Roundup: Birds, Gardens, MoCA …

It’s been a while since we checked in with our ospreys.

Carolyn Doan visited the Fresh Market raptors on Saturday. She reports:

“I found mom on the very top of a neighboring pine tree. She was giving herself full view of the action around her.

“To her left, the first of her 3 chicks had fledged and was enjoying space away from his sisters. To her right, 2 female nestlings were front and center in the nest, getting ready for their first flight. It may happen this week!”

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)


Speaking of our fine feathered friends: “Birdbrain” is not a compliment.

But for the past few years, birds have been bright enough to build nests on top of a fire alarm signal box in the Playhouse Condominiums parking garage.

It’s warm. It’s protected from both weather and predators. And because they’re birds, “home” is a lot easier to access than residents who battle the shopping center traffic every day.

Still, bringing a chick into the world is not easy. In years past, the condo’s cleaning crew has dismantled the nest; other times, the parents abandoned it.

But this year, all’s well in birdland.

The Playhouse Condos proudly announces its newest resident:

Chick, atop the fire alarm box. (Photo/Dick Truitt)


Speaking still of nature:

On Saturday, the Westport Community Gardens held an open house.

Dozens of residents of all ages flocked to the Hyde Lane oasis. They toured the 100-plus plots; marveled at the wide variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers grown there; enjoyed the pergola and bocce court, and toured the Long Lots Preserve that rings the plots.

Gardeners shared tips — and some of their bounty too.

Enjoying the Westport Community Gardens… (Photo/Lou Weinberg)

… and some of the bounty. (Photo/Karen Mather)


As summer heats up, so does MoCA.

Last week, members of Club203 enjoyed art classes at the museum. The next Club203 art class is August 14 (6 p.m.).

The organization — Westport’s social club for adults with disabilities — is just one of several MoCA Gives Back partner groups.

The goal of the MoCA program is to offer art experiences to all, through high-quality programming, and strong outreach to under-resourced populations.

MoCA Gives Back is successful, thanks to dedicated volunteers and instructors. 

An exhibition on August 27 will showcase works created by MoCA Gives Back participants. 

Meanwhile, Friday night’s MoCA Some Noise: Open Mic Night offered performers a chance to share poetry, readings and acoustic music in the gallery. More are planned.

Click here for a full MoCA calendar.

Club 203, at MoCA Westport.


Sure, yesterday was a washout.

But that gives us 4 days for the weather to clear before Thursday’s 9th annual “06880” blog party.

We’re all set for 6 p.m (July 20). The site is Compo Beach — the alcohol-is-okay South Beach, by the trees (the opposite end from the cannons).

Bring your own food, beverages (no glass bottles!), beach chairs and blankets. We can always use a folding table too.

Our blog party is a community gathering – a chance to meet and mingle with the diverse “06880” community (both online and real). It’s fun, un-fancy, and free!

We extend a special welcome to all our new “06880” readers. And those who have never come to our bash. See you July 20!

Patti and Doug Brill and friends say: “Come to the blog party!”


Longtime Westporter Bernard Dorogusker died on June 29, with his family at his side. He was 97.

The Bronx native was born to immigrant parents. Times were not easy, but he and his 2 siblings experienced a full New York City childhood. He helped in his father’s store, and sold comics on the corner and hot dogs at Yankee Stadium. At 13, he attended the 1939 World’s Fair.

Bernie served in the Army in the European Theatre under General George S. Patton, Jr.

After his service he attended RCNY and the RCA Institutes for post graduate work in radio and electrical engineering. He loved everything about computers, instrumentation and technology, and started his career building computers at IBM.

This led to a decades long engineering career at the Perkin Elmer Corporation. He worked on government projects, including instrumentation for aircraft and the Hubble Space Telescope.

He met his wife, Barbara Helen Zepko, at Perkin-Elmer. They married in 1959, settling down to start a family near Compo Beach.

Bernie’s passion for all things sports included racing cars, skiing and sailing. In the early 1960s he turned in his iconic Austin Healey to focus on One Design competitive sailing.

Bernie was fascinated by wind patterns, aerodynamics and sail performance, and spent years studying data and research.

Cedar Point Yacht Club became his second love (after his family), and Bernie and his Thistle #1124, “Zelda III,” were a fixture of an award-winning fleet for many, many years.

He was instrumental in growing various fleets at the club, and was a master technical scorekeeper for all things racing at CPYC. After decades of successful racing he retired his boat, and became principal race officer for the cruising fleet. The cruising class honors him every year with the Bernie Dorogusker Trophy for every division in their Wednesday night series.

