2004 Feinstone Environmental Awards
Honoring Conservation Education Centers
Primary Award Recipients:
Aullwood Audubon Center
Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm is a 350-acre sanctuary in southwest Ohio. Established through a gift in 1957 from Marie S. Aull, it is one of the Midwest’s first nature centers.
Aullwood’s mission is to “provide activities in environmental education and organic agriculture which increase understanding and preservation of the planet by children and adults through education, research and recreation.”
The facilty includes a beautiful wildlife sanctuary and six miles of hiking trails through prairie, forests, farmland and meadows. At Aullwood’s organic farm, visitors can explore a century-old barn and other buildings that shelter pigs, horses, goats, cows, chickens and other livestock. The facility has a staff of 35 employees and 750 volunteers. Åullwood is active in environmental education efforts offering youngsters an opportunity to learn through hands-on experiences.
Aullwood received high marks from the Feinstone committee as a “top notch” conservation nature center, particularly in the areas of community relations, funding and publications.
Daytondailynews.com story HERE
Reedy Creek Nature Center
Reedy Creek Nature Center in Charlotte, N.C., is the gateway to the 727-acre Reedy Creek Nature Preserve. The center focuses its interpretation and education efforts on the flora and fauna of North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County and the surrounding 14-county region.
The center’s mission is the protect the region’s biodiversity and natural heritage for its inherent value and for the benefit of future generations by promoting open space preservation, conserving natural communities and fostering awareness and stewardship through environmental education.
Reedy Creek is one of three nature centers in Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department’s Division of Natural Resources. The county has been operating the center since 1993. The center offers a wide variety of programming to the public both at the facility itself and off-site at schools, greenways, and other nature centers.
The Feinstone committee was particularly impressed with the nature center’s ability to offer exceptional programming with limited funding.
Secondary Award Recipients
Prospect Park Audubon Center
Prospect Park Audubon Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., was established a year ago, becoming the first new Audubon Center created in an urban area.
The mission of the center is to inspire people to learn about, appreciate, and protect birds, other wildlife and their habitat both in Prospect Park and communities beyond it. It aims to broaden its visitors’ knowledge, awareness and experience, and to protect and preserve the environment by providing a positive way for people to interact with it locally.
The center’s main building is the award-winning restored 1905 Boathouse at Lullwater Pond. The building includes an interactive exhibit hall, a children’s discovery area and other facilities. The center is part of the park’s ongoing habitat restoration efforts. More than a million people live in the neighborhoods around the park, and the center reaches out to them through a variety of educational programs.
The Feinstone committee sited the Prospect Park Audubon Center as an exceptional example of a nature center in an urban area.
Wehr Nature Center
Wehr Nature Center occupies 220 acres within the 660-acre Whitnall Park in southwestern Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.
Wehr’s mission is to foster an environmental awareness and conservation ethic in visitors of all ages through interactions with its restore habitats and educational programming; to provide the public with valuable information and resources on current local and global environmental issues; and to enable school groups to interact and learn more about nature and conservation throughout the county park system through its Nature in the Parks outreach programming.
Wehr Nature Center comprises a 20-acre lake with three islands that were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936; wetlands that are accessible via a 1,700-foot boardwalk; restored oak savanna and prairie; maple and oak woodlands; five miles of looping trails and interpretive signs; and a visitor center.
The Feinstone committee was impressed with Wehr Nature Center’s commitment to continuing its fine programming in the face of severe budget constraints.
City of Syracuse, New York
The City of Syracuse, N.Y., serves as a role model for other cities that wish to implement sustainable practices that are vital to a community’s longs-term health and prosperity.
The city’s collaboration with researchers and students at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry has enhanced the city’s efforts to make itself a more sustainable community.
In the area of sustainable community design and development, the city has initiated a vacant land study and formed a Vacant Land Task Force; planned for an Onondaga Arboretum and Botanical Gardens and a funding partnership for its implementation; and begun to analyze community design and land use along the Onondaga Creek corridor.
In the area of energy conservation and global greenhouse gas reduction, the city has resolved, through the Common Council, to move toward increased sustainable practices and energy conservation; joined the “Cities for Climate Protection Program”; and developed a baseline survey for greenhouse gas emissions in order to determine appropriate reduction measures.
The city’s voluntary actions, under the leadership of Mayor Matt Driscoll and the Common Council, demonstrate a clear commitment to the environment that exceeds basic regulatory compliance. Just as important are the steps that have been taken to create a better community for the residents of Syracuse.
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