The Conservancy

Calf Island Conservancy, Inc. works in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to promote beneficial public uses and habitat enhancement on Calf Island, part of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge.

The Conservancy’s mission is to work with Refuge personnel to:

  • Provide appropriate high-quality public uses, promote environmental education opportunities, and enhance natural habitats on the island for plants, fish, wildlife and people
  • Continue, promote and enhance Calf Island’s long history of public access

Incorporated in February 2004, the Conservancy is a Connecticut nonprofit membership corporation which has been granted 501(c)(3) status. Working with Refuge personnel and with the assistance of volunteers, members have made many important improvements to public access, trail systems and buildings and most recently interpretive signs that celebrate wildlife, habitats and conservation along the island trails. Additional projects are planned to ensure the visiting public enjoys a quality experience.

The Conservancy assists Refuge personnel by assembling volunteers for a variety of tasks, including:

  • Habitat restoration. The Conservancy assists in removing non-native species and replanting native vegetation.
  • Debris and drift removal. The Conservancy has cleared out old floats and wreckage from the salt marsh, and regularly cleans up accumulated debris that washes ashore.
  • Encouragement of general public use. The Conservancy assists groups in organizing visits, and seeks to educate the public on sensitive use of the Island.
  • Keeping trails and the open areas cleared: Conservancy volunteers clear trails and mow grass around the pavilion and trailside interpretive signs to facilitate public access.
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The Conservancy also assists the Refuge by funding projects that may not be funded by the refuge due to budget limitations. Current needs include:

  • Grant applications: For habitat restoration, environmental education and other projects.
  • Habitat management plan: Clearing invasives and planting native plants
  • Kayak trail guide: The guide would include Calf Island and other places of natural interest locally.
  • Updating and maintaining the CIC website current
  • Education: “Nature of Learning” program developed by FWS including classroom experience followed by visit to the island.
The Conservancy’s recent achievements:
  • Interpretive trail signs: These educational signs by local artist Edward Henrey display wildlife, habitats and conservation issues along the island trails and were paid for with funds donated to CIC by private citizens to whom we are most grateful.
  • Native and invasive plant survey: Calf Island Conservancy recently completed a study of native and invasive plants on the island. The study was performed by a professional field botanist and paid for with a grant written by CIC.
  • Invasive species Management Plan for Calf Island: a recent report by Kris Vagos is available by clicking on the link below.
  • Reforestation: planted over 100 native trees.

There is much to be done to fulfill Calf Island’s potential both as a community resource and as a special place for plants, fish and wildlife. Become a volunteer and a public land steward. Reap the satisfaction of contributing toward land conservation. Please join us!