Connecticut Audubon Society

Fairfield, CT   |  www.ctaudubon.org

Mission

The Connecticut Audubon Society conserves Connecticut’s environment through science-based education and advocacy focused on the state’s bird populations and habitats. Founded in 1898, Connecticut Audubon operates nature facilities in Fairfield, Milford, Glastonbury, Pomfret, Hampton, and Sherman, a center in Old Lyme, and an EcoTravel office in Essex. Working exclusively in the state of Connecticut for over 120 years, Connecticut Audubon manages 20 wildlife sanctuaries, preserves 3,300 acres of open space, and educates over 100,000 children and adults annually through our Science in Nature education program, which works with Connecticut schools, and through programming we offer to the public at our centers. We are an independent organization, not affiliated with any national or governmental group. The Connecticut Audubon Society’s scientists, educators, citizen scientists, and volunteers preserve birds and their environments in Connecticut. We advocate for sanctuary management, provide environmental education and activities at our Centers, and publish our annual Connecticut State of the Birds report. Leveraging the captivating appeal of birds, we use our nature centers, education programs, weekend walks and workshops, and advocacy campaigns to connect and engage the state’s children, families, and residents with the natural world around them. Our goal, through experiential learning, is for every child in the state to appreciate the tangible values nature provides to their inherent health, intellectual growth, and our society. Connecticut Audubon serves as a portal to nature and the outdoors, helping to build in this generation and the next, appreciation for the environment and awareness of importance of conservation and sustainability. We advocate for public policies and actions to bring Connecticut to the forefront conservation and sustainability in the nation.

Ruling year info

1942

Principal Officer

Mr. Patrick M. Comins

Main address

314 Unquowa Road

Fairfield, CT 06824 USA

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EIN

06-0653531

NTEE code info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Bird Sanctuary/Preserve (D32)

Elementary, Secondary Ed (B20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Osprey Nation Citizen Science Program

Osprey Nation, which began in 2014, utilizes a network of enthusiastic volunteer citizen scientists from across Connecticut to help the conservation community track the health of the state’s Osprey population. Ospreys, almost rendered extinct by widespread usage of DDT in the 1970s, became representatives of conservation as a cleaner environment and new nest sites led to their resurgence. When professional and state conservation agencies reported a lack of staff to gather meaningful data on rebounding Osprey populations, the Connecticut Audubon Society’s innovative solution was to crowd-source a corps of volunteers to track Ospreys, to repair and build nesting sites, and to report on each nest’s progress. The goal was to improve Osprey resurgence through data synthesis and conservation action. With 314 current citizen scientist volunteers participating and more required next year, we have a continued need for funding for nesting materials, training, and improved technology for mapping.

Population(s) Served

Science in Nature is a Connecticut field-based program which was begun in 2012 and is aimed at improving science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) achievements and critical thinking skills by exposing students, particularly those at risk, to science and conservation concepts not easily taught in the classroom. Since the program’s inception, over 63,000 Connecticut elementary and middle school students, mostly from Title 1 schools, have participated with resounding praise from teachers, school administrators, independent educator reviewers, and students. We are proud of our successful expansion into New Haven County schools during the 2016-2017 school year; where we reached 17 classrooms. To date, 6 of our 7 centers present educational programming to Connecticut students in Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex and New London counties. In
2018, Science in Nature received the Dr. Sigmund Abeles Science Advocate Award,
given by the Connecticut Science Teachers Association and Connecticut Science
Supervisors Association to the organization that demonstrates outstanding and
long-term commitment to science education. The program was awarded the 2014 Maria Pirie Environmental Education Program Award by the New England Environmental Education Alliance as the outstanding regional education program. Science in Nature links classroom learning to outdoor experiences, and is one of the first outdoor-based science programs to meet the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), replacing the Connecticut Mastery Tests (CMTs). Support for teachers includes NGSS training.

Population(s) Served

One of the Connecticut Audubon Society’s largest undertakings is our land conservation initiative throughout Connecticut. Connecticut Audubon currently owns 20 wildlife sanctuaries covering 3,300 acres of protected land, including significant upland forest habitat, wetlands, some of the state’s largest tracts of managed grassland habitat, as well as critical breeding, wintering and staging areas for shorebirds. We work tirelessly and cooperatively with our local land trusts, elected officials, and regional communities to preserve more open space for future generations, and we actively engage with our members to advocate for political action to protect our open spaces.Along with our land preservation efforts comes our advocacy for proper management of open spaces to maximize the viability of habitats for Connecticut’s indigenous and migrating wildlife. Only a percentage of preserved land is managed with an eye to biodiversity and habitat health, and Connecticut Audubon has the expertise to properly manage this process.

Population(s) Served

Connecticut State of the Birds is an annual, collaborative report focused on the single major threat to our native birds: habitat loss. Our document closely examines the decline of native vegetation, water quality, weather and climate, insects, and habitat as factors affecting the health of indigenous and migrating birds, some rare and endangered. Our many contributing author experts present strategies and solutions to reverse negative trends of declining bird populations, with recommendations followed through by state conservation agencies. Already in its 13th year of publication, the 2018 issue, entitled “In Cities and Suburbs: A Fresh Look at How Birds Are Surviving
in Connecticut,” the report shows how the most heavily-developed areas
are crucial to the survival of the state’s and the region’s birds.

