Dennis Puleston 1905-2001
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.
the request of the Gardiner family, Dennis studied ospreys each
year on their island in Gardiners Bay. He discovered that the
of successfully fledged osprey chicks was dropping dramatically.
He brought unhatched eggs for analysis by new scientific
conducted by Dr. Charles Wurster at Stony Brook University. High
levels of DDT confirmed the warnings of Rachel Carson in her
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
showing that DDT thinned eggshells. This trial spurred the
of the Environmental Defense Fund in 1967 with Dennis as its
Chairman. By the time he passed
the leadership baton of the Board five years later, William
the first administrator of EPA, had banned DDT in the United
Because the osprey is so much a symbol of the environmental
of Long Island and is so intimately connected with Dennis,
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.