Bernie also was instrumental in publishing a book on Cedar Point’s history.

Seth Vanbeever honored him with a social media post. Seth wrote:

“35 years ago I was in the junior sailing program at Cedar Point. I wanted to race on the big boats, the cruising class, in the Wednesday night series. No one wanted to take a 12-year-old on the boat.

“I went to the race committee and asked if they needed any help. Bernie, who was in his 60s, said, ‘Shuuuuur’ in his New York accet.

“Bernie didn’t put me to work. He taught me to how to do race committee. He took me under his wing (while explaining Bernoulli’s principle) for the next several years.

“I did race committee on Wednesday nights, raced Thistles on the weekends with Bernie and Walt Stuebner. We even sailed in the Frostbite Series at Essex Yacht Club.

“these two men taught me a tremendous amount about the sport of sailing. I will always remember Bernie.”

Bernie is survived by his wife Barbara of Trumbull; daughters Robin of Boxford, Massachusetts and Laurie of Trumbull; grandsons Erik and Alex Weisensee; brother Alvin, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Renie Zinsmeister.

A graveside service with military honors will be held this Friday (July 21, 11 a.m., Oak Lawn Cemetery, Fairfield). A memorial service at the Cedar Point Yacht Club will take place at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or the American Cancer Society. To sign his online guestbook, click here.

Bernie Dorogusker


Johanna Keyser Rossi almost inadvertently squished this tiny praying mantis the other day, on one of the Riverwalk steps near the Levitt Pavilion.

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)

It’s a good thing she didn’t. For one thing, it’s Connecticut’s official state insect.

For another, we wouldn’t have today’s “Westport … Naturally photo.


And finally … Andre Watts died last week, at his Bloomington, Indiana home. He was 77, and suffered from prostate cancer.

The New York Times called him “a pianist whose mighty technique and magnetic charm awed audiences and made him one of the first Black superstars in classical music.”

He was “an old-world virtuoso — his idol was the composer and showman Franz Liszt — with a knack for electricity and emotion. He sometimes hummed, stomped his feet and bobbed his head while he played, and some critics faulted him for excess. But his charisma and his technical powers were unquestioned, which helped fuel his rise to the world’s top concert halls.” Click here for a full obituary.

(If you enjoy our decade of osprey coverage — or anything else “06880” does — please consider a contribution. Just click here — and thank you!).

30 responses to “Roundup: Birds, Gardens, MoCA …

  1. Phyllis Freeman

    The Westport Community Gardens are a jewel in my life. Let’s find a way forward that’s a win-win for everyone!

  2. kathleen kiley

    Great stories Dan as always! Love the Westport Community Garden, too. It’s a biodiversity gem in Westport.

  3. Kristen Ripka

    We love the community garden! Such a special place!

  4. Marjorie Donalds

    We were delighted to open up our beloved garden to the town and share from the bounty of our harvests! Feel free to reach out to the Westport Community Gardens on our website for a tour if you’d like to come visit and find out why so many are so passionate about this town jewel. Surely a new school can grow WITH the WCG and the absolutely incredible new Long Lots Preserve. Both of these town treasures offer tremendous educational value to our kids.

  5. The Westport Community Gardens is an awesome model of how a community garden can be run. Of course it took 20 years and literally thousands of hours of labor to get it to the shape in which it exists today. What a gem.

  6. Eric “Waldman” Buchroeder, Property Developer

    The community gardens are beautiful. But the school needs to expand. Move the gardens to the Baron’s property or move the schools to the Baron’s property. But do SOMETHING with the Baron’s property. My cousin David will buy it and turn it into a beautiful office complex, complete with retail similar to Rodeo Drive. Trust me, you’ll LOVE it (or Levitt)

    • I agree the school needs to expand, but to say the garden can be moved is at least a 5 year project involving thousands of volunteer hours and thousands of dollars. The fencing, water systems, the privately funded bocce court and pergala would need to be moved. If you haven’t been to the gardens, please do so because it is truly a gem.

      An alternative idea would be to construct a temporary soccer field in Winslow Park where the unmoved meadow exists. Once the new school is constructed, the field could be left to become a meadow again. A temporary stone dust parking lot could be created for parking. That would also easily revert back into meadow.

  7. Love the Westport Community Garden. People, nature, games. Westport without it would never be the same.

    • Eric Buchroeder, Founder, Alan U Parsell School of Small

      Then it should be referendum time. Or just take the usual Westport approach to do nothing and let urban sprawl resolve the issue. I agree, real people growing real food is a good thing.

