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10/28/19 - 10/31/19 | St. Paul | MN
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Norman Bird Sanctuary | Preconference Tour

Norman Bird Sanctuary

Discover the Norman Bird Sanctuary (NBS), an emerging artist residency in one of Rhode Island's most celebrated natural preserves . Set in Paradise Valley in the coastal town of Middletown, the Sanctuary sits on 325 breathtaking acres of open farmlands, gently rolling hills, rugged cliffs, and dramatic beaches. The center welcomes over 20,000 visitors a year, connecting the public with the unique topography and wildlife of the area through ecological programming and 7 miles of open trails.

Since NBS opened in 1949, countless artists have found inspiration in the diverse landscapes - including the original owner - American painter Mabel Norman, Winslow Homer, and John La Farge. During this special preconference site visit, enjoy an eco-tour with NBS staff; tour Mabel Norman's original 18th Century Farmhouse - transformed through an award-winning renovation into an idyllic artist retreat; and enjoy lunch with fellow attendees.


Tuesday, October 13, 10am - 3:30pm
Registration opens in the Biltmore Lobby at 9am.


Norman Bird Sanctuary | 583 3rd Beach Rd, Middletown, RI

Round-trip shuttle bus transportation will be provided between the Biltmore Hotel and Norman Bird Sanctuary.

Norman Bird Sanctuary


You can sign-up for the preconference through general registration which opens in late June. There is a $45 program fee which includes lunch and transportation. Attendance is limited. Early registration is encouraged.

Please note, if you are attending the full conference and are not able to attend the preconference, there will be several sessions during the full conference that address ecological themes.

Registration has closed.


10am - 11am Bus from Biltmore Hotel to Middletown


All aboard: Welcome and Introductions

11am - 12pm Tour
  Welcome - Natasha Harrison, Executive Director of the Norman Bird Sanctuary in the original painting studio of the founder and painter, Mabel Norman.
  Brief overview of the Norman Bird Sanctuary and their plans for the first retreat-style artist residency in the state of Rhode Island.
  Tour the Paradise Farmhouse - a historical house (built 1750) that is the original structure on the 325 acre site. The house has just received a $2 million restoration, sleeps 16 people and will be housing for future artist residents.
12pm - 1pm Lunch and discussion
1pm - 2:30pm Tour + Birdwatch


Tour of the NBS campus including the historic barn and buildings that will be artist studios during the residencies.


Meet our Red-tailed hawk in person and then take a guided walk on our newly renovated Universal Access trail with our expert naturalist/birder.
2:30pm - 3:30pm Bus from Middletown to the Biltmore Hotel

John LaFarge

Painting by John Lafarge from the grounds of what is now Norman Bird Sanctuary.