The Coastal Center at Milford Point

Big Day 2015: Chasing the State Record in Support of the Coastal Center

Bird number 191: Upland Sandpiper. Photo by Pesayo/Carolinabirds.org

Bird number 191: Upland Sandpiper. Photo by Pesayo/Carolinabirds.org

by Frank Gallo
Associate Director
Milford Point Coastal Center

It started as it always does, with the five of us standing together at midnight, in a marsh in Hartford County, with high hopes.

Our team — the Connecticut Audubon Society’s Raven Lunatics (Nick Bonomo, Patrick Dugan, Dave Tripp, Fran Zygmont and me) — was beginning its annual Big Day, a 24-hour birding competition and fundraiser for the Coastal Center at Milford Point. We hoped to raise $7,500 in pledges to support the center’s educational and conservation initiatives. It would also be a chance to best our Big Day record of 192 species and to finally reach our goal of finding 200 species in a 24-hour period in Connecticut, which no team in New England has accomplished.

Read the whole story here…

The Ospreys are raising chicks. Watch it on the Osprey Cam.

Register today for summer camp!

Brochure insect nettingConnecticut Audubon Society summer day camps offer enriching experiences, hands-on learning, exciting adventures, outdoor exploration – and memories that last a lifetime.

For complete details, download the program brochure.

Register here; ages 3-15.

Download Milford Point’s camp program brochure.

Additional forms
Milford Point Mail-in Registration Form
Milford Point Registration Instructions
Milford Point Medical Form
Milford Point Authorization to Adminster Medication
Milford Point Drop off/Pick up Form
Milford Point Non-prescription Medication Form

Canoe Tours Summer 2015

Guided Canoe Tours

Through the Charles E. Wheeler Salt Marsh

Canoe tour at CAS Coastal Center_by Frank Gallo

Saturday, July 18, 12:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.*
Saturday, August 1, 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.*
Saturday, August 29, 10:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m

Spend a lovely day with us on a relaxing guided canoe tour of the 840-acre Charles Wheeler Salt Marsh at Milford Point. Get away from the noise and bustle of everyday life to a place for quiet contemplation. Steeped in local history, the Marsh also offers an abundance of birds and other wildlife, beautiful vistas and a chance to paddle and unwind. Bring water, a snack, and wear shoes that can get wet. (* Bring a lunch on these days.)
Contact the Coastal Center for more information. Trip routes are subject to change due to weather. Wind may cause trips to be canceled, even on sunny days; please call 30-45 minutes in advance for trip status. Advance registration required. Sign-up early for these popular tours! Canoes and equipment provided.

Coastal Center Canoes
CAS Members $27/person, $69/canoe (3 people)
Non-members $35/person, $95/canoe (3 people)

Private Canoe/Kayak (Bring your own boat)
$20 CAS Members, $30 Non-members

Support our Coastal Center with a 2015 Big Day Pledge

The Raven Luna Ticks, ace birders all.

The Raven Luna Ticks, ace birders all.

Thursday, May 21 – It truly was a Big Day. Louise Crocco, the office manager at the Milford Point Coastal Center, just emailed the basics: “Frank’s team has finished computing their bird species and have come up with a whopping 191 species. It is the 2nd best ever done. They were impaired by dense fog in some instances. They did get an impressive list of birds including, Prothonatary Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Kentucky Warbler, Pine Siskin, White-faced Ibis, Swallow-tailed Kite, Lincoln sparrow and White-crowned Sparrow.”

Congratulations to Frank, Nick, Jim, Dave and Fran!

Connecticut Audubon Society’s birding team is working to raise more than $7,500 in support of the Coastal Center at Milford Point by finding 200 bird species in a single day in Connecticut, as part of this week’s Connecticut Big Day Challenge. We need your support! Make an online Big Day donation here.

In 2011, our team, the Raven Luna-ticks, broke the long-standing Connecticut Big Day birding record by identifying 192 species, besting both the Connecticut and the New England records, while raising thousands of dollars of support for the Coastal Center. We were ecstatic! Last year, we made two exciting runs, garnering 188 species on each. Amazingly, both were higher than the old Connecticut record of 186 species. We were overjoyed by our good fortune, yet our totals are still shy of the elusive 200 species goal. We had scouted more than 190 species, with many others possible, so 200 in a day is doable, and we’re going to be the ones to do it!

It’s a new year, and we not only want to reach 200, but most importantly, we also want to raise critical funds for the important conservation and education programs at the Coastal Center. To make the most of our chances, we will make our run between May 18th and May 23rd. We are already busy scouting our route and finding raptor nests (please let us know if you have any in your area).

