Connecticut Audbon Society
The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center Programs & Events

Spring Vacation Days

Wednesday, April 17 & Thursday April 18
8:30 am-3:30 pm
Lyme Youth Services Bureau
59 Lyme St, Old Lyme

Join us as we welcome back the animals and plants that have been hiding all winter! Both outdoors and indoors, a variety of fun, nature-based offerings are planned for each day. Captivating explorations, investigations, games, and creative activities are in store! Ages 6 – 11. 

Each child should bring a water bottle and a nut free snack and lunch. 

$100/day, Pre-registration is required

Click here to register for April 17

Click here to register for April 18


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! For more information on the locations click here.

*The Thursday, June 20 program will be 6-9 pm*

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

Saturday April 6, 9 a.m. – Noon
The Preserve, Old Saybrook, CT
Register here

Saturday, May 4, 9 a.m. – Noon
Banningwood Preserve, Lyme

Thursday, June 20, 6 – 9 p.m.
Selden Creek, Lyme

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


Connecticut River Lecture Series

The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center is proud to present the Spring 2019 Connecticut River Lecture Series. This annual series of lectures showcases experts in the environmental, scientific, and cultural issues of interest and relevance to residents of southeastern CT. The spring 2019 series, sponsored by The Kitchings Family Foundation, will focus on key conservation issues of our salt marshes, a historical perspective on how climate events have affected our forests and familiar birds inhabiting our ecosystem. Lectures are free but seating is limited. 
We hope you join us!  


Thursday, May 9th, 5:00 pm
Neil Pederson: Centuries of Climate History as told by our Trees
Old Lyme Town Hall

Neil Pederson, a Senior Ecologist at the Harvard University Forest, might be called a “Tree Whisperer,” not because of what he tells trees, but for what they reveal to him. Through his work as a forester, professor, and researcher, he has studied the ecology of  forests throughout much of the world, including those in the Connecticut River Valley. A reading of tree rings and their architecture allows him to harvest their ingrained history of varying climates, severe frosts, and the impact of extreme environmental events. He will show our audience how to interpret old trees through the use of tree rings (including those ancient timbers from historical structures in the Connecticut River valley), and he will offer observations regarding the climate history of the eastern United States.
Register for lecture here.


Wednesday, May 15th, 5:00 pm
Scott Warren: Tidelands of the CT River – An Ecological Treasure of Global Importance
Hamilton Hall, Essex Meadows

The Connecticut River estuary and tidelands were declared Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) in 1994. Scott Warren, Temple Professor Emeritus of Botany at Connecticut College, conducted research on the ecology of New England tidelands for nearly four decades.Professor Warren’s illustrated presentation will look at the historical developments of Connecticut River tidal wetlands and the dominant biological communities encountered as one moves from the salt marshes at the mouth of the estuary to the freshwater tidelands miles upriver. He will explain the importance of wetlands and the multitude of ecological functions they perform. 
Register for lecture here.

Our partners for this lecture are the Connecticut College Arboretum and Essex Meadows.


Wednesday, May 29th, 5:00 pm
Margaret Rubega:  The Habits and Work of Two Species: Hummingbirds and Chimney Swifts
First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, Fellowship H

Connecticut State Ornithologist Margaret Rubega studied a variety of species during her career as Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut. In this lecture, Professor Rubega will discuss the working habits of two regional species. The delicate, but fierce, Hummingbird is a delight to behold and is a favorite visitor in every garden, typically beating its wings up to 80 times per second, creating that familiar humming sound. The chimney swift, also a small bird, is much overlooked despite its familiar silhouette. It has unique characteristics, such as never sitting on a perch but clinging to a chimney wall or other vertical surfaces and, like the tree swallow, feeding, quite literally, on the fly. 

Register for lecture here.



Spring Nature Walk

Sunday, April 7, 10 a.m.
Jewett Preserve, Lyme 

Start spring off right with a guided nature walk led by one of our Teacher Naturalists. Pass vernal pools, hike through wildflower fields, and listen for spring migrants in the woods on this relaxing hike. Appropriate for all ages.

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




Spring Open House

Thursday, April 10, 6 – 8 p.m.
Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center
90 Halls Road Old Lyme, CT

Join us in welcoming spring to the Connecticut River Estuary! Meet our staff and learn about the work going on in education, conservation, and more. Participate in family activities and crafts, judge local photography entries, and try to stump our team in a round of trivia. Enjoy our Roger Tory Peterson library, including pieces from his personal collections. This event is free, but we do ask that you register.

Join us and become a steward of your local environment.

RTPEC is dedicated to conservation and preservation of the Connecticut River Estuary ecosystem and watershed, through science-based research, education and advocacy

Register here


Birding Basics

Female Northern Harrier

Sunday, April 14, 9 -11 a.m.
Rocky Neck State Park, East Lyme

With a wide variety of habitats, including an extensive salt marsh, Rocky Neck State Park is an ideal habitat for a wide variety of bird species. Ospreys and Harriers hunt in the marsh, forest species flit about the extensive wooded trails, and shorebirds forage along the white sand beach. We’ll look for early spring migrants, and welcome back Ospreys to their breeding grounds.

This program is free, register here


Vernal Pool Walk

Saturday, April 27, 2 – 4 p.m.
Connecticut College Arboretum, New London
Joint program with the Connecticut College Arboretum

Occurring seasonally, and with variable water levels, vernal pools are nonetheless important habitats for a variety of species. Many species of amphibians rely on these bodies of water for breeding, and they provide a source of food for birds such as ducks and egrets. They are also among the most endangered habitats on the planet, home to some of Connecticut’s endangered species. Vernal pools dot the Connecticut landscape in late winter and into spring. Join a teacher-naturalist from the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center in Old Lyme, as we listen for frogs and look for egg masses in the Connecticut College Arboretum, home to numerous amphibian species. Appropriate for ages 10 and up.

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


Planting for Pollinators

May 4, 10:30-11:30 A.M.
Henry Carter Hull Library, Clinton

Join us in the Children’s Garden at the Henry Carter Hull Library in Clinton. Learn about and plant items that will attract birds, bees, and butterflies. Participants will also be able to plant something to take home. Rain or shine.Program is free however registration is recommended.

Register on the library’s website.





Nature Prints

Saturday, June 29, 2 – 4 p.m.
Connecticut College Arboretum, Goodwin Natural Area, New London
Joint program with the Connecticut College Arboretum

Join John and Linda Sargent as well as a CAS Teacher- Naturalist for an afternoon of art in the Connecticut College Arboretum. John is an artist and art teacher of many mediums, and Linda is a teacher of young children. For this workshop, John will share easy to use techniques on how to use nature’s materials to make print art that you can take home. Additionally, some of John’s relief prints created from wood grains, plants and floating ink on water (Suminagashi) will be on display to serve as inspiration. Linda will facilitate nature printing activities for younger children.  Our CAS teacher-naturalist  will lead a short nature walk to gather materials. Please wear old clothes or bring a smock. Adults and families welcome, suitable for ages 7 and up. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

$15 for members, $20 for non-members, register here





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