Audubon Connecticut Awarded Grant For Bird Habitat Study and Conservation Program in New Haven

Dec 16th, 2009 | By | Category: Legislation, Long Island Sound, River, Water Conservation

Expansive Saltmarshes at the old Griswold Airport site in Connecticut (Photo by Patrick Comins, Audubon Connecticut)

Expansive Saltmarshes at the old Griswold Airport site in Connecticut (Photo by Patrick Comins, Audubon Connecticut)

Community Foundation for Greater New Haven Supports Audubon, species protection, land conservation and clean water

Audubon Connecticut, the state office of the National Audubon Society, has been awarded a competitive 3-year $75,000 grant ($25,000 per year) from The Naomi Law Terrell Foundation Fund at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.

“The grant will support Audubon’s work to identify and protect key bird habitat in the greater New Haven area.  We are very grateful to Ms. Terrell and The Foundation for making it possible to step up the pace of these important conservation efforts,” said Tom Baptist, Executive Director of Audubon Connecticut.


Audubon’s Important Bird Areas Program (IBA) is a cornerstone of Audubon’s work at the national, state and local levels.  In Connecticut, the Program helps ensure healthy populations of birds by identifying and protecting a network of key sites across the State.  There are nine IBAs in the New Haven area, places that have met the internationally accepted and rigorous criteria that define critical habitats.  The Community Foundation’s grant will enable Audubon to dedicate staff and resources to identify new IBAs in the New Haven area and work to protect those sites.

Audubon will conduct extensive bird counts throughout the County to gather the data to identify places that warrant IBA status.  Audubon will assemble local stakeholder groups to develop, adopt and implement protection plans for these IBAs.  This process will be complemented by the work of Audubon’s policy staff to advocate for regulations, legislation and funding at the local, state and federal level to advance land conservation and clean water projects.  In addition, the new bird count information will form the basis for the Breeding Bird Atlas for New Haven County and be added to www.ebird.com, one of the world’s largest biodiversity databases.

The project will benefit both the people and birds of Greater New Haven.  The IBA process is volunteer-based and will engage hundreds of people at all stages of the effort – from the initial bird counts to be conducted in summer 2010 and 2011 to the local stakeholder groups that are formed to drive the conservation effort.

“Audubon is eager to work harder to protect habitat in this area.  Thanks to the Community Foundation, we can now gear up our efforts,” Mr. Baptist said.

Greater New Haven has abundant critical habitat for birds: several major rivers flow through the County and into the Sound; the shoreline on the Long Island Sound has globally significant wetland salt marshes (East River Marsh and Hammonasset); and, there are significant coastal and inland forests present.  Because of the value for birds, wildlife, and the health of Long Island Sound, Audubon is working to protect the most ecologically valuable undeveloped places in the region.

Audubon Connecticut, www.audubonct.org is the state office of the National Audubon Society www.audubon.org.  Its mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats, for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.

The Naomi Law Terrell Foundation Fund at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven is one of approximately 700 named funds which, together, are valued at nearly $270 million. The Fund was established by Naomi Law Terrell (b. 1923 – d. 2000), who was a world traveler and avid photographer.  Through a bequest, Ms. Terrell created the Fund to perpetually support programs that protect birds and bird habitats in Connecticut.  In addition to photographing different bird species on nearly every continent, Ms. Terrell was an avid gardener and special guest speaker for various organizations, including garden clubs throughout Connecticut.  For more information about the work of The Community Foundation visit www.cfgnh.org.

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