We can only achieve our goal with your support. Please, pledge or donate today.

You can donate online here or by filling out and returning our pledge form at this link: Big Day Pledge Form 2015.

Remember, every dollar raised directly supports the Coastal Center at Milford Point – helping us to remain leaders in conservation and natural science education. Thank you in advance for your generosity!

All the best,
Frank Gallo, Associate Director
Coastal Center at Milford Point

And the Raven Luna-ticks Team
Nick Bonomo, Patrick Dugan, Dave Tripp, and Fran Zygmont

Help Wanted: Seasonal Teacher-Naturalists

The Connecticut Audubon Society Milford Point Coastal Center have an immediate need for talented, enthusiastic and energetic individuals for our Seasonal Teacher‐Naturalist positions.  Click to learn more 

General Information

Coastal Center at Milford Point

Coastal Center at Milford Point

Connecticut Audubon Society’s Coastal Center at Milford Point is located on an 8.4-acre barrier beach and is situated next to the 840-acre Charles Wheeler Salt Marsh and Wildlife Management Area at the mouth of the Housatonic River.  The Coastal Center promotes the awareness of Long Island Sound’s ecosystem, the birds and habitats it supports, and its preservation needs; and provides access to Long Island Sound and its many habitats: tidal salt marshes, barrier beaches, tide pools, and coastal dunes.  The Coastal Center is a bird-watcher’s paradise – 315 species have been seen here, including many rarities. The Coastal Center offers a full range of educational programs and many events for families, children, and adults.  The Coastal Center provides educational exhibits, a tide pool demonstration tank, a salt-marsh laboratory, and program and meeting rooms. The Coastal Center’s grounds contain the 8-acre Smith-Hubbell Wildlife Refuge and Bird Sanctuary, a boardwalk and observation platform with interpretive signage, and a 70-foot covered observation tower for panoramic vistas.  Viewers from around the world watch the Center’s seasonal Osprey Cam, operated from our 18-foot tall nesting platform.

 

Join our Volunteer Team!

At the Connecticut Audubon Society, we believe that every person can make a positive difference in protecting and preserving our environment. By volunteering at our Coastal Center at Milford Point, you can help promote understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of our natural world. We have a variety of volunteer opportunities available for people of all interests and experience levels, including working at the front desk as a receptionist, in the exhibit room as a docent, or outdoors on the nature sanctuary in various capacities.

If you are interested in becoming a Coastal Center Volunteer, click here to download a printable application form. Please email the form to Louise Crocco, Office Manager, at lcrocco@ctaudubon.org, or come on in to the Coastal Center and deliver it in person! We’re located at 1 Milford Point Road in Milford, CT. We look forward to seeing you soon. 

 

Education Programs

Science in Nature

Connecticut Audubon Society’s Science in Nature programs consist of hands-on, inquiry-based activities that relate to earth and life sciences, ecology, conservation and citizenship. Each program is aligned with the state’s science, math and literacy standards. These programs are an invaluable resource for building student and teacher learning capacity by providing opportunities to enhance critical thinking skills, using and designing models, and developing evidence-based explanations of natural phenomena. Click here for the full curriculum palette, brochures, and program design. 

School Programs (for children ages 3 and above).

Our professional naturalists and educators offer a wide range of programs that can be delivered at our Center, or in your classroom or schoolyard.  

Click here for program descriptions and a copy of our school program flier. To schedule a program or for more information, call use at 203-878-7440, ext. 502.

Preschool Programs

The Coastal Center also offers programs tailored for preschools. Click here for a pre-K program flier.

After School Programs

The Coastal Center currently presents after school program series in nearly all the elementary schools in Milford, and in other area towns.  For more information about our hands-on dynamic programs,  click here for copy of our after school program flier.

Birthday Parties

Look no further! CAS’s Coastal Center at Milford Point is the perfect place to hold your child’s next birthday party! Our staff has designed a wide range of “theme” parties to provide your child and their friends with a memorable and fun hands-on learning experience. Call 203-878-7440  for details or click here for our birthday party brochure.

Brownie, Girl Scout, Cub Scout & Boy Scout Programs

Our updated scouting programs are 60-90 minutes long and are designed to help scouts earn their badges and learn about the environment. 

Click here for our new Girl Scout & Brownie Programs brochure, or click here for our new Boy Scout & Cub Scout Programs brochure. Call 203-878-7440 for more information or to book a program for your scout today! 

Events at the Coastal Center at Milford Point

News and Announcements

Spring Birding Programs

Sorting Out Bird Songs
Thursday’s, April 23 & June 11
7 – 9 p.m.

