The Coastal Center at Milford Point

Winter Solstice Gathering

Saturday, December 19, 1 – 2:30 p.m.

Come celebrate the Winter Solstice with us.  The shortest day and longest night of the year is the official start to winter; (actual first day is 12/21). Create a colorful luminary to take home for the winter days ahead. Make a sundial to track the lengthening days. Discover the wonders of snowflakes.  Gather around our campfire for winter stories, s’mores and hot chocolate.  Program will be inside and outside.

Pre-registration suggested, please call 203-878-7440.

Fee: CAS Members $8/person; Non-members $10/person.

Winter Detectives:

Where do the Animals go?

Saturday, December 12, 2 – 3:00 p.m.

Where do the crabs, fish, and birds go when they leave our shores?

Do they stick around or move to another area?

Be a winter detective and discover what animals do when the weather gets cold.

Join us for a story, hands-on activities, a chance to play the Migration Game, and a craft to do together. Pre-registration suggested, please call 203-878-7440.

Fee: CAS Members $ 6/person; Non-members $ 8/person.



Vacation Camp Days: Inside ~ Out

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

December 28, 29 and 30

10 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

For children ages 5-10

We’ll be inside and outside exploring the wonders of winter.  Choose one or all three days for your child.  Each day there will be different crafts, stories, games, experiments, and outdoor activities.

Weather permitting, we will hike to the beach to see who’s there.  Each day a different movie will be shown to round out the fun.  Come dressed for outdoor explorations.

Children should bring a peanut/tree nut free snack and lunch.

Registration required, please call 203-878-7440.

Fee: CAS members: $37/child /day: Non-members: $42/child/day

Sign up for all three days: CAS Members $105; Non-members $120.

The BigSit 2015

The Connecticut Audubon Society’s October Fundraiser at the Coastal Center at Milford Point brought in over $2,200! The Big Sit volunteer birding team observed 84 total species this year. Some of the highlights were a Lapland Longspur, Harlequin Duck and Common Gallinule.

The Big Sit is an annual, international, noncompetitive birding event led by Bird Watcher’s Digest and founded by the New Haven Bird Club. Every year, bird watchers from around the globe unite on this special day by participating in this free event, open to any person and club in any country!

On Sunday October 11, 2015 Frank Mantlik, Tina Green, Jim Dugan, Patrick Dugan and Mike Moccio represented the Coastal Center team known as the Surf Scopers. Frank Gallo, the team leader, was not able to attend this year, but was cheering from behind the scenes.  The spotting scopes, binoculars, cameras and lots of coffee were all set up at Milford Point well before day break.

Tina Green’s notes from the field: “The weather was sunny, breezy with NW winds shifting to WSW. The temperatures ranged from 48-64 degrees F. The day began with one of the most beautiful moon rises I’ve ever seen. What we lacked in species quantity, we made up for in species quality.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by to help and lend their support. Special thanks to Tom Murray and Dave Alpeter for bringing coffee and to Maggie and Jack Perretto for bringing pizza near the end of the day.”

coopers hawk Jim Dugan

Cooper’s Hawk photo by Jim Dugan

Read more

New Director of the Coastal Center at Milford Point


Cathy Hagadorn, the new director of the Coastal Center at Milford Point. Photo copyright Connecticut Audubon Society.

The Connecticut Audubon Society is pleased to welcome Cathy Hagadorn as the new director of the Coastal Center at Milford Point. A longtime education manager at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk and an expert in the ecology of Long Island Sound, Cathy will oversee all of the programs, events and activities at the Coastal Center, which sits prominently on the east side at the mouth of the Housatonic River.  Well-known among birders, anglers, summer campers and school teachers, the Coastal Center is among the busiest of the Connecticut Audubon Society’s centers.

“We are thrilled to have Cathy join our staff,” said Alexander Brash, president of the Connecticut Audubon Society. “She brings a wonderful  combination of talent and experience – educator, naturalist, manager, communicator, and fundraiser – as we strengthen our programming, our regional board, and our presence in the community.”

Cathy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from St. Michael’s College in Vermont. Additionally she is a Master Wildlife Conservationist volunteer for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Among other projects, her volunteer work has included many hours at the Shepaug Dam Bald Eagle viewing area in Southbury.

At the Maritime Aquarium, where she was a staff member for more than 13 years, her responsibilities included the development and management of science education partnerships with schools from throughout the region. She collaborated on database development for the Long Island Sound Biodiversity Census Project, and managed the aquarium’s research and education vessel. Cathy was instrumental in developing a new business model for working with select schools throughout the year.

At the Coastal Center, she will be overseeing the implementation of our award-winning Science in Nature educational program, expanding on partnerships among the community, and reaching out to academic institutions in the region.

Born in New York, Cathy moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut, as a young girl. She is a Bethel resident of over 10 years.


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, 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

Sign Up Now:
SOLO Wilderness First Aid

Saturday and Sunday, January 9th and 10th, 2016
9:00 am-5:30 pm

Man with Splint - First Aid RescueHands-on scenarios provide realistic experience!

  • Meets the ACA, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Connecticut Summer Camp Licensing Boards’ First Aid requirements
  • Accepted as a re-certification course for WFR (80-hour first responder)
  • Cost: $195 includes snack & drinks—Bring a bagged lunch both days.
  • ($100 non-refundable)
  • Please register ASAP; payment is due in full upon registration
  • Adult CPR possible—inquire; Maximum participants—20

Connecticut Audubon Society Coastal Center
1 Milford Point Road | Milford, CT 06460   

News and Announcements

Animal Encounter

Sunday November 22, 2015

Time 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Join our naturalist for hands experience with the resident reptiles here from around the world. Learn about the diversity of these unique creatures.  Also learn about what makes a good pet choice when considering animals with scales! Please rsvp to 203-878-7440

Fee (one adult and one child): $10 CAS member / $ 14 non member

Attracting Birds to your Yard and Garden

Saturday November 14, 2015

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Frank Mantlik, expert birder of CT, will review the wide variety of “backyard” birds that are possible in CT, and how to best attract them.  In addition to seeing photos of the avian possibilities, we’ll discuss various ways of attracting them to your yard. This popular hobby can provide endless hours of enjoyment.  Please rsvp to 203-878-7440.

Fee per person: $5 CAS member / $ 8 non member

Guided Canoe – Kayak Tours Summer 2016

Canoe tour at CAS Coastal Center_by Frank Gallo

Check back in with us for the 2016 paddle season.

Spend a lovely day with us on a relaxing guided canoe tour of the 840-acre Charles E. Wheeler Salt Marsh at Milford Point. 
Contact the Coastal Center for more information. 

2016 Dates TBA

Private tours also available.

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

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


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 >>

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.
Or visit and click on “Bird Calls archives” from the home page.


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


1 Milford Point Road
Milford, CT 06460

Center Hours:

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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