Connecticut Audubon Society
314 Unquowa Road
Fairfield CT 06824
Contact Information
Address 314 Unquowa Road
Fairfield, CT 06824-
Telephone (203) 259-0416 x404
Fax 203-254-7365
E-mail akerin@ctaudubon.org
Web and Social Media
Searching for macroinvertibrates in Old Saybrook
Mission
 The Connecticut Audubon Society conserves Connecticut’s environment through science-based education and advocacy focused on the state’s bird populations and habitats. Founded in 1898, Connecticut Audubon operates nature facilities in Fairfield, Milford, Glastonbury, Pomfret, Hampton, and Sherman, a center in Old Lyme, and an EcoTravel office in Essex. Working exclusively in the state of Connecticut for over 100 years, Connecticut Audubon manages 20 wildlife sanctuaries, preserves 3,300 acres of open space, and educates over 30,000 children and adults annually through our Science in Nature education program, which works with Connecticut schools, and through programming we offer to the public at our centers. We are an independent organization, not affiliated with any national or governmental group.
 
The Connecticut Audubon Society’s scientists, educators, citizen scientists, and volunteers preserve birds and their environments in Connecticut. We advocate for sanctuary management, provide environmental education and activities at our Centers, and publish our annual Connecticut State of the Birds report.
 
Leveraging the captivating appeal of birds, we use our nature centers, education programs, weekend walks and workshops, and advocacy campaigns to connect and engage the state’s children, families, and residents with the natural world around them. Our goal, through experiential learning, is for every child in the state to appreciate the tangible values nature provides to their inherent health, intellectual growth, and our society. Connecticut Audubon serves as a portal to nature and the outdoors, helping to build in this generation and the next, appreciation for the environment and awareness of importance of conservation and sustainability. We advocate for public policies and actions to bring Connecticut to the forefront conservation and sustainability in the nation.
A Great OpportunityHelpThe nonprofit has used this field to provide information about a special campaign, project or event that they are raising funds for now.

Two of the most direct ways the Connecticut Audubon Society works to protect the state’s birds and their habitats is through the Osprey Nation program and the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds. Both need continued support to build on their successes.

Osprey Nation is the Connecticut Audubon Society’s citizen science partnership, launched in the summer of 2014, to monitor the health of the state’s Ospreys. The goal of Osprey Nation is to create a long-term record of data that will give the conservation community a better understanding of the health of Connecticut’s Osprey population. In 2017, 274 volunteer stewards monitored 392 active Osprey nests in Connecticut. As in previous years, Connecticut Audubon staff recorded their data, made it available to state wildlife officials, and shared it on an interactive map on Connecticut Audubon’s website. Because Ospreys are top-of-the-food-chain predators that eat only fish, their overall well-being can be an indication of environmental health and can also serve as an early-warning system for environmental problems. In summer 2017, for example, wildlife officials in Maryland noticed that about half the Osprey nests on the Patuxent River failed to produce young, and an investigation into the causes soon started. Because of the data collected by our Osprey Nation stewards, we were able to quickly determine that Connecticut’s Osprey nests had a much higher success rate – about 88%. Although Osprey Nation relies on committed volunteers to collect data, it also requires skilled staff to assemble, record, interpret, analyze and map that data. Donations to Osprey Nation will help ensure that the success of the project’s first four years continues.

The Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, a partnership of Connecticut Audubon Society, Audubon Connecticut and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, depends on volunteers not only to collect data but to actively protect vulnerable birds that nest only in coastal habitats. These species include federally endangered Roseate Terns, federally threatened Piping Plovers, and state-listed species such as Least Terns, Common Terns, and American Oystercatchers. These birds face threats from predators such as raccoons and foxes, dogs, unaware beach-goers, storms, and unusually high tides. Approximately 200 volunteers monitor nesting areas from Greenwich to Stonington, including Milford Point, Silver Sands State Park in Milford, and Sandy Point in West Haven. Skilled staff trains the volunteers, supervises their work, and helps erect and maintain the fencing and exclosures that lead to greater nesting success. Each of the beach-nesting species has benefitted from the work of the Alliance. In recent years Connecticut’s Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers, in particular, have done well, with significant increases in nesting success and overall population. Donations will help ensure that Connecticut Audubon can maintain the skilled staff needed to continue the Alliance’s success.

 

A Great Opportunity Ending Date Dec 31 2018
At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 1898
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Supported Charity
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years No
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Patrick M. Comins
Board Chair Mr. Peter W Kunkel
Board Chair Company Affiliation Forger and Kunkel
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
Statements
Mission
 The Connecticut Audubon Society conserves Connecticut’s environment through science-based education and advocacy focused on the state’s bird populations and habitats. Founded in 1898, Connecticut Audubon operates nature facilities in Fairfield, Milford, Glastonbury, Pomfret, Hampton, and Sherman, a center in Old Lyme, and an EcoTravel office in Essex. Working exclusively in the state of Connecticut for over 100 years, Connecticut Audubon manages 20 wildlife sanctuaries, preserves 3,300 acres of open space, and educates over 30,000 children and adults annually through our Science in Nature education program, which works with Connecticut schools, and through programming we offer to the public at our centers. We are an independent organization, not affiliated with any national or governmental group.
 
