News & Visitor Information at the Center at Fairfield
Due to Covid-19, masks are strongly encouraged, but no longer required, for program participants or employees (subject to change). However, masking is still recommended when distancing is not possible indoors or when in close contact with others. Those who choose to wear a mask are welcome to do so.
Springtime in the Larsen Wildlife Sanctuary
Spring is in the air at the Center’s Larsen Wildlife Sanctuary! This is an exciting time to visit and experience emerging signs of life. The Sanctuary is also an especially busy place during spring migration – some birds you might expect to see in this 155-acre habitat are warbler species, as well as Orioles, Tanagers and Vireos. Click here for a handy checklist. Visit our Programs and Events page for upcoming walks and activities.
In addition to birds, other sounds and sights of the season are the high-pitched chorus of spring peepers. These amphibians emerge early and are very small, measuring about an inch. Because of small, suction-like tips on their toes, they can also easily climb vegetation.
The Sanctuary’s diverse environment includes a mixed hardwood forest with shrubby areas, ponds and wetlands. Skunk cabbage, which grows low in wetlands and other moist areas, is a conspicuous plant in the spring and early summer. Though it produces a pungent odor, the smell attracts pollinators, such as flies and bees.
Seven miles of trails and boardwalks includes the mile-long Chiboucas Special Use Trail. Designed for wheelchair use, it is also ideal for strollers. The trails at Larsen are kept in good shape and habitat maintenance is carried out by the Friends of Larsen volunteer group, overseen by Connecticut Audubon staff. To find out more, email Misty Beyer.
We hope you enjoy your visit! Please be sure to follow the Sanctuary rules: no dogs, swimming, fishing, hunting, collecting, horses, bicycles, motorized vehicles, smoking or fires. Stay on trails at all times. Open from dawn to dusk.
New Water Bottle Filling Station Will Promote Environmental Awareness
Thanks to a 2021 grant from The Fairfield Rotary, a stainless steel drinking water and bottle-filling station is being installed inside the Center.
In addition to being a touchless alternative to a public drinking fountain, it counts and displays the number of disposable plastic water bottles it is saving from going into local landfills — a feature that promotes awareness for visitors, especially children, about the harmful waste of single-use plastics.
Fairfield Rotary grants are awarded to local non-profits in support of worthwhile community initiatives. Southwest Region Director Shari Greenfield accepted the grant check at the Fairfield Rotary Holiday Luncheon on Monday, November 29, 2021.
The Free Library Helps Build a Sense of Community
The Center at Fairfield extends its sincere thanks to Friends of Larsen volunteers, Mary Hogue and Guy Gleysteen, for creating and installing the new “Free Library” box across from the entrance to the Roy and Margot Larsen Wildlife Sanctuary.
As Mary notes, “Based on the Friends of Larsen concept of building community, Guy and I thought that by installing a Free Library near the Larsen Sanctuary would help to draw more people to the Sanctuary and help them appreciate the grounds and facility. We would like folks to feel that this place is a part of their world — to enjoy and protect — as much as we do.
“Hopefully, the Free Library will be one more way visitors could become part of the community that supports the Connecticut Audubon, whether by becoming members, participating in programs or volunteering with the Friends of Larsen. We’ve been lucky to live next door to the Larsen Sanctuary and have been able to join field trips, help with gardens and clean ups. By doing so, we’ve met so many fabulous people and have made long-lasting friendships thanks to our connection to the Connecticut Audubon. It’s our hope that the Free Library will be a catalyst to help others be able to do the same.”
Please stop by the Center at Fairfield and become a “patron” of our library by taking, or bringing, a book to share (nature-themed books encouraged). While you’re here, explore the Larsen Sanctuary, which also includes the mile-long Edna Chiboucas Special Use Trail. Your visit will not only enhance your reading list, but could also lead to building a greater sense of community, as well.
For information about the Friends of Larsen upcoming activities, please click here.
Chiboucas Special Use Trail
Specifically designed to accommodate wheelchairs, the mile-long Edna Strube Chiboucas Special Use Trail is five-to-seven feet wide and paved with finely crushed stone.
The trail circles through the Larsen Sanctuary’s 155 acres, following an easy grade through the woods, along the edge of a meadow and over several streams and swamps. Interpretive signs stand at intervals along the way, and there are numerous benches available.
The Chiboucas Trail was the first project undertaken by the Wheels in the Woods Foundation. The trail opened in 1999 and was renovated in the spring of 2020 to provide an upgrade and repair damage caused by storms during the previous year.
