• Cushman Woods

    Cushman Woods Meadow Transformation

    About two years have passed since we launched site preparation for the Cushman Woods meadow. The first step was forestry mulching, which involved the use of a powerful brush-cutting tool to cut and shred years’ growth of undesirable vegetation. It included porcelain berry vine and multiflora rose on about five open (but badly) invaded acres of Cushman Woods Preserve. This area is located along a utility line in the northwest part of the property. Then came monitoring and removal of invasive mile-a-minute weed, unhealthy and invasive trees and vines (that clung to desired meadow trees). This was followed by the planting of new trees to screen the debris area.  The extensive tree work and the addition of four lovely benches were funded by Oliver Grace and the Oliver R. Grace Charitable Foundation. A milestone was reached when the Cushman Woods meadow was seeded late last fall with warm-season native grasses and wildflowers. Funding for site preparation, meadow design, seed and installation was provided by the Cushman family and the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District. The photo above shows the wild rye coming in early to help combat regrowth of invasives before the natives can establish.

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  • Volunteer to Plant A Woodland Pollinator Garden

    Restoration of the Williams Preserve

    Williams has come a long way since Mary and Tim Williams donated this beautiful 4.5-acre Lattingtown parcel to the Land Alliance last June. We are embarking upon an extensive preserve-wide habitat restoration. Our restoration ecologist consultant Peter Meleady generously donated the plan. Thus far, we have been readying the site for plantings. We plan to begin implementation this spring, thanks to a $42,000 grant from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP) and New York’s Environmental Protection Fund. The NYSCPP is administered by the Land Trust Alliance, in coordination with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. We are also installing irrigation lines. They will enable us to have water for plantings proposed for the lower part of the property, along the pond edge and to establish a small grassland area. Many thanks to Spadefoot Design and Construction for donating services related to infrastructure upgrades. Our volunteers have done a great job of cutting English ivy from majestic oak, tulip and sycamore trees, uncovering and extending the stone staircase that leads from near the pond to what will be the meadow and digging out multiflora rose from the creek. They uncovered an expanse of spring ephemeral trout lily where we found only a handful of flowers last year. Our latest Walk in the Woods on a rainy Saturday showed participants our progress and provided a bit of the property’s history, along with a glimpse of what’s to come. Additional funds will be needed to complete the project. If you would like to contribute to the development of this wonderful new public preserve, please contact Jane Jackson at 516-922-1028 or [email protected] or click here to donate.

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  • 2023-spring-conservation-news-newsletter

    Sisters of St. Joseph: Estate Planning on a Divine Scale

    We are delighted to report that the Sisters of St. Joseph have committed to donating to the Land Alliance a 47-acre conservation easement on a forested parcel of their 212-acre property in Brentwood (Suffolk County). This is just one of many actions the Sisters are taking to protect their valuable work and the future of our world. According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, in communities of religious women, the number of aging members who are dying is much larger than the number of those entering. In an effort to continue their critical work, the Sisters are doing some very sophisticated estate planning. They are selling off hard assets such as buildings to create an endowment to ensure the continuation of their missionary work, which is at the heart of the church. The Sisters consider holding land as a sacred trust, believing that land should be maintained for the ecological health of the earth. In 2015, the Sisters adopted and affirmed a Land Ethic Statement to protect the Brentwood lands and other holdings now and into the future. In 2016 and 2019, they worked with Suffolk County and the Peconic Land Trust to preserve a 28-acre portion of their Brentwood property and return it to agriculture. Parcels of the land were leased to farmers. Fields have been restored for food and seed production. The organic vegetables that are grown there are available to the community for purchase at a farmstand. In 2018, the Sisters partnered with organizations interested in promoting clean, sustainable energy use and generation on Long Island. With a desire to control energy costs, reduce the environmental footprint and move toward energy independence, they installed a ground mounted solar array system on the Brentwood property. The 1MW system (3,192 panels) supplies approximately 63% of current campus energy usage. It is the largest privately owned solar array on Long Island and has been operating since January 2018. The Sisters are also recycling water for irrigation purposes. The Land Alliance looks forward to establishing a conservation easement later this year on 47 acres of pine forest in Brentwood. It will include both celestial and interpretive trails for the community to enjoy! According to Yale Climate Connections, the Catholic Church owns 177 million acres of land across the globe for its churches and schools. It also owns a lot of farmland and forest land. In comparison, the largest landowner in the United States, the Emerson Family of Sierra Pacific Industries, owns 2,330,000 acres. The decisions made about land use within religious institutions like the Catholic Church can have a huge impact on our environment. We hope all of these institutions are as good stewards of our planet as the Sisters of St. Joseph. More about the Sisters of St. Joseph The Sisters of St. Joseph were founded in France in 1650 to meet the needs of the people and to witness a unifying love of God and neighbor. They arrived in Philadelphia in 1836. At the request of the Bishop of Brooklyn, Mother Austin Kean was called to Brooklyn to found what is now the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood. She was accompanied by Sister Baptista Hanson and Sister Theodosia Hegeman. They founded their first school in St. Mary’s Parish on Maujer Street in Williamsburg. In 1896, the sisters needed additional space. Mother Mary Louise purchased the 123-room Austral Hotel, the Pearsall House and other buildings on a 350-acre property in Brentwood. The Austral Hotel became the Motherhouse and novitiate, and the Pearsall House became a chaplain’s residence. Saint Expedite Cottage, another former hotel building, became the Academy Infirmary. The Academy Building, also known initially as St. Charles Hall, was completed in 1903 and opened to its first academic class on June 1. Meanwhile in Brooklyn, St. Joseph Commercial H.S. was founded in 1904. The congregation’s reputation in education and parish ministry spread. As the Catholic population grew, the Sisters were increasingly asked to staff schools and parishes. More congregationally owned schools were also opened: St. Joseph Juniorate, 1931; The Mary Louis Academy, 1936; Fontbonne Hall Academy, 1937; Stella Maris H.S., 1943; Sacred Heart Academy, 1949 and Academia María Reina, 1967. To learn more about conservation easements, please contact the Land Alliance at 516-922-1028 or email us at [email protected].

