Aullwood Audubon Center is a small, diverse nature sanctuary within a short drive from downtown Dayton, Ohio. As one of the founding members of the Audubon Centers Network, this property offers opportunities for all to "build an awareness, appreciation, and understanding of birds and other wildlife" within its 350-acre boundaries. And, even on days when the weather outside might become a barrier to this exploration, dozens of hands-on exhibits, fascinating to all ages, are housed within thematic classrooms of the education center or scattered throughout its observation rooms and quiet, reflective areas, while birdsong captured by outdoor microphones is brought in for those who watch.
We drove the hour's drive one afternoon, prepared to walk a portion of the 6 miles of trails weaving between prairie, woods, ponds, and meadow--sure that a blue sky would reveal a bounty of birds in its branches.
But, it did not.
The only birds we could find were those belonging to the Farm--laying chickens and a hen turkey roaming freely along the walkways beyond the huge, old barn that is also Aullwood.
Areas where visitors there can see sheep and ponies and cattle and crops.
And stop to sit, face-to face, with what many have only seen in a book.
Because, fifty years ago, one generous woman with a heart for the natural world, set these lands aside for others' enjoyment. By giving it to Audubon, ensuring it would be untouched by development, and preserved as a natural place.
Because, those birds we had hoped to see, the bounty in the branches, others may not yet know to look for.
And a chat with a chicken, who inquisitively explores your shoelaces, is where that knowing might start.
and the establishment of the Aullwood property
from the Audubon Society here.