About Us

photo of Maurice Wertheim


Maurice Wertheim (1886–1950) was a New York investment banker, philanthropist, and environmentalist who owned 1800 acres of land along the Carmans River, which he used for conserving wildfowl and hunting. In 1947, he and his wife Cecile donated all of this property to the U.S. government as a gift for the American people.

photo of Dennis Puleston


Dennis Puleston (1905-2001) was a British-born American envirnmentalist, adventurer and wildlife artist.  His life-long interest in birds led him to work to prevent the continued use of DDT, which had caused Long Island’s osprey population to decline.   After securing a ban, Puleston and his colleagues founded the Environmental Defense Fund.  A senior naturalist, he also painted and wrote extensively about Long Island wildlife.

group of people


In July of 1998, Marty VanLith signed the FOW incorporation papers during a busy time which included the acquisition of Southaven Properties and a successful effort limiting the proposed commercial building in the area.

The attendees at a weekend retreat and organizational meeting at Mashomack in October of 1999. Pictured left to right:  Lee Snead, Peter Hutchings, Ellen Dillon, Anne Meinhold, (Alyssa Dillon on mantel), Kathleen O’Connor, Pat Martinkovic, Marty Van Lith and Ray Collins. Board of Directors members not pictured:   Roger Baker, Annette Perry Delhias.

Refuge Friends Group President Claire Goad

Former Refuge Friends Group President Claire Goad

Claire Goad’s fifty years of love and dedication to the Refuge System and FoW has left a valuable legacy to continue.  Her tireless advocacy with federal officials was instrumental in getting the Visitors Center built (she is pictured speaking at the opening ceremony).

kids in life preservers on a dock examining stuff they caught in nets


The Refuge gives children an opportunity to discover nature and to return to it over and over–with wonder and appreciation. They will be the next stewards of our Refuge and the environment.