Audubon Pennsylvania is the host and beneficiary of Preview Night.
When John James Audubon first moved to America in 1803, he moved to Mill Grove near Valley Forge. It was in Pennsylvania that he developed his spectacular and unique painting style. In 1896, the Pennsylvania Audubon Society was created as the second state Audubon Society in the country.
In 1975, the National Audubon Society opened the Mid-Atlantic Regional Office near Harrisburg to serve Pennsylvania and five surrounding states.
National Audubon Society opened the Pennsylvania State Office on July 1, 1997 as the tenth state office created under Audubon's reorganization as directed by its new strategic plan.
Today, Pennsylvania has 22 Audubon chapters and more than 24,000 members.
Award For Art Inspiring Conservation
The Award For Art Inspiring Conservation will be given at Preview Night.
Award Profile and Past Winners
The John James Audubon Center Award for Art Inspiring Conservation (AIC) has been established to honor an individual who, through their body of work or a single seminal work, uses art to communicate the real and intrinsic value of nature, interpret conservation challenges, and inspire humanity to take actions that will protect and preserve birds and their habitat, other wildlife and the world we share. The award recipient is identified and selected by the Center, and its advisory board, and honored at an Audubon event typically held in April.
Past recipients of the AIC include:
Scott Weidensaul (writer) – Pulitzer Prize nominated author of Living on the Wind and more than two dozen books on natural history. Los Angles Times Book Review noted, “Scott Weidensaul ranks among an elite group of writer-naturalists – Bruce Chawin, John McPhee and David Quammen come to mind – whose straightforward eloquence elevates ecology to the level of philosophy.” In his books Living on the Wind, Ghosts with Trembling Wings and Of a Feather, Mr. Weidensaul is praised for weaving complex scientific information and historic facts into engrossing and easy to understand prose.
Olivia Bouler (youth artist) – This pre-teen from New York made it her mission to use her drawings of birds to raise awareness and funds for Gulf Coast recovery efforts. Ms. Bouler was named ASPCA’s 2010 Kid of the Year, received the Global Appreciation World of Colors Award, and serves as a spokesperson for Disney’s Friends for Change Project.
Paul Winter (musician) - For more than thirty years, as a saxophonist, band leader and composer, Paul Winter has integrated nature and music to a degree few have ever attempted. His use of traditional and non-traditional instruments, wildlife voices and the acoustics of natural spaces have earned him seven Grammys, as well as the United Nations Environment Program Award of Excellence.
Joel Sartore (photographer) – Mr. Sartore is a photographer, speaker, author, teacher, and a 20-year contributor to National Geographic magazine. His assignments have taken him to every continent and to the world’s most beautiful and challenging environments, from the High Arctic to the Antarctic. The book “RARE” is part of Mr. Sartore’s mission to document endangered species and landscapes in order to show a world worth saving.
Todd McGrain (sculptor) – For the past ten years, Todd McGrain has been directing his energies as a sculptor toward the Lost Bird Project, which memorializes North American birds that have been driven to extinction. Five original sculptures of the Lost Birds have been placed near where the last wild bird of the species was known has lived. As a group, they are melancholy, yet disarming. They compel us to recognize the finality of our loss, they ask us not to forget, and they remind us of our duty to prevent further extinction.
Located in Audubon, Pennsylvania, the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove is the first home in America of the man widely considered the most important ornithological artist in history. The house, built in 1762 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been called the “Plymouth Rock” of the modern conservation movement. Like Thoreau’s Walden Pond and Mark Twain’s Hannibal, Audubon’s Mill Grove played a pivotal role in transforming the way our nation looks at and embraces its natural heritage.
It was at this “blessed spot” that Audubon was first introduced to North American birds, which eventually became his muse, his obsession and his life’s work. Here, he also became America’s first bird bander, taking a seminal step in the scientific study of birds. Today, 175 acres of Mill Grove’s original estate remains largely as Audubon found it ‑‑ a haven for birds and wildlife. The historic three-story stone farmhouse serves as a museum interpreting the art and legacy of Audubon through modern lessons in conservation. Mill Grove is one of dozens of sites operated by National Audubon Society that connect individuals with nature and their power to protect it.