BCR 190: Ted Gilman, Senior Naturalist

Ted Gilman, Senior Naturalist and Education Specialist for Greenwich Audubon and our 9th guest in our featured series called “For The Record, Legacy Interviews”. 

After 43 years with the Greenwich Audubon Center Ted Gilman is retiring at the end of Jan 2020. Ted has lived and breathed nature and conservation his entire career. He more than just knows his stuff, he cares about it too. Birds, butterflies, botany, you name it…Ted loves sharing knowledge about them all and how they work together to sustain the Earth and all living things. His enthusiasm has been contagious and influence far-reaching—he has inspired a love of nature in generations of children and helped train educators from across the country through his work at Audubon.

Ted received his bachelor’s degree in Biology from Earlham College and was first hired at Audubon in 1974, as a birdlife instructor at Hog Island Audubon Camp in Maine. While working on graduate coursework in Environmental Education at Cornell University in 1976 (where he was roommates with Stephen Kress, founder of “Project Puffin”), he received an invitation to apply for a staff naturalist position with Greenwich Audubon Center. He left Ithaca to pursue what he hoped would be his dream job and he has been living that dream ever since.

About BirdCallsRadio & Podcast Featured Series: “For The Record™, Legacy Interviews™”. Is/ are focused on the notable careers of individuals that have distinguished themselves in the world of wild birds or natural sciences. The questions are aimed at giving a perspective on a long and varied career. It is desired that the crucial points in these lives be touched upon. We intend to give a voice to notable individuals, to provide in a sense of the measure of the women or men, and to pass onto the next generation the lessons learned from their guidance. In this context, we will steer away from the commercial aspects of Greenwich Audubon, we will focus on the career of the man whose whole life has been intertwined with birds.

Show Notes:

  1. How long were you a working naturalist for the National Audubon Society?
  2. What early influences, helped to shape your interest in all things natural history?
  3. career was spent at The famed Greenwich Audubon Center in forests of northwestern Greenwich. 
  4. The gig at Greenwich Audubon and what were job requirements at that time?
  5. I know my husband Townsend went to summer camp for adults at Greenwich Audubon, it was one of four famed education camps for adults seeking to improve their skills in environmental issues and natural history for educational purposes. Most of the attendees were teachers. Tell us more about these camps.
  6. How was the Greenwich camp different from the other three?
  7. National Audubon changed focus and the Greenwich Camping experience ended. What were your thoughts and observations on this?
  8. The new center building, what changes were heralded by this massive building project?
  9. measure of what a naturalist educator should feature or stress to students, or to put it another way how did managements focus on education evolve over the years?
  10. Teaching style evolve to meet the changing needs?
  11. some of your note worthy natural history sightings in Greenwich?
  12. What changes have you witnessed in the forests and environment around the center?
  13. Teaching for years in summer at Audubon’s Hog Island.
  14. What changes would you like to see happen in Greenwich and National Audubon in the face on continuing challenges to our environment and natural history?

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  1. Cynthia Ehlinger on February 12, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    Enjoyed this interview immensely. Ted Gilman definitely leaves a wonderful legacy in Greenwich and this talk with him shows how thoughtful and joy-filled his approach to the natural world is. Many thanks, Mardi and Ted.

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