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  • Enjoy the Gift of Nature: Explore Land Alliance Preserves

    Enjoy the Gift of Nature: Explore Land Alliance Preserves North Shore Land Alliance preserves are free and open to the public from sunup to sundown seven days a week.  Please join us at these wonderful places filled with flora and fauna and the wonders of nature. Louis C. Clark Sanctuary – 8 acres (Valentines Lane, Old Brookville) One of the most ecologically diverse preserves also happens to be one of our smallest. This 8-acre property contains a mixture of upland forest and freshwater wetlands, with trails traversing the narrow strip of forest separating Valentines Lane from the wetlands. Cedar Swamp Creek, which flows into Hempstead Harbor at Glen Cove, runs through the Sanctuary. Together with nearby James Preserve, over 100 bird species as well as several species of fish, frogs and turtles make their home in this special environment. Cordelia H. Cushman Preserve – 15 acres (Route 25A, Oyster Bay Cove) Mature hardwood forest comprises nearly all of this pristine 15-acre preserve. Chestnut and white oak trees dominate the canopy, with maple, beech and tulip trees making a presence as well. The preserve also has mountain laurel and a large variety of other native plants, 13 of which are protected by New York State. They include dwarf rattlesnake plantain, pink lady’s slipper and spotted wintergreen. Robust populations of numerous fern species, including cinnamon, New York and Christmas ferns, also are there. Cushman Woods – 28 acres (Still Road, Matinecock) This hilly, 28-acre forest is brimming with big trees. It boasts an intricate trail system that was once a popular fox-hunting route for the Meadow Brook Hunt (an event that occurred in the late 1800’s). The trail system at Cushman Woods is the largest of all our preserves and has several restored carriage trails. Many bird species, fox and other mammals make their home here. The preserve also makes up a significant portion of the Beaver Brook watershed. It contains hundreds of acres of protected woodlands, wetlands, ponds and meadows that provide invaluable habitat for wildlife. Their connectivity and their value in preserving our underground water supply are additional reasons why the Land Alliance and its partners are so actively protecting land there. Additional ecosystem services here, like recharging our groundwater, absorbing harmful carbon emissions and cleaning our air, ensure a healthier community for all that follow us. Fox Hollow Preserve – 26 acres (Near White Oak Tree Road on 25A_Laurel Hollow (parking by arrangement) This beautiful 26-acre preserve contains an unusual variety of distinct forest types. It features a diversity of oak, beech and other hardwoods, with white pine woodland and shrub layers dominated by mountain laurel and maple-leaved viburnum. The diversity attracts many different bird and other wildlife species to the preserve. Take a stroll there down the hilly trails, which contain some of the steepest sections of trail in Nassau County. Depending on the time of year, you could easily spot or hear Great Horned Owls, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, a diversity of Warblers and Red-tailed Hawks.   Redcote Preserve Hope Goddard Iselin Preserve – 42 acres (Chicken Valley Road, Upper Brookville) A beautiful hardwood forest, a white pine plantation, which was planted in the 1930s, and a colorful meadow comprise these 42 acres. To make this preserve more accessible to the public, the Land Alliance upgraded the entrance in 2018. It converted a barely visible driveway and dirt parking area into a larger, more attractive lot covered with bluestone gravel and surrounded by a rustic split rail fence. Over 100 native plants, like wood fern and witch hazel, were added to the entrance. They help reflect the natural beauty of Long Island’s countryside. Stroll down the interpretive trail and you’ll not only spot or hear a variety of bird species like the Eastern Towhee, you might notice a large, out-of-place boulder called a glacial erratic in the middle of the forest. It was transported hundreds of miles to its present location by a continental glacier which covered the land 25,000 years ago and formed Long Island! Humes Japanese Stroll Garden – 7 acres (Dogwood Lane, Mill Neck _weekend hours only) This unique and historic seven-acre gem of landscape design and woodland boasts an impressive collection of North American and Asian plants. They constitute a beautiful Japanese landscape and impart a meditative experience. The landscape was inspired by a mountain setting by the sea. A stunning stepping stone path is one of the defining features and was inspired by the intimacy of a mountain path. A gentle climb through the woodland part of the garden will lead you to a “mountain peak”. There you will meet the gravel path representing a stream that will guide you to an authentic pondside tea house. Humes Preserve – 40 acres (Oyster Bay Road, Mill Neck) The property consists