Southside Conservation Action Center Celebrates 20 Years

Mitchell Lake Audubon Center supports a diverse range of wildlife, habitats for visitors

Wildlife at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center (Live from the Southside)

The Mitchell Lake Audubon Center opened publicly in 2004.

The goal of the conservation action center is to create a place where children can learn about the environment, visitors can enjoy birdwatching, and birds have a safe place to stop along their migration journey.

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The Mitchell Lake Wetlands were designated as a wildlife refuge for waterfowl and shorebirds in 1973 after serving as the waste containment site for San Antonio for many years.

Today, Mitchell Lake, a partnership between the National Audubon Society and San Antonio Water System, provides critical habitat for more than 350 species of migratory birds.

The jewel of the Southside, more than 12,000 people visit the site annually for conservation education and recreational enjoyment.

“Twenty years is just the beginning,” Center Director Sara Beesley said. “As a recipient of a $6M City of San Antonio bond investment in 2022, we will grow the center to provide more habitat for birds and enhance the programming and spaces for the community.”

The Mitchell Lake Audubon Center will partner with Cielo Strategy Group over the next three months for in-depth community engagement across the city to determine the long-term vision for the Audubon Center.

To encourage people to learn more about the center and its mission to connect people to nature, in 2024, community public programs will be free.

“People will protect and care for nature and the environment, but only if they know why it’s important,” Beesley said.

The center will be free and open to the public this spring break with planned daily activities. Their annual community festival celebrating birds, Migratory Bird Fest, will occur on March 23 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.

Generous donations from the Kronkosky Foundation, the Nancy Smith Hurd Foundation, and Navistar’s Environmental Equity Fund have all contributed landmark amounts to create free programming for the public, discounted field trips for Title 1 students, and support free entry days.

Visit the events page of the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center for upcoming free entry days and details on public programs.

Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, designated as a wildlife refuge by the city of San Antonio in 1973, is managed by Audubon Texas, the state program of the National Audubon Society. It is located on the South Side of San Antonio, on 1,200 acres owned by the San Antonio Water System, and consists of Mitchell Lake, ponds, wetlands, and upland habitat.

Programming at the Audubon Center is designed to fulfill its mission of connecting people to nature through community conservation and education focused on birds and the places they need today and tomorrow. Learn more online and follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

This article initially appeared on Live from the Southside.

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