Connecticut Audbon Society

The History of the Connecticut Audubon Society

The Connecticut Audubon Society was founded in 1898 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 created its first nature preserve 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. 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. Milford Point was designated an Audubon Important Bird Area in 2002.
  • In 2000, we opened the Center at Pomfret, adjacent to the 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.





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