Connecticut Audbon Society
The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center Programs & Events

Estuary Explorations 2019


Join RTPEC Conservation Biologist Jim Arrigoni for the third year of Estuary Explorations. Explore local habitats, discover wildlife and use scientific field gear to collect data! Estuary explorations is a monthly program offered April through November and focuses on the lower Connecticut River environment. Each session will conclude with a brown bag lunch and ecological discussion highlighting the plant and animal life encountered. Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen, bug spray and binoculars! Suitable for ages 16 and up.  For more information on the locations click here.

$15 for college students, $30 for members, $40 for non-members


Saturday, July 20, 9 a.m. – Noon
Whalebone Cove, Hadlyme

Explore the maze of channels in Whalebone Cove by canoe or kayak on a three hour guided tour. This tidal, freshwater marsh is home to foraging ospreys, egrets, herons and marsh wrens. Each participant must bring their own kayak/canoe and PFD.
Register here

Friday, August 23, 9 a.m. – Noon
Hamburg Cove, Lyme

The abundant fish and aquatic wildlife will be the highlight of this paddle down Hamburg Cove, but the thickly forested shorelines also hold points of interest such as basking reptiles and perching birds. Each participant must bring their own kayak/canoe and PFD
Register here

Friday, September 13, 9 a.m. – Noon
Chatfield Hollow, Killingworth

Explore the wide and winding boardwalk that runs through an extensive shrub swamp and makes for a unique walk in the park, with opportunities to glimpse a Northern Waterthrush or Swamp Sparrow.

Northern Waterthrush

Register here

Saturday, October 12, 9 a.m. – Noon
Oswegatchie Hills Preserve, East Lyme

Fall foliage will be on display at this coastal forest that spans rocky ridge tops with stunted Pitch Pines and Bear Oaks to deep, rich soils hosting tall specimens of many species of Oaks, Hickories, Maples and Birch.
Register here

Saturday, November 2, 9 a.m. – Noon
Mt. Pisgah, Durham

Journey up the river to the south easterly-most headwaters of the Connecticut River to the Pitch Pine and Bear Oak-clad summit of Mt. Pisgah. Various species of hawks, vultures and Common Ravens are easy to spot from this high vantage.
Register here

Coastal Creatures

Saturday, July 20 9-11am
RTP Estuary Center, Old Lyme
Get up close and personal with crabs, fish and more. Open to all ages! See and touch live animals from Long Island Sound and estuary at the RTP Estuary Center. $25 member; $30 non-members ;$15 children ages 2-15

July 20 – Register here

Guided Paddles

Tuesdays, 6 p.m.
July – September

Join us as we explore some of southeastern Connecticut’s most scenic waterways by boat! Enjoy birds, wildlife and sunsets on the water. Each participant must bring their own kayak/canoe and PFD. Sunscreen, bug spray and binoculars are encouraged. Open to ages 16 and up. For all dates and locations, click here

$20 for members, $30 for non-members

July 23 – Lieutenant River, Old Lyme
Register here

August 6 – Pilgrims Landing, Old Lyme
Register here

August 20 – Messerschmidt Pond, Westbrook
Register here

Science of Seining

Wednesday, July 24 6:30 -8:00pm
Old Lyme

Join us at one of our local beaches to learn about beach seining! Use a seine net to collect crabs, silversides, shrimp and more! Practice using a seine net and learn how to identify fish and other marine animals living in Long Island Sound. Be prepared to get your feet wet!  Suitable for ages 8 and up

$25 members, $30 non-members, $15 children ages 8-15 

July 24 – Register here

August 13 – Register here

Pollinator Walk

Saturday, July 27, 9 – 11 a.m.
Jewett Preserve, Lyme

Learn all about the bugs, bees, birds, and more that are crucial pollinators for so many plant species around Connecticut. We’ll hike around the Jewett Preserve, and explore the open fields and meadows that provide important habitat for Connecticut’s pollinators.

$10 for members, $15 for non-members, register here




A Modern Ecological Detective Story: West Nile Virus in Connecticut

Wednesday, July 31, 7 – 8 p.m.
RTP Estuary Center, Old Lyme

*Date change from July 24

Since West Nile Virus was detected for the first time in Connecticut in 1999, it has spread across the United States. Learn about recent research on the fascinating ecology of this pathogen, with a focus on how it is transmitted among various species of mosquitoes and birds, and sometimes humans. You’ll learn how best to protect yourself when risk levels are elevated, usually in late summer. Notably, the observations of citizen science birdwatchers have been especially critical to understanding the public health threats and ecological implications posed by West Nile Virus.

$25/person, register here


Forest Stewardship

Croft Preserve forest

Training Session – Thursday, August 1, 6:30 – 8 p.m. 
RTP Estuary Center, Old Lyme

Long-term monitoring of Connecticut’s forests is crucial to protecting them and learning how different management techniques and disturbances affect them and the species that live there. Learn how to be a steward of our forests, and the forests in your own backyard in our informational session, and then help take data on a forest in Old Lyme. This is a great workshop for landowners who are interested in learning more about their own properties.

