Connecticut Audbon Society
Center at Fairfield

Center at Fairfield

News & Visitor Information at the Center at Fairfield

The Fairfield Nature Center building, including the Nature Store, will be closed on Monday, May 27, for Memorial Day. Trails remain open dawn to dusk. 

Frog Pond Restoration

Frog Pond now offers prime habitat for amphibians and birds alike, including a new water feature which attracts birds by mimicking the sound of a woodland stream.

On May 8, 2024 the Fairfield Nature Center hosted the Fairfield Garden Club and local town officials, including First Selectman Bill Gerber, for the ribbon cutting and re-opening of Frog Pond. 

Thanks to the generosity and vision of the Garden Club and the Frost family, as well as other project partners Oliver Nurseries and Loglisci Water Gardens, the habitat has been fully restored at this small but mighty watering hole just steps away from the Center’s front door. This project is a great example of the power of our community collaborations, for which we are so grateful!

We hope you’ll stop by soon to enjoy the sights and sounds of this special retreat.

 

Monitoring Air Quality in Fairfield

We’ve installed a PurpleAir monitor at our center as part of our ongoing commitment to environmental conservation. The monitor allows us to track local air quality and add to a community database, which can be used by weather tracking organizations, climate scientists, and the general public to learn more about the air around them. 

PurpleAir monitors measure the concentration of air pollutants, providing real-time data on air quality conditions. By placing these monitors at our centers, we aim to educate about pollution and its impact on both human health and the environment. 

Air quality is a critical component of environmental health, as poor air causes respiratory issues to people and wildlife. Birds are especially susceptible to poor air quality, but natural spaces like wildlife sanctuaries provide a pollution buffer and improve the overall health of the area. These monitors will allow us to better understand local air pollution levels and how green spaces impact them. 

You can see the real-time data in the box below. There’s more on the PurpleAir website. We hope it helps people see where concentrations of pollution are, to make informed decisions regarding their health and the environment. 

We thank CT DEEP and PurpleAir for donating these monitors to our centers.  

Loading PurpleAir Widget…

What to do with “abandoned” or “orphaned” birds

The best advice is to leave baby birds, like this Purple Martin, when you found them. Photo by Stephanie Galea/The Connecticut Audubon Society

The CT DEEP has excellent advice for what to do if you find an “orphaned” bird. Click this link. Photo by Stephanie Galea/The Connecticut Audubon Society

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.


 

Parents Recognize Connecticut Audubon as One of the Top 20 Places to Take Kids

Once again, Connecticut Audubon made the list of favorite destinations in the state for children and families. In this year’s 2023 KidsOutAndAbout.com annual readers’ survey — out of dozens of choices — The Connecticut Audubon Society came in at #9 by parents voting in Fairfield County!

This recognition shows how Connecticut Audubon’s environmental education activities and programs are valued for the fun, engaging ways they teach all ages about the natural world, and for building an appreciation and awareness of preserving the environment for future generations.

Thank you to all who voted and support us in educating over 100,000 children and adults annually at our centers, as well as our management of 22 wildlife sanctuaries encompassing over 3,400 acres of open space in Connecticut.

 

Center at Fairfield is Thankful for Lobby Refresh

“Even castles in the sky can do with a fresh coat of paint” -Haruki Murakami

If you’ve stopped by our Center at Fairfield recently, you might have noticed things are looking a little spiffier. Thanks to the generous donation from the Ring’s End Paint Center earlier this year, we were able to transform our front lobby, main room and library with a fresh coat of neutral color.

We were lucky to hire Ryan SanAngelo as our painter. Ryan also happens to be a beloved local musician and children’s book author, and his dedication and attention to detail were greatly appreciated – especially in managing the high ceilings in our great room!

At left is the Center’s lobby “before” painting; remaining photos reveal the bright transformation “after” the refresh.

Built in the 1960s, the Center at Fairfield has been the hub of our region’s educational programs ever since. Each year we average over 10,000 visitors who come to hike the Larsen Sanctuary, see the Birds of Prey Aviary or participate in one of our programs. Many also stop in the Nature Store and stroll through the lobby to visit our resident animals.

Thanks to Ryan and Ring’s End, our Center looks bright and beautiful. We hope you’ll stop by soon for a visit!