The Connecticut Audubon Society’s scientists, educators, citizen scientists, and volunteers preserve birds and their environments in Connecticut. We advocate for sanctuary management, provide environmental education and activities at our Centers, and publish our annual Connecticut State of the Birds report.
 
Leveraging the captivating appeal of birds, we use our nature centers, education programs, weekend walks and workshops, and advocacy campaigns to connect and engage the state’s children, families, and residents with the natural world around them. Our goal, through experiential learning, is for every child in the state to appreciate the tangible values nature provides to their inherent health, intellectual growth, and our society. Connecticut Audubon serves as a portal to nature and the outdoors, helping to build in this generation and the next, appreciation for the environment and awareness of importance of conservation and sustainability. We advocate for public policies and actions to bring Connecticut to the forefront conservation and sustainability in the nation.
Background
Founded in 1898, the Connecticut Audubon Society operates seven conservation centers throughout the state, as well as 20 wildlife sanctuaries, preserving 3,300 acres of open space. Connecticut Audubon is an independent organization, not affiliated with any national or governmental group. All funds it raises are utilized in Connecticut. Our staff educators and volunteers work to conserve birds and their environments. Their work includes sanctuary management, advocacy, science and environmental education, activities at our centers, scientific studies, collaboration with other state groups, and our Connecticut State of the Birds publication. The establishment of Birdcraft Sanctuary in Fairfield, CT as the first privately funded songbird sanctuary in the United States, helped to lay the foundation for The Connecticut Audubon Society, and the national conservation movement that we know today.
 
Impact
Accomplishments
 
1. Our Osprey Nation monitoring project continues to collect data on the success of Connecticut’s resurgent Osprey population. Now in its fourth year, Osprey Nation’s 274 volunteer nest stewards mapped 675 nests; 392 of those were active, and they produced 618 nestlings in 2017. Each of those numbers has risen each year. Ospreys eat only fish, and data on the birds’ success provides critical information about numerous environmental concerns, including water quality.
 
2. Our Connecticut State of the Birds 2016 report, titled “Gains, Losses, and the Prospect of Extinction,” detailed 10 years of bird data for the state. The report concluded that while a handful of species has done surprisingly well, many Connecticut birds are suffering slow, steady population declines caused by the loss of their specialized nesting areas. The report was mailed to 6,000 Connecticut Audubon members and supporters, and elected and appointed government officials. This annual report attracts wide media attention from newspapers such as the Connecticut Post, New Haven Register and Hartford Courant, and from local TV stations.
 
3. The Connecticut Audubon Society participated, with partners Audubon Connecticut and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, in the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds. The Alliance uses a network of almost 200 volunteers, supervised by full-time and seasonal staff, to monitor and protect vulnerable beach-nesting birds. These include federally endangered Roseate Terns, federally threatened Piping Plovers, and uncommon species such as Least Terns, Common Terns, and American Oystercatchers.
 
4. In 2017, Connecticut Audubon opened the 835-acre Deer Pond Farm, a major new center and preserve in western Connecticut. A bequest from the estate of Kathryn D. Wriston, the property sits in the highlands along the Connecticut-New York border. About 620 of its 835 acres are upland forest; 125 are forested wetlands, and 59 acres are meadow. The land will be conserved and managed to protect its biodiversity. Access to the grounds and trails requires reservations. The public is welcome to sign up for guided walks and tours; private group tours also available. See www.ctaudubon.org for details.
 
5. Connecticut Audubon and its Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center, in Old Lyme had an influential role in persuading the Federal Railroad Administration to abandon a proposal to build a new high speed rail line under the Connecticut River Estuary and the town of Old Lyme. The organization’s critique of the project highlighted the environmental review’s failure to analyze the rail line’s effect on four rare species that inhabit the region, including Atlantic and short-nosed sturgeon, which spawn in the river.
 
6. Connecticut Audubon began work on the creation of 10 acres of new shrubland habitat at our 233-acre Morgan R. Chaney Sanctuary in Montville. The project will provide nesting habitat for a half-dozen or more species of birds that are among the fastest-declining in New England.
 
7. Connecticut Audubon hired Patrick M. Comins, previously the director of bird conservation for Audubon Connecticut, as its Executive Director. Comins will lead the organization as it focuses on inspiring an ever-greater spirit of conservation statewide, through its education programs, citizen science initiatives, and habitat improvement projects, and at its seven centers and 20 sanctuaries.

Goals
 
1. Continued progress on the renovation and habitat restoration project at the historic Birdcraft Sanctuary and Museum in Fairfield.
 
2. Increased capacity to participate in the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds.  With our partners Audubon Connecticut and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, the Audubon Alliance works with state, federal and local officials, as well as private landowners, to manage and conserve Piping Plovers, Least Terns and other coastal waterbirds of conservation concern wherever they occur in the state.
 
