• Protecting a Treasured Landscape: Seminary of the Immaculate Conception

    The Seminary of the Immaculate Conception is a beautiful and environmentally significant 200+- acre property in Lloyd Harbor. The Land Alliance, working with the Seminary’s Board, the Trust for Public Land, the Village of Lloyd Harbor, the Town of Huntington and New York State (and we hope others who will join later), has begun laying the groundwork for a conservation transaction that would protect the beautiful forests, fields and wetlands contained within the property. The Seminary is listed as a priority project in the New York State Open Space Plan and the Suffolk County Open Space Plan. It also was ranked #1 in priority by the Town of Huntington’s Environment and Open Space & Park Fund Review Advisory Committee. Its 150-acre forest and 40+ acres of open fields are like none other left in our North Shore community. This former estate was owned by Roland Ray Conklin, a descendant of John Conklin (who settled Huntington c. 1640). In 1913, Conklin and his wife Mary MacFadden built their grand home at Rosemary Farm, which was designed by William Eyre. Mary had been an opera singer and wanted to create the perfect place for entertaining their friends, who were leading actors, conductors and singers of the day. The estate grounds also included an Olmsted designed open-air-theater. In 1917, Conklin held the National Red Cross Pageant at the theater, which raised $50K and was considered among the most successful war benefits ever. The pageant consisted of episodes from the history of each of the Allied nations. The presentation of the case of each Ally before the bar of Truth, Justice, and Liberty was organized by actors and actresses of the American stage as their contribution to the American Red Cross. While the silent film is presumed lost, the cast included John, Lionel and Ethel Barrymore and Douglas Wood. In the 1920’s it became apparent that St. John’s Seminary in Brooklyn could no longer train all the Roman Catholic priests needed for parishes in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Brooklyn and Queens. Bishop Thomas E. Malloy decided that a new seminary should be built. In 1924, after Mary’s death, the Diocese of Brooklyn (which at that time served all Long Island) purchased Rosemary Farm. In 1930, amid the lush meadows and thick stands of trees, the Seminary was constructed. The Seminary took the form of a four-story, 320-room Mediterranean-style edifice filled with beautifully adorned chapels as well as a library, classrooms and accommodations for its students. For about 80 years, the Seminary served as the home and educational center of Seminarians pursuing their vocation to the priesthood. In 2012, the Diocese of Rockville Centre joined with the Archdiocese of New York and the Brooklyn Diocese to consolidate the location of priestly formation into one location, St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers. The Seminary, which has been governed by its own Board of Governors, took on its new mission of service to the Catholic Church and to the community. Now, the major retreat house for the Metropolitan area, it also is the scene of formation for the deacons of the diocese, for priestly conferences, interreligious meetings, courses for a master’s degree in theology and for the spiritual and social activities of the Friends of the Seminary. With funds raised from a conservation transaction, the Seminary Board intends to make repairs to the facility and continue its mission to provide theological education and formation through retreats and academic and pastoral conferences. The is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We must all dig deep and make every effort possible to ensure the permanent protection of this extraordinary, historically important property!


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  • What is 30×30? (Recently Renamed America the Beautiful)

