A History of Conservation: Tampa Exhibit Highlights Audubon’s Legacy in Florida’s Conservation Movement

The Tampa Bay History Center and Audubon Florida curated the remarkable story of Florida conservation and Audubon’s role in it in an exciting new exhibit. A History of Conservation: A Bird’s Eye View shows the evolution of conservation in Florida. Visitors encounter artifacts ranging from early American bird identification studies, equipment and spoils of the plume hunters who plundered Florida’s wading bird supercolonies, and inspiring stories of advocates, scientists, and elected officials who went to extraordinary lengths to protect Florida’s birds and wildplaces. The exhibit is now closed, but you can find information about the history of waterbird conservation from that exhibit online here: Audubon and Waterbird Conservation.

Consider Guy Bradley, an Audubon warden and Florida’s first wildlife officer, who was murdered while engaging poachers at an Everglades rookery. Learn about ornithologist W. E. D. Scott whose documentation of wading bird slaughter in Tampa Bay helped inspire the establishment of Audubon Societies and the boycott of feathers in ladies’ hats in the late 1800s. Chuckle at the ingenuity of the Audubon wardens who thwarted egg collectors by marking the eggs of Crested Caracaras “Property of the Audubon Society” and replacing them lovingly in their nests. And admire the tenacity of early conservation legislators who worked to put in place the landmark protections for species, water, and wildplaces that we take for granted today.

Most importantly, learn from the great ingenuity of those who came before us, and in whose footsteps we follow. As we face some of the greatest threats to our natural resources Florida has ever seen, this exhibit provides inspiration and provokes pride in the proud history of Audubon’s leadership. Kudos to Audubon biologists Ann Paul and Mark Rachal, volunteer Suzanne Cooper, and many partners and supporters for their efforts to share this story of Florida conservation and Audubon. Discover more here at:

A Night to Celebrate Conservation at the Tampa Bay History Center

More than 100 Audubon supporters celebrated Audubon’s special place in Florida’s conservation history at the Tampa Bay History Center in November. Attendees visited the exhibit and a presentation by Dr. Paul Gray, leading Audubon scientist and erstwhile historian. Audubon is so grateful to the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay for their generous sponsorship and enthusiasm for the project and celebration.

A Special Thanks to the Host Committee

Celia and Jim Ferman

Mary Figg

Hal and Marian Flowers

Mallory Lykes and David Belcher

Heidi and Doug McCree

Kathleen Swann Brooks and Jennifer Short Poole

Jonnie Swann

Robert Thomas, Crystal Springs Preserve, Incorporated

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