Connecticut Audbon Society
The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center Programs & Events

We are currently offering small group in-person programming following all current COVID-19 safety procedures. See below for details. Our building will remain closed.


Shorebird Migration Webinar

Due to the storm, this program has been canceled

As summer is hitting its peak in Connecticut, so too are our shorebird species. Some of our earliest migrants, many species are making their way south from breeding grounds further north, making it one of the best times of the year to see numerous shorebirds along our coast!  In this webinar, teacher-naturalist Joe Attwater will tell you what you need to know to make the most of this incredible time of year.

Joe will discuss:

  • Shorebird migration patterns
  • Which species you can expect to see
  • ID tips
  • Threats to migrating shorebirds and how you can help

We’re offering the program for free, but we ask that you consider a donation of $10.



Eco-Hour with Conservation Biologist Jim Arrigoni

Connecticut Wetland Ecology
Thursday, August 13, 4 p.m.Wetland

Once upon a time, wetlands were considered waste places and barriers to civilization, but times have changed. Now they are protected for the important ecological services they provide, such as habitat for biological diversity. In this webinar, Jim will survey the rich variety of wetland types found throughout our state and the wildlife species they support.

Register here for Zoom link

We’re offering the program for free, but we ask that you consider a donation of $10

Fledgling Bird Walk

Saturday, August 8, 8-10 a.m.
Burnam Brook Preserve, East Haddam

At almost 1,000 acres, Burnham Brook Preserve’s forest habitat is an important breeding ground for numerous bird species. Located within the Lyme Forest Block, this important bird area provides critical habitat for such declining species as Wood Thrush and Cerulean Warbler. We’ll search for recently fledged birds among the trees and along Burnham Brook in one of the areas best-kept secrets. 10 person maximum.  $20 members; $30 non-members

Register here

Masks are required and social distancing guidelines will be followed.


Shorebird Guided Walks

Summer birding in Connecticut means heading to our coastal beaches and marshes to search for shorebirds! Join teacher naturalist Joe Attwater as we explore some of the states best coastal habitats. We’ll provide a spotting scope and we encourage participants to bring their own binoculars.  All walks are two hours in length. 10 person maximum.  $20 members; $30 non-members

Register for dates below:

Tuesday, August 11, 5-7 p.m. Harkness Memorial State Park, Waterford – Register here
Saturday, August 15, 5-7 p.m. Jared Eliot Preserve, Guilford – Register here
Wednesday, August 19, 5-7 p.m. John Lohmann Preserve, Old Lyme – Register here
Wednesday, August 26, 5-7 p.m. Barn Island WMA, Stonington – Register here
Saturday, August 29 8-10 a.m. Salt Meadow Park, Madison – Register here

Masks are required and social distancing guidelines will be followed



Guided Paddles

Join us as we explore some of southeastern Connecticut’s most scenic waterways by boat! Enjoy birds, wildlife, and fun on the water! Each participant must bring their own kayak/canoe and PFD. Sunscreen, bug spray, and binoculars are encouraged. Please arrive 15 minutes before the program start time. 10 person maximum.  $20 members; $30 non-members

Register below for dates:

Tour of Great Island

Sunday, August 16, 8:30-10:30 a.m. – Register here

Exploration of the Lieutenant River 

Tuesday, August 25, 3:30-5:30 p.m. – Register here

Masks are required and social distancing guidelines will be followed.

Beyond Birding: Topics & Tools for All Birders


Program meets monthly 
9:00-11:30 a.m.

Birding is quickly becoming one of America’s most popular outdoor activities, with over 45 million people a year watching our feathered friends. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or new to birding, Beyond Birding will teach you what you need to know to go birding with confidence!  Explore new locations, learn tips and tricks to make the most of your birding year, and discover the extensive birdlife that Connecticut has to offer. Each month we will focus on a specific topic and its connection to birds, including migration and nesting, habitat loss and fragmentation, and more. We will also share valuable resources and discuss current happenings in the world of birding! 10 person maximum

$15 for members, $20 for non-members 

Habitat Diversity
Saturday, August 15, 9- 11:30
Avery Farm Preserve, Groton

Birds require specific habitats, which is why you won’t usually find a Great Blue Heron in the middle of the woods, or a Pileated Woodpecker on the beach. The more habitats you can visit, the greater the diversity of birds you’ll see. Avery Farm Preserve packs a surprising number of habitats into its 430 acres, from cedar swamps to early successional forests, making for an impressive array of bird species. We’ll search for these birds and more along the easy trails that wind their ways through these incredible habitats.