3. Connecticut Audubon is actively restoring a four-acre pollinator meadow at our H. Smith Richardson Wildlife Preserve in Westport and continues to remove invasive species throughout this 74-acre sanctuary.
Needs

Connecticut Audubon has identified the following priority needs for 2017 through 2019:

1. Funds for Birdcraft Sanctuary and Museum, a National Historic Landmark. The museum was built in 1914 under the direction of Mabel Osgood Wright, a pioneer in the American conservation movement and the founder of the Connecticut Audubon Society in 1898.

2. Funding for an additional 5,000 students to participate in Connecticut Audubon’s award-winning Science in Nature education program. Science in Nature is a field-based program aimed at improving science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) achievements and critical thinking skills by exposing students, particularly those at-risk, to science and conservation concepts not easily taught in the classroom. The program educated about 10,000 students during the 2016-2017 school year.

3. Funding to restore and maintain Connecticut Audubon’s 3,300 acres of protected open space. Active land management and preservation of the organization’s forests, wetlands, and grasslands requires dedicated staff, research, tools, and materials to succeed.

4. Funding to continue our momentum in our various citizen science programs. Citizen science uses a statewide network of concerned citizens to gather the immense amount of data needed to observe, study, protect, and advocate for dozens of wildlife species. Needs include computers, printing, software, and coordinators.

CEO Statement

The Connecticut Audubon Society works actively to protect at-risk species of birds and other wildlife and their habitats, and the countless plants, insects and other animals that share those habitats. We believe that by conserving the State’s birds, other wildlife and their habitats, we are protecting human health and building a more sustainable world. Our goal is to use the beauty, diversity, and visibility of birds and the other spectacular flora and fauna that share our state to connect more people to the natural world, creating a lifelong bond of stewardship. Our core value is to leave future generations a state that is in better shape than the one we inherited.

We envision a state in which there are ample, diverse habitats to support a full complement of birds and wildlife. We expect numerous, high-quality opportunities for birding and other nature-related outdoor activities. We visualize a state whose residents recognize and appreciate the beauty and importance of nature, understand its basic functions and appreciate the impact their actions make on the natural world.
- Patrick Comins, Executive Director

 
Board Chair Statement

Managing land for wildlife is a lot more complicated than simply setting it aside and leaving it undisturbed. Because our landscape is already human-dominated, we must determine what we want a landscape to look like, and then actively manage the process to achieve that goal. Gifts to our Annual Fund ensure that we can actively manage our 20 wildlife sanctuaries and 3,300 acres of vital bird habitat across the state. When we invest in our sanctuaries, beautiful things happen. Financial support allows us to nurture our children's interest in the natural world, save essential wildlife habitats, and empower us to lead. -Peter Kunkel, Board Chairman

Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Environment / Natural Resources Conservation & Protection
Secondary Organization Category Animal Related / Bird Sanctuaries
Tertiary Organization Category Education / Elementary & Secondary Schools
Areas Served
State wide
Ansonia
Bethany
Branford
Cheshire
Derby
East Haven
Guilford
Hamden
Lower Naugatuck Valley
Madison
Milford
New Haven
North Branford
North Haven
Orange
Oxford
Seymour
Shelton
Shoreline
Wallingford
West Haven
Woodbridge
Other

The Connecticut Audubon Society serves the state of Connecticut by educating its residents and protecting the land. Founded in 1898, Connecticut Audubon operates nature facilities in Fairfield, Glastonbury, Milford, Pomfret, Hampton, and Sherman, a center in Old Lyme, and an EcoTravel office in Essex. Working exclusively in the state of Connecticut for over 100 years, Connecticut Audubon manages 20 wildlife sanctuaries, preserves 3,300 acres of open space, and educates more than 30,000 children and adults annually through its Science in Nature education program, which works with Connecticut schools, and through programming offered to the public at Connecticut Audubon centers.

 
Additional areas served include: Bridgewater, East Haddam, Essex, Fairfield, Glastonbury, Haddam, Hampton, Middletown, Montville, New Milford, Old Lyme, Pomfret, Redding, Stonington, Weston and Westport.  
CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments Connecticut Audubon works statewide on the conservation of birds, other wildlife and their habitats. We seek to be involved anywhere where significant conservation issues affecting birds or other wildlife species of conservation concern may arise, through direct habitat stewardship, conservation advocacy or environmental education efforts.
Programs
Description Osprey Nation, which began in 2014, utilizes a network of enthusiastic volunteer citizen scientists from across Connecticut to help the conservation community track the health of the state’s Osprey population. Ospreys, almost rendered extinct by widespread usage of DDT in the 1970s, became representatives of conservation as a cleaner environment and new nest sites led to their resurgence. When professional and state conservation agencies reported a lack of staff to gather meaningful data on rebounding Osprey populations, the Connecticut Audubon Society’s innovative solution was to crowd-source a corps of volunteers to track Ospreys, to repair and build nesting sites, and to report on each nest’s progress. The goal was to improve Osprey resurgence through data synthesis and conservation action. With 274 current citizen scientist volunteers participating and more required next year, we have a continued need for funding for nesting materials, training, and improved technology for mapping.
Population Served Adults / Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service.

