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Centene foundation, city credited for new bird blind

Centene foundation, city credited for new bird blind

An employee with Cardinal Buildings of Carrier Mills, Illinois, moves the East Ozark Audubon Society's new bird blind into place at Engler Park. The building was funded by a grant provided by the Centene Charitable Foundation.

East Ozarks Audubon Society (EOAS) recently installed a new bird blind in the Crouch Sanctuary at Engler Park, replacing an older blind, built in the fall of 1992, that was taken down in September.

"The old blind was constructed of oak and had served its purpose for many years but was looking shabby and needed to be replaced," said EOAS member Ann Blanchfield. "We had repainted the old blind a few years ago but that only delayed the inevitable decision to replace the old blind with a new one.

In May 2021, EOAS ordered a prefabricated Cardinal brand custom building through Beyond the Backyard of Farmington and it was delivered by Cardinal Buildings of Carrier Mills, Illinois, in August.

"The new building was funded by a very generous grant from the Centene Charitable Foundation," Blanchfield said. "Their grant made the project possible, and we are very grateful for their assistance. Joyce Adams was our local Centene contact. She met with us at the old blind, listened to what we hoped to accomplish and then helped us navigate the grant process."

According to Blanchfield, the city of Farmington was helpful in the entire process of installing the new blind.

"Parks and Recreation Director Bud Norman helped at every step along the way," she said. "He met with us at the old blind to discuss our plans and was present when the building was delivered and directed the preparation of the new site.

"A couple of city employees — Kevin Amonette and Sammy Cowley, and perhaps others we are unaware of — did an excellent job clearing the site, preparing a base of gravel and crushed rock, and installing gravel pathways near the new blind. The Cardinal employee who delivered the building Illinois told us that the site preparation was 'as good as [he] had ever seen.' So, kudos to the Farmington employees who helped us along the way.

"Our own EOAS members and spouses put in many hours researching and discussing the options for the blind; drawing up plans; speaking to Centene and Farmington city employees; and deconstructing the old blind."

Blanchfield mentioned that studies show being outside in nature contributes to physical and emotional wellbeing, as well as reduces blood pressure and heart rate.

"A bird blind lets you enjoy birds and other wildlife up close without scaring them away," she said. "It is a great way to contemplate nature and enjoy the beauty of birds with little equipment. We're hopeful that the citizens of Farmington and surrounding communities will enjoy our new bird blind for many years to come."

Kevin R. Jenkins is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-783-9667 or kjenkins@farmingtonpressonline.com

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