Elizabeth McCance

From the President

Perhaps this year more than ever, I feel as if I’m coming out of hibernation after a long winter’s nap. Spring and optimism are in the air and I am looking forward to another summer on Fishers Island. While things will not be back to 2019 levels, we are planning for increased “normalcy.” The Museum will open its doors once again and welcome the community back inside, albeit with some restrictions.

Pierce Rafferty, our museum director, has been working hard on this year’s annual exhibition, Fishers Island, Naturally, that is generously sponsored by Altus Partners and Chubb. The exhibition showcases a wide array of compelling nature photographs and includes a selection of iNaturalist island images curated by Murray Fisher. The exhibition will be mounted both within the Museum and, in an expanded version, in a virtual format on our website. Two special exhibitions complement the main show: a selection of Todd McCormack’s striking nature photographs on the Second Floor, and a series of engaging one-of-a kind monotypes by artist and illustrator Genevieve Irwin in the Natural History Gallery.

Evening Hunt.

A Closer Look:
Photographs by Todd McCormack
Special Exhibition: 2nd Floor Main Gallery

Young Eastern Painted Turtle on lily pad, the Peninsula, Fishers Island. Photo by Terry McNamara.

Fishers Island, Naturally: A Photographic Celebration
Our Annual Exhibition is open for in person viewing beginning on July 1st with an expanded virtual version of the show online!

Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Monotypes by
Genevieve Irwin
Special Exhibition: 1st Floor Natural History Gallery

Exhibition sponsored by:

The Museum has a number of exciting projects underway. First, we have partnered with the New York Natural Heritage Program to conduct a series of ecological surveys of Land Trust properties that will focus on significant occurrences of natural communities, botanical surveys of rare plant species, and zoological surveys of rare animal species. Second, the Museum is embarking on a project to convert a section of the Sanctuary that runs along Bell Hill Avenue into a nursery for raising native plants, primarily for replanting within Land Trust properties. We are working in collaboration with Russ Cohen, naturalist and wild foods enthusiast, and Cayte McDonough, an expert in native plant nurseries. Learn more from the Land Trust Report.

As always, we have an exciting line-up of guest speakers for this summer. Although the summer lectures have all been booked as virtual, some may also be able to be given “in person.” Speakers include Rob Bierregaard, a prominent ornithologist, who will educate us on Barred Owls, celebrated garden writer Page Dickey, who will speak on her new book Uprooted: A Gardener Reflects on Beginning Again, and Lucas Savoy, wildlife research biologist, who will talk about the loon restoration project underway in our region. For the history buffs in our community, Pierce Rafferty’s talk will examine A Most Pivotal Decade: Fishers Island in the 1940s. Please be sure to check our calendar for these and additional speakers.

Both our children’s programs and nature walks will be back in person this summer. Children’s programs will take place at the Museum on Wednesdays at 2 pm. Nature Walks will be led by board member Terry McNamara, meeting at the Museum on Thursday mornings at 10:30.

Throughout 2020, our Land Trust trails received record high visitation. We hope that you will continue to enjoy nature this year with walks along our trails. To enhance your experience, the Museum has partnered with the Fishers Island School to update and maintain trail signage. A crew of volunteers and workers, led by Land Trust Steward Jack Schneider, has been clipping and clearing the trails to maintain easy passageways. Our Trail Guide and individual trail maps can be found online, or downloaded to your phone via a QR code at each trailhead; a hard copy of the Guide is available at the Museum.

As always, thank you to all the Museum members whose generous contributions have enabled us to provide such a wide range of events, programming and special projects.

—Elizabeth McCance, President

Head On. Photo by Todd McCormack. Todd’s work is featured in a Special Exhibition on the 2nd Floor.

Head On. Photo by Todd McCormack. Todd’s work is featured in a Special Exhibition on the 2nd Floor.

The Henry L. Ferguson Museum Newsletter Vol. 36, No. 1 • Spring 2021