 Osprey Nation has doubled its number of volunteers since the program’s inception in 2014. We can benefit from more volunteers, and we are seeking additional funding for nest repair materials and new technology for mapping, reporting, and data synthesis, which include database software, and training materials. These items will encourage safe nesting, protect fledglings, educate our volunteers, improve data accuracy leading to robust conservation solutions, and mobilize a growing statewide network of citizen scientists. 
 

Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state.

Listed as endangered in nearly every state, Ospreys began their rebound with the banning of DDT in 1972. It was the low point for Ospreys in Connecticut, with fewer than 10 active nests. Although Osprey numbers have rebounded since then, Osprey Nation represents a systematic, long-term initiative to provide critical data that state and conservation groups require to determine if Connecticut Osprey numbers are stable, declining, or increasing so that these groups may respond to conditions with timely and appropriate conservation action. To our knowledge, no project like this has ever been attempted in Connecticut conservation circles. There are currently 392 mapped active Osprey nests throughout Connecticut. Our ultimate conservation goal is to monitor all nests and to lead a sustained effort to repair nests, improve mapping and reporting, and train more volunteers in monitoring and protecting these critical bioindicators. These tasks are instrumental to inform decisions and actions impacting Connecticut’s environment.

Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.  Our network of Osprey Nation stewards collects and sends us data on the birds’ arrival dates each spring. It also reports on the location of nests, nesting success throughout the season, and Osprey departure dates. Connecticut Audubon enters the data on a map for everyone to view. As Osprey Nation is a partnership with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, we submit collected data to this state agency’s biologists for their analysis.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.

The ultimate success of this program is proven by the rebounding numbers of Osprey nesting in Connecticut. The rebounding Osprey population owes its success in large part to conservation action through a concerned citizenry and advocacy.

In its first season, Osprey Nation’s 100-plus stewards located 414 nests in five counties and 42 towns, and monitored 174 of those nests. Osprey Nation stewards confirmed that 78 young Ospreys were successfully fledged in 2014, a number that was considered low due to the number of volunteers engaged in reporting data.

 

Now In its fourth year, the program has 274 volunteer stewards. With their help, in 2017 we increased the identified nest locations on our project’s interactive map to 675; the number of recorded active nests rose last year from 250 to 392 and the total number of recorded nestlings increased from 415 to 618. In the summer of 2016, observers recorded that 356 nestlings matured and left their nests. As of this writing we do not have final numbers but we are hopeful that even more nestlings will have reached successful maturity by the end of summer 2017.  Osprey Nation stewards found nests in every county except Tolland and in 61 of the state’s 169 towns.

Description Science in Nature is a Connecticut field-based program which was begun in 2012 and is aimed at improving science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) achievements and critical thinking skills by exposing students, particularly those at risk, to science and conservation concepts not easily taught in the classroom. Since the program’s inception, over 63,000 Connecticut elementary and middle school students, mostly from Title 1 schools, have participated with resounding praise from teachers, school administrators, independent educator reviewers, and students. We are proud of our successful expansion into New Haven County schools during the 2016-2017 school year; where we reached 17 classrooms. To date, 6 of our 7 centers present educational programming to Connecticut students in Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex and New London counties. The program was awarded the 2014 Maria Pirie Environmental Education Program Award by the New England Environmental Education Alliance as the outstanding regional education program. Science in Nature links classroom learning to outdoor experiences, and is one of the first outdoor-based science programs to meet the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), replacing the Connecticut Mastery Tests (CMTs). Support for teachers includes NGSS training.
Population Served At-Risk Populations / /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. The following year-over-year measurable goals are expected:
• 100% of participating educators will be provided with new resources for leading hands-on, science-based programs: effectiveness will be measured through a series of evaluations throughout the program demonstrating at least 90% positive feedback from teachers.
• At least 75% of participating students will express an increased interest or renewed interest in science and the natural world through evaluations performed at the end of the program.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. Science in Nature was created in response to Connecticut’s well-documented academic achievement gap and to studies, including those performed by the Connecticut State Board of Education, which show that outdoor science education, in concert with classroom instruction, result in higher student achievement than classroom-based curricula alone, and is more effective at communicating the interconnectedness between science, technology, and the environment to improve life on earth (Coulter 1896, Cronin-Jones 2000, Dillon et al. 2006, CSBOE 2004). Our long-term goals include: 1) increased mastery of STEM subjects and environmental knowledge by all participating students, 2) heightened awareness and appreciation of students’ individual impact on the environment, and a motivation to continue pursuing science as a career, 3) improving all participating teacher capabilities as science educators, and 4) greater understanding of how the program can be adjusted for future years.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.

The Connecticut Audubon Society enlists the help of teachers and school administrators to capture progress:
• Results from NGSS tests (formally CMTs) are reviewed by teachers and discussed with Connecticut Audubon staff.
• Classroom teachers complete a series of evaluations and surveys throughout the program.
• For certain grade years, students complete a multiple-choice and open-ended pre-test prior to their first visit and another evaluation at the end of the school year. We compare the pre- and post-tests to determine students' knowledge gain and retention of some of the key concepts addressed in Science in Nature, as well as their opinions about the program's activities, topics, and logistics.

These combined evaluation methods inform best practices for the following school year.

