Connecticut Audbon Society
CT Audubon Society Annual Report

The 2021 Dave Engelman Volunteer Benchmark Award Winners

Lori Romick. Her didication ahs improved the Coastal Center grounds for all kinds of wildlife.

Lori Romick, Milford
Lori Romick is an indefatigable and incredibly good-natured Coastal Center board member.
She’s been involved with the center so long that her son, who went through the Connecticut Audubon summer camps years ago, is now an adult naturalist, and gainfully employed!

As a board member, over the years, she has organized so many fund-raising events it’s in the category of “dozens and dozens” including all the Return of the Osprey parties since I’ve been around. With precision and clarity, she has done our minutes as secretary for years.

As a laboring volunteer, she’s been the lead on building our Milford Point pollinator garden into a spectacular spot for hummingbirds and butterflies. For our recent thank-you event honoring Representative Kim Rose, she planted a rose garden and organized the party.

She’s also a member of our Purple Martin monitoring team, including recently doing the hard work of scrubbing out the gourds and storing them for next year.

As I am sure those who know her will attest, she makes Connecticut Audubon a better organization, and with her bright smile and laughter makes the Coastal Center a more welcoming place. Plus, she just loves the place. — Gilles Carter, Connecticut Audubon Board of Directors and Milford Point Coastal Center regional board.

Misty Beyer. She worked with the Friends of Larsen group to improve the trails at the Larsen Sanctuary.


Misty Beyer, Fairfield
Mary “Misty” Beyer grew up as a neighbor to the Roy and Margot Larsen Sanctuary. She fondly remembers the trails she walked. So when she saw the invasives that were overtaking the native plants and that the trails needed loving care, she reached out to Connecticut Audubon’s Milan Bull in late 2019.

Misty offered to engage and organize a group of neighbors as Friends of Larsen, to start work days, and to help to manage the seven miles of trails. Misty coordinated a small group of volunteers and scheduled community work days in early 2020. And then the pandemic closures happened. This did not deter Misty though.

She saw how many people were walking the trails and she knew that outdoor, small-group work days, with COVID precautions, would be a way for neighbors to get together and that trail maintenance was needed.

Monthly work days continued, volunteers brought their own tools, and they pulled weeds, planted native shrubs and flowers, repaired boardwalks, and kept the trails safe.

This summer, she organized multiple orchestral evenings at Larsen with performers from Bridgeport’s “Music for Youth” program. With Misty’s leadership, the Friends of Larsen group has grown to almost 100 volunteers. — Joyce Leiz, Connecticut Audubon Society Director of Development.


Jim Sherwonit. As a volunteer, he’s logged hundreds of miles behind the wheel and down the trails of New England and as far away as Nebraska.

Jim Sherwonit, Old Saybrook
As early as high school, Jim Sherwonit fell in love with the woods and with birding. He is a retired professional engineer and managed the local office for a major transportation engineering firm for over 30 years.

He started birding more seriously in 2010 after his first Connecticut Audubon EcoTravel trip. He met Jan, his wife, on one of those early trips. Jim has participated as a traveler, driver, or leader on over 50 trips and has an enthusiasm for conservation, all things nature, and photography. As he says, “Any day spent in the woods is a good day.”

He is a popular leader for many of EcoTravel’s Day Trips and Overnight Tours, logging hundreds of miles behind the wheel and down the trails of New England and as far away as Nebraska.

EcoTravel is incredibly grateful for his unwavering service, spirit of volunteerism, and friendship. Volunteers like Jim are what make this organization tick and shine. Congratulations, Jim! — Andy Griswold, EcoTravel Director


Tyler Luciani. A retired contractor, Tyler has put in countless hours making sure sanctuaires are safe and acccessible, at Birdcraft in Fairfield in particular.

Tyler Luciani, Fairfield
Tyler Luciani is a retired contractor and has served for many years on the Fairfield Board of Governors. He has been instrumental in ensuring that the Birdcraft Museum, the Centers at Fairfield and the Coastal Center in Milford are safe for both staff and visitors.

He serves as an advisor and often offers assistance for maintenance and repair work. He assists in cost cutting measures by offering guidance on sourcing vendors. And he has provided guidance and technical assistance on grant proposals and funding for capital improvements to ensure Connecticut Audubon is fulfilling our grant requirements properly.

With safety as his top priority, Tyler has worked to ensure that our sanctuaries’ entrances are accessible and secure for the public. He has spent a great deal of time making sure our storage facilities are orderly and free from moisture and that our HVAC systems work as efficiently as possible.

He has repaired ramps and railings numerous times and is always willing to stop by and “take a look to see what he could do” before we have to put a call in to hire someone.

We are so grateful for all he has done and continues to do for the Connecticut Audubon Society. — Shari Greenblatt, director of southwest programs for the Connecticut Audubon Society

Shawn Bay, Fairfield
Shawn became first involved at Connecticut Audubon several years ago when his son proposed to restore the bridge at Farm Pond. What seemed like an easily workable project, the bridge effort soon grew into a major stonework and water control project that is now a thing of beauty and perfectly designed to control the flow of water through Farm Pond.

Shawn has continued through the years repairing and improving our water courses at his own great expense and time. His efforts are most valued and appreciated! — Milan Bull, Connecticut Audubon’s Senior Director of Science and Conservation




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