The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

RTPEC March Update

The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center (RTPEC) board and staff have launched several advocacy and education initiatives. Our most pressing concern involved the recent controversy regarding the creation of a new “bypass” or rail segment for the proposed high-speed rail line through Connecticut. The Connecticut Audubon Society took a firm stand opposing the proposed route. While we support improved, safe and reliable rail service and integrated mass transit, RTPEC board leadership and staff helped to identify significant environmental impacts from the construction of a tunnel under the Connecticut River Estuary, most of which has yet to be studied. The RTPEC Science Advisory Board members assisted us by providing data from their research on the estuary.  These scientists are an invaluable resource to the RTPEC and to our community. (more…)

Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center Spring Lecture Series

May 2, 5:00 pm, Old Lyme Town Hall

David Kozak from Connecticut DEEP will address the impact of sea level rise specifically on the Connecticut River Estuary and what steps can be taken to mitigate the effects. Read more here.
RSVP here.


May 9, 4:00 pm, Essex Meadows

Kimberly Damon-Randall, from NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, will discuss the discovery of Atlantic Sturgeon in the Connecticut River Estuary and the impacts of the discovery. This is a joint lecture with the Connecticut River Museum. Read more here.
RSVP here.


May 16, 5:00 pm, Lyme Art Association

Dr. Gregory Nobles is a historian and author of the new biography, John James Audubon: The Nature of the American Woodsman. This lecture discusses J.J. Audubon, the naturalist and painter, as well as the rise of citizen science. Read more here.
RSVP here.





Advocating for the Estuary

Identifying Environmental Impacts of High Speed Rail Tunnel/Bypass

Co-chairman of the RTPEC board, Claudia Weicker, speaks at Town Hall.

On December 16, 2016, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released its Preferred Alternative for improving passenger rail travel along the Northeast Corridor. This proposal would create a new 50-mile segment bypassing coastal southeastern Connecticut via an inland route between Old Saybrook and Kenyon, Rhode Island. The FRA proposal calls for a multi-billion dollar tunnel under the environmentally sensitive Connecticut River Estuary, the Lieutenant River, and the Historic District of the Town of Old Lyme. Additionally, the new rail line would require the acquisition and/or condemnation of hundreds of acres of undeveloped land and conversion to transportation use.  Two members of the RTPEC Board worked on the Old Lyme Selectwoman’s strategy team crafting an 82-page response to the FRA in January of 2017. (more…)

Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center 

 If you want to read more about our virtual center, our staff, and our board, click here.




Events at The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

Education Programs

Planting for Bees and Butterflies
April 29, 10:30 AM

The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center (RTPEC) is teaming up with the Henry Carter Hull library for a morning of planting! 

Join us on Saturday, April 29 as we re-plant one of the library beds and talk about how you can attract pollinators at home. We’ll be there to answer questions like how much sun do they need? What local plants can I purchase? And why is it important to protect these pollinator species? 

Email with any questions. 

News and Announcements

Birding Basics- Saturday Morning Winter Field Trips

Are you interested in learning more about the popular hobby of birding? The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center (RTPEC) is offering biweekly outings to local birding hot spots to observe winter populations of birds. Join us for Birding Basics, our free program for adults. To date, we have enjoyed forays to Long Island Sound and Estuary habitats that maximize species diversity. 

Birding enthusiasts on our Jan 14 walk at Hammonasset State Park in Madison, CT.

The Rockfall Foundation supports Environmental Programming in Middlesex County.

Each Birding Basics  program begins at 9 AM when we gather for a quick binocular and field guide tutorial followed by an hour-long walk while we identify birds. We will address environmental concerns that threaten our birds, including the affects of  habitat loss and climate change. 

Email to RSVP or with questions.

Our next walk will be at 9 a.m. on March 25. Meet at the Founder’s Memorial Park parking lot in Old Saybrook, found here See you there! (more…)

RTPEC Lecture Series Speaker and Meet the Scientist Presenter: Dr. Robert Thieler

Dr. Thieler at a "Meet the Scientist" session in Old Lyme.

Dr. Thieler at a “Meet the Scientist” session in Old Lyme’s Mile Creek School

The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center (RTPEC) welcomed renowned, sea-level rise researcher, Robert Thieler, to Old Lyme as one of three featured speakers for the RTPEC Fall Lecture Series. Thieler is based out of Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and works as a research geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey, yet beaches of the planet serve as his living laboratory.

Earlier in the afternoon, fifty-five fifth graders of Old Lyme’s Mile Creek School were fortunate to have an up close and personal session with Dr. Thieler at the RTPEC’s first “Meet the Scientist” session for school children. 


RTPEC Board Member Donates Book Tour Proceeds to Center

Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center (RTPEC) Board Member, Sydney Williams,  conducted a regional book tour of his new book, Notes from Old Lyme, Life on the Marsh and Other Essays. The book is a collection of essays, many of which touch on observations of the natural world, having lived near the estuary waters for 25 years. Williams donated proceeds of the book sales to the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center and other groups.



Dock Proposed for Whalebone Cove Would Threaten Wildlife Habitat

Egret_on_CtRiverThe coves and marshes of the lower Connecticut River estuary are among the most valuable areas for wildlife in North America. The Connecticut Audubon Society’s Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center (RTPEC) opposes a plan to install a new dock in one of those coves, Whalebone Cove, in the Town of Lyme. Below is our letter, signed by Eleanor Robinson, the director of our Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center, in Old Lyme. (more…)

Northeast Corridor Rail Proposal is Likely to Damage Connecticut Audubon Society Sanctuaries

February 15, 2016 – The Connecticut Audubon Society today submitted comments criticizing the Federal Railway Administration’s Northeast Corridor Rail proposal because of the likelihood that it would significantly damage three of the organization’s sanctuaries and centers.

Alternative 1 would apparently cut through the heart of Old Lyme, where Connecticut Audubon recently established the virtual Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center and is seeking a permanent location in town.

Alternatives 2 and 3 would apparently cut through or skirt the border of the 700-acre Bafflin Sanctuary, at the Center at Pomfret, and perhaps Trail Wood/The Edwin Way Teale Memorial Sanctuary, which encompasses 164 acres in Hampton.

In his letter critiquing the NEC’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Connecticut Audubon President Alexander Brash wrote: “Within the alternatives there are a number of components of each of the proposed NEC routes that would severely impact and generally damage Connecticut’s natural resources as well as several that would directly impair several of our centers and sanctuaries and the communities they serve.” (more…)

Citizen Scientists Find Thriving Osprey Population

Ospreys in Fairfield. Photo courtesy of Anastasia Zinkerman

Ospreys in Fairfield. Photo courtesy of Anastasia Zinkerman

March 8, 2016 – Connecticut’s Osprey population, which numbers at least 250 active nests, is thriving and healthy, and in all likelihood indicates that local rivers, lakes and Long Island Sound are clean enough to support ample fish for Ospreys to feed on.

In addition, the fish seem to be free of toxins that would harm Ospreys and reduce their breeding success, as happened in the middle of the 20th century because of DDT.

Those are the key conclusions of the Connecticut Audubon Society’s Osprey Nation report for 2015, which the organization released today to mark the start of the citizen science monitoring program’s 2016 season, its third.

Click to read the rest …


PO Box 62
Old Lyme, CT 06371

Register for Summer Camp

Articles of Interest: Birding, Wildlife, etc.

Coming Up At The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

Top of Page