[CT Birds] Richard English

Mark Szantyr birdinggeek at gmail.com
Thu Jul 14 19:28:02 EDT 2011


On Jul 14, 2011, at 5:43 PM, <jtriana1 at sbcglobal.net> wrote:

> CT-Birders,
> As the historian of the New Haven Bird Club, I am saving all the notes and
> remembrances from CTBirds about Richard and will add them to our archives.
> 'Thank you' to everyone who has commented.  If you have more that you'd like
> to share off-list, you can email me directly.  I'd also be interested in any
> photos you have of him.
> Back in the spring, Patrick Comins asked me for some information on Richard
> as he was going to receive the President's Award at the COA meeting.  The
> following is a list of information about Richard that I provided.
> "Patrick,
> I'm just going to give you a number of bullets about him.  Obviously, most
> of what I have is based on NHBC history.  However, many across the state
> have benefited from his work, whether they know it or not.
> - First joined the NHBC as a junior member in 1946.  His parents were
> members back into the 1920's.  His is the longest membership in the history
> of the NHBC.
> - He and his parents (Philip and Katherine) were the first to join the NHBC
> as life members in the early 1970's.  (note: we bestowed life membership on
> at least one other person before that, but they were the first to join at
> that level).
> - He served as NHBC president from 1965-1967.  This was during a period when
> NHBC was transitioning from somewhat of a social club interested in birds in
> the 1940's-1950's to a more hardcore birding group.  It started in the early
> 1960's when folks like Mae McCabe, Tony Cosenza, and Bill Stoddard started
> to make various lists and restarted the New Haven CBC.  We have almost no
> record of participation in CBC's during the 1940's-1950's - only one mention
> in 1953.  The first one that appears in the minutes after that is the 1960
> CBC that included Richard.
> - Richard was in the middle of that crescendo of birding in the 1960's.
> After taking the torch from those that I mentioned, he ran with people like
> Noble Proctor and Davis Finch, getting the club more and more involved in
> what we would consider "birding" as we know it today.  He would then pass
> the torch to people like the Letis' and Fred Sibley.
> - Two of Richard's biggest accomplishments for the club were 1) an update of
> our checklist in 1965.  The previous checklist was done in the late 1920's.
> We've updated our New Haven County checklist several times since 1965,
> always relying on his notes from the 1960's. 2) He was one of the founders
> of our hawkwatch site at Lighthouse back in the 1970's.
> - Richard (and his whole family) have been very generous towards parks and
> environmental concerns around the state, but especially in New Haven.  There
> was an English on the New Haven Parks Commission for many years - preserving
> many of the places we hold near and dear (e.g. East Rock Park and Lighthouse
> Pt. Park).  They've donated money for parks and bird sanctuaries in many
> places.  One such location is the Richard English Bird Sanctuary next to
> Deer Lake in Killingworth.  I believe it is part of a scout camp.
> - One more personal note.....Richard comes from a long line of successful
> Connecticut Yankees.  I believe that he has CT governors on both parts of
> his family tree (from his father's and mother's side).  While he goes to
> operas and enjoys the things that might be stereotypical of a person of
> great wealth, he is very down-to-earth, extremely friendly, and never puts
> on airs.  I have been a member of the NHBC for many years myself, going back
> to the early 1980's when I was in junior high school.  When I came back in
> the area after grad school and got involved in the club again, I remember
> going to my first annual banquet.  I was sitting at a sparsely populated
> table, not really talking to anyone.  Someone tapped me on the shoulder from
> a neighboring table and asked if I had seen anything interesting lately.
> That person was Richard.  We talked for a while, with him sounding like he
> had known me forever.  I knew who he was, but I am sure he didn't know my
> name at the time.  It was a gesture of kindness I will never forget.  I
> often try to "pay it forward" when I see someone by themselves at walks or
> meetings."
> Thank you Richard.  Godspeed.
> Thanks,
> JT
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