Community Programs

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The Amazing World of Spiders
Sep
25
7:00 PM19:00

The Amazing World of Spiders

A spider’s web covered with dew, glistening in the morning sun is one of the most beautiful and amazing structures in the natural world. Many of us have learned about spiders by reading “Charlotte’s Web” as children or parents. However, these familiar images of spiders are just the beginning of an amazing array of spider shapes, sizes, colors, capabilities and lifestyles which can be found in our own neighborhoods and around the world. Spider webs six feet across, spider silk stronger than steel, spiders that spit silk onto their prey and spiders that can hunt small fish are just a few of the amazing stories to be shared.

A long-time admirer of spiders, Ted Gilman is senior naturalist and environmental education specialist at the Audubon Center in Greenwich, CT. He has served as an instructor in Audubon Workshops in Connecticut, Maine, Kenya, and Trinidad & Tobago. A graduate of Earlham College, he also did graduate work in environmental education and natural resources at Cornell University.

Mr. Gilman’s program on spiders will combine a PowerPoint presentation, illustrations, living specimens, “spider ghosts” and reference materials to help us to a better appreciation of these very special engineers and hunters.

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A Bird in the Hand
Oct
10
6:30 PM18:30

A Bird in the Hand

The Audubon Center at the Bent of the River (BOTR) conducts bird banding on the sanctuary grounds in order to make informed management decisions regarding the center's shrubland habitat. During this evening's presentation, Master Bander Corrie Folsom-O'Keefe will talk about the steps involved in banding songbirds (identification, aging, and sexing) and what we have learned from the banding effort at the BOTR. This volunteer dependent banding station operates from May - June and September. - October and has been in operation since 2013.

Corrie Folsom-O'Keefe is the Bird Conservation Programs Manager for Audubon Connecticut, the state office of the National Audubon Society. In this position she leads the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds and also manages Stratford Point. Corrie also oversees the bird banding station at the Bent of the River. She began banding in 2002 and has participated in banding efforts on the Farallon Islands in CA, at the Las Cuervas Research Station in Belize, with the North Atlantic Bird Observatory in Nova Scotia, and at the CT Audubon Society Coastal Center at Milford Point.

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Connecticut's Owls
Oct
23
7:00 PM19:00

Connecticut's Owls

Come join Fran Zygmont as he provides a program about owls in our region including some personal, entertaining stories about searching for owls. He’ll cover the owls one would expect to see in Connecticut’s habitats along with some tips to optimize the chances of having one vocally respond, or if lucky enough, actually see one. Fran will also cover the do’s and don’ts of looking for owls to both protect their existence while giving you a chance to enjoy them in the wild.

Fran is past President of the Audubon Council of Connecticut and Litchfield Hills Audubon Society. Currently he is on the Board of Directors for Aton Forest, Inc. of Colebrook.  Aton Forest owns and protects over 1400 acres and preserves the land for ecological research started by the late Dr. Frank Egler. Fran has led many bird walks and trips over the past 25 years and continues with a focus on education and sharing the enjoyment of birds based on his extensive knowledge of birds in Connecticut with focus on bird migration, owls, and bird song. A superb bird call imitator, Fran can imitate songs and calls of more than 40 common and uncommon birds in our region. Fran has participated in many bird censuses and competitions including the New Jersey World Series of Birding and currently holds the Connecticut State Big Day birding record (with a team of five known as the “Raven Lunatics”) with 193 species in a 24-hour period. 


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Birds, Birders, and Bird Photographers: The Lines Have Blurred
Dec
18
7:00 PM19:00

Birds, Birders, and Bird Photographers: The Lines Have Blurred

See how photographing birds has changed over the years, from film based photography, to digital and now even iPhones! In today’s digital world it’s become a lot easier, with more and more birders photographing birds as well as watching them. Jim will show lots of photographs of birds we all love so much, recorded in U.S. locations ranging from here at home to Alaska, as well as hotspot birding destinations like Mexico and Costa Rica. There will be tips and suggestions along the way to help you take better images or simply help you enjoy watching our feathered friends.

Jim has been photographing birds for more than 40 years. His first published photograph was of a Saw-Whet Owl in The National Audubon Society's Encyclopedia of North American Birds in 1980. Since then Jim's photographs are published hundreds of times every year. His work has appeared in numerous magazines including National Geographic, Time, Audubon, Birdwatching, Wildbird, Discovery, Nature Conservancy and ABA’s Birding, as well as in calendars, field guides and books including The Birds of New England by Jim Roetzel and Jim Zipp published in 2008. Jim  travels throughout North America from Alaska to Florida as well as Canada, Mexico and Central America in search of new images with Alaska being a favorite that draws him back again and again.

For 25 years he, his wife Carol and son Ryan have also owned and operated The Fat Robin Wild Bird Shop in Hamden.


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Conserving Coastal Wildlife
Jan
22
7:00 PM19:00

Conserving Coastal Wildlife

Join us to learn about the wonderful wildlife that inhabits Connecticut’s coast at Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge.  Wildlife biologist, Kris Vagos, will talk about some of the plants and animals that call the refuge home.  What does it take to provide them with the habitat that they need to live and thrive?  How do we protect them from threats?  What types of studies are going on to help the refuge manage this habitat into the future?  Find out how you can help in this effort to conserve Connecticut’s coastal wildlife.

