Our Story - Our Misson

PHAS Annual Dinner 2018

PHAS Annual Dinner 2018


Today we serve Putnam and Dutchess Counties. We maintain bird sanctuaries deRham Watergrass Sanctuary in Philipstown and Reese Sanctuary in New Hamburg. We offer monthly bird walks and educational programs in Beacon, Cold Spring, Garrison, Philipstown and other local towns.

It all began when in 1976 a noted Garrison, NY resident offered to bequeath 48 acres of land to become a bird sanctuary. Word came back that the formation of a new local National Audubon Society Chapter might make the offer more likely to be awarded. A group of local conservation minded citizens seized upon the opportunity and the formation of the Putnam Highlands Audubon Society began.

We received a provisional charter from the National Audubon Society in 1977 and became incorporated as a 501 c3 nonprofit organization in 1979.

Over time PHAS took over management and eventual ownership of two local bird sanctuaries, Reese Sanctuary in New Hamburg and deRham Watergrass Sanctuary in Philipstown which we preserve and protect today. We maintain a Warden at Reese Sanctuary site who maintains the trails.

Our first fundraiser selling birdseed in 1980 raised $100, a small first step, a seed, that has grown significantly over the last 38 years. Today we raise funds every year through two annual bird seed sales, our annual dinner, and by participating in the annual Audubon Birdathon and other programs. With these fund and the hard work of our members we deliver

  • Free, public programs for children & adults

  • Care of PHAS’s wildlife sanctuaries: , Reese, and deRham Watergrass

  • Support for bird conservation programs, including bird walks and public programs

  • Summer internships at Constitution Marsh for high school students

  • Annual Scholarships

  • Chapter newsletters

These programs are enhanced through close collaboration with other local preservation and conservation organizations like Hudson Highlands Land Trust, Constitution Marsh Sanctuary, Glynwood Farm, Fahnestock, NYS Parks Hubbard Lodge, Taconic Outdoor Education Center and through the support of local media Putnam County News and Record the Highlands Current, and others. 

Our Mission is...

As a chapter of the National Audubon Society, we dedicate ourselves to preserve and maintain those lands and waters that have been entrusted to our stewardship, and to inform and educate the public on issues involving birds, wildlife, and the environment.  PHAS provides a schedule of programs, including bird walks, educational programs, field trips, and guest lectures.  These programs are intended to appeal to a wide range of interests and ability levels.

Follow our programs on Facebook  Page or read More in our newsletters here:

Putnam Highlands Audubon Society Newsletters

Summer 2019

Spring 2019

Winter 2019

Fall 2018

Summer 2018

Spring 2018

Winter 2018

Fall 2017

Summer 2017

Spring 2017

Winter 2017


Friends of PHAS

Constitution Marsh Audubon Sanctuary

Hudson Highlands Land Trust

Scenic Hudson

Ralph T. Waterman Bird Club