• 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.

    Continue reading
  • 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.

    Continue reading
  • 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

    Continue reading
  • A Decade of Service by Friends Academy Students

    For ten years, the Land Alliance has had the pleasure of hosting Friends Academy seniors who spend the last three weeks of the school year volunteering for independent service projects. This year we benefited from the good works of five students: Aleaxa Moschetto, Livia Prestandra, Ines Roti, Gavin Sanders and Ryan Zouak. All participated in a variety of activities which we hope gave them a better understanding of the ins and outs of a non-profit organization. Gavin and Ryan worked primarily at Wawapek. They helped with weeding in our habitat restoration area, spreading woodchips in our native gardens, removing invasives and keeping our trails cleared. You may have also seen them at the Hole in One at the Golf and Tennis outing! Livia, Alexa and Ines have been working throughout our preserves. They help with invasive species removal, trail maintenance and planting. They have also been working with the Land Alliance’s volunteers to learn more about the work we do all year round in our preserves. We are grateful for and impressed by their good nature and willingness to learn – traits that will serve them well throughout their lives. Thank you Gavin, Ryan, Alexa, Livia and Ines! Congratulations on your graduation and best of luck in your upcoming years.

    Continue reading
  • Volunteers Help Enhance Habitat Quality at Our Preserves

    This Spring volunteers have been busy at all of our preserves completing meaningful projects that improve habitat quality and visitor experience. For the past two years, the Land Alliance has been fortunate to work with the Planting Fields Foundation’s AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. This group of nine young adults travels throughout the country while completing hands-on projects for local non-profits. This year’s crew demonstrated excellent teamwork and dedication. It helped to remove invasive shrubs from the woodland at the Hope Goddard Iselin Preserve, move debris out of the John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden, prepare the pollinator gardens at the Shore Road Sanctuary and clean up the Ralf Lange Garden at Wawapek. We are so grateful to this hardworking group of stewards that have truly made a difference in our preserves. We wish them luck in their travels! Jericho High School’s Environmental Club Jericho High School’s Environmental Club is a treasured partner of the Land Alliance. It returns year after year to volunteer their time and improve our preserves. This spring, Jericho students visited the Humes Preserve to remove invasive garlic mustard from the meadow and lesser celandine from the woodland garden. Students learned about invasive species issues while engaging hands-on in the management of these pesky weeds. They even had a few wildlife encounters, coming face to face with a vole and a wolf spider during their activities! Thanks so much to this curious and dedicated group of young environmentalists.   Bethpage Girl Scout Troop 3535 joined us at the Shore Road Sanctuary Bethpage Girl Scout Troop 3535 joined us at the Shore Road Sanctuary this spring to learn about Cold Spring Harbor’s coastal habitats and wildlife while picking up trash and debris on the beach. This hearty group of 10-year-old girls showed their dedication to serving their environment and community by braving the elements to rid the beach of trash big and small, from used tires to the smallest microplastics. They made sure that no trash remained at the conclusion of their project. Thank you to Troop 3535 for keeping our beaches beautiful! The Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club returned to the MacDonald Preserve in Matinecock this year to remove invasive vines from trees on the property and clean up litter throughout the preserve. With help from Spadefoot Design & Construction, these middle school students were able to pull loads of vines off trees while learning about the effects of invasive plants on tree health. Thanks to Stephanie Urio and our friends from Grenville Baker for their continued help to keep MacDonald healthy! Grenville Bakers Boys and Girls Club volunteers with the Land Alliance at MacDonald Preserve Care to join us as a volunteer? In the woods, meadows, beaches and gardens of the north shore, our volunteers are working hard to preserve open space and restore native habitats. If you are interested in connecting with like-minded people while learning about nature, please visit us online at www.northshorelandalliance.org or contact Charlotte Brennan at 516-922-1028 or [email protected].

    Continue reading