Mary and Tim Williams have donated their family’s beautiful 4.5-acre property located at 357 Lattingtown Road to the Land Alliance for use as a public preserve. This lovely place once hosted a grand house called the Dormer House. The house was designed by Theodate Pope Riddle, one of the first female architects in America. It was built in 1906 by Mrs. Charles Otis Gates, of the Royal Baking Powder fortune, and tragically was destroyed by fire in 2014. The landscape, which remains today, was designed by the famous landscape architect Ferruccio Vitale (who was also working on the Humes Estate at the time). The meadow is perched above a pond and overlooks the vicinity of St. John’s Church of Lattingtown. Deer paths can be found across the sloped woodland that separates the pond from the meadow. It is easy to envision a loop path that crosses the meadow, then enters the woodland with its diversity of majestic trees and leads to a bench offering a serene view of the pond. Another approach to the pond may be from the driveway, which feels like an old carriage road, in the lower part of the property. Such a path would make its way over a bridge crossing the stream and leading into the pond. A pondside bench or perhaps a bird blind would be welcome in this spot. A deliberately tiny and rustic but functional parking area will be installed at an open grassy area just west of the driveway as one enters the property. The Williams property is in the Frost Creek watershed, which is classified as a wetland suitable for fish, shellfish and wildlife propagation and survival. It is also part of a corridor of undeveloped land that includes the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge, The Order of St Josaphat, Kate Trubee Davison Preserve and an adjoining 2-acre parcel donated to the Land Alliance by Miani Johnson in 2016. The conservation values of the property include Long Island Sound protection, groundwater protection, habitat for wildlife and pollinators as well as a recreational opportunity. Among the more noteworthy flora and fauna observations are a diversity of mature trees, including white oak, red oak, American sycamore, tulip and white pine. A spring ephemeral trout lily was observed by the stream this spring along with a variety of native plants such as azure bluet and great laurel. A number of warbler species (both breeding locally and spring migrants) were documented, as was a wood duck on the pond. We expect fox, opossum, bats and other mammals will also call this property home. We are grateful to the Williams family for this wonderful gift and look forward to inviting you to visit later this summer.
Wawapek is alive with the sights and sounds of summer! The trees are in full leaf, the pollinator gardens are a buzz and the blueberry patch is heavy with fruit. As we enter a new season at this much-loved preserve, we’d like to give you some quick updates about exciting things to come. Mowbray Lane Entrance If you’ve visited Wawapek this season, you may have noticed a much-improved entrance. A new split rail fence was installed along Mowbray Lane (which was dotted with beautiful daffodils earlier this spring). With the help of funding from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP) and a generous neighbor, we installed pollinator gardens on both sides of the driveway, along with new native red cedars and white pines. Habitat Restoration Area If you’re a regular visitor to the preserve, you’ve witnessed years of rapid invasive species growth along the right side of the driveway. Last fall, with the help of a local contractor, we used a forestry mulcher to remove porcelain berry, multiflora rose and other bad actors in this 10,000 square foot area. That made way for new native plants! This summer, with the help of funding from the NYSCPP, those invasive species will be replaced by beautiful native shrubs and trees such as red maples, dogwoods, rhododendrons, witch hazel and white pines. Vine Removal Along the woodland trail, we have started a periwinkle removal project with our volunteers. Vinca major is a rapidly spreading trailing vine that has spread throughout much of the woodland, outcompeting our native plants. The next time you’re out hiking at Wawapek and you come across a tarp in the woodland understory, you will see our volunteers’ invasive species management at work. Pulled plants are placed inside a black tarp to solarize (cook in the sun). Since our volunteer days over the past weeks, the native Canada Mayflower has begun growing quite abundantly in the areas previously invaded by Vinca, going to show just how crucial pulling weeds can be. We have also removed invasive vines (like porcelain berry and bittersweet) along the hedge row in the formal lawn. Thanks to the tireless work of dedicated volunteers, we have unveiled blooming star magnolia trees, a cluster of which had been invaded by vines over many years. The trees are still recovering, but their branches are no longer burdened by the weight of the heavy invasive vines. We are excited to watch these trees recover in the seasons and years to come. We plan to continue removing as many weeds as we can with the help of our volunteers, Friends Academy students and our summer O’Neil Stewards. Ralf Lange Garden Thanks to a generous donation from Pat Peterson and her friends in honor of her long-time partner Ralf Lange, we have installed a gathering area and native gardens in the once neglected greenhouse complex. The first garden, located within the low brick foundation of the former greenhouse, has been transformed. It now is a gathering area with a teak picnic table and benches surrounded by sweet bay magnolia trees. The adjacent garden area is filled with native shrubs such as witch hazel, sweet pepperbush and mountain laurel. Old cold frames have now been planted as pollinator gardens, with hyssop, sensitive fern, butterfly milkweed, black eyed Susan’s, purple coneflower and mountain mints. We hope you will visit soon and watch these exciting new projects grow. If you are interested in seeing what’s happening at Wawapek, come visit the beautiful property (located off Mowbray Lane) and its woodland trails from 7AM-5PM every day of the week. If you have any questions or wish to get involved, please contact Meghan Leverock at 516-922-1028 or [email protected].
