Audubon in New Mexico: A Little History

In 1968, Southwestern New Mexico Audubon Society was founded as a chapter of the National Audubon Society and marks the beginning of Audubon's presence in New Mexico with local representation. This was followed shortly by Central New Mexico Audubon Society in the Albuquerque area in 1971, Sangre de Cristo Audubon Society in Los Alamos and Santa Fe in 1972, Southeastern New Mexico Audubon Society in the Roswell area in 1975, and both Mesilla Valley Audubon Society in Las Cruces and Gallup Audubon Society in 1978. The Gallup chapter faded in the early 1980s after their primary "cause," the protection of the Bisti Badlands, was successful. The Chapter in Roswell, morphed from an Audubon chapter into the friends of the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge in 2001.

These chapters joined together in 1978 to form the New Mexico Audubon Council. State Councils of Audubon chapters already existed in a number of other states and as elsewhere, the intent was to coordinate chapter efforts in conservation and advocacy by leveraging a statewide organization.

The final piece of the organizational puzzle which is Audubon in New Mexico came in 1983, when the estate of artist Randall Davey at the end of Upper Canyon Road in Santa Fe was donated to the National Audubon Society. For a couple of years not much happened at the Davey property, but in 1985, David Henderson arrived as the first permanent Director of what became the Randall Davey Audubon Center. David recognized immediately that there were two pressing needs in New Mexico; education and advocacy.

In the 1990's, as a result of a strategic reorganization within National Audubon that drew part of its inspiration from the success of the Randall Davey Audubon Center, the National Audubon Society designated the Center as the State Office of Audubon New Mexico, a part of the corporate National Audubon Society, but again affiliated with the chapters and the Council. The model has now been replicated in 27 states--with room for growth...

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