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connecting people & nature since 1953

Saw Mill River Audubon
275 Millwood Road
Chappaqua, New York 10514

Dr. F. Morgan & Agnes Keane Pruyn
who established Pruyn Sanctuary. Photo: SMRA.


In the early 1950s, William G. Fennell envisioned a new chapter of Audubon that would be closer and more relevant to members in the Chappaqua and Pleasantville area. He was a member of Bedford Audubon which was the only chapter in northern Westchester County at the time. With the support of National Audubon, Mr. Fennell negotiated with the Bedford chapter, which agreed to release some of its territory. The door was opened for the new chapter.

Organizational meetings were held from February to April, 1953. At the first annual business meeting on April 24, the name Saw Mill River Audubon Society was formally adopted and officers and directors were elected, with William G. Fennell as President.

some key events

1953: Saw Mill River Audubon Society organized as a chapter of National Audubon.
1955: Scholarship and Education Fund established.
1958: Brinton Brook Sanctuary management assigned to the chapter.
1962: Chernick Sanctuary established. First owned property
1963: Incorporation of Saw Mill River Audubon Society, April 18.
1966: Gedney Brook Sanctuary established. (Later renamed in honor of Dr. & Mrs. Pruyn.)
1975: Pruyn home and grounds bequeathed. Graff Sanctuary established.
1981: Larry Light Memorial Scholarship Fund established.
1990: Gedney Brook Sanctuary renamed to Pruyn Sanctuary at a dedication in May.
1991: Transfer of ownership of Brinton Brook & Graff Sanctuaries from National Audubon to Saw Mill River Audubon.
1993: Chapter office established at Pruyn House.
1996: Pinecliff Sanctuary boardwalk dedicated in June.
1997: Crystal Spring parcel added to Pruyn Sanctuary.
2001: Pruyn Arboretum and Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden officially opened in July.
2003: Saw Mill River Audubon celebrates its 50th Anniversary.
2007: New entrance signs added to Pinecliff, Choate and Graff Sanctuaries.
2008: Haas Sanctuary doubles in size with a gift of seven acres from the Betts Family of Chappaqua.

Laura Brinton discusses Brinton Brook Sanctuary
with SMRA President Stan Lincoln.(1960s) Photo: SMRA


1953 William Fennell
1955 Lewis Bowen
1956 Joseph Malone
1958 Margaret Townsend Laire

1960 Robert Schweitzer
1962 Leon Nettleton
1964 Hugh Moore
1966 Willis Messiah
1968 Stanley Lincoln

1970 David Kayser
1972 Stanley Wecker
1974 Carol Coggeshall
1976 Richard Mrstik
1978 Frank Gillette

1980 Douglas Maynard
1982 Pam Rubin (Gilchrist)
1984 Hoch Reid
1986 Peter Burckmyer
1988 Stanley Lincoln

1991 Nina McCall
1994 James Anderson
1998 Jeffrey Pinerio

2001 Richard Saravay
2004 Robert McCrillis
2016 Valerie Lyle