is to promote an awareness and appreciation of nature, to preserve and protect natural ecosystems, and to encourage responsible environmental stewardship.
Outreach and Education
have always been an important part of our activities in the community. Our programs and field trips are open to everyone and we do not charge a fee. For many years we provided the award-winning Audubon Adventures series to participating classrooms in our public schools, giving students the opportunity to expand their understanding of conservation issues. We have now shifted our focus to work within public schools in Hernando County with active Junior Audubon Clubs led by teachers that allow students to learn about nature in a hands-on way on their campus. Our flagship Junior Audubon Club is at Eastside Elementary School and is now entering its 5th year. We hope to expand the program to other schools in Hernando County as we grow and expand the program. Additionally we have supported educational efforts at both the Chinsegut Conservation Center and Dade Battlefield State Park. Our members participate as judges in both the annual Envirothon as well as the Hernando Schools District Science Fair. We also fund a scholarship and many graduating senior high school students have been awarded the Steve Fickett-Hernando Audubon Environmental Scholarship to help them defray some of the cost of college. Most of the recipients have gone on to hold leadership jobs in conservation and related fields.
Hernando Audubon was established in February 1959 as a chapter of the Florida Audubon Society. At that time, Hernando County had fewer than 12,000 year-round residents. Wellman Tucker, a forward-thinking conservationist, was the first president and Lisa Von Borowsky, who later established Audubon of Florida's Ahhochee Hill Sanctuary, became treasurer. Steve Fickett, a biologist with the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission (now the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) was the society's first field trip chair. The scholarship offered annually by Hernando Audubon is named in his honor.
In 1971, Hernando Audubon was incorporated as a nonprofit organization, clearing the way for the society to accept major gifts. In 1974, Lisa Von Borowsky donated 20 acres of land to the chapter for sale to raise money for a nature center on land recently acquired by the Fish and Game Commission. Hernando Audubon eventually contributed approximately one-third of the funds needed to build what is now the Chinsegut Conservation Center, completed in 1986.