Livingston Ripley
Waterfowl Conservancy

Protecting waterfowl and their habitats through research, education and conservation action

 

 

 

Livingston Ripley
Waterfowl Conservancy

Protecting waterfowl and their habitats through research, education and conservation action

 

History

Considered to be one of the twentieth century’s outstanding figures in ornithology and conservation, S. Dillon Ripley began building an internationally known collection of waterfowl in Litchfield, Connecticut in the 1920’s.  He started his first duck pond at age seventeen and taught ornithology at Yale while director of Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History.  In 1964 Dillon became the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution where he led the creation of numerous new museums, such as the National Air & Space Museum and the Hirshhorn Museum, and the development of  the Smithsonian Magazine .

Ripley was also a leader in the development of the international conservation movement with a focus in southeast Asia, serving on the Board of the World Wildlife Fund, as President of  the predecessor to Birdlife International, and leading the expansion and creation of numerous conservation centers while at the Smithsonian such as the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.  Over his lifetime, Ripley authored numerous articles, over a dozen books and received many honorary degrees as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985.


S. Dillon Ripley

Dillon Ripley developed an impressive list of lifelong accomplishments; however, it was his passion for waterfowl that laid the groundwork for LRWC.  An avid aviculturist, Dillon Ripley is credited with being the first person to propagate successfully many threatened and endangered species in captivity, such as the red-breasted goose, nene goose, emperor goose and Laysan teal.  Dr. Ripley also raised various endangered species in Litchfield for re-introduction to the wild. One important example was during the late 1950s and early 1960s when the Ripleys were the only people in North America raising nene (Hawaiian) geese, which were threatened with extinction in Hawaii. They sent a small flock of birds to Hawaii where, along with birds raised by Peter Scott's Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in England, they were released on the island of Maui.  The reintroduction program was successful, and by the late 1960s, the total population of nene geese increased to 500, up from only 50 birds fifteen years earlier.

 

Dr. Ripley and his wife, Mary Livingston Ripley, recognized the potential for their waterfowl collection to become a valuable conservation resource. In 1985, Dillon and Mary created the Kilvarock Foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to captive waterfowl conservation. Kilvarock evolved into the Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Sanctuary, as conservation interests beyond captive waterfowl began to emerge.  In 2007, the Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Sanctuary changed its name to the Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy to reflect additional changes to the organization’s mission. Their three daughters, in concert with the LRWC Board of Directors, continue Dillon and Mary’s vision.  


S. Dillon Ripley and Mary Livingston Ripley

Today LRWC is one of the pre-eminent facilities for breeding rare and endangered waterfowl.  LRWC’s programs integrate research, education and conservation action for waterfowl and wetland habitats.

 

 

Weekly Avian Update

 



55 Duck Pond Road, P.O. Box 210, Litchfield, Connecticut 06759

 

Phone: 860.567.2062 / Fax: 860.567.4369/ info@lrwc.net