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Aug 1, 2023

Connecticut Senator George P. McLean’s crowning achievement was overseeing passage of one of the country’s first and most important wildlife conservation laws, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. The MBTA, which is still in effect today, has saved billions of birds from senseless killing and likely prevented the extinction of entire bird species.


In this episode, Executive Producer Mary Donohue interviews Will McLean Greeley. He grew up with a deep interest in American history, politics, and birds.  After retiring from a 35-year career in government and corporate market research, he began a four-year research and writing journey to learn more about George P. McLean and his legacy.  A Connecticut Yankee Goes to Washington, Senator George P. McLean, Birdman of the Senate, published by the Rochester Institute of Technology Press in 2023, is his first book. The new book puts McLean’s victory for birds in the context of his distinguished forty-five-year career marked by many acts of reform during a time of widespread corruption and political instability. McLean rose from obscurity as a Connecticut farm boy to serve as Governor of Connecticut and as a senator from Connecticut in Congress where he advised five US presidents and helped lead change and shape events as a US senator from 1911 to 1929.


Senator George P. McLean established the McLean Game Refuge in 1932 as a life sanctuary to preserve over 3,000 acres of meadows and forests he feared would be lost to development and resource exploitation. Today the wildlands have grown to over 4,400 acres, and protect hundreds of animal species. For more information, go to


To contact the author or to schedule a book talk, please go to:


To purchase your copy of A Connecticut Yankee Goes to Washington, Senator George P. McLean, Birdman of the Senate, please go to the independent bookstores shown below:

  • RJ Julia (all locations)
  • Breakwater Books, Guilford, CT
  • Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT
  • Byrd's Books, Bethel, CT

To order online go to the RIT Press website: or



Grating the Nutmeg, the podcast of Connecticut history is the winner of a 2023 Award of Merit for excellence from the Connecticut League of History Organizations.  We count on your support to be able to bring you fresh episodes of Grating the Nutmeg every two weeks. You can help us continue to produce the podcast by donating directly to Grating the Nutmeg on the Connecticut Explored website at   Click the donate button at the top and then look for the Grating the Nutmeg donation link. We appreciate your donations in any amount -thank you!


This episode of Grating the Nutmeg was produced by Mary Donohue and engineered by Patrick O’Sullivan at


Join us in two weeks for our next episode of Grating the Nutmeg, the podcast of Connecticut history.