One of the North Fork’s lesser known gems is the North Fork Audubon Society, located on Route 48 in Greenport.
The North Fork Audubon Society is the local chapter of the Audubon Society and the group currently serves as stewards for Through its programs and trails, the naturalist group helps educate visitors on local wildlife and conservation efforts.
Diana Van Buren is the North Fork Audubon Society’s president and program director said she is proud of the newly installed art gallery. Van Buren said she and artist Koichiro Kurita transformed two of the rooms in the Red Barn into an art gallery by adding lighting and painting the walls.
As part of Kurita’s project, Kurita’s photography, which involves antique photo processing of landscapes, will be on display on weekends in Aug. Kurita’s project follows in the footsteps of Henry David Thoreau and asks, “What if Thoreau were a photographer?”
“We set the bar very high. We want the gallery to be a destination and have other exhibits here. We’re looking for artists who have a history and would like to exhibit in a non-profit setting,” Van Buren said.
Adjacent to the gallery is an extensive naturalist library. As a result of having people stop by the gallery, they have received donations of stuffed birds and even a large hornet’s nest. Suffolk County has even budgeted monies for exterior and interior renovations to the Red Barn.
Throughout the year, programs are held for the entire family. The group sponsors everything from guided nature walks to hands on projects. Van Buren said the recent “A Big Night for Bugs” was a huge hit. Next up on the schedule is the popular Family Dragonfly Day at Skipper Horton Wentworth Park on Aug. 13.
The highlight of the location is the grounds. Van Buren said volunteers stock the numerous bird feeders and maintain the gardens. She said the group is in the process of replacing some of the garden plants with native plantings.
Beyond the garden, there are four-interconnected trails that are accessible year-round, which lead down to Long Island Sound. In addition to seeing local plants, it is a great place to spot a variety of birds, bugs, deer, frogs, rabbits, and even muskrats.
The organization also monitors and protects the federally threatened piping plover population. Van Buren said they receive a grant from the town to help count and monitor the more than 20 nesting locations on the North Fork.
“If we don’t protect them, they will become completely extinct because of our activities,” she said.
Van Buren said they are always looking for volunteers to help with mowing and trimming the trails, stocking the bird feeders, monitor piping plovers, and help run community programs.
North Fork Audubon meetings are the second Friday of every month, either at the Red Barn in Greenport or at. Each meeting includes a lecture, slideshow, or discussion on an important topic.