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Mabel Osgood Wright
Mable Osgood Wright was a notable naturalist and nature essayist , best known as the founder of the Connecticult Audubon Society and the birdcraft Museum and Sanctuary.
Mabel Osgood Wright was born and raised in New York City. Educated at a private school and at home, she became a keen amateur naturalist as a young girl and published her first essay on nature in the New York Evening Post at the age of 16.
In addition to her work on behalf of the Audubon society and nature conservancy, Wright published several important books, including The Friendship of Nature (1894), Birdcraft (1895), and Flowers and Ferns in Their Haunts (1901). She also wrote the popular Barbara books which blended social commentary and fiction, and an autobiography, My New York (1926). Tommy-Anne and the Tree Hearts (1896), Wabeno and the Magician, and other educational stories for children written by Wright brought nature appreciation to a new generation being raised in a more urban environment.
Birdcraft, the sanctuary named after Wright's successful book, was the first bird preserve of its kind. Its design and construction were carefully planned by Wright. Within ten years of its opening in 1914, Birdcraft received over 10,000 visitors and was home to 32 different nesting species. By the 1940's there were over 153 species, a museum and education center had been added, and the site was visited by ever increasing numbers of school groups and scout troops as Wright would have wished. Birdcraft was officially designated a National Historic Landmark in 1993.
The Birdcraft Museum at Fairfield is maintained by Connecticut Audubon Society at 314 Unquowa Road, Fairfield, CT 06824, 203-259-0416. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark, this small and intimate natural history museum with its adjacent private songbird sanctuary (the oldest in the U.S.) represents the historic heart of Connecticut Audubon Society. Changing exhibits, informative lectures and the teaching bridge and pavilion provide a unique environmental experience.
The Museum & Cottage represent the historic heart of Connecticut Audubon Society, these buildings served as the original headquarters. The museum offers dioramas of Connecticut’s wildlife as it existed at the turn of the 20th century.
The Sanctuary was originally planted as a refuge to attract, harbor and feed migratory and resident birds, the six-acre site has documented records of more than 120 species of birds. Throughout the sanctuary are plantings designed to attract birds and butterflies. To enjoy this unique sanctuary and its inhabitants more fully, a new teaching bridge was constructed in 1995 over a pond on the property, allowing a unique perspective of the natural beauty of the area. A list of sanctuary plantings is available to visitors upon request.