  8. Love the Westport Community Garden. A beautiful sanctuary and a Town treasure.

  9. Eric Buchroeder, Founder, Jack Ready Institute for Stern Discipline

    Everybody loves the community garden. Nobody loves Long Lots School. Greens Farms was much more fun.

    • Carl Addison Swanson, General Counsel, Jack Ready Institute for Stern Discipline

      Nah, Bedford Elementary rocked . . . 3:15 p.m. express to the downtown YMCA. Thanks Dianne Farrell. Now we get to work out in what seems like the floor of the Grand Central Station. Everybody in a hurry cuz being in a hurry makes one important. Or does it?

  10. Bernie was our wonderful next-door neighbor for more than 20 years. Seeing Seth’s tribute came as no surprise—because that’s the kind of guy Bernie was. And, while I did not know that there was the Bernie Dorogusker Trophy, that also did not surprise me. He was so passionate about sailing and so devoted to the CPYC. Our condolences to his family.

  11. Karen Mather

    Let’s save this Green Gem we call the Westport Community Garden! I believe ‘moving’ the Garden is a stake in the heart of Community Gardening in Westport as starting over is daunting. It is irreplaceable after 20 years of hard toil to build the infrastructure and to create the rich soil achieved by adding, annually, compost and organic soil – black gold! Anyone who walks through this oasis leaves feeling a sense of calm and peace and feels connected once again to nature and our little blue marble, earth, which needs more vibrant community gardens! Not only is this Garden humming with bees, but it is humming with some of the nicest, kindest souls in Westport. Surely there is a path for the School and Garden to grow together.

  12. Pam Barkentin

    Westport Community Gardens and Long Lots Elementary can co- exist. Our garden and preserve are irreplaceable! Please come visit and consider signing the petition at

  13. Cynthia Mindell

    Fun Fact: Not only is Westport Community Gardens a tasty and crucial stop along the North American Pollinator Pathway, but WCG also helps feed human neighbors in need, as the founding site of Grow-a-Row Westport, part of a national program to provide free fresh produce to neighbors facing food insecurity.. Working in partnership with those essential pollinators, Food Rescue US-Fairfield County, Zero Food Waste Initiative and Sustainable Westport, Wakeman Town Farm, the Westport Farmers’ Market, and many generous local gardeners, WCG’s Grow-a-Row Westport delivers a weekly healthy bounty to the Westport Housing Authority, Center for Food Equity and Economic Development (FEED) in Bridgeport, and other distribution points in the area. The pollinators and gardeners of WCG are an essential link in this community chain of sustainability — and can also serve as an extraordinary outdoor learning space for Long Lots Elementary School.

  14. As a Westport Community Gardener for over 12 years and counting, I can say that these Gardens are truly a treasure and need to be experienced and seen to truly be enjoyed. The Gardens are an oasis that allows so many diverse groups to enjoy nature and its biodiversity. I hope the town can come up with a solution that is equitable to all parties- the BOE, Parks and Rec as well as the Gardens. Sad but true, but this institution is celebrating its 20th year anniversary this year and it would be a shame to dismantle and tear down a treasure that has taken 20 years to build, nurture and bring show much joy to hundreds of families. The topsoil, the mulching, the planting of native trees, etc. takes years, not one planting season. would hope that all parties can recognize a community means many things to many people, but at the end of the day, we must co-exist and grow together. Let’s put our heads together and come up with a solution that benefits us all.

  15. Eric “Tiny Tim” Buchroeder (tiptoeing through the tulips)

    I find it heartwarming that the sentiment is trending in favor of keeping the community garden.

  16. Love the Westport Community Garden. It was the most welcoming place as new residents to the area and has taught us a lot about new ingredients, natives and wildlife. Would love to continue to enjoy such a wonderful plave in our community.

  17. Toni Simonetti

    Love this place! It cannot be recreated! There is 20 years of evolution that cannot be replaced. Save the gardens and preserve!

  18. Bill Humphrey

    I love the Westport Community Garden and all the benefits that it provides. To remove it would be an ecological tragedy for the town.

  19. Katie Wilkinson

    My family loves the Westport Community Garden! I have loved walking my children there after school and caring for our plot together. It has been so wonderful to see my mother and father-in law bonding with their grandchildren, teaching them how to grow their own food, the value of volunteering, and being part of something that is bigger than you. We’ve created so many friendships over our past few years at the garden. It is truly a special place.