    Until recently, the goal of conserving 30% of the world’s lands and oceans by 2030 was a concept circulating mostly within the scientific and conservation communities. In a 2018 article in Science Magazine, “Space for nature,” Jonathan Baillie (chief scientist at the National Geographic Society) and Ya-Ping Zhang (biologist with the Chinese Academy of Scientists) encouraged “governments to set minimum targets of 30% of the oceans and land protected by 2030, with a focus on areas of high biodiversity and/or productivity, and to aim to secure 50% by 2050.” While the international conservation community has promoted the concept of 30×30 for several years, Congress has only recently indicated its support. A 30×30 resolution was introduced in the US Senate in October 2019 by Sen. Tom Udall (NM). As Sen. Udall shared in an opinion piece in the High-Country News, “If we fail to enact the kind of bold conservation framework my father [former Interior Secretary Stewart Udall] envisioned, we will forever lose millions of plant and animal species — the biodiversity critical to our rich natural inheritance and fundamental to our own survival. We will lose not just our way of life, but the planet as we know it.” The language of the resolution he sponsored was simple and clear: “This resolution urges the federal government to establish a goal of conserving at least 30% of the land and 30% of the ocean within its territory by 2030.” A similar House resolution was introduced in February of 2020 sponsored by Rep. Debra Haaland (NM) (currently serving as US Secretary of Interior), but neither passed out of committee. In his first few days of office, President Biden, in an executive order, committed to 30×30 as an official policy of the US federal government. After years of research, scientists recognized that natural ecosystems are key to maintaining human prosperity in a warming world. Sir David Attenborough in his 2020 documentary, “A Life on Our Planet,” noted that “the loss of biodiversity and natural ecosystems and rising global temperatures due to greenhouse gas emissions are inextricably intertwined issues.” In the Global Deal for Nature, a science-driven plan to protect biodiversity and address climate change, prominent scientists explained the link: “Intact forests sequester twice as much carbon as planted monocultures. These findings make forest conservation a critical approach to combat global warming. Because about two-thirds of all species on Earth are found in natural forests, maintaining intact forest is vital to prevent mass extinction. However, carbon sequestration and storage extend far beyond rainforests: peatlands, tundra, mangroves, and ancient grasslands are also important carbon storehouses and conserve distinct assemblages of plants and animals. Further, the importance of intact habitats extends to the freshwater and marine realms, with studies pointing to least disturbed wetlands and coastal habitats being superior in their ability to store carbon when compared with more disturbed sites.” Thus, the 30×30 plan offers two enormous benefits to humankind: carbon storage and sequestration to combat climate change and the protection of the planet’s incredible biodiversity. According to a United Nations biodiversity report released in 2019, one million species could face extinction soon unless bold action is taken right away. In an opinion piece in The New York Times, renowned author and biologist E.O. Wilson noted that protecting 30% of Earth’s habitats could save roughly 75% of its remaining species. The synergy is clear: sustaining global diversity can contribute to mitigating climate change. While the path to achieving 30×30 will be challenging, we know we need to get there, and we know that a coordinated effort that includes the following is essential: action at the federal level advancing conservation on private lands in key parts of the US understanding and coordinating state and tribal variations in legal and policy protection measures state involvement, particularly in marine conservation (due to significant gaps in federally managed coastal protections) We hope you will join us in doing our part to achieve this goal locally. 30×30 in Acres Approximately 60% of land in the continental US is in a “natural state,” however, every 30 seconds an amount equivalent to the size of a football field is lost (or 6,000 acres per day). Accomplishing the 30×30 goal will mean nearly tripling the 289 Million acres of US land that is currently protected. It is interesting to note that Alaska represents 150 Million of those already protected acres; if Alaska is excluded, the figure of land already protected drops from 12% to only 7%. 2040 Total Land Area of the 50 United States is 2.4 Billion acres (1.9 Billion acres in the continental US) * 59.9% of the land is owned by private landowners * 28.7% is owned by the federal government (640 Million acres) * 8.6% by state governments, 2.5% tribal authorities and .3% towns and local governments Farm, ranch and forest owners hold close to 95% of all privately held land. 80% of us live on 3% of US lands. In 2017, according to the Land Report, the 100 largest landowners had holdings of 40.2 Million acres, equivalent in area to all of the New England states except Vermont.


