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Highlands County Audubon has been awarded Volunteer Team 3+ for Visitor Services by the state parks. We won this because of our efforts in Highlands Hammock State Park to build the pavilion pictured on the left. This is a very significant award because of the amount of teams competing state wide.
The Highlands County Audubon Society built a sheltered, accessible observation pavilion to help visitors connect with nature at the park. Located beyond the fringe of scrub habitat in the primitive wilderness area of the park, the project includes an uplands elevated wildlife observation pavilion in pine flatwoods and an interpretive kiosk. The kiosk provides information about pine flatwoods and scrub. Visitors may see wildlife such as the Florida scrub-jay and various migratory bird species. Campers, runners and bicyclists who frequent this area are drawn to the pavilion.
The team is led by Roberta and Steve Lake and Steve Blair. The other members are Jim Howell, Dale Knapp, Mike Knapp, Tim Delaney, Susan Volpitta, Bob Grassman, Jim Upchurch, Steve Turner, Paula Blair, James Brogdon, Dale Gillis, Marian Jordan, Fran Rolston and Paul Ebersbach.
After a year, the design of the structure was approved. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Nov. 29, 2019, and was completed over 21 days on Jan. 21, 2020. Steve Blair served as the project producer/coordinator while Steve Lake directed and supervised the construction. Steve Blair and Roberta and Steve Lake contributed 90 hours for project planning. Overall, the team contributed 769 more hours for construction, for a total of 869 hours.
The observation pavilion honors Audubon members and sisters Miriam and Carol Beck for their love of nature and commitment and contributions to Highlands Hammock State Park. Miriam served as president of the Audubon chapter and Carol Beck worked at the park from 1949 to 1965.
The $50,000 project was funded from the Audubon Society’s Miriam Beck Memorial Fund. Funds are used for educational purposes such as high school scholarships and environmental education teacher training workshops.
Expenses for lumber, concrete, galvalume roofing, auger and scaffold rentals, the parking area and the kiosk totaled $13,210. The combined total value of the wildlife observation pavilion donation is $36,846.
A wetlands pavilion is planned for the future.
Our Purpose is to promote an understanding of wildlife and the environment that supports it, encouraging the protection of all species of flora, fauna, and marine life, and promote the sensible use of natural resources.
Welcome to the website for the Highlands County Audubon Society, a chapter of the National Audubon Society. Within the website you will find the latest happenings, upcoming trips and events, as well as photos from Audubon members and, from time to time, some of the hottest birding spots in Highlands County. Become involved with your local Audubon Society today!
Whether you help through monetary donations, volunteering your time, or spreading our mission through word-of-mouth, thank you. We couldn't accomplish our goals without the help of supporters like you.