 

Spring Gala Raises Awareness and Support for Connecticut Audubon’s Fairfield Region

Fairfield Region Director Amy Barnouw addressing the guests.

In its 125 years, Connecticut Audubon has had many achievements and special moments to commemorate, and this year’s Spring Gala was no exception. With more than 170 in attendance, this special anniversary celebration of Connecticut Audubon’s commitment to education, conservation and advocacy in the Fairfield Region was a resounding success.

Highlights of the evening included the premiere of an inspiring new video capturing the history, accomplishments and glimpses of Connecticut Audubon’s Fairfield naturalists, conservationists and educators in action. And in a touching, surprise moment, the Fairfield Region’s Assistant Director Tricia Kevalis was honored for her 20+ years of unequaled dedication and leadership to our award-winning programs that are recognized by area families and schools as among the best.

 

A warm welcome greeted attendees, guests enjoying the evening’s festivities, Assistant Director Tricia Kevalis was honored for her years of service, perusing an array of auction items.

 

All photos courtesy of Shawn O’Sullivan.

We are grateful to all who put on their party clothes and dancing shoes to attend and join in the fun of the auction and paddle-raise activities. And we especially thank the many contributors who supported the evening’s fundraising efforts with their gift of time and donations, including our sponsors, local businesses, the event planning committee and many volunteers.

This wonderful community response is making it possible for the important work to continue and benefit the Greater Fairfield community for the next 125 years.

 

Spring Gala Sponsors

 

 

Amy Barnouw Named Director of the Fairfield Region

Please join us in welcoming Amy Barnouw as the new director of the Fairfield Region. She will lead the organization’s Center at Fairfield, as well as the Birdcraft Museum and Sanctuary.

Amy will be working with local groups and individuals to meet Connecticut Audubon’s conservation and education goals. She’ll also be responsible for raising the funds to meet those goals. As a member of The Connecticut Audubon Society’s senior team, she will assist with establishing and implementing conservation, development, research, education and communication strategies.

Amy brings a unique blend of expertise in marketing and business development for regional and national environmental conservation organizations in the for-profit and non-profit sectors.

A native of Connecticut, she started her career in the Pacific Northwest as regional director of LightHawk, creating innovative campaigns that addressed conservation efforts around deforestation and watershed health in Alaska, Washington and Oregon. She then served as the assistant director of The Wilderness Society’s Northwest Region based in Seattle before returning to the East Coast.

In 2010, Amy co-founded the Planet Fuel Beverage Company and its social impact arm, the Planet Fuel Charitable Fund. Through the Charitable Fund, she developed a high school advisory council which oversaw the environmental grant-making process and launched an environmental film series at the Fairfield Theatre Company to showcase award-winning documentaries.

Most recently, Amy was marketing director at Katabat where she led their global digital marketing campaigns. She has served on the boards of various conservation organizations, including the Connecticut Audubon Society from 2018 until 2022, and currently is a President’s Council Member of the Norma Pfriem Breast Center.

 

Sage Garver Earns Girl Scout Award for Sanctuary Project

Girl Scout Sage Garver is recognized by Fairfield First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchik for her Gold Award project at the Center at Fairfield.

In a recent ceremony at the Center, Sage Garver of Fairfield Girl Scout Troop 30133 was recognized for earning the prestigious Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouts.

Sage earned the Gold Award with her project to create a virtual tour of Connecticut Audubon’s Roy and Margot Larsen Wildlife Sanctuary. Highlighting the diversity of wildlife and natural points of interest along the Sanctuary’s trails, her tour can be seen via the free Connecticut Audubon Society app for mobile or web-based viewing.

Fairfield’s First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchik attended the event proclaiming September 17, 2022 as Sage Garver Day in Fairfield, and Sage was celebrated with the unveiling of a new outdoor bench in her honor at the Center.

The Gold Award is given to less than 6% of eligible Girl Scouts nationwide. It recognizes those who demonstrate extraordinary leadership and have a sustainable impact on their community and beyond.

 

Mobile App

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.

Features include:

  • 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.


 

General Information

The Fairfield Nature Center 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.

Larsen Sanctuary Trail Map – click here.
Larsen Sanctuary Bird Checklist – download the checklist.

 

Wish List

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
  • Newspaper
  • 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 gIMG_1366ive 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 the Fairfield Nature Center and is open Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

 

Directions

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.

 

 

 

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