I am happy to introduce myself to all of the valued members and supporters of the Ripley community. My name is Nora Hulton, and I am pleased to join the ranks of one of the most revered organizations in the world of waterfowl conservation. My introduction to Ripley was in the spring of 2018 when a fellow colleague and I, from the Washington Montessori School, responded to a request from Rosemary Ripley to visit the Conservancy. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I was not prepared for the profound impact the experience would have on me and my educational approach. From the moment I entered the first aviary, my senses were aroused and my mind was awhirl with creative ways I could integrate the Conservancy into my middle school science curriculum. The plight of the critically endangered Baer’s Pochard worked into my program on genetic diversity, the Low Impact Development section of my water unit could be enhanced by a trip to the Conservancy’s reverse bog and rain water harvest systems, and it was a short-reach to interweave the crisis of habitat loss into my ecosystems unit. I was delighted to have found a resource, located right in my backyard, to support these environmental concepts as well as the Montessori philosophy of “place-based” education.
My new job as director affords me the opportunity to reach out to local educators and apprise them of the convenient educational resources that are available for them at RWC. Having been a teacher for 24 years, I am familiar with the struggle to avoid stagnant lessons and the challenge of applying scientific concepts to relatable scenarios. Ripley aids in that effort by exposing our future generations to urgent environmental issues concerning wildlife, water and wetland conservation by offering a close-up look at a population that has been markedly affected by human impact. Engaging with our unique assortment of waterfowl, both children and adults develop empathy for our vulnerable avian species and leave with a sense of accountability when it comes to their role within the natural world.
Fulfilling our mission at Ripley is more critical now than it has ever been, and I am proud to represent an organization that is dedicated to promoting conservation awareness and the protection of rare and endangered birds. Please consider a donation to help us reach our year-end goal of $65,000. Your generous support will help us continue to offer free educational programs through the rest of the year, hire a new staff member, and prepare our facilities for the winter.
If you haven’t made the trip lately, please stop by the Conservancy to meet the newest members of our collection. Although we close for the winter season on November 30, we can sometimes accommodate groups on a snowy day, so feel free to call the office to inquire about the possibility of arranging a winter tour.
Also, remember to check our website regularly for news, events, and our soon-to-be-added holiday gift giving page. In addition to our website, we will be sending a newsletter shortly with updates on our activities and programs, and don’t forget to mark your calendars and join us for our 2022 Benefit Gala to be held on June 18!
I join the entire Ripley board and staff in thanking all of our benefactors, past and present, for providing the needed support that has allowed us to evolve our programming and services over the years. Your commitment to our vital mission is truly the backbone of our organization.
With sincere gratitude,
Nora Hulton Director
RWC is one of America’s oldest organizations devoted to the preservation, research, and breeding of rare and endangered waterfowl, and our objectives are simple:
• Educating the public on matters of conservation while fostering a connection to nature
• Breeding and protection of threatened and endangered waterfowl species
• Commitment to research to better understand what is happening to our waterfowl
Although the weather conditions in 2021 were less than ideal during breeding season, RWC still realized impressive accomplishments as we continued to uphold our commitment to the breeding of rare and endangered waterfowl. We are proud to report the following highlights:
• The successful rearing of a female White-Headed Duck; an endangered species that is challenging to breed and raise in captivity.
• Being one of a handful of facilities in the world to successfully breed a Spectacled Eider; a protected Arctic species.
Slated for 2022:
Next year, we are furthering our legacy of conservation and stewardship with the planned construction of the Ripley Pheasantry. I join the entire board and staff in thanking each and every one of the contributors who helped to fund this ambitious endeavor. Construction of the pheasantry is expected to begin in the spring of 2022, and will house some of the rarest birds in the world such as:
• The critically endangered Edwards’s Pheasant; which is thought to be extinct in the wild
• The vulnerable Cabot’s Tragopan
• The near threatened Mikado, Reeves’s, and Swinhoe’s Pheasants.
Additionally, in 2022, our dedication to education and wetland preservation will become more apparent as we:
• Integrate our rainwater harvesting and reverse bog systems into our educational and outreach programs.
• Provide interpretive signage and correlating curriculum to introduce the concept of water conservation and Low Impact Development (LID) to future generations.
• Promote our innovative LID systems to the general public and become a model of best practices and stewardship in the areas of stormwater management and water conservation.
With your donation...
$100 Feed an endangered bird for one year
$250 Provide one on-site educational program
$500 Provide one off-site educational program
$1,000 Feed a pair of cranes for one year
$2,500 Feed our hawk and owls for one year
$5,000 Help us provide the necessary components for Senior and ADA accessibility
Checks may be made out to Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy and addressed to P.O. Box 210 55 Duck Pond Road, Litchfield, CT 06759
Thank you to our 2021 Annual Appeal Donors! We would not be able to continue our work without your support. As 2022 approaches please consider continuing your support towards research, education, and conservation action.