Strawberry Plains Audubon Center

Ruby Throat Curt Hart
by Curt Hart

Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Strawberry Plains Audubon Center is one of Mississippi's finest natural and historic treasures. With a love of nature and profound foresight, Ruth Finley and Margaret Finley Shackelford entrusted their home and property to The National Audubon Society. Ruth and Margaret's vision of protecting wildlife and habitat from an encroaching and ever-growing urban area has become our mission.

 We foster that mission by restoring and conserving the 2,500 acres of hardwood forests, wetlands and native grasslands at Strawberry Plains. In the community, we work with landowners to develop habitat management plans that will help future generations enjoy the economic and social benefits that clean water and a natural environment provide. Strawberry Plains is committed to providing experiential and place-based education to students of all ages.

 Strawberry Plains Audubon Center's Mission: To conserve natural ecosystems in the Coldwater River Watershed and raise public awareness of the importance of nature.

 Vision of Strawberry Plains Audubon Center: In a watershed facing rapid development, future generations will inherit sufficient amounts of clean water, native wildlife populations and a legacy of stewardship focused on the importance of nature.

 History and People

In 1834, this land and many others were ceded from the Chickasaw Indians. After purchasing the land in 1836, Ebenezer Davis constructed the stately Davis House in 1851 of clay bricks fired on the property. The home was raided repeatedly during the Civil War and ultimately burned. Margaret Finley Shackleford and her husband John Shackleford restored the home to its former grandeur in the 1960's.

 The beautifully restored Davis House is a major feature of the Center and adds tremendous value to Strawberry Plains with its cultural and historic ambience. Used as a backdrop for Audubon's true mission of environmental awareness, the Davis House adds an element of history to the overall programming at the Center. The Davis House is a major draw when it comes to Center visitation, with over 1100 people visiting the home for the annual pilgrimage weekend. The importance of this historical asset cannot be understated. Currently furnished in period antiques, the Davis House is an accurate replica of its former style. The sunroom and den are recent additions to the home and serve as a bird observation room and library. The sunroom overlooks the Center's main Hummingbird/Butterfly Garden and already has the distinction of being the most sought out place to sit and observe wildlife. The house draws in history tourists who then become well acquainted with its beautiful native plant landscaping and Butterfly/Hummingbird gardens.

 Hubert H. McAlexander's book, Strawberry Plains Audubon Center: Four Generations of a Mississippi Landscape, is the multi-generational history of the land that became one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in the United States. With a large cast of characters from many generations, this book richly delineates life on a tract of land in north Mississippi. It tells a fascinating story involving famous historical figures like Hernando de Soto and William Tecumseh Sherman, but concentrates on those who owned and worked this land and their changing fortunes. Through their individual stories, the author conveys the larger sweep of history in the South and tells an uplifting saga of stewards of the land, conservators whose vision led to the creation of a lasting legacy for people and wildlife. This book can be purchased through Strawberry Plains Audubon Center.

 Today, we honor the legacy of Margaret and Ruth through education, community outreach and by sustaining and promoting healthy ecosystems for all living things.

 You may visit Strawberry Plains Audubon Center and tour the Davis House with a guide. Learn about this rise and fall of this traditional plantation and how it was reborn as a sanctuary for both wildlife and people.

 Weekday Tours: Call Holly Springs Tourism Office at (662) 252-2515 for more information or to schedule a tour during the week. $8/adult & $5/child

Weekend Tours: On Saturdays, by appointment, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Call 662-252-1155 to RSVP. Audubon Staff provides a tour of the Davis House and gardens. $8/adult & $5/child Call t662-252-1155 to RSVP

 To learn more about our education programs, call 662-252-1155, or join our mailing list to receive e-mail updates about upcoming events and programs at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center.

 Our work would not be possible without the generous donation of individuals. We are proud of the projects we have planned but we need additional support. If you are interested in giving please click the link below or call 662-252-1155.

Strawberry Plains Audubon Center Website

Copyright  2015 National Audubon Society, Inc