres 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].

4th July 2014