Population(s) Served

The Connecticut Audubon Society’s Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center (RTPEC) offered our popular CT River Lecture Series adult education program in spring 2017 and will once again offer it in fall 2017. This lecture series expands public awareness of environmental issues facing Connecticut. Speakers focus on critical regional and statewide issues in conservation, environmental science and natural history. Sometimes lectures are offered in partnership with local organizations to broaden regional outreach. Our intent is to focus on science, advocacy, and conservation challenges specific to the Connecticut River estuary and watershed. Select speakers also participate in our “Meet the Scientist" program which provides educational outreach to 4th and 5th grade students in their schools.Our spring 2017 series explored such topics as the biography of John James Audubon, Altantic sturgeon, and the impact of sea level change on the estuary region. Lecture topics scheduled for fall 2017 are equally in-depth and relevant. They address the migration of swallows, the ecology and natural history of the Long Island Sound, and dam removal on the Connecticut River. Our “Meet the Scientist” segment augments community children’s educational experience by making our expert speakers available to engage students and their teachers in conservation science.

Population(s) Served

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Awards

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Connecticut Audubon Society works actively to protect at-risk bird species and their habitats, and the countless plants, insects and other animals that share those habitats. We believe that by conserving the State's birds and their habitats, we will be protecting human health and building a more sustainable world.

Our goal is to use the beauty, diversity, and visibility of birds to connect more people to the natural world, creating a lifelong bond of stewardship. Our core value is to leave future generations a State that is in better shape than the one we inherited.

We envision a State in which there are ample, diverse habitats to support a full complement of birds and wildlife, as well as numerous, high-quality opportunities for birding and other nature-related outdoor activities. We envision a State in which the residents recognize and appreciate the beauty and importance of nature, and have an understanding of its basic functions and of how their actions affect the natural world for better or worse.

CAS staff, educators and hundreds of volunteers around the state of Connecticut, work together to protect and conserve birds and their habitats in order to make these strategies happen.

Our work includes science and environmental education, sanctuary management, advocacy, activities at our centers, scientific studies, collaboration with other state groups, and our citizen science Osprey Nation program.

These successful strategies are supported by fundraising, funding through grant awards, and foundation funding in the three following areas:

• CAS's award-winning Science in Nature Education Program, a field-based program aimed at improving
science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) achievements and critical thinking skills for over 40,000
students by exposing students, particularly those at-risk, to science and conservation concepts not easily
taught in the classroom.

• Once of CAS's largest undertakings is our land conservation initiative throughout Connecticut. CAS owns
19 wildlife sanctuaries covering 2,600 acres of protected land, including significant upland forest
habitat, wetlands, and some of the state's largest tracts of managed grassland habitats. We work tirelessly
and cooperatively with our local land trusts, elected officials, and regional communities to preserve more
open space for future generations, and we actively engage with our members to advocate for political action
to protect our open spaces.

• Citizen Science/Osprey Nation uses a statewide network of concerned citizens to gather the immense amount
of data needed to observe, study, protect, and advocate for dozens of wildlife species. Needs include
computers, printing, software and coordinators.

Leveraging the captivating appeal of birds, we use our nature centers, education programs, weekend walks and workshops, and advocacy campaigns to connect and engage the state's children, families, and residents with the natural world around them. Our goal is to serve as a portal to nature and the outdoors for every child in the state through experiential learning, helping to build in this generation and the next an appreciation for the environment and awareness of the importance of conservation and sustainability.

We operate five nature centers around the state of Connecticut, manage 19 sanctuaries throughout CT, preserve over 2,600 acres of open space and educate over 100,000 children and adults annually. And, we advocate for public policies and actions so that Connecticut will be a recognized leader in conservation and sustainability in the nation.

A few of Connecticut Audubon Society's accomplishments are:

• The launching of the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center in Old Lyme: Our newest center, RTPEC provides
award-winning Science in Nature environmental educational programs for K-12 students, and adult
educational programs. In its third year, the highly regarded fall and spring lecture series delivers informative
environmental talks by renown scientists, artists and conservationists.

• The habitat restoration project at H. Smith Richardson Wildlife Preserve: On-going habitat restoration work
has encouraged many bird species and wildlife to return to nest and live. In a 6 acre parcel, we have cleared
invasive vines and weeds, and planted native shrubs and small trees. Our conservation staff and "Friends
of Smith Richardson" will continue to monitor the site over several years. We are encouraged by the success
of our restoration work there.

• Grant approval for the restoration of the historic Edwin Way Teale property and Visitor's Center in Pomfret:
Our Trail Wood Sanctuary, the former home of the Pulitzer Prize winning naturalist writer and photographer,
Edwin Way Teale, was recently approved for designation on the Connecticut Historic Register. Thanks to a
bequest and a technical assistance planning grant from the CT Trust for Historic Preservation, a strategic
plan for the property was developed and conceptual designs for a modest visitor's center have been
finalized.

Connecticut Audubon Society's short-term goals are:

• Increase our brand awareness in the NW and SE regions of Connecticut.
• Complete the renovation project of the historic Birdcraft Museum in Fairfield
• Become actively involved in researching how to adapt to sea level changes and rising tides along our
shoreline.

Financials

Connecticut Audubon Society
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connecticut Audubon Society

Board of directors
as of 04/17/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mrs. Kathleen Van Der Aue

Retired

Term: 2018 - 2021


Board co-chair

Mr. DeVer Warner

Retired, Schoder Banking Corporation

Term: 2013 - 2017

Charles Stebbins

Retired JP Morgan Chase

Ralph Wood, Chairman Emeritus

Retired, UTC

Michael Aurelia

Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency

Michael Brown

Retired UTC

Samuel Gilliland, Jr.

Fieldpoint Private

Jerid O'Connell

Duggal Visual Solutions

Benjamin Williams

Retired, Worcester Academy

Amy Barnouw

Planet Fuel

Christina Clayton

Retired Xerox

Charles Fleischmann

Pamela Fraser-Abder, PhD

Retired Professor NYU

Peter Kunkel, Chair Emeritus

Retired Forger and Kunkel

Patrick Lynch

Author

Jeanne Olivier

Richard Perkin

Wolverine Investments

Susan Whalen

CT DEEP