Register here

Masks are required and social distancing guidelines will be followed

Ecological Expeditions

Ever wonder how does nature work? Do you enjoy exploring wild places? Discover new locations and get to know your non-human neighbors that share our corner of the world. This unique program combines in-depth environmental science with insightful explorations and hands-on experiences in some of the most special and protected areas in southeastern Connecticut. Each month will emphasize different themes depending on seasonal rhythms (although we can always count on nature adding surprises!). In addition to using scientific equipment and collecting ecological data, plant and wildlife species will be identified and their behavior and ecological roles will be investigated. The role of humans in the landscape, past and present, will also be considered especially in the context of current conservation and environmental quality issues. All programs are led by Connecticut Audubon Society conservation biologist Jim Arrigoni with special guest expert.

Forest Ecosystem Hike
Saturday, August 22; 9-11:30 a.m.
Canfield-Meadow Woods, Essex
Optional virtual presentation via Zoom on
Wednesday, August 19; 7-8 p.m 

We all know what it means to be a healthy person, but how can you tell if you are in a healthy forest? A forester, an ecologist, and a hiker will likely give different answers based on their perspectives. This is an important question for landowners to consider because it will guide choices in how they make management decisions. We’ll consider how factors like land-use history and insect pest outbreaks shape the forests around us and use a variety of tools with which scientists measure different attributes of the forest in the same way your doctor collects different kinds of information about you during a physical. The terrain is gentle-to-moderate. 10 person maximum for field session.

Masks are required and social distancing guidelines will be followed.

To register for the field session click here

Before heading out into the field, an optional one-hour presentation and discussion will introduce topics and relevant literature. Indoor presentation will take place via Zoom the Wednesday before the field session at 7pm. After the 2.5-hour field program, participants will receive lists of species encountered (including an eBird checklist) and additional information resources. 

To register for the Zoom webinar, click here

Coming up!

River Health Investigation
Saturday, September 5; 9-11:30 a.m.

Banningwood Preserve, Lyme
Optional indoor presentation on Wednesday, September 2; 7-8 p.m at RTP Estuary Center

America’s rivers have greatly improved since the Clean Water Act was passed “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters.” Using Roaring Brook and its intact floodplain as an example, we’ll use a variety of instruments to give meaning to this much investigated and debated definition of integrity. We’ll discover how the rich and abundant diversity of invertebrates living on and within the stream bottom can provide exacting information about water and habitat quality, and why a beaver dam is good but a mill dam is not. You will never look at a stream in the same way again! Terrain is gentle.


Low Tide Exploration
Saturday, October 10; 9-11:30 a.m.
Griswold Point, Old Lyme
Optional indoor presentation on Wednesday, October 7; 7-8 p.m at RTP Estuary Center

This spit of land in the utmost corner of Old Lyme is accessible by foot during low tide, the same time that the shorebirds congregate to feed in the mudflats. On warm October days, countless Monarch Butterflies can be spotted taking in one last sip of nectar from the brilliant yellow Seaside Goldenrod blooms before venturing across Long Island Sound on their southern migration to Mexico. In addition to exploring the dynamic coastline and its hardy plants, we’ll seine for fish in the salt water. Terrain is gentle; recommended footwear is sandals or another choice that you don’t mind getting wet.


Autumn Forest Ecology
Saturday, November 14; 9-11:30 a.m.
Oswegatchie Hills, Niantic
Optional indoor presentation on Wednesday, November 11; 7-8 p.m at RTP Estuary Center

Our last outing of the year will explore the undulating hills and boggy hollows of this 457-acre preserve. Many of the hilltops are dominated by dwarf Pitch Pines (also known as Candlewood) and scrub Bear Oaks, a declining ecosystem in the state. The trees will have lost their leaves, but abundant cover remains in the form of thick undergrowth of Mountain Laurel throughout the forest. We’ll explore the ways animals prepare for the winter season ahead, and discuss ways that people might responsibly assist them. Terrain is moderate.



The RTPEC frequently uses open space and land trust properties that are open to the public without fee.  The land trusts permit our use of these properties and receives no part of any fee collected by the RTPEC




Follow Us Facebook Twitter Instagram