This program is free, please register here

Creek Critters Citizen Science Program!

Saturday, August 3, 9 – 11 a.m.
Clark Community Park, Old Saybrook

Make a splash! Learn how to collect and identify stream invertebrates with our teacher-naturalists and use your findings to determine stream and water health. Share your findings on the Creek Critter phone app, where they are added to a map of water body pollution levels. Learn how you and your family can contribute to conservation research, while having hands-on outdoor fun and meet like-minded citizen scientists! Dress to get wet and wear water-tolerant footwear. Appropriate for ages 6 and up. This program is being underwritten by a private family foundation. Please register today to receive this discounted cost!

$10 for members, $15 for non-members, Children 10 and under free, register here


Sunday Family Hikes

Sunday, August 4 9-10am
Watch Rock Preserve, Old Lyme

Sunday, August 18, 9-10am
Jewett Preserve, Lyme

Get the whole family outside and connecting with nature with the RTP Estuary Center’s Sunday Family Hikes. We will visit local land trusts and preserves as we discover and explore the natural world. All ages welcome! Free program.

Sunday, August 4 – Register here

Sunday, August 18 – Register here


Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Showcase

Wednesday, August 7, 6:30 – 8:00pm
RTP Estuary Center, Old Lyme

RTP Estuary Center college interns will share their findings of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAVs). Come learn about its importance, our impact, and how to identify marine plants. This program is free, however, we do ask that you pre-register. 

Register here



Shoreline Strolls

Grey Seal BeachThursday, August 8, 8 – 10 a.m.
Harkness State Park, Waterford

Thursday, August 22, 8 – 10 a.m.
McCook Point Park, Niantic

Join us for a morning stroll! Connecticut shorelines are home to a wide variety of plants and animals, so there’s something new to see every day! Sunscreen, bug spray and binoculars are encouraged. Open to all ages.

$10 members, $15 non-members

August 8 – Harkness State Park, Register here

August 22 – McCook Point Park, Register here


Birding Basics

Great Egret

Saturday, August 10, 9 – 11 a.m.
Barn Island WMA, Stonington

Barn Island Wildlife Management Area is Connecticut’s largest and most ecologically significant coastal wildlife management areas. The diverse habitats provide an important stopping point for migrating songbirds, shorebirds, and waterfowl, and the trails provide excellent viewing for wildlife.

$5 for members, $10 for non-members, register here


Budding Naturalists

Saturday, August 17, 9-10am – Theme: Beachcombers
Wednesday, August 21, 9-10am – Theme: Wonderful Wetlands

RTP Estuary Center

Start their love of nature early! Join us for this parent/caregiver and child nature class designed for children who are 3 to 5 years old. Activities will encourage discovery, explorations, and expression through stories, hands-on activities, and art.

Register for a single program or for both!

Single program – $15 members; $20 non-members or  register for both programs -$20 members, $30 non-members

Saturday, August 17 – Register here

Wednesday, August 21 – Register here

Both Programs – Register here



Aquaculture Research at the CT NOAA Fisheries Lab: An Overview with Mark Dixon

Thursday, August 22; 6:30-8:00pm
RTP Estuary Center
, Old Lyme

Aquaculture is the fastest growing sector in the global food market. Currently more than half of all the seafood consumed worldwide has an aquaculture origin and shellfish are an important component of this food production revolution. Join us at the RTP Estuary Center as Mark Dixon, NOAA Biological Science Technician, presents a brief historical perspective of the ground-breaking shellfish aquaculture research conducted at the Milford lab, discusses the growth of aquaculture worldwide, and provides some thoughts on the current status of aquaculture in the northeast. Mark will also summarize several recent projects aimed at understanding how an expanding aquaculture industry interacts with the environment and coastal communities. Questions and discussion will be encouraged!

Free program, register here


Birding By Boat

Photo by Bob MacDonnell

Saturday, August 24, 8 – 10 a.m.
Great Island, Old Lyme

One of the best ways to see wildlife, especially birds, is by kayak or canoe. Explore Great Island by boat and watch ospreys and eagles fish along the mouth of the Connecticut River. Get close to foraging shorebirds and waterfowl and look for songbirds among the reeds. Please provide your own canoe or kayak, PFD’s are required.

$20 for members, $30 for non-members, register here


Nest Making & Wooden Egg Painting

Sunday, August 25, 9 – 11 a.m.
RTP Estuary Center, Old Lyme

Build your own nest and paint your own egg. Join teacher – naturalist Morgan Allen in the creation of your own natural looking nest and hand painted eggs. This hands on activity is great for kids and adults alike! Suitable for ages 7 and up.

$25 for members, $35 for non-members, $15 for children ages 7 – 15, register here





Follow Us Facebook Twitter