Audubon House at ORCA

The President’s Hoot
by Richard H. Baker, Ph.D.
April 2010

Great news!  We are thrilled that on Tuesday April 6 the Indian River Board of County Commissioners (BCC) will consider approval of the lease for construction of our Audubon House at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area (ORCA).  The meeting starts at 9:00 AM at the County Administration Building, 1800 27th Street, Vero Beach.

Many of you have donated generously to Pelican Island Audubon, and more than $230,000 has been raised for this project.  In addition, PIAS has received more than $105,000 in-kind assistance from a number engineering and architectural firms. 

Vision for Audubon House.

Having a dedicated center will facilitate collaborative efforts to preserve and protect the animals, plants, and natural communities in Indian River County through advocacy, education, and public awareness.  Audubon House will benefit our community by providing space to train volunteers for the conservation lands purchased through the County’s land acquisition program.  In addition, educational programs, exhibits, demonstration gardens and easy access to the variety of habitats at ORCA for field trips will help PIAS to increase our citizen’s awareness of the beauty of native Florida habitats and environmental issues.  

Audubon House will be located on an acre of the ORCA Link property that was formerly an abandoned citrus grove and will be leased from the County.  The new space will include much-needed public restrooms, a classroom, and an outdoor classroom with picnic tables that will ‘double’ as picnic area, as well as offices for both PIAS and the ORCA volunteer programs.
A new parking lot will be constructed on the south side of Oslo Road across from the existing ORCA parking lot to accommodate safer access to the conservation lands on the south side of Oslo Road.  In addition, a special-needs accessible boardwalk will meander from the parking lot to the Audubon House entrance.  These improvements fulfill our County’s major obligations to the Florida Communities Trust, which provided matching funds to the County for the purchase of the lands on the south side of Oslo Road.

We ask you to email or call all of our County Commissioners and let them know your valued support for these efforts.  Likewise please try to attend the April 6th Board of County Commission meeting to demonstrate your support for this important private – public partnership.

Emails and/or Phone calls
County Commissioners ‘count’ emails and phone calls of support.  Your email need not be long.

Commissioner Wesley Davis——————-(772) 226-1442
Commissioner Joe Flescher———–———(772) 226-1919
Commissioner Peter O’Bryan——————(772) 226-1440
Commissioner Bob Solari———————-(772) 226-1438
Commissioner Gary Wheeler—————–(772) 226-1433

April 6, 2010 Board of County Commission meeting at 9am…
Consideration of the lease approval will be at the beginning of the BCC meeting, following the pledge, invocation, and any proclamations so please plan to arrive near 9am.

Wear Green!  We’re asking everyone to wear green to show their support of this ‘green’ project’ and, if possible, to sit together in the center area of the BCC chambers.

Please, however you can, express your support! It is important for PIAS.

Thank you.

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