  20. Alison Freeland

    Am so thankful for my five years at the WCG–emphasis on “Community.” There must be a way to build a new school AND keep the Gardens and Preserve as a ready-made resource for the kids.

  21. Jeff Schorer

    Someone once asked me what I love most about my 5+ years at the Westport Community Garden? The bounty of healthy eats? The reward of being able to help make donations to food kitchens? The socializing and camaraderie? Surprisingly, somewhere near the top of the list is the mental stimulation and challenge that the garden has bestowed upon me. Every day and every season is a new and engaging game of chess with Mother Nature that helps keep me thinking.

  22. Eric (“The Bishop’s Wife”) Buchroeder Staples Players Neverwas.

    My work is done here. The enlightened have spoken thanks to my facilitative efforts. The community gardens stays. Now it’s on to the Baron’s property. If I can get that issue resolved, I will move on like the Angel I am and you’ll never even know I was there (you’ll think Jen and Foti accomplished this)

  23. Jean-Pierre Montillier

    The Garden is one of the best examples of what a Community is: people from all ages and backgrounds sharing their experiences with Mother Nature. Over 20 years this small parcel of land evolved into one of the most amazing and diverse place in Westport. It is an “eco-system” that is alive, is unique and cannot be duplicated. It took 20 years, plot by plot, to transform the soil so it could become a proper habitat for all those organisms that are essential for growth of plants of all sorts. Everyone talks about the beach, the golf course, the tennis courts, the doggy park, but thanks to the Long Lots School there is now much more awareness of what is happening in the Garden and the surrounding Preserve and what it does for Westport and our environment. Long Lots School and the Garden/Preserve must evolve in partnership.

    • Eric “Psaki” Buchroeder SHS ‘70

      As a former Westporter (1926-1978) I could not be more impressed with your grasp of the situation and beyond that, your sensitivity balanced with objectivity that only comes with maturity. What would you suggest that Westport’s leaders do to resolve longstanding impasse of the Baron’s property, the pervasive traffic gridlock and most importantly, the interminable wait times at the Starbucks that forces Westporters to double park? Obviously the Ukrainian conflict will be resolved by President Biden shortly and the First Selectwoman and Chief of Police will return to find their hands full. Any assistance would be welcome.

  24. Kim & Joe Mackiewicz

    Thank you, Dan, for highlighting “goings on” at the Community Garden. We old folks are 25-year Westporters with 2 grandkids in Westport elementary schools this Fall. Good schools teaching the “3 Rs” are important to us. Likewise, we place a high value on our grandkids learning about the natural world around us. What better way than “digging in the dirt” at the Community Garden? Let’s find a way for the Garden and the school buildings to continue to coexist…peacefully. Kim & Joe

  25. Terrie Langer

    Dan, Thank you for getting the word out about the Westport Community Garden. I believe we can grow the Garden and Long Lots Elementary School together. The garden offers so much to so many and the children especially. Beyond the garden gates all are welcome. It is a great community for people as well as an amazing home to so many bugs, birds, and native plants. Let’s continue to play in the dirt together and provide learning at the school and the garden! Thank you again, Terrie Langer

  26. Paddy Duecy

    Westport’s elementary school students are learning a lot about how to take care of Mother Earth. They are taught that replacing invasive plants with native plants can help us maintain important pollinator connections to ensure food sources for ourselves and our wildlife. When they visit the Westport Community Gardens those students will see the large Preserve that our gardeners have recently funded and created around the Westport Community Garden – full of thriving native trees and plants that will live in harmony with each other and invite even more birds, bees and butterflies to pollinate all the food plants that grow for miles around.

    Students will remember their teachers telling them that carbon (CO2) emissions are harmful to the health of humans, animals, our crops, and our oceans. But they are, surely, also learning that there are ways to get rid of this carbon. One of the best is through planting trees and bushes that will absorb carbon. (Plants and trees already absorb 45% of CO2 emitted by human activities each year!) They’ll also learn that mulch and soil eat up that carbon too. The Community Garden prepares multiple, huge bins of mulch each year to add to soil. The Community also requires that all the all the pathways in the entire garden be covered with mulch. The Urban Forestry Network has estimated that if every household with a yard planted two trees, (100 million trees), carbon would be reduced by 18 million tons of carbon per year and save Americans $4 billion per year on utility bills!

    This is not a good year to eliminate the Westport Community Garden. Can’t we learn and grow…together?