 

Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.

An average of 12%-16% increase in knowledge for students in grades 3 through 5 as measured on pre- and post-tests and improvements on science journals has been noted.

A 2nd grade teacher from Stratford described the program as, “..very hands-on interactive. The visit to the beach experience was valuable. Some of our students have never been to the beach. The students had so much fun.”
A 2nd grade teacher from Lebanon shared, “This was a fantastic outdoor experience that was able to address a wide range of science standards and concepts.”
An East Hartford 5th grade teacher commented, “The population of students that I bring don’t ever have opportunities to be outside in the woods like this. My 5th graders truly walked away with a greater knowledge of climate and weather. Many…said they had a blast.”
A Canterbury 3rd grade teacher offered, “The students took lessons from this class (Rock and Soil ecology) and were able to see real life applications from this trip.” 

 

Description

One of the Connecticut Audubon Society’s largest undertakings is our land conservation initiative throughout Connecticut. Connecticut Audubon currently owns 20 wildlife sanctuaries covering 3,300 acres of protected land, including significant upland forest habitat, wetlands, some of the state’s largest tracts of managed grassland habitat, as well as critical breeding, wintering and staging areas for shorebirds. We work tirelessly and cooperatively with our local land trusts, elected officials, and regional communities to preserve more open space for future generations, and we actively engage with our members to advocate for political action to protect our open spaces.

Along with our land preservation efforts comes our advocacy for proper management of open spaces to maximize the viability of habitats for Connecticut’s indigenous and migrating wildlife. Only a percentage of preserved land is managed with an eye to biodiversity and habitat health, and Connecticut Audubon has the expertise to properly manage this process.


 

Population Served US / /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service.
In the upcoming year, the Connecticut Audubon Society looks forward to actively managing our 20 wildlife
sanctuaries and their range of ecosystems, habitats, trails, vegetation, and wildlife. Connecticut Audubon will plans to educate our 100,000+ visitors on the importance of open space preservation. At our H. Smith Richardson Wildlife Preserve, once an example of a rare coastal forest, Connecticut Audubon dedicates considerable time, money, and energy to removing invasives over this 74- acre property and planting native vegetation. Our goal is to attract back native birds, pollinators, and other wildlife to this once-thriving ecosystem. We are also working hard to create extensive shrub habitat at our Morgan R. Chaney Sanctuary, for the benefit of declining bird species like the Blue-winged Warbler, a species whose survival depends on this habitat. We continue to manage habitat at our Banks South Farm, a 60 acre preserve overrun by invasives. With new funding and an enthusiastic volunteer base, we are optimistic for an expeditious reversal to the state of this property.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state.
The Connecticut Audubon Society has three basic goals for long-term open space acquisition, land preservation, and advocacy within Connecticut:
1. Work with land trusts, our members, and other critical stakeholders to acquire lands to create larger regions of continuous protected open space throughout Connecticut.
2. Coordinate restoration of critical habitats for rare and endangered species of birds, both indigenous and migrating, as well as other threatened wildlife.
3. Partner with town conservation committees, land trusts, and other protectors of valuable open space to help these entities best manage their protected land for habitat, birds, and other wildlife.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. The success of this program is monitored by our Conservation Officer, our individual center directors and our sanctuary managers. Our success is widely reported in the news, social media and in our annual report to our members, board of directors, and concerned citizen circles. Benchmarks of success are typically measured in terms of acreage saved, bills passed and sightings of returning wildlife within a year or two of mass planting events.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
Connecticut Audubon and its Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center helped persuade the Federal Railroad Administration to abandon a proposal to build a high-speed rail line under the Connecticut River and the town of Old Lyme. We pointed out that the environmental review failed to analyze the rail line’s effect on four rare species, including Atlantic and short-nosed sturgeon, which spawn in the river.
 
Connecticut Audubon worked with Audubon Connecticut and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute as part of the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds. The Alliance uses almost 200 volunteers, supervised by full-time and seasonal staff, to monitor and protect vulnerable beach-nesting birds. These include federally endangered Roseate Terns, federally threatened Piping Plovers, and uncommon species such as Least Terns, Common Terns, and American Oystercatchers.
 
Connecticut Audubon opened the 835-acre Deer Pond Farm in Sherman. The property was a bequest of the estate of Kathryn D. Wriston. About 620 of its 835 acres are upland forest; 125 acres are forested wetlands, and 59 acres are meadow. The land will be conserved and managed to protect its biodiversity.
 
When the state’s conservation communities discovered that new State budgets would eliminate all money for land preservation in the Community Investment Act, Connecticut Audubon published op-ed pieces and testified at State budget hearings. The result were cuts that were far less drastic, ensuring funding for land preservation.
 