of meadow, woodland and freshwater wetlands and includes preserved land owned by Nassau County. The Humes Preserve is at the heart of a corridor of 150 protected contiguous acres of open spaces that also includes the adjoining Shu Swamp, Francis Pond conservation areas and the Humes Japanese Stroll Garden. These conserved areas and surrounding lands are the headwaters to a series of rivers, lakes and waterways (both freshwater and tidal) that eventually reach the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge and the Long Island Sound. The conservation of this property helped complete one of the most important wetland and open space corridors on the North Shore of Long Island. Red Cote Preserve – 30 acres (Yellow Cote Road, Oyster Bay Cove) This property boasts a beautiful mix of woodlands and sweeping meadows. White pine dominates the woodland area in the southern part of the property. A mixed deciduous forest with some large oaks is between the fields and in the forest on the eastern side of the preserve. Three mature red cedars stand sentinel over the middle of the western meadow. The large field is mowed once a year in early spring, which optimizes habitat by allowing for all bloom and leaving the dead remains of wildflower stalks to provide refuge for small mammals and songbirds in winter. Shore Road Sanctuary – 8 acres (Shore Road, Cold Spring Harbor) This eight-acre parcel in Cold Spring Harbor was once an ExxonMobil fueling site. It has been transformed into a thriving grassland preserve boasting a beautiful shoreline, salt marsh and wet meadow (where you will find standing water after rainstorms and ice in winter). The grassland, first seeded in 2011 following the property’s remediation, is dominated by four native warm season grasses. It provides invaluable wildlife habitat for foraging and breeding. A pollinator garden was added in 2015. The sanctuary provides significant conservation values not only to the natural upland habitat but also to Cold Spring Harbor, a New York State Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat. These habitats are known to offer maritime beach bird nesting habitat and waterfowl wintering areas, as well as highly productive nursery and feeding areas for marine finfish and shellfish. The beach is an important nesting site for horseshoe crabs. The property has also served as a field trip location for the students of the Land Alliance’s popular Long Island Water Education Program. And throughout the winter, volunteers steadfastly conduct weeekly waterfowl surveys at the shore line. Tiffany Creek Preserve – 200 acres (Sandy Hill Road, Oyster Bay Cove) A mix of ecological communities can be found on this spectacular parcel of land. It includes old growth woodlands and oak forest, extensive fields, freshwater wetlands and a large pond (which was acquired by Nassau County with Environmental Bond Act funding). The preserve lies within the Oyster Bay Special Groundwater Protection Area, Nassau County’s largest SGPA. Protecting undeveloped land, whether at this preserve or at any of our preserves, is critical to protecting Long Island’s sole source aquifer of drinking water. This property is surrounded by an additional 250 acres of privately protected lands, which enhance its conservation values. Upper Francis Pond – 25 acres (Oyster Bay Road, Mill Neck) This 25-acre preserve is an integral part of a corridor of 150 contiguous acres of protected open space in the Beaver Brook watershed (which includes the Humes Estate and Japanese Stroll Garden and the North Shore Wildlife Sanctuary’s enchanting Shu Swamp). The trail from the parking area skirts a field before entering the forest. It leads to a large, treasured pond, situated in the center of the preserve. The site is a popular spot for River Otters. The corridor also provides vital breeding habitat for Brook Trout and a large variety of birds, fish and other wildlife species. Wawapek Preserve – 32 acres (Mowbray Lane, Cold Spring Harbor) Perched above the historic hamlet of Cold Spring Harbor, this stunning 32-acre preserve was once being considered for development into 13 house lots. Mature hardwood forest, which comprises over 60 percent of the preserve, protects air quality and provides erosion control throughout its steep ravines. Native trumpet honeysuckle was planted in 2018 to replace wisteria at the preserve’s trellis. An assortment of highbush blueberry bushes are laden with delectable fruit in summer. A pollinator garden that attracts a variety of indigenous insects, a historic yew round and specimen trees complete the formal garden, while woodland trails allow visitors to explore the forests on site. Take a stroll and you might catch a glimpse of some of the animals that live there, like foxes and state-protected Box Turtles. In 2022, the property’s entrance underwent an expansive habitat restoration. In addition, the Ralf Lange Garden was created and restoration of the greenhouse was launched. Click here to learn more about these nature preserves. Adirondack chairs

