Coastal Center Programs & Events
Due to Covid-19, the Coastal Center is running outdoor programming only and asking participants of those programs to practice social distancing and wear masks; see below for our current programs. The Center building is closed, however during summer camp, it will be open to only to registered campers during normal camp hours. We look forward to resuming normal business hours in September.
The Nature Store has items available for pre-order and pick up. Click HERE for details.
- NEW! Distance Learning: Science in Nature: Bring the excitement and learning of our Science in Nature programs to your classroom with these live, virtual programs. Click HERE for program brochure.
- NEW! Field Trips for Home Learning Groups: Enrich your home learning group by taking a field trip to the Center at Fairfield for hands-on, outdoor, environmental programs. Click HERE for program brochure.
- Birding 101 Programs
- Our bird focused remote learning programs (via Zoom) are ideal for libraries, senior centers, scout troops and more, they can also be tailored to meet your specific audience needs. Choose one program or select a few to create a series. Program topics: What Makes a Bird a Bird?, Woodpeckers in Your Backyard, Backyard Birds, Birdfeeding & Nuisance Animals, Nesting Boxes for Birds. For more information click here. To schedule a program please contact Carol Kratzman at email@example.com
- Girl Scout Programs: Our programs are designed to help scouts earn their badges and learn about the natural world around them. For details click here.
- Cub Scout Programs: Our programs are designed to help scouts earn their badges and learn about the natural world around them. For details click here.
- Birthday Parties: Look no further! The Coastal Center at Milford Point is the perfect place to celebrate your child’s birthday with an outdoor nature exploration program. Currently all birthday parties are held outdoors. For more information please contact Louise Crocco at 203-878-7440 ext. 502 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Canoe Tours at The Coastal Center
Saturday, August 7, This tour has reached capacity.
Sunday, August 15, 4 p.m.
Join us on a guided canoe tour of the Charles E. Wheeler Salt Marsh. Steeped in local history, the marsh offers an abundance of birds and other wildlife, beautiful vistas, and a chance to paddle and relax. This guided tour is great outdoor adventure. We provide the canoes, equipment, and guide. You provide the paddling power.
It is required that one person in each canoe have some paddling experience and that all participants are expected to be physically able to paddle the entire trip.
When registering for a canoe tour you understand the following guidelines:
- The entire program is outdoors and will last approximately 2.5 hours.
- Participants must wear masks and practice social distancing while on shore.
- You are responsible for bringing the correct number of people for your canoe.
- Please wear shoes that can get wet, bring water, a sun hat, sun shirt, and apply sunblock and bug spray before arriving. It is often cooler at the coast; we suggest bringing a jacket.
- Please bring a snack or lunch & drinking water—we will stop halfway through for a rest and snack/lunch.
- IT IS REQUIRED THAT ONE PERSON IN EACH CANOE HAVE SOME PADDLING EXPERIENCE.
- PARTICIPANTS ARE EXPECTED TO BE PHYSICALLY ABLE TO PADDLE THE ENTIRE TRIP.
- To paddle you must be 15 years or older.
- Minimum age to be a passenger in the canoe – 8 years old.
- Anyone 15 years and under must be accompanied by an adult on all trips.
- All equipment is included when using a Coastal Center canoe.
- Only Bring Your Own Kayak participants may register as an individual.
- WAIVERS FOR EACH PARTICIPANT MUST BE COMPLETED AND RETURNED TO email@example.com BEFORE THE TOUR.
- A tour may be cancelled or postponed on short notice due to adverse weather, including wind. Participants will be notified by email approximately 2 ½ hours prior if the canoe tour will be cancelled.
- Pre-registration required. Walk-ins not permitted.
- This program is held at the Coastal Center, 1 Milford Point Road, Milford, CT
- Launching is not permitted at the Coastal Center at any time unless you are pre-registered with our group.
- When you register for a Coastal Center canoe, you are registering for either a 2 or 3 person canoe. The registration for the canoe requires only one name per boat–the registration includes all the people in the canoe. You are responsible for bringing the additional people required for your canoe.
Note: Center building and facilities (including restrooms) are closed, however, there is a portable toilet available (please bring hand sanitizer).