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Return of the Peregrine
Feb
26
7:00 PM19:00

Return of the Peregrine

Prior to World War II, the Peregrine Falcon was a rare breeder in Connecticut and was uncommon to rare throughout the year.  By the mid-1960s as a direct result of the widespread agricultural use of the organochlorine biocide DDT, peregrines were extirpated as breeding birds east of the Rocky Mountains.  Three events since then have led to the reestablishment of this species throughout the eastern United States:  the banning of the sale of DDT in the U. S. in 1972; the listing of the Peregrine Falcon on the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973; the reintroduction of captive peregrines to the East in the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.  The highly successful recovery program has resulted in the removal of the peregrine from the U.S. ESA in 1999, and the species now is considered threatened on Connecticut’s list of endangered species.

Steve discusses the five known nest sites of peregrines in Connecticut during the period 1850-1948.  He then summarizes his ongoing studies of the peregrines that have been nesting at West Rock Ridge State Park in Woodbridge since his discovery of a pair of falcons there in 1999.  Peregrine life history strategies are the focus of these studies:  territoriality, behavior, vocalizations, foraging, mating, nest site selection and preparation, egg-laying, care of nestlings, nest success, and the changing local population of adults.  In the 2000 breeding season, the West Rock peregrines produced the first egg to be laid on a Connecticut cliff in 60 years. 

Steve Broker worked in science education in Connecticut for 45 years.  He taught high school physical and life sciences in the New Haven Public Schools for 23 years.  His university teaching as adjunct lecturer has included courses in ecology and forest & wetland ecology (University of New Haven, Master of Environmental Studies Program), biology (Quinnipiac University, Department of Biological Sciences), and teaching of science (Yale Teacher Preparation Program). 

Between two periods as a high school teacher, he served for five years as Associate Director of Wesleyan’s Graduate Liberal Studies Program and for three years as Director of Programs at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.  He is a graduate of Wesleyan University (B.A., 1969, M.A.T., 1972) and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (M.F.S., 1983). 

Steve is a past-president of the New Haven Bird Club. He served as secretary of the Connecticut Ornithological Association for 10 years, vice-president for two years, and was COA president during 2017-2019. He has been the statewide compiler of the Connecticut Christmas Bird Count for 33 years and writes the yearly review article on the CBC for publication in the state journal of ornithology, The Connecticut Warbler. He has participated in the New Haven Christmas Bird Count each year since 1984, the New Haven Summer Bird Count since 1991, and most years of the Salmon River Christmas Bird Count since the mid-1980s.

His field studies focus on breeding Peregrine Falcons and Common Ravens at West Rock (Woodbridge), marsh birds on Outer Cape Cod, and participation in recent and past breeding bird atlases in Massachusetts and Connecticut. He currently is regional coordinator for Greater New Haven for the Connecticut Bird Atlas (2017-2021). Steve resides in Cheshire, CT and Wellfleet, MA with his wife, Linda Broker.

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How to Coexist with Bears in our Midst: The Facts, the Myths, the Reality
Jun
26
7:00 PM19:00

How to Coexist with Bears in our Midst: The Facts, the Myths, the Reality

Join Ginny Apple, a Master Wildlife Conservationist with the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) as she talks about black bears, focusing on the natural history of black bears in Connecticut, an overview of black bear habitat, diet, behavior, reproduction and current research efforts. She also provides practical recommendations for optimum coexistence with our black bear population and her personal observations on CT Black Bears.

Ginny moved from Texas to the middle of the woods in Barkhamsted, CT 14 years ago which brought her into an environment filled with bears and other wildlife. Living in a house surrounded by Peoples State Forest, she observes a large population of Black Bears and supplies field notes and photographs on them to DEEP bear biologists. Her affinity for this magnificent creature led her out west to participate in a Grizzly research mission in Montana and to become a Master Wildlife Conservationist with the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

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Climate Change, SLAMM II, and Resiliency Planning
May
22
7:00 PM19:00

Climate Change, SLAMM II, and Resiliency Planning

Long Island Sound’s saltmarshes provide critically important habitat for a variety of water-birds, yet are among the most vulnerable habitats to climate change. Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM) is a mathematical model uses digital elevation data and other information to simulate potential impacts of long-term sea level rise on wetlands and shorelines. SLAMM II adds additional factors including restrictions to march migration like culverts. David Kozak of the DEEP Office of Long Island Sound Programs will discuss how SLAMM II can be used to  predict concerns like road and wastewater plant flooding so that resiliency plans can be made.

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Amphibians of Connecticut
Apr
24
7:00 PM19:00

Amphibians of Connecticut

Every frog and salamander is cool in it’s own way. Join Ranger Russ Miller from the Meigs Point Nature Center and learn all about Connecticut’s native amphibian species in this fun program and then vote for the one that you think is the coolest one of all.

Ranger Russ has worked for the CT DEEP as an environmental educator with the department since 1985, beginning at the Rocky Neck Nature Center and working there until 2001 when he took over as the director of the Meigs Point Nature Center. That center became a year round facility in 2005.

Throughout his time with the DEEP he has been bringing high-quality environmental education programs to millions of school children and park visitors at the Nature Center and at schools, fairs, and various special events.

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Ecological Landscaping
Mar
27
7:00 PM19:00

Ecological Landscaping

Are you interested in cultivating a garden that is in harmony with nature?

This presentation by Maggie Redfern, Interim Director of the Connecticut College Arboretum, will introduce environmentally sound practices including planting native plants, removing exotic invasive plants, letting naturalized plants grow, minimizing water consumption, reducing fossil fuel use, and not using chemicals.

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