Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Press Release
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Audubon Center of the North Woods changing name

 

January 2, 2020



The Audubon Center of the North Woods (ACNW) is beginning the new year with a new name. Beginning January 1, the 50-year-old nonprofit near Sandstone, Minnesota, will be known as Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center.

“Our name and look are changing,” said Executive Director Bryan Wood, “but our mission, approach, and work will remain the same.”

The previous name had its origins in the creation of the organization in the late 1960s. In 1968 Dr. Marguerite Schwyzer of St. Paul bequeathed her family’s 535-acre farm on Grindstone Lake to the National Audubon Society. Though National Audubon decided not to invest in the property, three Audubon chapters from the Twin Cities led the effort to establish a nonprofit organization in 1969, giving it the name Northwoods Audubon Center. In 1990 the name was changed to Audubon Center of the North Woods.

Educational programming began with the hiring of the first executive director, Mike Link, in 1971. The organization has since developed a wide-ranging mix of award-winning residential and day-use environmental education programs, serving approximately 10,000 children, young people, and adults annually at the Sandstone campus, which has grown to 780 acres. Osprey Wilds is also Minnesota’s largest charter school authorizer, with 36 environmentally focused schools enrolling more than 9,000 students.

“We are extremely proud of the impact we have made during our organization's first 50 years,” said Bryan Wood. “But looking ahead, we felt it was essential that our name represented our autonomy and purpose.”

Wood explained that “Audubon” has been the source of considerable confusion, with people thinking that the organization was funded by or part of the National Audubon Society, or that its primary focus was bird conservation. But leaders wanted to retain a connection with the Audubon Center’s history, so “Osprey Wilds” was chosen. An osprey has been featured in the organization’s logo since its inception, when founders observed one flying over Grindstone Lake on their first visit to the property. To clearly communicate what the organization does, “Environmental Learning Center” was included in the new name.

“We are excited to continue the important work we’ve done for the last 50 years, now as Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center,” said Wood.

 

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