The Start of Moriches Bay Audubon Society & Kaler's Pond Nature Center
~As told by Jean Noe April 2007 (Charter Member of Moriches Bay Adubon Society)
The Start of Moriches Bay Audubon Society
I was a constant visitor at the Center Moriches Library, and had many discussions with Gerry Donnelly, who at that time was the Librarian. Birds and wildlife were always the main topics, and through that we wondered why there wasn't some sort of bird club in town as so many people had the same interest. He knew a gal from Shirley, Carol Tveekrem, who also had the same interest. I called her and together we decided to do something about it. We formed the Center Moriches Bird Club and started with five members. At the same time I was involved with Girl Scouts and they wanted me to be the Nature Counselor at Camp Edie (G.S.Camp) in Bayport/Sayville. The Girl Scout Council ended up sending me to the Maine Audubon Camp for two weeks in July of 1967. After returning from Maine I asked members of our club if they would be interested in becoming a part of National Audubon. They were all in favor of such a change. Carol and I went into New York City where the main office for Audubon was located on Fifth Avenue and spent several hours gleaning information.
I knew of Leroy Wilcox but had never met him and decided to give him a call. He was very eager to be of help and as he had recently taught a class in Ornithology he gave me the names and addresses of the students. I made contact with them asking if they would be interested in joining an Audubon Society. Most of them were. I was told about Gil Raynor, in Manorville and contacted him also, who was very helpful. Then I contacted Dennis Puleston and he too was very helpful. These very talented and knowledgeable men were of extreme help to me during the forming times. However, they were not charter members. They finally all joined the club after we became a full-fledged Audubon Society and all of the kinks were worked out.
My friend, Helen Maust, from Brookhaven, was working on the history of the club after I moved to Illinois. As she was looking for early info on the club I forwarded what information I had, on to her. At the time that I moved from there, June of 1971, we had a membership of over 250 people. ~ Jean Noe
Start of the Kaler’s Pond Audubon Center
When I lived in Center Moriches I lived on Union Avenue, and it was a nice walk up to Kaler's Pond and that area; which I did very often. The little barn on the property intrigued me and then the thought hit me that if the Township of Brookhaven would let the Audubon Society use it we could have a nature center there and we would be able to help educate children and others. So finally one day I wrote a letter to the Brookhaven Township Board presenting them with that possibility. After receiving my letter they called me and asked me to attend one of their board meetings, which I did. We had long discussions on what our plans might be and they went for the idea. Soon they sent workmen up there to put a new roof on the building and they, at that time, put a window in the north wall of the barn. Then they discussed the possibility of putting in a new floor. They wanted to replace the wooden floor that covered half of the space and they wanted to put a wooden floor on the lower half that was just a dirt floor. After discussing this with the club, Dan Tobin, a member said that if the club would buy the bricks and sand he would like the opportunity of putting in that type of floor on the dirt side. We all thought that would be nice and look appropriate for the type of building that it was. In the meantime someone broke through the new window. Fortunately, we didn't have anything in the building yet so nothing was damaged. The Township closed in the window, which gave us more wall space anyway. The Township cut paths through the woods for us. They were not really quite wide enough but it gave us a start. We still had an old lawn mower at home, that we hadn't gotten rid of and my husband got it working again and I took it up there and with the help of Ethel Havens and Ida Johnson we widened the paths. In so doing we disturbed a nest of bees and all three of us got stung. Ahh well!
That was the rough beginning!
Later on Harvey Patterson, a member, made the Osprey sign for the front of the barn and the beautiful glass, lighted cabinets inside. Carol Tveekrem and I went in the evenings to Bellport High School where Art Cooley (a member of M.B.A.S. and a Biology teacher) was teaching students how to make museum skins. Our first skins in the cabinets were made by the two of us. Later on some of the members also made some skins as did Leroy Wilcox, Gil Raynor and several others. Dan Tobin had found an excellent Great blue heron which the club paid to have mounted, and so it went. Gil Raynor also made a question and answer game for the children visiting there and bit by bit we started a modest but nice collection of things. Mounting various seaweeds was another project that the children enjoyed. One of our members father enjoyed making bird houses and so he made several which we placed in trees along the trails. I contacted New York State Conservation Department and through them we got dozens and dozens of saplings to plant throughout the wooded area. One member donated a flowering crab tree that we planted to the west of the barn. Art Cooley's father donated a Martin house that we put up west and south of the barn. In the fall of the year we continued to have our sales but instead of having them at our meetings we held them at the barn, and that was a good thing. The sales got to be a really big project and it seemed that everyone was eager to either make things for the sale or to actually work at the sale. ~ Jean Noe
©2014 Kaler's Pond Nature Center, Montauk Highway, Center Moriches, NY 11934
Original sign for the
Moriches Bay Audubon Society