Richardson Bay Audubon Center
376 Greenwood Beach Road
Tiburon, CA 94920
The Richardson Bay Audubon Center is comprised of 11 acres of land on the shore of Richardson Bay and 900 acres of submerged tidelands. These 11 acres were once owned by Rose da Fonta Verrall, (1883-1964) known locally as the “Goat Lady” as in her later years she maintained a small herd of goats on her land. In the 1950s there was a scheme to fill in most of Richardson Bay for hundreds of homes. Mrs Verrall donated her land to what is now the Richardson Bay Audubon Center and local citizens raised additional funds to purchase the adjoining tide lands, an important stopover point on the Pacific Flyway. This episode in Tiburon history is fully explored in the documentary “Turing the Tide”, produced the the Heritage & Arts Commission and available at Town Hall. (Full details at this link: Turning the Tide)
The primary focus of the Center is to serve as a local environmental education facility, and to provide habitat for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife. The facility includes a ½ mile trail with fantastic views of the Bay and bridges from stopover points along the way, a Redwood Grove, a native plant garden, a hummingbird garden, a frog/toad pond, and a stretch of unspoiled shore on the Bay, along with classrooms and meeting spaces.
The Center conducts educational programs for children and adults. As many as 5,000 local children participate in the Audubon Summer Camp Program and another 4,000 individuals experience various programs at the Center. The children start at 3-4 years in programs like “Tip Toe by the Tidepools,” and progress to “Bugs are the BEST!” Junior naturalists learn about “Radical Raptors,” and whole families can join “Howl at the Moon” nights.
Throughout the Center pertinent educational material is posted where different types of birds or other wildlife might be observed.
The Richardson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary waters are closed to boating and other public use for six months during fall, winter and early spring, but the Town of Tiburon provides a pedestrian/bicycle path that runs for several miles along the shore of the Sanctuary. A stroll on the edge of Richardson Bay provides great birding opportunities. A quarter of a million birds may be counted during the migrating seasons.
Richardson Bay Audubon Center is also responsible for the preservation of the Lyford House, one of Tiburon’s oldest and most beautiful buildings. The Center property was once a part of an original Mexican land grant of some 8,000 acres known as El Rancho Corte de Madera del Presidio, owned by the Reed family. It included all of what is now the Town of Tiburon, much of Mill Valley and Corte Madera, and Strawberry Point. Dr. Benjamin Lyford, a Civil War surgeon, married Hilarita Reed, the heiress to a large portion of the Reed Ranch, and they built a beautiful Victorian mansion at their ranch on Strawberry Point in the late 1870′s. In 1957 when the home was threatened by development it was barged across the bay and became part of the Richardson Bay Audubon Center. In 2002 a huge tree fell during a storm and crushed the upper two floors. By 2004 the house had been completely restored and redecorated with period furniture.
There are many opportunities for children and adults to be involved in the Center.
Visit http://www.tiburonaudubon.org or call (415) 388-2524 for more information.
Filed under: Historical Sites