Elizabeth McCance

From the President

I’m not the only one preparing for an exciting summer at Fishers – so are the ospreys! Watching an osprey lay an egg at night courtesy of an Osprey Cam recording is a treat to behold, and one that was unimaginable a few decades ago. Technology aside, this year promises to be one of the most “scientific” in the history of the Museum. Some twenty scientists in a range of fields have been engaged in a variety of projects that will enable different aspects of conservation management of the Museum’s Land Trust properties.

The New York Natural Heritage Program scientists are in their second year of fieldwork. Besides mapping the ecological communities of the Land Trust, they are also documenting and cataloguing a range of animals and rare plant species. A final report covering two years of fieldwork is scheduled to be completed by the spring of 2023.

A Long Island Invasive Species Management Area team is also coming this summer to prepare a report on invasive management and habitat restoration, especially within two parcels where we are planning an extensive clearing of invasives. Jack Schneider, our Land Trust Stewardship Coordinator, invited two foresters from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to evaluate our woodland areas and to make recommendations for managing the woodlands for resiliency in the face of climate change and pests. He also invited two specialists to update a study of the maritime grassland at Middle Farms, a prescribed burn specialist to evaluate our existing management strategies, and the Connecticut State Plant Pathologist to review the status of beech leaf disease on Fishers Island.

Finally, the Museum, along with the Fishers Island Conservancy, continues to lead an effort to protect the Island’s seagrass. The Fishers Island Seagrass Management Coalition is currently drafting possible community-based strategies that it plans to present in an open forum this summer. Stay tuned for more information.

While out on the trails this season, in addition to spotting stray scientists, you may also see new QR codes at trailheads. To access a wealth of new information, be sure to take your phone with you when you walk the trails.

HLFM Director Pierce Rafferty’s 2022 annual exhibition, Year Round: A Celebration of Community, chronicles Fishers Island throughout the year with a focus on the people, events, and organizations that help bring the community together. A special exhibition entitled WINTER will also be on display, as will an exhibition of paintings of the island in winter by Rauno Joks, a former visiting doctor in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Our intensive children’s nature program, Fishers Island Nature Discovery (FIND), will run in July this year. Sign up your children, ages 5-10, for fun-filled afternoons of nature discovery during the week of July 18th. Our regular Wednesday afternoon children’s programs continue to delve into a range of natural history topics.

For the adults, we have an exciting lineup of speakers for Sundays at 4 p.m. that include authors, naturalists, scientists, and three members of the Fishers Island community. Please click HERE for a complete listing of speakers and programs.

None of this important research and engaging educational programming would be possible without the generous support of our members. Thank you! We hope to see all of you at our opening reception at the Museum on Saturday, June 25th, from 5 to 7 p.m.

– Elizabeth McCance, President

Female osprey at left immediately after laying first egg. Male inspects and then covers egg while she rests on post. April 26, 2022. 9:43 p.m. Infrared Osprey Cam image.

A bunker being delivered to female on nest by male osprey, May 6, 2022. 2:47 p.m. Screen grab by Vicki Rafferty.