Discover the basics of birding by ear!  Using a variety of sound resources, instructor Frank Gallo will teach you tips, tricks, and even pitfalls to identifying birds by sound.  Is that an oriole or a tanager singing? Come find out, as we delve into the secrets to birding by ear. Fee: $35/person. ($29 CAS members; $20 Seniors)

 

Spring Owl Prowl
Wednesday, April 29
7:30 – 9:15 p.m.

When the sun retreats, owls awaken to go in search of prey. Some say that owls are wise; others say that they have sparked legends of ghosts. Whatever the truth, we’ll uncover the mysteries of these amazing nocturnal hunters, while learning about the species that co-exist in our area. The evening culminates at a local park where we’ll carpool and try to call one in. It’s a hoot! Meet at the Coastal Center. Not recommended for young children.

Fee: $25/person. ($15 Seniors, $7 children (ages 10 and up))

 

Hidden Gems Series: Bird Walks in Milford Area Parks
7:45 – 8:45 a.m.

Saturday, April 25:  Mondo Pond – Early migrants
Saturday, May 2: Mondo Pond – More early migrants
Saturday, May 9:  Wilcox Park – Let the fun begin! – warblers, vireos and much more
Saturday, May 16:  See Hidden Gems Field Trips
Saturday, May 30:  See Hidden Gems Field Trips
Sunday, June 7:  Milford Point – Rare shorebirds, terns and gulls
Saturday, June 13:  See Hidden Gems Field Trips

Milford is blessed with many wonderful parks. Our expert birder Frank Gallo will guide you through the best sites to explore in spring, from hidden gems, such as Wilcox Park, to more well-known sites, such as Milford Point. Each park provides a different array of species to enjoy. No experience necessary. Binoculars are available upon request. Preregistration recommended. Contact Louise at 203-878-7440 x 502 to register, and to request binoculars. Meet at each park; directions will be provided.

Fee: 10-week series $81 ($64 CAS members; $50 seniors); weekly, $9 per walk ($7 CAS members; $5 seniors)

 

Hidden Gems Field Trip Series: Extended Walks Farther Afield.

Ewen Farm Preserve, Orange
May 16
7:45-9:45 a.m.

The Orange Conservation Commission and Connecticut Audubon Society are cosponsoring an early morning ramble with Naturalist, Frank Gallo, around the lovely new Ewen Farm Preserve in Orange. Once a working farm, this 44-acre park now preserves lovely stream-side pastures and woodlands, and has the potential to attract some interesting migrant land birds. Our efforts will help generate a park bird list. Come lend a hand and explore with us. Recommended for adults. To register, call Louise at Connecticut Audubon: 203-878-7440. Fee: $20 ($15 CAS members; $10 seniors)

Roosevelt Forest, Stratford
May 30
7:45-9:45 a.m.

Roosevelt Forest is a 401-acre park with a wide variety of habitats, including a pond, wooded swamps, and lowland and upland forests. We’ll explore this wildlife-rich location on a leisurely 1-2 mile walk in search of migrants and local nesting birds. Bring water and a snack. Meet at the main parking lot at the end of Peter’s Lane. Directions available upon request. To register, call Louise at 203-878-7440. Fee: $20 ($15 CAS members; $10 seniors)

Turkey Hill Preserve, Orange
June 13
7:45-9:45 a.m.

The Orange Conservation Commission and Connecticut Audubon Society are cosponsoring a guided walk with Naturalist, Frank Gallo, to explore the lovely 376-acre Turkey Hill Preserve. Turkey Hill offers an incredible variety of habitats and has good potential as an exciting birding destination. Our efforts will help generate a park bird list. Come lend a hand and explore with us. Recommended for adults. To register, call Louise at Connecticut Audubon: 203-878-7440. Fee: $20 ($15 CAS members; $10 seniors)

 

How to Learn Birds!
Wednesdays, May 27 & June 3 (2 Nights In-classroom)
7 – 9 p.m.
Sunday, June 6 (Field Trip)
9 a.m. – noon

Discover bird watching with naturalist Frank Gallo. Frank leads bird tours worldwide, is a member of Connecticut’s Avian Rare Records Committee, and a past president of the New Haven Bird Club. His enthusiastic hands-on style quickly teaches you how to identify birds using field guides and observational skills. This in-depth course culminates with a field trip to find birds at a local birding hot spot. Bring the Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Birds. (Field guides also for sale in class.)  Meet at the Center. Fee: $75/person. $60 Seniors.

 

 Unless otherwise noted, all programs meet at the Connecticut Audubon Society’s Coastal Center at 1 Milford Point Road, Milford.

