Banded-Tussock-MothThe John Burroughs Natural History Society was organized in 1950 by a group of scientists and educators to serve as a source of information about the flora, fauna, and natural history of Ulster County.The name of the great writer-naturalist was chosen for the organization because Burroughs lived most of his life in the county. In 1964, the Society was incorporated by the University of New York as a non-profit educational organization. During the years there has been an increase in membership and a widening scope of activities.

Purpose and Activities

The Society strives to foster the study and enjoyment of natural history and to encourage conservation of natural resources. The organization reaches out to the general public via field trips, lectures, and a newsletter called The Chirp. Field trips, offered several times each month, cover a wide variety of interests including bird watching, flower identification, geology, insects, and herptiles. Walks take place throughout the county and adjacent areas, from the Hudson River to the Catskill Mountains.

Meetings are held four times a year. They are conducted with a minimum of formality and a generous amount of fellowship. The meetings in September, November and March are followed by a talk (usually illustrated). The June meeting includes a picnic at the Burroughs Sanctuary.


waterfallThe official newsletter of the Society is its bi-monthly publication, The Chirp. It contains, among other items, notes on members’, activities, articles on local natural history and larger environmental issues, book reviews, reports of completed field trips and notices of upcoming trips and meetings. The most significant publication of the Society is The Flora of Ulster County, New York, by Henry Dunbar and Mary Domville. It is an annotated list of more than 1900 species of plants thus far identified in Ulster County. This publication and a bird check list are available.


Anyone interested in the purpose of the Society is eligible for membership. Our present membership ranges from professional biologists to amateur observers, and includes a wide span of ages. Dues are $25 per year for either an individual or a family or $250 for a life membership. To join visit our Membership page, where you can either sign up online or download a form that you can mail in.


Click here to view a PDF of our Bylaws.