Creating Habitat Oases for Migrating Songbirds

Join Audubon’s Patrick Comins and Michelle Frankelon April 28 at the Garden Education Center of Greenwich on 1 Bible Street in Cos Cob for a special presentation and walk through Greenwich’s Montgomery Pinetum to learn about simple ways to enhance backyards, school grounds and public parks to provide quality habitat for migrating songbirds. This event is co-sponsored by Audubon Connecticut, Greenwich Tree Conservancy, Bruce Museum and Garden Education Center. An RSVP is suggested to the Greenwich Tree Conservancy at 203- 869-1464. The program takes place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Garden Education Center of Greenwich
Garden Education Center of Greenwich

The Audubon’s Habitat Oases program identifies, improves and conserves important stop-over habitat for migrating songbirds all along the Atlantic migratory flyway, focusing on urban and suburban areas and other landscapes where there is limited quality habitat. The program, performed in collaboration with Audubon chapters, state and municipal parks departments, and other groups, engages volunteer birdwatchers – citizen scientists – in migratory songbird surveys of urban/suburban green spaces. The surveys help to determine the characteristics of high quality stop-over habitat and which species of plants are most beneficial as food sources for migrating songbirds.

Audubon and its partners are using the results of this study to promote the protection of critical stop-over habitats by helping government agencies, corporations, land trusts, and other landowners make informed land use and land protection decisions
They also work to improve the quality of public and private lands as stop-over habitat for migrating birds by guiding the management and landscaping practices of natural resource managers, private landowners and professional landscapers
and strive to develop regionally-specific lists of “bird-friendly” native plants that may be used to guide landscaping practices in parks, gardens and backyards.

Patrick Comins is a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, and has worked in the bird conservation arena for the last 15 years. Patrick began his career with the Connecticut Audubon Society, doing bird surveys on the coast at the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge and then worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a biological technician at the refuge. He has been with Audubon Connecticut as the Director of Bird Conservation for Connecticut since 2000, overseeing Connecticut’s Important Bird Areas and other conservation programs. He is the principal author of Protecting Connecticut’s Grassland Heritage. Patrick is a past resident of the Connecticut Ornithological Association and was the 2007 recipient of their Mabel Osgood Wright Award. He has written several articles on bird conservation and identification for the Connecticut Warbler and is currently chairman and vice president of the Friends of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.

Michelle Frankel, Ph.D., is a Conservation Biologist with Audubon Connecticut and is coordinating the Habitat Oases program in CT, and facilitating the implementation of the program in a number of other states along the Atlantic migratory flyway. Michelle previously worked with Audubon of Florida, where she originally piloted the Habitat Oases program. Prior to her work with Audubon, she was Education Director for Earthspan, a nonprofit that develops and applies advanced technologies for wildlife conservation. Michelle received her Ph.D. in behavioral ecology from Boston University, focusing on forest fragmentation effects on migratory songbirds. She subsequently pursued a post-doctoral fellowship with Tel Aviv University and the International Center for the Study of Bird Migration in Israel, where she studied the impacts of urbanization on the globally-threatened Lesser Kestrel.

5th Annual Washington Green Cemetery Tour Oct. 26

The 5th Annual Washington Green Cemetery Tour, with a special Gunnery theme, will take place on Friday October 26th from 6:30-8:30pm.

Costumed guides will lead groups of visitors every ten minutes from the Gunn Museum to the Washington Green Cemetery where the town’s departed citizens will be stationed at their gravestones to tell their tales of tragedy and triumph.

Tour groups will follow a path of 1,000 luminaries spanning a quarter of a mile through the shadowy cemetery and will hear the dramatic experiences of past students and faculty from the Gunnery.

Features of this magical theatrical evening will include tales of murder, town controversies, the Titanic disaster, Civil War soldiers, abolitionists and more. This event is not to be missed!

Tours depart every ten minutes from the museum and last about 45 minutes, bring a flashlight. Complimentary refreshments will be served in the Gunn Library. While this event is free, donations are greatly appreciated. The rain date is Sunday October 28.

The Gunn Museum is located at 5 Wykeham Road, at the intersection of Wykeham Road and Route 47, on Washington Green, Connecticut. Call 860-868-7756 or view for information.

Audubon Greenwich ~ The Birds & The Bees?

Since the beginning of society, the origin and nature of the honeybee has awakened the curiosity of humankind. For five million years, bees, best known for their sweet gift of nature, has been an animal of special sanctity, symbolizing many things to a diverse cultural cross section of people world-wide. Today, more than ever, bees play a crucial role in our ecosystem. Over one- third of the fruits and vegetables we eat depend on bees for pollination. Because of their important role as pollinators, the tracing of their sudden-die off (Colony Collapse Disorder) in recent years is a critical environmental issue. On February 25 and 26 the Greenwich Audubon is offering two important programs on Bees and how it relates to our environment and future.

Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?
Saturday, February 25 ~ 6:30-9:00 pm
Join Gunther Hauk for a local screening of the acclaimed film ‘Queen of the Sun’. Gunther has been a biodynamic beekeeper for 35 years and is featured in the film. An introduction by Gunther will precede the film. The film is a profound, alternative look at the global bee crisis from Taggart Siegel, director of THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN. Taking us on a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and the mysterious world of the beehive, this engaging and ultimately uplifting film weaves an unusual and dramatic story of the heartfelt struggles of beekeepers, scientists and philosophers from around the world including Michael Pollan, Gunther Hauk and Vandana Shiva. $10-$20 suggested donation for Audubon and Spikenard Farm. Space very limited. RSVPs required to Jeff: 203-869-5272 x239.


Toward Saving The Honeybee: An Introduction to Sustainable & Biodynamic Beekeeping Practices and Principles
Sunday, February 26 ~ 1:00-4:00 pm
This workshop is for current beekeepers and those who are interested in learning more about beekeeping with natural approaches, including biodynamic beekeeping. Don’t miss this exciting and rare opportunity to learn from the master himself! Gunther’s beekeeping workshops are full of information, lively discussion, Q&A, and inspiration. Space very limited. $50 workshop fee will be donate to the Spikenard Honeybee Sanctuary efforts for bees and to Audubon Greenwich’s conservation and education initiatives. RSVP required to Jeff Cordulack: 203-869-5272 x239

More about Gunther Hauk: Gunther Hauk was a Waldorf teacher for 23 years and was co-founder of Spikenard Farm in 2006 and the Pfeiffer Center in 1996. Hauk is the author of Toward Saving the Honeybee (published by the Biodynamic Association). He and his wife Vivian are now located in Floyd, Virginia, where they are building up the honeybee sanctuary in which people can experience the healing of the land, the honeybees, and, ultimately, the human being.

For more information about Gunther Hauk, the Spikenard Farm Sanctuary, and the issues facing honeybees and other native pollinators, visit our event website:

Audubon Greenwich’s Nature Store Hours:
Tues-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m./ Sundays 12-5 p.m. / Store Closed Mondays

Members: No charge
Nonmembers: Adults $3.00/Students & Seniors $1.50
(Please pay in the store)