Important Bird Areas

Lyme Forest Block Conservation Project

Making a difference, together, for the Lyme Forest Block and Eightmile River Watershed
Cerulean Warbler. Photo: Charlie Trapani / Audubon Photography Awards
Important Bird Areas

Lyme Forest Block Conservation Project

Making a difference, together, for the Lyme Forest Block and Eightmile River Watershed

In 2016, Audubon Connecticut, in partnership with the State of Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CT DEEP), recognized the Lyme Forest Block as a landscape-scale Important Bird Area (IBA). This 60,000-acre block includes wooded areas in six towns in southeast Connecticut (East Haddam, Colchester, Lyme, Old Lyme, East Lyme, and Salem) and overlays much of the Eightmile Watershed. The woodlands in this region contain habitat that is important to the Cerulean Warbler and Wood Thrush, the worldwide populations of which are declining drastically, and supports a variety of other woodland-nesting birds identified in Connecticut’s Wildlife Action Plan.

To strengthen the conservation of this area and halt bird population declines, the Lyme Forest Block Conservation Project launched as a dedicated effort to engage people in the stewardship of a critical 1,200-acre area in and around the Lyme Forest Block IBA. Audubon, in collaboration with the Eightmile River Wild and Scenic Watershed Coordinating Committee (ERWSCC), the Lyme Land Conservation Trust, the Town of Lyme, the Old Lyme Land Trust, the Salem Land Trust, the East Lyme Land Trust, the East Haddam Land Trust, the Colchester Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and other organizations, have joined forces to build awareness and promote stewardship of the Eightmile River, the Lyme Forest Block, and the bird species these habitats support.

In 2019, during phase one of this project, this goal was achieved through four program activities: 1) bird walks and presentations; 2) training workshops; 3) workdays; and 4) a web page resource. By offering these education, training, and outreach activities, local landowners, community members, and visitors gained an appreciation for natural resources, felt more connected with their lands, area preserves, and waterways, and actively participated in conservation efforts.

In 2020, we built on this work during phase two, which involved information and training sessions that gave landowners and volunteers the opportunity to learn from a certified forester and other ecologists about habitat assessments and management. Lyme Forest Block landowners had the opportunity to have forest bird habitat assessments completed for their properties, which will included recommendations for improving habitat to benefit birds, other wildlife, and forest ecosystems as a whole.

In addition to some residential private properties, properties of the following land trust and conservation landowners were included in the 2020 habitat assessments:

Habitat Assessment Info Session (April 4, 2020)


Making the Most of Your Audubon Forest Bird Habitat Assessment - Webinars Part 1 and Part 2 (Spring 2021)


Sources That Offer a Selection of Native Plants

The nurseries and garden centers listed below are likely good local places to start to find native plants near the Lyme Forest Block area and in Connecticut. It's a good idea to visit their websites and call ahead to verify native stocks.

Acer Gardens

447 Winthrop Road

Deep River, CT

Holdridge Home & Garden Showplace

749 Colonel Ledyard Highway

Ledyard, CT 06339

Riggio's Garden Center

136 Westbrook Road

Essex, CT 06426

Ballek’s Garden Center

90 Maple Avenue

East Haddam, CT 06423

Ladd's Garden Center

671 Windham Road

South Windham, CT 06266

Smith Acres

4 West Main Street 

Niantic, CT 06357

Broken Arrow Nursery

13 Broken Arrow Road

Hamden, CT 06518


2940 Redding Road

Fairfield, CT 06824

Town & Country Nurseries

1036 Saybrook Road

Haddam, CT 06438

Earthtones, LLC

212 Grassy Hill Road

Woodbury, CT 06798


518 Forest Road

Northford, CT 06472

Search for garden centers who carry American Beauties Native Plants®

Hart's Greenhouse & Florist

Four locations: Canterbury, Brooklyn, Norwich, and Preston, CT

Paul's & Sandy's Too, inc Hardware & Garden Center

93 East High Street

East Hampton, CT 06426

Search for retailers who carry Summer Hill Nursery plants - a CT wholesale nursery that grows a large selection of natives

Native Plant Sales

Lyme Forest Block IBA Map

Click here to open the map

Lyme Forest Block IBA - Bird Species of Concern

Thank You to Our Lyme Forest Block Conservation Project Partners & Funders!



More ways you can help, right now