Coastal Center Canoes We provide the PFDs, paddles, canoes. When you register for a Coastal Center canoe, you are registering for either a 2 or 3 person canoe. The registration for the canoe requires only one name per boat–the registration includes all the people in the canoe. You are responsible for bringing the additional people required for your canoe.
2-person Canoe: Members $70; Non-members $95
3-person Canoe: Members $90; Non-Members $125
Bring Your Own Kayak a limited number of spaces are available. You must pre-register to participate in the tour. You must bring your own boat, equipment, PFDs, paddles.
Members: 1-person kayak $35; Non-members: 1-person kayak $45.
BOTH WAIVERS FOR EACH PARTICIPANT MUST BE COMPLETED AND RETURNED TO firstname.lastname@example.org BEFORE THE PROGRAM DATE. Waivers will also be available before the start of the tour. Adults must sign waivers for anyone under 18.
Canoe tour waiver click here
Program waiver click here
Saturday, August 7, This tour has reached capacity
Naturalist Training Program
Thursdays: September 9 through October 28
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.*
*The Birdcraft class will be from 8 – 11 a.m.
The Naturalist Training Program provides classroom and field training over the span of eight weeks. This training program prepares adults of all experience levels to become naturalists in their communities and to contribute to environmental education and conservation efforts through volunteer service.
Classes are taught by field experts, including Connecticut Audubon’s Executive Director, Patrick Comins, and Director of Conservation, Milan Bull. The topics will include the basics of plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, marine ecosystems and the history of Connecticut Audubon.
After completing the classes, you will be required to contribute 10 hours of volunteer time within the year following the training, and you will be included in our volunteer database. During the course of the program, you will learn about available volunteer opportunities and discuss with the coordinator what volunteer work best matches your interests. To complete the program, please expect to attend every class.
The cost is $260 for members and $315 for non-members (includes a one-year Connecticut Audubon membership). The application deadline is Tuesday, August 31. Click HERE to download the application. For our program brochure, click here.
Classes will take advantage of the diverse ecosystems of Connecticut Audubon’s Southwest Region Centers: Center at Fairfield and Birdcraft (located in Fairfield), and the Coastal Center at Milford Point. Participants will need to complete a waiver and be required to practice social distancing. Masks may be required indoors for unvaccinated adults; masks are not required for vaccinated adults (may be subject to change). Please bring water, a sun hat and apply sunblock and bug spray before arriving.
For more information, email Program Coordinator Colleen Noyes.
25th Anniversary Challenge
Join the 25thAnniversary Challenge! You can help us launch our next 25 years by donating any multiple of $25 in honor of our 25thAnniversary.
We also hope that you will post the link below to your social media pages.
As many of you know, the Coastal Center is a hidden gem located next to the Charles Wheeler Salt Marsh and Wildlife Management Area at the mouth of the Housatonic River.
For 25 years the Coastal Center at Milford Point has been a popular educational facility for children and adults, promoting awareness and fostering the preservation of Long Island Sounds ecosystem, birds and other wildlife inhabitants.
The Center now reaches thousands of school children annually with both on-site and outreach programs. Our summer camps, public programs and wildlife sanctuary serve as a resource for many statewide conservation efforts.
Thousands of visitors and birders come to the sanctuary year–round, with this year having record breaking numbers.
You made it possible for us to keep our grounds open when state parks were closed and we are committed to being here for you for years to come.
We need you now more than ever!
Your support has made amazing things happen at the Coastal Center over the past 25 years, and we have a lot more that we can do!
Adopt A Purple Martin Gourd 2021
Play a direct role in conservation by adopting a Purple Martin gourd for the 2021 nesting season!
Your adoption will help maintain the structures and support the staff effort to monitor and check the nests each week — essential tasks for protecting Purple Martins.
Supporting the colony also makes a great gift for members of your family or friends!
The cost is only $60 per gourd. Click here to adopt your gourd today!
Purple Martins are completely dependent on human-made structures, either boxes or gourds, for their survival.
