The Bent of the River is an evolving nature center. Donated to Audubon in 1993 by Althea Ward Clark, the Bent was held as a limited access nature sanctuary through 2000. Since that time, Audubon has opened the gates daily from dawn to dusk and introduced many public and school programs, particularly for middle and high school students. The Bent is envisioned as a place for environmental education, research, advocacy, collaboration, and land conservation; as a laboratory and showplace for habitat preservation and restoration practices; and finally as a sanctuary for nature and people.
Located less than 5 minutes from Exit 14 of Interstate-84 between Danbury and Waterbury, the Center features two miles of frontage on the Pomperaug River, wetlands, vernal pools, old field and other transitional habitats, and a mix of forest types. The Center abuts another 760-acres of newly acquired state and town owned conservation land. These lands, together with other nearby protected sites, encompass a wide diversity of habitats supporting a fascinating mix of plants and animals, unique geology and a rich cultural history.
For birders, the Bent presents excellent inland birding throughout the year. In season, Audubon WatchList birds such as prairie, blue-wing, and worm-eating warblers, woodcock, and wood thrush are relatively common in the shrubby meadows and interior forests. Over 175 avian species have been recorded here. Staff and volunteers have been doing extensive habitat conservation work, particularly in the early successional meadows.
Rules at the Bent of the River are few and are designed to keep the sanctuary as pristine and natural as possible. We ask that visitors leave their pets at home. Likewise, we also do not allow bikes or ATVs. Following Mrs. Clark’s instructions, fishing and hunting are not permitted. We ask visitors to respect the natural quiet and beauty of the land and follow the maxim of “leaving only footprints and taking only pictures.” While encourage birding, hiking, nature exploration, skiing, and snowshoeing, we ask that you stay on the trails.
Bent’s mission is to conserve birds, other wildlife, and their habitats by engaging the community and inspiring a life-long love of nature.
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