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An Appeal from Our CEO

Posted on May 15, 2020

Roger Tory Peterson Institute Lobby

May 2020

Dear Friends,

This is my first Spring Appeal for the Roger Tory Peterson Institute and I couldn’t be more excited.

Nor more concerned.

Yet hopeful.

I imagine many of us are feeling a mix of emotions as we strive to navigate the uncertainties of the Covid crisis. Our museum has been closed since mid-March. All events and programs have been cancelled well into the summer, usually our busiest, most important time of the year.

The sad fact is, many organizations aren’t going to survive. My hope lies in you. With your help, we will survive. With your help, we will emerge from this stronger, better positioned to adapt to whatever the “new normal” may be. In anticipation of which, we’re making the best of this unexpected “downtime.” Planning. Strategizing. Getting ready for the day we’re able to swing wide our doors and welcome you back.

Stefan Savides at work in his studio on “Pins and Curls”

Some things may look and feel a little different once we get the “all clear” to reopen. However, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute will continue to be a sanctuary for exquisite art. Our first exhibition will feature the bronze work of Stefan Savides — an internationally-heralded taxidermist turned master sculptor of birds.

Outdoors, in our 27-acre preserve, we’re busy clearing invasive brush and dead trees — victims of the emerald ash borer — to seed a wildflower pollinator meadow.

“Jays, Magpies” from Bird of Eastern and Central  North America, Fifth Edition, 2002

We’re preparing our new Art & Nature Trail for the installation of large-scale bird sculptures carved by a local artisan. Inside the museum, the “trail” leads children and families to discover the same bird species painted by Roger Tory Peterson.

Soon, we will unveil a new Art Lab, where young people may transform their own experiences of nature into art.

In order to expand our reach beyond our museum campus, we’ve been hard at work seeking support to digitize the Peterson Collection. Our first priority is to get 800 original paintings from Peterson’s famous field guides online, making these images available to nature lovers and art lovers all over the world.

In spite of all, it’s been equally important to keep our science and conservation work going strong. We continue monitoring for hemlock woolly adelgid — an invasive species that threatens the survival of our iconic hemlock trees. We keep count of Peterson’s beloved birds — in our backyards, along the coast of Connecticut, in the rainforests of Costa Rica.

As you can see, we haven’t been idle. But it’s been a struggle. Keeping up with our work without any museum or program income has put a huge strain on us. We need your help now more than ever. To survive these times. To meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. To preserve and build upon the legacy of Roger Tory Peterson for you and for future generations. To keep our feathered hope alive and well.

Thank you for support.


Arthur Pearson, CEO

Please make your gift to the Peterson Annual Fund today.