Centers, Sanctuaries & Chapters

Celebrating the Groundbreaking of Renovations at the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center

Audubon New York implements new vision for the nation’s first songbird sanctuary.

Senator Carl Marcellino, Mayor Charles Goulding, Audubon NY Board members and staff: Virginia Stowe, Ana Paula Tavares, Kathryn D'Amico, & Ed Mohlenhoff.

OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (October 1, 2018) – Today, the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center (TRSAC) breaks ground on a series of improvement projects ranging from the restoration of the historic Bessie Potter Vonnoh memorial sculpture and fountain to renovations to the education center and the installation of native plant demonstration gardens. These renovations will enhance the visitor experience, expand education programming, and advance historical understanding of environmental conservation.

“For more than 95 years, the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center has been serving thousands of Long Island’s residents, students, and visitors,” says Ana Paula Tavares, Executive Director of Audubon New York. “We now have the opportunity to honor the history and legacy of the sanctuary by beautifying its landscape, improving its facilities, and scaling up its programs – creating a gateway to long-term environmental stewardship.”

Located in Oyster Bay, N.Y., TRSAC was established in 1923 as the nation’s first Audubon songbird sanctuary on land generously donated to the Audubon Society by the Roosevelt family in memory of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States. 

The improvements will include a new entrance plaza, ADA accessible pathways, restoration of the historic Bessie Potter Vonnoh memorial sculpture and fountain, and renovation of existing center buildings. The core area of the property will be planted with native plants and serve as a demonstration site for bird and pollinator friendly gardens. Education programs will be improved and expanded to achieve greater conservation impact, and further promote science based learning and career paths. TRSAC will focus on building partnership with compatible organizations and strengthening relationships within the community. 

"On behalf of the residents of Oyster Bay Cove, we are extremely proud of Audubon New York’s ongoing facilities improvement initiative,” says Oyster Bay Mayor Goulding. “Along with Sagamore Hill, the Theodore Roosevelt Museum, and the nearby Roosevelt gravesite, the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center – the nation’s first songbird sanctuary – completes a national destination center recognizing a great President and an inspirational naturalist and conservationist."

Audubon New York is positioning the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center as a community hub for conservation, science, policy, and environmental education around Long Island’s globally significant ecosystem. The Long Island Sound is an Important Bird Area (IBA), positioned along a major migratory pathway that provides critical, year-round habitat for breeding, feeding, and nesting birds. The State Endangered Piping Plover rely on the Sound for summer nesting and breeding, and Snowy Owls are increasingly using Long Island for winter feeding grounds. Long Island also supports one of the largest colonies of Roseate Terns, a federally and NYS threatened species. Long Island’s habitat is integral to achieving the goals of Audubon New York’s Long Island Bird Conservation Program, which focuses on increasing the populations of priority shorebirds, including Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, and Black Skimmer.

This groundbreaking marks the beginning of state-of-the-art facility renovations that will help us engage more people in the protection of the Long Island ecosystem for the benefit of birds, people, and communities.

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About Audubon New York

Audubon New York, the state program of the National Audubon Society, protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive.

Media Contact: Chandler Lennon, clennon@audubon.org, (212) 979-3063

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