This species was listed as “threatened” in Connecticut until about six years ago. Because of its increasing population, largely the result of the careful management of colonies, its status was changed to “special concern.” Our colony is the third largest in Connecticut, and in 2020 we had a very successful year with 132 chicks fledging!
When you adopt a gourd, a numbered gourd will be assigned to you. A paper gourd with your name (or a name you indicate on the registration) will be hung in the windows at the Coastal Center.
Purple Martin supporters receive weekly updates about the gourds, the status of the nests being built in them and a copy of the end-of-season report.
Purple Martins have declined in many areas nationwide, including Connecticut and New England. According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, competition with invasive House Sparrows and Starlings for nesting space, and pesticides poisoning their food supply are contributors to their decline.
Purple Martins are beautiful, much-admired songbirds, and these popular swallows are sought after as backyard birds all across the U.S., particularly in the south and east. They feed only on flying insects. They are often mistakenly thought to control mosquitoes. That’s not quite true. They feed on a much wider variety of insects including dragonflies, which themselves feed on mosquitoes.
Purple Martins are not easy to attract, requiring certain habitat and landscape conditions, usually open areas near water, but once a colony is established, they will return every year to breed and raise their young.
Here’s what supporters of the project are saying:
“CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE VOLUNTEERS WHO ARE CARING FOR OUR PURPLE MARTIN COLONY! HOW EGGCITING!! AND HOW PRECIOUS ARE THOSE NEWLY HATCHED🐣BABIES!🐣🐦
“THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS AND KEEPING US INFORMED ON THEIR PROGRESS!! NATURE IS THE BEST!
” Thank you! It is wonderful to see the terrific report and photos. Really appreciate all your hard work!
SUMMER CAMP 2021: REGISTRATION IS OPEN!
Summer Camp will be held June 14 – August 20.
Return to the outdoors! Campers from ages 5-9 will explore and thrive in a natural environment through an excellent balance of fun and engaging activities.
Click HERE for complete details, including registration information.
To comply with COVID-19 guidelines, group sizes will be smaller this year, so register early!
Camp programs will follow the policies and guidance specific to COVID-19 provided by the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood Education. All campers will be required to wear a mask and practice social distancing.
Small group, outdoor programming where kids will safely explore, discover and learn about the natural world.
Staffed by knowledgeable teacher-naturalists and counselors experienced with working with children.
To download our summer camp brochure, click here.
Birding 101 Programs
Enrich the offerings of your group or organization with our remote-learning programs (via Zoom). Ideal for libraries, scout troops, senior centers, and more. These programs can also be tailored to meet your specific audience needs.
What Makes a Bird a Bird? Discover the characteristics that make birds unique and different.
This program includes a PowerPoint presentation. Program fee: $165. Length: 60 minutes.
Woodpeckers in Your Backyard Explore the woodpecker’s role in our back yard ecosystem, how to identify the species found in Connecticut and their physical characteristics and, if desired, how to attract these fascinating birds to your feeders. Our teacher/naturalist will share tips on dealing with nuisance woodpeckers.
This program includes a PowerPoint presentation. Program fee: $165. Length: 60 minutes.
Backyard Birds Join our teacher-naturalist to learn the field marks that help you identify birds most likely to in your yard as well as fun facts about each one. Discover what they like to eat and their unique behaviors. Get tips on how to create a bird-friendly backyard. This program includes a PowerPoint presentation. Program fee: $165. Length: 60 minutes.
Bird Feeding & Nuisance Animals Discover which birds are at our feeders and yours during different seasons, what they like to eat, and their unique behaviors. Learn what you can do to reduce nuisance animals at your feeders. This program includes a PowerPoint presentation. There will be samples of bird feeders and seed that can be used in your yard to attract birds.This program includes a PowerPoint presentation. Program fee: $165. Length: 60 minutes.
Nesting Bird Boxes What do bluebirds, tree swallows, chickadees, and woodpeckers have in common? They’re cavity nesters. During this program, we’ll share information on how to select suitable nesting boxes for a variety of species, the proper placement of nesting boxes and how to attract birds and discourage predators to these new locations.This program includes a PowerPoint presentation. Program fee: $165. Length: 60 minutes.
For more information or to schedule a program please contact Carol Kratzman at email@example.com