Description Connecticut State of the Birds is an annual, collaborative report focused on the single major threat to our native birds: habitat loss. Our document closely examines the decline of native vegetation, water quality, weather and climate, insects, and habitat as factors affecting the health of indigenous and migrating birds, some rare and endangered. Our many contributing author experts present strategies and solutions to reverse negative trends of declining bird populations, with recommendations followed through by state conservation agencies. Already in its 10th year of publication, the 2016 issue, entitled “Gains, Losses and the Prospect of Extinction” presented research from nationally recognized experts to tackle the tough issues of habitat loss within Connecticut.
Population Served US / /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. Each year’s report contains specific, science-based, and year-over-year recommendations for preserving bird habitats, from the statewide policy level all the way down to an individual’s action. The Connecticut Audubon Society then collaborates with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and other state agencies and conservation organizations to implement changes based on those recommendations. These typically focus on increased funding, development of management plans for forest areas, increased collaboration between conservation groups within Connecticut to leverage resources while reducing costs, and encouragement for landowners to involve themselves in conservation action.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. The long-term goals of the State of the Birds publication closely mirror Connecticut Audubon’s mission statement: “The Connecticut Audubon Society conserves Connecticut’s environment through science-based education and advocacy focused on the state’s bird populations and habitats.” As our most important annual publication, the document acts as a catalyst to bring much-needed change to policies and action, to combat declining trends in habitat quality and quantity, and to increase bird populations throughout Connecticut as a result. Together with the state’s top researchers and advocates, we provide data, conclusions, and varied and long-term recommendations for our state conservation agencies to turn into actionable goals.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. The program’s long-term success is measured by the increase in numbers and diversity of native and migrating birds on both a regional and habitat-specific level. Through dozens of citizen science and State agency conservation efforts, tens of thousands of pieces of data are collected on specific bird populations, nests, fledges, and habitat health in wetland areas, forests, urban areas, and open spaces, among other settings. This data informs whether our conservation efforts, of which the Connecticut State of the Birds publication is one part, are having a positive impact and the extent of that impact.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.

For the 2016 issue of Connecticut State of the Birds, its 10th anniversary, we invited authors from the inaugural publication to provide a “report card” on the effects of conservation efforts over the last decade. Successes reported in this issue included the following conclusions:

1. Wetland birds are doing fairly well. Long-legged waders are improving in numbers, particularly Great Blue Herons and waterfowl. Invasive plants and wetland infringements continue to be primary challenges.

2. Coastal birds - the terns, plovers, and oystercatchers that nest along the shoreline - are doing well, thanks to aggressive public relations action encouraging beachgoers to “share the beach”.

3. Connecticut has added hundreds of acres of grassland habitat over the last decade, encouraging the return of native grassland birds.


 

Description

The Connecticut Audubon Society’s Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center (RTPEC) offered our popular CT River Lecture Series adult education program in spring 2017 and will once again offer it in fall 2017. This lecture series expands public awareness of environmental issues facing Connecticut. Speakers focus on critical regional and statewide issues in conservation, environmental science and natural history. Sometimes lectures are offered in partnership with local organizations to broaden regional outreach. Our intent is to focus on science, advocacy, and conservation challenges specific to the Connecticut River estuary and watershed. Select speakers also participate in our “Meet the Scientist" program which provides educational outreach to 4th and 5th grade students in their schools.

Our spring 2017 series explored such topics as the biography of John James Audubon, Altantic sturgeon, and the impact of sea level change on the estuary region. Lecture topics scheduled for fall 2017 are equally in-depth and relevant. They address the migration of swallows, the ecology and natural history of the Long Island Sound, and dam removal on the Connecticut River. Our “Meet the Scientist” segment augments community children’s educational experience by making our expert speakers available to engage students and their teachers in conservation science.

 

Population Served Adults / Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service.

Our short term goals for the 2017 lecture series include the following:

• Expand lecture topics. 2015/2016 series topics included Global Warming and Sea Level Rise, Bird Species Research, Citizen Science, and the Importance of our Forests in the Watershed, among other topics. In spring 2017 we explored topics such as the biography of John James Audubon, Altantic sturgeon, and sea level rise mitigation.  Fall 2017 planned lecture topics include the migration of swallows, the ecology and natural history of the Long Island Sound, and dam removal on the Connecticut River.

• Expand collaborating partners to one per lecture series and include organizations like Ducks Unlimited, fishing and sporting clubs, land trusts, and others.

• Increase the size of the audience through partnering organizations, extending invitations to artists, authors, outdoor adventurers, fishermen and hunters. Steps to accomplish this include sharing of marketing material and distribution to combined lists.

• Identify and select lecture venues with more seating

• Arrange for four to six "Meet the Scientist" programs

 

Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state.

The Lecture Series introduces the public to environmental topics relevant to Connecticut residents. It provides an opportunity for a wide span of demographic groups to learn about the ecological challenges to New England rivers, watersheds and coastline, habitats, and flora and fauna. Experts in the academic community, researchers, authors, and noted conservationists connect with the public. Our program seeks to bring together a concerned population interested in conservation advocacy, to deliver the most current scientific and cultural information on our Lower Connecticut watershed, and to educate Connecticut residents about coastal environmental issues through the following:

• Expanding the range of the scientific topics offered at each lecture series to best reflect the critical conservation issues impacting the Lower Connecticut region and the state

• Expanding audience sizes, particularly among first-time attendees, by forming new partnerships in the Lower Connecticut region

• Expanding the number of students and teachers in "Meet the Scientist" sessions

 

Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. We document and maintain a database of attendees at our lectures to evaluate the preferences of our guests. We collect information about frequency of attendance, lecture theme, event (e.g., lecture, "Meet the Scientist" program) and affiliation of the attendee (e.g., Connecticut Audubon membership, county of residence, membership in a supporting organization). This data enables us to evaluate the interest in, and relevance of, our programs so that we may tackle the conservation issues that concern local and regional attendees. Many of our attendees are subsequently contacted by Connecticut Audubon to solicit feedback that will inform future programming and lecture topics, particularly with regard to the “Meet the Scientist” segment.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.