 

Lecturer Enlightens Audience about the Hidden Lives of Snowy Owls

View from the Milford City Hall balcony during The Hidden Lives of the Snowy Owl. Connecticut Audubon Society photo.

View from the Milford City Hall balcony during The Hidden Lives of the Snowy Owl.

Before last winter, the common wisdom was that the Snowy Owls that occasionally left their Arctic breeding grounds to winter further south did so because they were desperate for food and arrived in our area exhausted and starving.

But according to Don Crockett, who develops the interactive Snowy Owl maps for Project SNOWStorm, that common wisdom might not be true.

Read more >>

From Dragon Doodle to Panorama: How a Trumbull Student Painted Our New Mural

Mural_LauraBollert_byKayleeWeil

Laura Bollert and the Coastal Center’s new mural. Connecticut Audubon Society photo by Kaylee Weil.

Laura Bollert had never even seen the Milford Point Coastal Center before her first day as a volunteer camp counselor in 2012.

She was a rising high school senior, and it seemed a good way to earn community service credits for graduation.

As that first day ended, other counselors were saying goodbye to campers they had just met or texting late afternoon plans to their parents. Laura was agreeing to paint a panoramic mural of Milford Point’s tidal marsh.
Read more about the new mural >>

Check out the New Haven Register feature on the mural! 
Click here to read on >>

2014 Big Sit! Recap

Big Sit! 2014

The Surf Scopers

On Sunday, October 12, 2014, Frank Gallo and the Surf Scopers had an absolutely amazing day for the Big Sit! 

The grand total for the Connecticut Audubon Society’s Surf Scopers was an astonishing 117 species! This eclipses their previous high of 107 set in 2010, and bests their 20-year average of 78 species by almost 30. Click below to read the full report of how the team accomplished this incredible feat. 

Read more >>

Canoe Tours Summer 2015

Guided Canoe Tours

Through the Charles E. Wheeler Salt Marsh

Canoe tour at CAS Coastal Center_by Frank Gallo

Saturday, July 18, 12:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.*
Saturday, August 1, 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.*
Saturday, August 29, 10:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m

Spend a lovely day with us on a relaxing guided canoe tour of the 840-acre Charles Wheeler Salt Marsh at Milford Point. Get away from the noise and bustle of everyday life to a place for quiet contemplation. Steeped in local history, the Marsh also offers an abundance of birds and other wildlife, beautiful vistas and a chance to paddle and unwind. Bring water, a snack, and wear shoes that can get wet. (* Bring a lunch on these days.)
Contact the Coastal Center for more information. Trip routes are subject to change due to weather. Wind may cause trips to be canceled, even on sunny days; please call 30-45 minutes in advance for trip status. Advance registration required. Sign-up early for these popular tours! Canoes and equipment provided.

Coastal Center Canoes
CAS Members $27/person, $69/canoe (3 people)
Non-members $35/person, $95/canoe (3 people)

Private Canoe/Kayak (Bring your own boat)
$20 CAS Members, $30 Non-members

Frank Gallo on “Bird Calls” radio show with Chris Bosak

Frank talks with Bird Call’s producer Chris Bosak about the 2011 Birding Big Day Fundraiser, getting children involved in birding, and our successful Return of the Osprey Party. Click the link below to listen to the show.

http://www.birdsofnewengland.com/id94.html
Or visit www.birdsofnewengland.com and click on “Bird Calls archives” from the home page.

Directions

From I-95: Take Exit 34. Turn right at the traffic light where the ramp meets Route 1. Go ½ mile to the third light at Naugatuck Avenue. Turn left onto Naugatuck Avenue and go 0.8 miles to the second light at Milford Point Road. Turn right and follow Milford Point Road ½ mile to the stop sign at Seaview Avenue. Turn right and go 0.35 miles. When the road forks, take the right fork into the parking area.

From Merritt Parkway: Take Exit 54, the connector to I-95, and follow the above directions.

From I-84 westbound: Take I-91 south to I-95, and follow the above directions.

From I-84 eastbound: Take Route 8 south to I-95 northbound, and follow the above directions.

Connect to MapQuest

Address

1 Milford Point Road
Milford, CT 06460
203-878-7440

Center Hours:

Tuesday-Saturday
10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Sunday, Noon-4:00 p.m.
(Closed Monday)

Our adjoining 8-acre
Smith-Hubbell Wildlife Refuge and Bird Sanctuary is open daily, year-round, from dawn to dusk.

Sanctuary Map
Get Directions

Coming Up At the Coastal Center At Milford Point

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