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Great Gull Island

On the eastern edge of Long Island Sound, a small, rocky piece of land known as Great Gull Island houses the crumbling battlements of a U.S. Army fort and some 11,000 nesting pairs of Common and Roseate Terns. The American Museum of Natural History purchased the island in 1949 to preserve a breeding habitat for terns displaced from Long Island's beaches by increasing development. Project director Helen Hays has led the Museum's research efforts on Great Gull Island since 1969. Among the field team's discoveries was the early documentation of the harmful environmental effects of PCBs—chemicals widely used in coolants, paints, and other compounds.Each summer, a small group of Museum members has the rare opportunity to visit the Great Gull Island colony of nesting terns. Participants will see hatching chicks, get an insider's look at ongoing research, and explore the historical grounds. Visit to purchase tickets and join the more information on Great Gull Island research, visit the project
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