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  • North Shore Land Alliance Nature Preserve

    2023 Walks in the Woods & Other Cool Things to Do Outside

    Our Walks are as popular as always, limited only by parking/access restrictions at the delightful, often off-the-beaten-path locations.   New locations this year include Sound View Dunes Park, Quogue Wildlife Refuge, Laurel Hill Farms and Hofstra University. Some of you may have already experienced our new protocol of delaying registration for each walk until 2 – 3 months prior to, so they don’t all get filled up before our calendar brochures reach members’ mailboxes. 70 attendees enjoyed walks in our first quarter, shown in photos here. Join us for these upcoming Walks in the Woods. Advance registration is required and events are subject to change. To register or for more information, visit our website at www.northshorelandalliance.org/events. Thursday, June 29th, 6:00 pm Youngs Farm, Old Brookville Led by Tim Dooley Tim will lead us on a tour of one of Nassau County’s most treasured family farms. Saturday, July 15th, 10:00 am Quogue Wildlife Refuge, Quogue Led by Matt Kaelin Quogue Wildlife Refuge is home to all three of the types of carnivorous plants found on Long Island. Matt will introduce us to these and other curious species with a presentation on carnivorous plants and their habitats and a tour of the bog at the Refuge. Saturday, August 5th, 10:00 am Hallock State Park, Riverhead Led ByMaryLaura Lamont In partnership with Long Island Botanical Society MaryLaura will introduce us to the 18 species, some now very rare, of native Long Island wildflowers planted in Hallock’s garden. They all attract a huge variety of pollinating bees, butterflies and other insects. We will then stroll to the Sound for a look at the beach and cliff plants. ($8.00 parking fee) Tuesday, August 29th, 7:00 pm (rain date: Wednesday, August 30) Humes Preserve, Mill Neck Led by Peter Martin When the full moon is nigh, Peter will lead an exploration across Humes’s meadow. We may find migrating birds, crepuscular and nocturnal mammals and who knows what else? Saturday, September 23rd, 6:00 pm Wawapek, Cold Spring Harbor Led by Meghan Leverock Meghan, who resides at and manages the property, will tour its habitat restoration and formal garden areas whose dramatic improvements she has overseen, then lead us through the preserve’s woodland. The tour will end at our newly installed Ralf Lange Garden and restored greenhouse. Saturday, October 7th, 9:00 am Laurel Hill Farms, Cove Neck Led by Enrico Nardone, In partnership with Seatuck Environmental Association Join Seatuck’s Enrico (and friends!) for a walk at Laurel Hill Farms. It includes some of the best North Shore deciduous forest in Nassau County. The changing foliage of early autumn and the fall bird migration should provide plenty of interest, and the topography will ensure some exercise! Saturday, November 18th, 11:00 am (rain date Nov. 19) Muttontown Preserve, East Norwich Led by Glen Malings Afraid you’re relying too much on GPS? Want to practice your map reading skills? Orienteering is like a treasure hunt in the woods using a map to find controls (box shaped flags) hanging from trees. We’ll give instructions and then you can go out alone or with friends. The course should take about an hour, if you don’t get lost.

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