EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR - TONY CROWE My name is Tony Crowe, and I am excited to be part of the Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy team. I grew up in Litchfield. My wife, Barbara, and I moved back to Litchfield after college, and we raised our children in this beautiful town and community. My professional career has been varied and enriching. For many years, we owned and operated Barnidge & McEnroe Bookstore, a familiar shop on the Litchfield Green, and after that, I worked for the Litchfield Public School System.
I then worked at the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange in Hartford. Working there for the past ten years confirmed that my career can be rewarding. First and foremost was the worthy mission of helping residents of Connecticut attain health insurance for the first time in their lives. And now, I am starting at the Conservancy with that same passion. To be in a position where I can be a part of the greater good. Specifically, the delicate environment in which we all live. Helping these threatened and endangered birds is essential to greater biodiversity. I hope to meet you here at the Conservancy!
DIRECTOR OF AVICULTURE - LOGAN CONNOR My name is Logan Connor, Director of Aviculture at Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy in Litchfield, Connecticut. I first began volunteering at Ripley in 2012 as a freshman in high school. Although I did not have a long history of working with waterfowl, I was interested in working with birds and wanted to learn more. My passion for raising birds started at a young age when I began raising chickens for exhibitions alongside my grandfather and uncle. At the time, I started with a half-dozen or so Bantam Rhode Island Whites but spent countless hours researching genetics, working on coop designs, and contacting other breeders. As I got older, I began introducing new breeds and selectively breeding my birds to fit the standard of perfection for show, which meant lots of breeding and incubating. Although chickens do not pose nearly as many challenges as waterfowl, I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of raising chickens. I was excited at the opportunity to expand upon that at RWC.
Throughout high school, I spent almost every day after school and most weekends at the conservancy, helping where I was needed and trying to learn as much as I could. Whether it was feeding birds or moving rocks from one aviary to the other, I was happy to be close to the birds and spend my time at such a unique place. In 2015, I was hired part-time and began getting more in-depth, hands-on experience with the breeding and husbandry side of aviculture. Like most, I enjoyed spending countless hours watching breeding behavior, making improvements in aviaries to encourage nesting, and learning the nesting preferences of each species. At the time, I did not have my sights set on anything specific after High School. Still, my time at RWC and my interests in wildlife, specifically waterfowl, encouraged me to attend Unity College, where I received a degree in Wildlife Biology.
Going to school in Maine meant less time at the conservancy, but I was always eager to come back on holidays and spring/summer breaks to work. In 2019, I graduated from college and was hired as Ripley's aviculturist. It is amazing to reflect on how much I have learned and how far I have come as an aviculturist since my early days as a volunteer. What I enjoy most is the potential to learn something new every day. There is much unpredictability when it comes to raising and breeding waterfowl, which in my opinion, is what makes it so interesting and rewarding. Every year, as spring approaches, I am eager to build upon last year's breeding successes and failures in hopes of expanding RWC’s collection of rare and endangered species.