Our Mission

Established in 1949 at the bequest of Mabel Norman Cerio, the Norman Bird Sanctuary, under the charge of her will, was to maintain the land “for the propagation, preservation, and protection of birds, and where birds and bird life may be observed, studied, taught, and enjoyed by lovers of nature and by the public generally so interested in a spirit of humanity and mercy.” 

NBS is a mature 501(c)3 nonprofit that has maintained steady growth throughout its history.  Over the years, NBS has grown to include more than 325 acres of diverse habitats, and its mission remains true to Mabel Norman Cerio’s original vision. The Sanctuary is a community organization that has impacted the quality of life on Aquidneck Island and across the state for over 70 years.

Learn more about Norman Bird Sanctuary in the Annual Report!


Mabel Norman Cerio

Mabel Norman Cerio is the founder of Norman Bird Sanctuary.

In 1912, she came to live on the property after her parents died and lived alone until she married. Upon her death in 1949, Mabel's trust gifted the property to the community. It was named Norman Bird Sanctuary after her beloved father.

It is an inspiration that one gift, from one person, can have such a lasting impact. Today we honor her gift by remaining true to her vision of preserving and protecting the 325-acre property with integrity and purpose.

We often ask ourselves "What would Mabel do?" as a reminder of why we are here and to guide our decisions for the future.

2019 Board of Directors

Anne Howell (Chair)
Michele S. Foster (Vice-Chair)
Pat Galuska (Treasurer)
Abigail Rowe (Secretary)
Liz Drayton
Kim Fuller
Jeffrey Moniz
Beverley Murphy
Eliot Raymond
Mary Alice Smith

*NBS Board Members do not receive compensation for their service.

Click below to see a full list of our Leadership Committees.

Community Partners

Aquidneck Land Trust - Preserving Aquidneck Island’s open spaces and natural character for the lasting benefit of our community.

Coyote Smarts - Our mission is to work with municipalities and other local entities, along with state agencies and statewide organizations, to raise public awareness of coyotes, encourage best management practices, and promote effective strategies for keeping our pets, families and communities safe.

Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center - Since 1922, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center has continued to evolve in providing a safe and nurturing environment for the changing needs of Newport County residents who seek nutritional, educational, and social supports to improve the quality of their lives.

Potter League for Animals - The Potter League for Animals is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of animals. We promote the humane treatment of all animals and provide shelter and care for lost or unwanted companion animals. Through community education and the fostering of relationships between people and animals, we enhance the animals’ future and enrich the human experience.

Town of Middletown, RI

Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island - The Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island is a 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to the care of injured and orphaned wildlife since 1994.  WRARI also oversees the operation of The Wildlife Clinic of R.I., which is the only medical/rehabilitation facility in the state for wildlife.  All of our work is supported through grants, membership, fundraising, and private donations.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service - The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is an agency of the federal government within the U.S. Department of the Interior dedicated to the management of fish, wildlife, and natural habitats. The mission of the agency is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

Hanging Rock