Paton Center History ⋆ Tucson Audubon Skip to content
Wally and Marion in front of the newly constructed fountain.
Richard Grand

History of the Paton Center

Paton Center is renowned for its backyard birds and scenic location.

Wally and Marion Paton first began inviting birders into their yard shortly after moving to Patagonia in 1973. They eventually put up a canopy and set out benches, bird books, and a chalkboard for people to record their sightings. The Patons had a special vision for supporting their backyard birds with an array of feeding stations—and supporting the wider birding community by sharing the riches of their yard. After Wally passed away in 2001 and Marion in 2009, the birding community was left with an inspiring legacy upon which to build.

Through the Richard Grand Foundation, Marcia Grand donated funds to celebrate the life of her late husband by securing the Paton Center but also the adjacent Richard Grand Memorial Meadow. Richard was an attorney who loved to support and protect the vulnerable—not only his clients, but also his backyard birds, and especially hummingbirds. We are grateful for this gift to the birds and the birding world, and delighted to honor Richard’s life by helping people explore and experience our flying jewels.