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History


 

1897
The Audubon Society of Rhode Island is born after a group of concerned Rhode Island citizens band together to fight the mass slaughter of birds for the needless use of plumage in the fashions of the era.

1907
Just ten years after its origin, the Audubon Society of Rhode Island has 1,300 members - a number than has grown to more than 17,000 today.

1916
The 1916 Migratory Bird Treaty Act abolishes feather hunting nationally.  Meanwhile, in the 20th Century's early decades "environmental education" becomes a reality for the Society, as Audubon teaches local students with a very strong presence on Block island.

1924
The Kimball Bird Sanctuary in Charlestown becomes the Audubon's first property.  It is deeded to Audubon so that visitors can view the birds that nested and migrated there.

1950's
In the 1950's, Audubon begins formalizing its "environmental education" programs, reaching out to area schools and students.  Meanwhile, additional parcels of wildlife habitat acreage are added to the burgeoning Audubon wildlife refuge network. Noteworthy among the growing refuge network are George B. Parker Woodland, Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge, Seekonk's Caratunk Wildlife Refuge, and Eppely Wildlife Refuge in South Kingstown.

1954
The Rhode Island Red is selected as the state's official bird.

1961
The first adventurous birders take part in the Audubon's premier Block Island Birding Weekend - a tradition that endures today.

1962
Rachel Carson's Silent Spring is published and stuns readers everywhere.

1966
    The ASRI Report, Audubon membership's newsletter, sees its first edition published.

1971
Audubon's leadership and environmental advocacy leads to the creation of the Rhode Island Wetlands Act.

1972
The Federal government institutes a national ban of DDT.  Through the 1960's and 1970's, Audubon stood in the vanguard of the battle to ban DDT in Rhode Island, which was among the first state's to curtail the toxin's use.

1980
The Society's refuge network totals more than 4,000 acres.

1981
The now-famous Audubon Great Expeditions program begins in 1981.  Since, thousands have traveled to naturally rich settings in the Eastern United States and Canada for bird-watching and nature observation.  Meanwhile, Audubon organizes and leads the state's first Coastal Cleanup - an event that still exists and seems to grow larger each year.

1983
Audubon hosted its first-ever Add to dictionary, during which 182 collective species of birds were identified.

1986
Audubon promotes and supports the passage of Rhode Island's statewide recycling program through the General Assembly.

1987
Audubon moves its headquarters to Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge in Smithfield, allowing visitors to enjoy birding and programming on 120 acres of woodlands and wetlands, surrounding the Society's administrative offices.

1991
Audubon opposes the use of processed drinking water for industrial cooling.  Meanwhile, the early 1990's sees the opening of the 1,000-acre Fisherville-Brook Refuge, Exeter and the Touisset Marsh Wildlife Refuge with diverse habitats in Warren.

1996
Audubon springs to action for triage and treatment of stricken sea creatures and waterfowl during the 1996 North Cape oil spill crisis.  Meanwhile, the 235-acre woodland that is the Florence Sutherland Fort & Richard Knight Fort Nature Refuge, North Smithfield, opens for public enjoyment.

1997
Audubon brings environmental education to 15,000 kids.

2000
In 2000, Audubon's $3.5 million Environmental Education Center in Bristol opens. The state-of-the-art exhibitions and dioramas enthrall visitors, preparing them to understand and experience the surrounding refuge habitats and wildlife.

2002
Audubon dedicates the Claire D. McIntosh Wildlife Refuge in Bristol, which surrounds our Environmental Education Center and offers diverse wildlife habitats such as woodlands, fields, meadows, salt marshes and shoreline.

2004
Audubon establishes the Land Legacy Fund to ensure we have the resources to protect habitats we steward for maximum wildlife benefit.  Audubon also announces its groundbreaking Environmental Education for Urban Schools Initiative, which provides critical environmental programming to enhance school science curricula in underserved communities.

Today
Audubon is one of the largest private landowners in the state, maintaining and managing a 9,500-acre refuge system, which includes nearly 30 miles of trails for public use that form the state's largest wildlife refuge system.  The Society teaches about 33,000 school children annually - at schools and Audubon sites - with the primary focus being at the award-winning Environmental Education Center in Bristol.  The Environmental Education Center houses modern exhibits and the state's largest public aquarium. Located on a breathtaking wildlife refuge, rolling from upland meadows to the Narragansett Bay shore, the Center attracts thousands of visitors yearly.