The 6-part Annual Lecture Series (3 in the fall and 3 in the spring) is in its 4th installation and is well attended, averaging approximately 120 guests per lecture. Since adding “Meet the Scientist” sessions, we have attracted a much larger contingent of youth and their teachers, and we are encouraged to see Connecticut’s next generation of conservation stewards become involved with regional estuary issues. Finally, the lectures act as gathering events for environmentally-minded residents to discuss and advocate for issues concerning them.


 

Program Comments
CEO Comments

The programs of the Connecticut Audubon Society focus on three main goals:


1. To protect and improve important bird and wildlife habitats

We manage our sanctuaries to encompass a variety of habitats – mature forest, early-successional woodlands, grasslands, wetlands – for a healthy and diverse bird and wildlife population. Recognizing that when it comes to habitat bigger is usually better, we manage our sanctuaries to be complementary pieces in a mosaic of important habitats locally and statewide. Whenever and wherever possible, we support the acquisition, preservation and restoration of additional wild sites.

Connecticut Audubon provides science-based conservation management advice to Connecticut landowners, including other conservation organizations, corporations, private individuals and government agencies. We also provide science-based advocacy for habitat conservation. Our participation in conservation science field work contributes to general knowledge and understanding of how best to conserve Connecticut’s birds.

2. To advocate for a sustainable and healthy planet with a particular focus on the conservation of birds and their habitats

We support policies and actions that protect, maintain and improve habitat in Connecticut, including policies to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change; we oppose policies that might lead to the opposite outcome. We utilize our communications skills and technologies through appropriate media to share our positions and reasoning with the greatest number of people. We also work with elected officials and government agencies to help secure the funding and other tools they need to protect Connecticut’s environment.


3. To educate and engage the public in the importance of conservation and the beauty of birds and their habitats as well as the other wildlife that depend on these habitats 
 

We provide curriculum-based outdoor science education to school children from around the state through our Science in Nature programs. Our regional Centers (Milford, Fairfield, Glastonbury, Pomfret, Old Lyme and Sherman) foster a love for nature and the outdoors among Connecticut residents of all ages by providing enjoyable and enriching opportunities for birding, hiking and nature study. They also serve as local forums for conservation-based events, programs and lectures. Finally, we are proud to provide the best outdoor, nature-based summer camps in the state.

Our EcoTravel program organizes trips led by knowledgeable guides to destinations – locally, nationally, and internationally – that offer unusual, enjoyable and enriching opportunities for birding and wildlife observation.


CEO/Executive Director
Mr. Patrick M. Comins
Term Start July 2017
Email pcomins@ctaudubon.org
Experience

Patrick Comins, Executive Director of the Connecticut Audubon Society, joined the organization in July 2017. In his Executive Director role, Patrick oversees a staff of 37 full time, part time and contract employees, manages 3,300 acres of sanctuaries throughout Connecticut, and has brought the award-winning Science in Nature environmental education programs to 63,000 Connecticut K-12 students to date.

Previous to his work with the Connecticut Audubon Society, Patrick served since 2000 as director of bird conservation for Audubon Connecticut, the state office of the National Audubon Society.  He is a recognized in the state and regionally as a leader in the conservation of birds and their habitats, has served as president of the Connecticut Ornithological Association from 2009-2011 and chairman of the Friends of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge from 2009-2013.  Throughout his conservation career, he has utilized partnerships to achieve conservation results and has been a key player in most of the large conservation success stories of the past 20 years in Connecticut, leading to the conservation of more than 2,000 acres in Connecticut and several thousand additional acres in the Connecticut River Watershed states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.


 
Staff
Number of Full Time Staff 17
Number of Part Time Staff 14
Number of Volunteers 475
Number of Contract Staff 6
Staff Retention Rate 90%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 31
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 13
Female 15
Unspecified 3
Former CEOs and Terms
NameTerm
Alexander Brash Aug 2013 - Feb 2016
Nelson North Apr 2016 - June 2017
Senior Staff
Title Chief Financial Officer
Title Senior Director of Science and Conservation
Title Director of Development
Title Director of Education and Interim Director, Center at Glastonbury
Title Director of Communications
Title Director, Deer Pond Farm
Title Director, Northeast Corner Programs
Title Director, EcoTravel
Title Director, Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center
Title Membership Manager
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Collaborations

The Connecticut Audubon Society collaborates with:

Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, Audubon Connecticut, Roger Tory Peterson Institute, Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, Connecticut Land Conservation Council, Connecticut Ornithological Association, University of Connecticut, The Friends of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, Friends of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, Yale School of Forestry, Connecticut College, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, United States Army Corps of Engineers, Connecticut Forest and Park Association, Sierra Club, Aspetuck Land Trust, Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Connecticut Greenways Council, New England Environmental Education Alliance, Connecticut Outdoor & Environmental Education Association, Institute for Sustainable Energy, New Haven Ecology Project, Common Ground, Leon Sister City Project, Mass Audubon, Audubon Society of Rhode Island, eeCapacity (project of Cornell University and the North American Association for Environmental Education)

Awards
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
Maria Pirie Environmental Education Program AwardNew England Environmental Education Alliance2014
Best Nature Sanctuaries awarded to Pomfret's Bafflin Sanctuary and Hampton's Trail Wood SanctuaryYankee Magazine2013
Fellowship to bring climate change education into the high school curriculum in New HavenConsortium consisting of Cornell University, United States Environmental Protetion Agency, and the North American Association for Environmental Education Exchange2014
Zone Conservation CommendationGarden Club of America2016
Comments
CEO Comments Connecticut Audubon works statewide on the conservation of birds, other wildlife and their habitats. We seek to be involved anywhere where significant conservation issues affecting birds or other wildlife species of conservation concern may arise, through direct habitat stewardship, conservation advocacy or environmental education efforts. 
Board Chair
Mr. Peter W Kunkel
Company Affiliation Forger and Kunkel
Term Oct 2015 to Oct 2018
Board of Directors
NameAffiliation
Michael Aurelia Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency
Sandra Brown Retired, Gilead Hill Elementary School
James Denham Retired, Procter & Gamble
Samuel Gilliland, Jr. Fieldpoint Private
Jerid O'Connell Duggal Visual Solutions
Judith Richardson Community Volunteer
Charles Stebbins, Secretary JP Morgan Chase
Kathleen Van Der Aue Retired, Attorney and Partner Marcus Law Firm
Benjamin Williams Retired, Worcester Academy
Ralph Wood, Chairman Emeritus Retired, UTC
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 8
Female 3
Governance
Board Term Lengths 1
Board Term Limits 3
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 20%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Board Co-Chair
Mr. DeVer Warner
Company Affiliation Retired, Schoder Banking Corporation
Term Oct 2013 to Oct 2017
Email djw1@optonline.net
Standing Committees
Investment
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Executive
Finance
Nominating
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
 
 
Financials
Fiscal Year Start May 01 2017
Fiscal Year End Apr 30 2018
Projected Revenue $3,021,000.00
Projected Expenses $3,223,000.00
Spending Policy N/A
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
Documents
Form 990s
Form 9902016
Form 9902015
Form 9902014
IRS Letter of Exemption
IRS Letter of Determination
Other Documents
Other Documents 3
NameYear
Connecticut State of the Birds Annual Report2016View
Connecticut State of the Birds Annual Report2015View
Connecticut State of the Birds Annual Report2014View
Connecticut State of the Birds Annual Report2013View
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Revenue Sources ChartHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$904,542$792,108$555,743
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Federal------
State------
Local------
Unspecified------
Individual Contributions------
------
$1,102,716$1,113,382$1,288,273
Investment Income, Net of Losses$183,560$225,278$567,741
Membership Dues$208,707$183,748$235,784
Special Events$168,919$168,438$162,777
Revenue In-Kind------
Other$173,340$191,131$94,251
Prior Three Years Expense Allocations Chart
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$2,374,224$2,364,399$2,550,528
Administration Expense$595,502$558,721$473,181
Fundraising Expense$270,528$230,416$286,111
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.850.850.88
Program Expense/Total Expenses73%75%77%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue25%24%40%
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$23,363,729$24,244,519$24,838,507
Current Assets$1,674,001$1,283,639$1,608,984
Long-Term Liabilities$63,251$80,122$88,485
Current Liabilities$371,753$357,086$514,835
Total Net Assets$22,928,725$23,807,311$24,235,187
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountR.T. Vanderbilt Trust $112,100R.T. Vanderbilt Trust $105,000R.T. Vanderbilt Trust $105,000
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountWildwood Foundation $60,000Wildwood Foundation $77,000SBM Charitable Foundation $53,764
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountSBM Charitable Foundation $31,716SBM Charitable Foundation $37,230The Perkin Fund $50,000
Solvency
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities4.503.593.13
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Comments
CEO Comments

We have strategic unrestricted reserves in the amount of $ 3.2MM .  Our board has made the decision that the organization needs to invest in certain areas such as development, finance, conservation, advocacy and land stewardship in order to properly fulfill our conservation mission.  The organization is comfortable making some additional strategic investments in the coming years with an eye towards growing our organization and eventually working to recharge our strategic unrestricted reserves.


Foundation Staff Comments

This organization receives designated funds from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and has completed an abbreviated profile.

This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.

Address 314 Unquowa Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
Primary Phone 203 259-0416 404
Contact Email akerin@ctaudubon.org
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Patrick M. Comins
Board Chair Mr. Peter W Kunkel
Board Chair Company Affiliation Forger and Kunkel

 

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