For over 25 years the Fishers Island Conservancy has witnessed extraordinary changes in environmental awareness and appreciation for nature’s diversity on our special island.

The Fishers Island Conservancy has had another wonderfully busy year. The Conservancy increased funding for our existing programs and took on new responsibilities with dedicated vigor, all the while maintaining our mission and promise to protect and enhance the natural environment of Fishers Island.

We have continued to grow and expand in our core competencies such as mosquito control, water testing, invasive plant education, and outreach within the Long Island Sound Community. Newer initiatives, such as the Parade Ground Habitat restoration project, are a model of Conservancy success.

Habitat Restoration: Started just three years ago, the grassland restoration project now includes over 50 acres of native cool and warm season grasses. Paths have been mowed and benches have been set out for viewing the abundant bird and insect life. To watch a Northern Harrier float three feet off the ground in pursuit of prey is truly a site to behold. At the same time, we have fought and appear to be winning the battle against invasive Japanese knotweed and kudzu. Just a few short years ago, it looked like the entire Parade Grounds could be lost to these unwelcome guests. Now look for bird boxes this coming spring as we attempt to lure back the likes of the Eastern Bluebird, Bobolink and Meadowlark. Parade Ground birding has never been better.

Island Naturalist and Island Sentinels: Grants by the Conservancy continue to fund the work of Island Naturalist Justine Kibbe, and a new grant this year initiated the Island Sentinels program with students from the Fishers Island School. Justine, with help this summer from the Sentinels, gathers valuable data and observations at over a dozen sites on the island. Data on weather readings, as well as observations of flora and fauna, help us to understand our precious environment and what we should be doing to help preserve and protect it. Your support enabled the Conservancy to fund this exciting partnership with the Community Center and the FI School. Click here to learn more from one of the first Sentinels: FI School senior, Olivia Backhaus.

Otter Research: Another Conservancy grant brought a team of researchers to the Island to confirm the existence of a healthy River Otter population. Who knew? There are plans in the works to bring more scientists on island to help us find and catalog the island’s natural assets.

Advocacy and Outreach: While we are an island, we are not alone. The Fishers Island Conservancy continues to reach out to other similar and like-minded organizations who share our concerns and views on the natural world around us. We have the responsibility to learn what is going on in the waters surrounding us and how it could impact our environment. Dredging, dumping and run off from the lands that make up the Long Island Sound watershed could have great consequences for Fishers Island, so it is imperative that we, as the Conservancy, stay on top of these issues.

The Fishers Island Conservancy is a small group of volunteers dedicated to the well-being of the natural environment of Fishers Island. As the Conservancy closes another ambitious and busy year, we look forward to meeting the challenges that may confront our little island oasis. Please consider a generous gift to the Fishers Island Conservancy. A gift to the Conservancy is a gift to Fishers Island, a truly special place that deserves our care and support.

 

Cheers and thanks.

Tom Sargent
President, Fishers Island Conservancy

2012 has been a fantastic year for the Fishers Island Conservancy. The Conservancy has continued to fund and expand our existing programs while taking on several bold new initiatives thus further expanding our mission.

While we continue our core responsibilities of mosquito control, beach monitoring and clean up, water testing on and around the island, invasive plant education and control, and continued outreach within the Long Island sound community, the Conservancy has launched and funded our grants program to stimulate and encourage environmental research education and related studies.

Starting this fall, we awarded one of our first grants to an island resident, Justine Kibbe . She will serve as our resident naturalist and will be responsible for observing, monitoring, collecting and recording data related to all things environmental on Fishers Island from weather observations to wildlife sightings and tracking. Through her field observations, we will get a concise picture of what is happening environmentally on Fishers Island and what we can do as a community to enhance and protect our precious ecosystem. We look forward to sharing this information with all of you.

We are very excited to announce that the Habitat Committee, whose restoration work is in evidence around the grasslands at the airport and parade grounds, has been brought under our charter. With the help of volunteers and other island support, more than 35 acres have been reclaimed, plowed and over seeded with native grasses. Not only has this resulted in an overwhelming victory against invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed and Kudzu but we have seen an increase in birdlife not enjoyed on Fishers Island for years. Late last summer, the grasslands provided a cornucopia for migrating warblers and other birds as they stopped to feed on seeds and insects before heading to warmer climates. Listening to their varied and lovely calls is a true delight. I hope that it is only a matter of time before we hear the once familiar call of the Bob White quail. As I write, there are plans to expand and enhance the Parade Grounds / Airport grasslands project thus continuing the Conservancy’s commitment to the natural environment.

Lastly, once again we have teamed up with other island organizations and individuals to spearhead a coastal study of the south side of Fishers Island. This study will give us an idea about the trends in erosion patterns of our vulnerable south coast and how we can prepare for potential changes to our fragile shores. Stay tuned as this project evolves.

As you can see the Conservancy has been very busy this year and we show no signs of slowing down. We have dramatically increased our commitment to Fishers Island so as we close out our year, I ask you to please consider making a generous gift to the Fishers Island Conservancy. A gift to the Conservancy is a gift to Fishers Island, a truly special place that deserves our love and support.

Cheers and thanks.

Tom Sargent
Preisdent, Fishers Island Conservancy