What to do with “abandoned” or “orphaned” birds
Have you found an abandoned bird?
Birds and other wildlife that seem to be abandoned or orphaned at this time of year often are not actually abandoned or orphaned.
The Connecticut DEEP has advice about what to do if you find a bird that you think is abandoned. There are several alternatives.
Click here to learn about them.
Please do not bring injured or orphaned animals to any Connecticut Audubon Society facility. Connecticut Audubon is not authorized to accept injured or abandoned animals.
But if it is obviously injured, it may need help. The CT DEEP has more information here about dealing with distressed wildlife.
Explore our centers and sanctuaries on your mobile device
Soar through our centers and sanctuaries with this free app, which highlights unique and interesting features at each stop. Take one of our tours while you’re onsite or plan ahead with detailed directions and maps to your nearest Connecticut Audubon location.
- Tours of our Centers and Sanctuaries
- Bird IDs with photos and descriptions
- Tips on how to create a native garden for birds and pollinators
- Interactive maps
For Android and other non-Apple devices, visit the web-based app. Software platform © Cuseum, Inc.
This App was made possible by Planet Fuel Charitable Fund.
The Center at Fairfield is a hub of environmental education activities and events throughout the year. The Center has live education animals, exhibit areas, and a Nature Store with a wide variety of birding and nature-related merchandise. The Center’s grounds feature a pollinator garden, live birds of prey compound and adjoins the 155-acre Roy and Margot Larsen Wildlife Sanctuary. The Sanctuary offers visitors seven miles of walking trails featuring streams, ponds, forest, and fields with diverse plant and animal communities, and also includes the mile-long Edna Strube Chiboucas Special Use Trail.
The Chiboucas Special Use Trail opened in 1999 and was refurbished in 2012. Designed for wheelchair use, the Trail was the first project undertaken by the Wheels in the Woods Foundation. It was renovated in the spring of 2020 to provide an upgrade and repair damage caused by last year’s storms. To accommodate wheelchairs, the trail is five-to-seven feet wide and paved with finely crushed rock. It circles through the sanctuary’s 155 acres, following an easy grade through the woods, along the edge of a meadow and over several streams and swamps. Interpretive signs stand at intervals along the way, and there are numerous benches available.
There is a nominal admission fee for non-members or non-residents of Fairfield. Trails are open year-round, seven days a week from dawn to dusk.
Dishwasher – gently used no larger than 23 wide by 24 deep.
If you would like to donate a dishwasher, please call 203-259-6305 ext. 109.
Animal Care requests (please call 203-259-6305 ext. 116):
- 75 gallon aquarium stand
- 100 foot garden hose
- Pump style hand sprayer
- Water dechlorinator 32 ounce
- Timothy hay
- Guinea Pig food (Supreme Selective diet)
- Carefresh paper small animal bedding
- Used bath towels
- Raptor rig – call for details
Visit Our Fairy Garden!
There’s a lot of activity in the green house… little voices chattering with delight as they search for fairies, tiny pigs and ponies in the Fairy Garden exhibit. This teeny garden of whimsy is a miniature landscape. Small-scale plants, foliage that looks like mini forest trees and teensy accessories give the illusion of tiny creatures living in the garden.
This charming garden was created by Master Gardeners Anne Mele, Mary Hogue and Kristine Scerbo with the assistance of green house volunteer Jessie Linderoth.
Fairy gardens are often located in small secluded areas in the garden, giving visitors the impression that they just happen to fall upon this magical place. So come, stumble upon our Fairy Garden, you’re sure to find magic here!
The Fairy Garden is located in the greenhouse at Center at Fairfield and is open Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
From I-95: Take Exit 21 Mill Plain Road. Go north on Mill Plain Road for 4.5 miles (Mill Plain Road becomes Burr Street). The Center is on the left.
From the Merritt Parkway: Take Exit 44 Route 58. Northbound: Turn right onto Congress Street at the end of the ramp. Proceed to the first stop sign. Turn right onto Burr Street. The Center is approximately 1 mile along on the left. Southbound: Turn left at the light at the bottom of the ramp, and turn left at the next light onto Route 58. Go under the bridge, and turn right at the light onto Congress Street. Proceed to the first stop sign. Turn right onto Burr Street. The Center is approximately 1 mile along on the left.
From I-84: Take Routes 8 or 25 or I-91 to the Merritt Parkway, and follow the directions, above.