Connecticut Audbon Society

125th Anniversary

The History of the Connecticut Audubon Society

The Connecticut Audubon Society was founded in 1898 by by a small group of women in the town of Fairfield, including Mabel Osgood Wright, a pioneer in the American conservation movement, Helen Glover, Theodora Wheeler, and Harriet Glover. You can read more details about the founding here. From the beginning, we have focused on conserving birds and their habitats in Connecticut, through science-based education and advocacy.

Connecticut Audubon Society received its first land donation in 1914 through the generosity of philanthropist Annie Burr Jennings of Fairfield. With that gift of 10 acres, Wright created Birdcraft Sanctuary, one of the the first private songbird refuges in the country, and literally laid the groundwork for Connecticut Audubon Society. Birdcraft was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1993.

Connecticut Audubon’s centers and sanctuaries give us a presence throughout the state and across all of Connecticut’s habitats.

  • In 1971, we opened the Center at Fairfield, adjacent to the 155-acre Roy and Margot Larsen Wildlife Sanctuary, with its varied land, forest, and freshwater wetland ecosystems.
  • In 1981, we opened the Center at Glastonbury, which promotes awareness of the Connecticut River ecosystem and the birds and habitats it supports. The Center at Glastonbury evolved into the Greater Hartford program in 2020.
  • In 1982, Trail Wood, the Edwin Way Teale Memorial Sanctuary, once the home of the Pulitzer Prize-winning naturalist and writer, was donated to Connecticut Audubon.
  • In 1982, the Richard G. Croft Memorial Preserve in Goshen was donated to Connecticut Audubon.
  • In 1986, we entered into a long-term agreement to serve as stewards of Milford Point. In 1995, we opened the Coastal Center at Milford Point, adjacent to the Charles Wheeler Salt Marsh and Wildlife Management Area. It provides access to Long Island Sound and its many habitats, including tidal salt marshes, tide pools, and coastal dunes. This Center was designated an Audubon Important Bird Area in 2002.
  • In 2000, we opened our Center at Pomfret, adjacent to our 700-acre Bafflin Sanctuary, with its extensive grasslands habitats. This Sanctuary was designated an Important Bird Area in 2004.
  • In 2012, we established our ground-breaking Science in Nature program, to bring curriculum-based outdoor education to Connecticut’s school children.
  • Led by a group of hard-working volunteers, we established the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center in Old Lyme, in 2016.
  • We acquired and opened Deer Pond Farm, in Sherman, in 2017, thanks to a bequest from the estate of Kathryn Wriston.

Since 1974, Connecticut Audubon has contributed to every major environmental initiative in Connecticut through our Hartford-based advocacy program. We offer enlightened leadership on key issues, advice on environmental policy, and promote environmental, conservation, and other public policies that will protect birds and their habitats, preserve open space, and strengthen land management practices.

Since 2006, we have published an annual Connecticut State of the Birds report, which highlights conservation, environmental, and science priorities in the state.

Since 1898, the Eagle Festival Logo with registration markConnecticut Audubon Society has provided educational programs for schools, families, and adults; worked on conservation projects and stewardship of our land; supported Citizen Science projects that contribute to our knowledge of the environment; sponsored museum exhibits and nature-related programs; and traveled throughout the world to explore areas of natural and cultural importance. Going forward, we will expand our science-based, educational, and advocacy work to further promote conservation of the environment and of Connecticut’s birds and their habitats.




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