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Waterbirds Education

RTPI is proud to be a partner for the Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds‘ (AAfCW) seventh season in 2018, and a core component of this joint initiative is education – both in person, whether it is on shore or in classrooms, or via media, on social media networks like Facebook, through our blog, or in traditional TV, radio and print media. This is a continuation of some of Roger Tory Peterson’s work decades earlier in Connecticut and across the Atlantic Coast.

RTP coastal waterbirds slider

Our staff and volunteers provide stewardship and outreach efforts alongside the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CT DEEP), Wildlife Division. We educate everyone from elementary school children to retired tourists on birds like the federally threatened Piping Plover, Red Knot and endangered Roseate Tern, Connecticut state-listed species like the American Oystercatcher, Common and Least Tern and many more terns, long-legged waders, and shorebirds. We discuss why their habitats are so vital, how critical their success is to our continued health – whether it is that of the food web in our waters or the insects on our beaches – and how we can help. Keeping trash off the beaches, leaving dogs at home, and respecting nesting areas are just a few ways to ensure a successful summer. We reach tens of thousands of people each year through these various methods!

Hundreds of elementary school students along the Connecticut coast created these outreach signs which are far more successful than most traditional “KEEP OUT” style signage in reaching beachgoers…

AAfCW DEEP Beach Nesting Area Student Sign-0640

AAfCW DEEP Beach Nesting Area Student Sign Adults-0650

AAfCW DEEP Beach Nesting Area Student Sign-0653

AAfCW DEEP Beach Nesting Area Student Sign Adult-0644

We have created these two brochures on the Piping Plover and American Oystercatcher to hand out on beaches and at various events…

RTPI Audubon Connecticut American Oystercatcher Piping Plover brochures-0095

RTPI Audubon Connecticut American Oystercatcher Piping Plover brochures-0097

Download them in PDF form here!

Piping Plover Brochure
American Oystercatcher Brochure

We have held a multitude of educational seminars with both classroom and field components for all ages…

Connecticut Ornithological Association-Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds shorebird identification workshop 3

Connecticut Ornithological Association-Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds shorebird identification workshop 2

AAfCW party Patrick Audubon CT 0032

Day to day volunteer operations are overseen by RTPI Conservation & Outreach Coordinator Scott Kruitbosch, who also uses blog entries, Facebook posts, tweets, photos, videos, in-person training, seminars and direct beach outreach to engage volunteers and the public.

Monitor training Scott 3-14-15

Monitor training past 3-14-15

The proof of our success can be found in one of our focal species: the Piping Plover, a bird that more than any requires intense and constant stewardship and outreach, with education bridging the gap between a passable number of fledglings and a truly terrific tally.

PIPL slider

Our incredibly successful 2014 season included an all-time record high number of fledged Piping Plovers for Connecticut with 116 birds aided by our volunteers, partners and staff. Results from the phenomenal 2015 season indicate we had the second highest number of fledged chicks ever at 112, right behind our own 2014 record. We also set the all-time record number of breeding pairs of Piping Plovers for the state in 2015 at 62. Totals from 2016 broke that record quickly with 63 pairs of Piping Plovers AND 63 pairs of American Oystercatchers, another all-time record. The Oystercatchers produced 53 fledglings, the second-highest all-time total. Last year we kept those 63 pairs and they fledged 63 Oystercatchers, second to the 2015 record. 2017 featured 66 pairs of Piping Plovers, the new record! Can we break these successful seasons in 2018? Please contact Scott Kruitbosch at ctwaterbirds@gmail.com with any questions or to sign up as a volunteer.