Mike Quinn posted the following good news about Texas’ Sabal Palm Sanctuary, a prime lep location, on NABA Chat earlier today:
Foundation raises funds to reopen shuttered Audubon sanctuary
December 25, 2010
By STEVE CLARK, The Brownsville
More than a year and a half after being forced to close, Sabal Palm Audubon
Sanctuary will once again throw open its gates to the public.
Monday, Jan. 3, is the big day.
The resurrection of the 527-acre sanctuary, which contains one of the last
stands of original sabal palm forest in the United States, was made possible
by the Gorgas Science Foundation’s sale this year of its former
headquarters, the 1890 Alonso Building on St. Charles Street downtown, to
the Brownsville Historic Association.
The foundation will use proceeds from the sale to operate Sabal Palm, with a
portion of the money going to restore the sanctuary’s historic plantation
house, known as the Rabb House, built in 1875 by Rio Grande riverboat
captain Frank Rabb. The Gorgas foundation is a nonprofit organization
dedicated to conservation and education.
Jimmy Paz, who managed the sanctuary for roughly 12 years before it closed
and is stepping into that role again, said the sanctuary is officially
designated an Important Bird Area.
In 1971 the first small parcel of land was acquired for what would become
the Sabal Palm Audubon Sanctuary. With the reopening of the sanctuary, Paz
is back in his element and beating the bushes for volunteers — always an
essential part of running Sabal Palm. He said bird-watching is a
multi-million-dollar industry and that butterfly-watching, believe it or
not, has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry. Now that Sabal Palms is
opening again, Paz thinks Brownsville needs to do more to market it as an
“I believe this is the greatest thing that has happened down here in South
Texas in a long time,” he said of the Gorgas foundation taking over the
sanctuary. “With them taking over it’s going to be a win-win for Audubon,
for Gorgas, for the community, for the wildlife and for everybody.”