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About Dennis Puleston
Dennis Puleston Celebration Transcript Lindblad Newsletter article New York Times Obit
Dennis Puleston 1905-2001

Where Dennis Puleston grew up in England, the osprey was never a common bird. When he moved to the Hamlet of Brookhaven after World War II, he was impressed that ospreys nested high in old trees along the Carmans River. Little did he know then that his beloved ospreys would seriously decline in his lifetime only to be restored by his commitment to their well being.

 

At the request of the Gardiner family, Dennis studied ospreys each year on their island in Gardiners Bay. He discovered that the rate of successfully fledged osprey chicks was dropping dramatically. He brought unhatched eggs for analysis by new scientific techniques conducted by Dr. Charles Wurster at Stony Brook University. High levels of DDT confirmed the warnings of Rachel Carson in her 1962 book, Silent Spring and prompted action to ban DDT.


As an expert naturalist testifying in a Suffolk County courtroom in 1966, Dennis along with others presented the scientific evidence showing that DDT thinned eggshells. This trial spurred the creation of the Environmental Defense Fund in 1967 with Dennis as its first Chairman. By the time he passed the leadership baton of the Board five years later, William Ruckelshaus, the first administrator of EPA, had banned DDT in the United States.

Because the osprey is so much a symbol of the environmental health of Long Island and is so intimately connected with Dennis, friends and family of Dennis have formed the Dennis Puleston Osprey Fund.
The purpose of the fund will be to encourage research on ospreys on Long Island, to improving the nesting opportunities for these magnificent birds and to educate the public about them.

Those who wish to support this fund should make checks out to the Post-Morrow Foundation-Dennis Puleston Osprey Fund, PO Box 204, Brookhaven, NY 11719. (All donations are tax-deductible.)

The effort to protect Carmans River was a particular concern of Dennis Puleston. Above, the cover of The Carmans River Story shows a drawing by Dennis Puleston of his beloved Osprey.

Copyright © 2003 DPOF