Audubon of Martin County is based at the Possum Long Nature Center. The Center houses our office, an extensive natural history library, bird art and collection of taxidermy specimens. The Sanctuary lies behind the Center and includes almost 5 acres of urban forest that are slowly being rehabilitating after the ravages of hurricanes in 2004 and 2005. In 2010 we completed construction of a Storm water Retrofit project, which added a pond and sloughs carefully engineered to mimic the wet/dry cycles of natural wetlands. These areas are already attracting wading birds and ducks. The Storm water retrofit benefit the surrounding the urban community by reducing flooding during storms. Heavy runoff rain water is collected and flows into the river.
If you haven't enjoyed this green sanctuary we invite you to stop by, walk the trails, enjoy the butterfly garden, have a picnic or just spend a quiet hour looking for the many birds who stop by for food and rest. The grounds are open to the public at no charge every day from dawn to dusk.
Who was "Possum Long"?
Possum was a science and agriculture teacher at Stuart's high school in the 1940's. Several versions of how Possum got his nickname have been circulated over the years. The most popular and oft repeated tale is that he played "possum" in order to catch his students at mischief. We all know that opossums, when threatened, will pretend to be dead and when this strategy is used, predators soon lose interest and leave the animal alone. Around 1950, he built a house on the foundation of an old barn where local children once stabled their horses. He operated a plant nursery and for years Stuart newlyweds received a plant to grow in their yards as a wedding gift from him.
The house, now known as the "Possum Long House," has long been used as a meeting place for the Garden Club of Stuart which maintains the grounds around it and has created a memory lane to honor some of its members.