Connecticut Audbon Society
The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

News & Information at the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

Who We Are

The Connecticut Audubon Society’s Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center is dedicated to the conservation and preservation of the Connecticut River Estuary ecosystem and watershed, through science-based research, education, and advocacy.

 The Connecticut River Estuary, where the Connecticut River meets Long Island Sound, is a showcase for biodiversity, serving as a fisheries nursery and an important nesting and migratory stopover for numerous birds.

The RTPEC, named for internationally and locally renowned artist, scientific illustrator, environmental educator, and conservation advocate Roger Tory Peterson, is seeking to acquire land and a building to create an environmental education center.

The center is dedicated to facilitating scientific research, establish high-quality environmental education for children, teens, and adults, and promote outreach and advocacy to preserve, protect, and conserve the estuary and its beauty for generations.

 Click here to read about our Education Team.


Volunteer Opportunities

Are you looking for a way to get more involved with the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center? We are looking for volunteers!

Education: These volunteers would help to facilitate family and adult programs with our center. You could be involved in hikes, bird walks or crafting activities. These volunteers would benefit from a naturalist background.

Administration: We are looking for volunteers to greet people at our center. These greeters should be comfortable answering the phone and questions about our center. We also need help with tasks like correspondence and book-keeping. 

Get involved today by filling out our volunteer application form. We look forward to working with you!

A Word to Our Sponsors

Thank you from the entire RTPEC team!

As the recent pandemic has moved across our state and region, our first thoughts have been of family, friends and our supporters.  We realize that no one has been unaffected by the health and economic hardship that has been inflicted on our communities.

You have stood by the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center and we want you to know how your support has affected our programs in this difficult and uncertain period of time.   For many, this has been difficult on many levels as the disease has known no boundaries and has affected everyone in some way or another.

Even as we have sheltered in place, many have found solace and comfort in the natural rhythms of nature and have discovered the renewal of the natural world as a healing balm, a distraction from concern, and an alternative to the four walls of home and home schooling.  Our parks, trails, and land trust properties have never been so appreciated. 

With our schools closed indefinitely, RTPEC teachers turned to the internet to continue instruction and we provided webinars on everything from backyard birding to pollinator gardens to our living shoreline.   We have reached beyond our region, across the state, and to residents even in other states with instructive material on how to live, understand and cherish the outdoor world. 

I am pleased to tell you that because of your support, we were able to be nimble and adapt quickly to the challenge of long distance and virtual learning for people of all ages.   Webinars, offered by our center, are interactive and have as many as 100 participants who are able to ask questions.   These now form the basis of a library of education programs that can be made available to schools, libraries, and community organizations. 

These last few weeks have been difficult for many of our friends and sponsors of the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center.  We want you to know that we have not forgotten you and, just as you, have been there to assist us, we here for you.  Over the days to come, we will be featuring our sponsors on our website in order to remind our followers of those in their community who have been supportive of our environmental education and community programs.  We realize this is a small gesture but, as the state prepares to once again resume economic activity, we hope this thank you to our friends will help in your recovery.

Again, we are grateful for your help when we needed it.

Alisha Milardo
Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

For more information about our sponsors, click here



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

May 6, 2020 — 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 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.


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.

Press Release – The Kitchings Family Foundation Funds Science Education and Outreach Throughout Southeastern Connecticut

June 2, 2019 – The Kitchings Family Foundation has awarded The Connecticut Audubon Society’s Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center with two grants, totaling $30,000, to support educational activities throughout southeastern Connecticut. The funding will support educational programs for students in Essex area schools and educational activities outside of school programming, including the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center’s Connecticut River Lecture Series, Estuary Explorations program, and Citizen Science program.

Connecticut Audubon’s award-winning Science in Nature Education Program for students is a curriculum-linked, field-based program aimed at improving science literacy by exposing students to science and conservation concepts not easily taught in the classroom. Students study a series of science topics in their school classrooms, and then investigate these concepts in the out of doors using a variety of science tools and technologies, and under the guidance of trained teacher-naturalists. The Essex area schools program will focus more inclusively on the dominant and unique environmental influence of southeastern Connecticut with its coastal, estuary, and watershed ecosystems

The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center will host its twice-annual Connecticut River Lecture Series, presenting a number of prominent regional authors, artists, and scientists, who connect residents to a wide range of topics aimed at the unique estuarine marine environment and communities. Recent speakers have included Connecticut State Ornithologist, Margaret Rubega, Harvard University Forest Senior Ecologist, Neil Pederson and Temple Professor Emeritus of Botany at Connecticut College, Scott Warren. 

Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center’s Estuary Explorations is a field-based program, connecting participants directly with the estuary, upland watersheds, and coastal shoreline. Programs are conducted both on foot and by kayak. The program is led by conservation biologist Jim Arrigoni, with additional field leaders for special study, such as during peak migrations, amphibian breeding, and aquatic plant flowering.

Citizen Science, the use of trained volunteers to conduct scientific studies, allows Connecticut Audubon to contribute to research being conducted in southeastern Connecticut. The Kitchings Family Foundation will support recruitment activities, training, and coordination of volunteers who will engage in activities such as nest monitoring, horseshoe crab tagging, and ecological surveys.

“The Kitchings Family Foundation has become a true partner in conservation throughout southeastern Connecticut,” said Alisha Milardo, director of the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center. “Through their generous funding, we see students of all ages, from the very young through adulthood, have the opportunities to engage with their unique estuarine environment and culture.”

The Connecticut Audubon Society’s mission is to conserve Connecticut’s environment through science-based education and advocacy focused on the state’s bird populations and their habitats.

The Kitchings Family Foundation was established to support charitable organizations that benefit the public welfare. For more information, visit




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