Federal Update: Partnerships Are Important New York’s game species are literally losing ground, as human development and climate change is restricting their native habitats. In a new report, the National Wildlife Federation found game species across the country lost, on average, 6.5M acres of habitat over the past two decades. Per the report, between 65 and 82M acres of America’s national forests need restoration. In addition to the 30×30 plan outlined in Biden’s America the Beautiful initiative, Congress is considering the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, (RAWA), which would allocate nearly $1.4B annually to states to implement habitat restoration and conservation strategies. If fully funded, RAWA would deliver about a 25 percent increase to states, tribes and territories in their wildlife agency budgets. States would be required to contribute a 25 percent match. The money would be allocated among the states by formula, based on a state’s size, population and the number of species it contained that were listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. In the 117th Congress (2021-22), RAWA has been introduced in the House (H.R. 2773) by Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE). It passed the House Natural Resources Committee on January 19, 2022. RAWA was introduced in the Senate (S. 2372) by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Roy Blunt (R-MO). It was amended and passed by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on April 7, 2022. Since they now contain different language, if the bills pass both chambers they will have to be reconciled in a joint committee. New York State: A Once in a Generation Opportunity The $4.2B Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act will appear on the November ballot this year New York’s natural resources provide us with what we need most: clean water to drink, clean air to breathe, food for our families and places to explore the great outdoors. On November 8, New York voters have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to protect clean drinking water, conserve wildlife habitat, reduce pollution and modernize infrastructure through an environmental measure on this year’s general election ballot. If approved by voters, the $4.2B Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Bond Act will help communities throughout the state make crucial upgrades to roads, water pipes, septic systems and water treatment plants and keep pollution out of our bays, harbors and drinking water. The Bond Act would also support nearly 100,000 local jobs and protect and restore natural habitats by supporting family farms, conserving forests and improving habitat for birds, fish and other wildlife. The Land Alliance is a member of the coalition who will be actively supporting the passage of this important legislation. We hope we can count on you to vote yes in November. More information to follow.
After a pandemic year+ of postponement and a second year of remote learning (with supplies packed and delivered to schools) educator Karen Mossey finally returned to the classroom (with some interruptions!) during the 2021/2022 school year. And an exciting year this was with the total number of students served since the program’s inception surpassing 10,000. Enterprising as always and like educators everywhere faced with dramatic changes the pandemic required, Karen managed to add new school partners (Hewlett and Ogden in the Hewlett-Woodmere school district and St. James in the Smithtown school district). She nimbly adapted to remote learning. She did this by creating a video of the “build an aquifer” session and distributing a set of supplies for EACH student to the schools. Her efforts were carried out while getting her own school-age children through remote learning at home. Cheers to you, Karen, and educators all over.
- A Very Big Deal
- Growing Healthy Communities Through Food and Gardening
- Grasslands Symposium Highlights Long Island’s Grassland Restoration Efforts
- Wawapek Greenhouse Restoration and Native Seed Propagation
- Cushman Woods Meadow Transformation
- Restoration of the Williams Preserve
- Sisters of St. Joseph: Estate Planning on a Divine Scale
- Enjoy the Gift of Nature: Explore Land Alliance Preserves
- 2023 Walks in the Woods & Other Cool Things to Do Outside
- A Decade of Service by Friends Academy Students