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Wild at Heart: Conserving Nature Through Art & Archives

Spring 2022 Gallery Exhibit

Birds & Conservation

"When your ears are attuned to the music of birds, your world will be transformed. Birds' songs are the most eloquent of Natures' voices." - Frank Chapman

Birds have played a central role in driving conservation activities in Florida. When plumage was a “must-have” for the fashionistas of the late 19th century who were looking to see and be seen the birds of Florida provided many of the dazzling feathers used.   The Audubon Society began working in Florida soon after its founding in 1886 in an effort to slow the wholesale destruction of flocks of birds by plumage hunters looking to make fast money selling to the fashion industry.  For a full timeline of the history of the Audubon Society in Florida visit

In this exhibit, you will find a reproduction of the Reward posters used as a counter measure to control the illegal killing of birds, John J. Audubon’s depiction of the Roseate Spoonbill, one of Florida’s most resplendent birds, an early field guide to the birds of Florida and a recent artist book from local artist Rachel Simmons highlighting the role Edwardian fashion had in transforming birdwatching from a leisure activity to a conservation movement.

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