The Richard Grand Memorial Meadow offers a wonderful new addition to the Paton Center for Hummingbirds—a lovely, open field with dense vegetation bordering its south side and trees ringing the rest of its periphery. The meadow itself is being carefully planted with a variety of native plants to attract birds and butterflies by naturally providing food sources including nectar, berries, seeds, and insects (see the current plant list). A new wildlife pond has been installed and will benefit local wildlife—and visitors eager for an intimate glimpse of southeast Arizona's striking biodiversity.
Two shady benches await birders under a spreading mesquite in the western corner of the meadow. A loop trail allows for a leisurely stroll around the meadow's edge. This is a great spot to watch fiery red Vermilion Flycatchers darting after insects as hummingbirds hover at the bright tubular flowers of desert honeysuckle and Parry's penstemon. Pipevine swallowtails, queens, and checkerspots—as well as many other butterflies—are drawn to the verbena and bee-balm. As our native grasses mature, towhees, sparrows, and buntings will be provided with the seeds they love.
Development and ongoing care of the meadow is graciously provided by the Richard Grand Foundation. Richard was a nationally recognized Tucson plaintiff lawyer who felt called to support and protect the vulnerable—from his clients to his backyard birds, and especially hummingbirds. The potential for affecting positive social change was for Richard a powerful motivating force, as well as a source of tremendous personal satisfaction. Together, Richard and his wife, Marcia, gave to numerous philanthropic organizations. Marcia is continuing this legacy of giving through the Richard Grand Foundation, which is generously supporting the Paton Center far beyond development of the meadow.
Richard kept close to his heart a sentiment captured in the phrase "endless acres of afternoons" from Stephen Vincent Benet's poem John Brown's Body. The phrase captures the essence of Richard's longing for peace and tranquility, which is offered for all who visit the Grand Meadow. In the spirit of Richard's life, we hope that the Grand Meadow will provide visitors for many generations with a peaceful refuge filled with hummingbirds.
The Richard Grand Memorial Meadow at an early stage in the restoration work (left), and a more recent shot showing the new wildlife pond after completion and a profusion of growth.