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  • Explore The Trails at these Five Nature Preserves This Summer

    The Land Alliance is thrilled to offer a variety of trail systems at our ten public preserves. Trails offer opportunities to explore new places, connect with nature, relax and reflect and even get some exercise. The five trails wind through scenic meadows, woodland, white pine forests and more. Dogs are welcome; just make sure to keep them on leashes. We feature five preserves here worthy of exploration. Humes Preserve Oyster Bay Road, Locust Valley This two-mile trail system wraps around a glorious meadow and winds through a hilly, deciduous forest. Take a stroll there this summer and you may spot Monarch butterflies or downy woodpeckers. The Land Alliance recently installed six bluebird boxes in the meadow. These native birds are cavity-nesting creatures and need safe, secure locations to raise their young. The trail at Humes was constructed by the Land Alliance for public enjoyment. A fitness station was installed last summer, and an all-natural children’s play area will be added later this year. The wooded portion of the trail was named the Overlook Trail and was dedicated to Board Chairman Hoyle C. Jones for his tireless commitment to the protection of this historic property. A serene pine woodland path connects the meadow to the nature play area! Cushman Woods Still Road, Matinecock Restored carriage roads comprise most of the 1.3-mile trail system at this unique woodland preserve. But transportation by horse-drawn carriage was not this trail system’s only use over the years. In the 19th century, people like Theodore Roosevelt and his brother, Elliot, barreled down these trails on horseback as participants in the popular Meadowbrook fox hunt. Paul Cravath, a prominent New York City lawyer, used the trail system for hunting in the 1920s. Meadow restoration has just begun in a sunny 5-acre northwest portion of the preserve. The Augusta Reese Donohue trail at Wawapek Hope Goddard Iselin Preserve Chicken Valley Road, Upper Brookville The trail system at this preserve is a little over a mile long and winds through a glorious meadow, hardwood forest, successional woodland and white pine plantation. 13 interpretive signs may be found along the trail that detail the rich history and variety of ecological communities found there. Red Cote Preserve Yellow Cote Road, Oyster Bay Cove Take a walk down the scenic 1.5- mile trail system and you’ll see four mature red cedar trees towering over the meadow closer to the parking area. During late summer and early fall, the two meadows here are centers of activity as the blooming wildflowers, dominated by various goldenrod species, attract an array of pollinating insects. As you venture into the woodland note the spectacular umbrella magnolia trees that boast leaves over a foot in length Wawapek Mowbray Lane, Cold Spring Harbor This is the perfect preserve to visit if you are looking for a place to picnic and go for a walk. The half-mile trail system starts and finishes at the entrance to a remnant of the estate, a sprawling lawn now punctuated by a pollinator garden and restored trellis, along with specimen beech and sourwood trees. The trail departs the lawn to enter the majestic hardwood woodland, where dramatic sloped areas drop almost as far down as Cold Spring Harbor. While here you may catch a glimpse of a great horned owl, fox or state-protected box turtle. The Augusta Reese Donohue trail at Wawapek was named after Land Alliance Trustee Augusta Reese Donohue as a very special gift from her parents. ENJOY! For more trails, please visit our website at www.northshorelandalliance.org. Hope Goddard Iselin PreserveRed Cote Preserve


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  • Nature Play is Good for Children (and Adults Too!)

    Nature Play is Good for Children (and Adults Too!)

    Studies show that spending time in nature provides children with a wide range of health and cognitive benefits. Nature play improves children’s love of learning, academic performance, focus and behavior. Unstructured outside play, specifically, builds confidence, promotes creativity and imagination, activates multiple senses and reduces stress and fatigue. “Green exercise” has greater physical and mental health benefits than physical activity indoors. A 2019 study by the Outdoor Foundation found that adults and children are playing outside less than they did a decade ago. Unfortunately, this is not a new finding. In 2005, Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, coined the phrase “nature deficit disorder” to define the human costs of alienation from nature. In a recent New York Times article, Louv stated “Ironically, the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, as tragic as it is, has dramatically increased public awareness of the deep human need for nature connection, and is adding a greater sense of urgency to the movement to connect children, families and communities to nature.” Providing access to natural areas is central to the Land Alliance’s mission. Even before the pandemic a children’s nature play area appeared on our “wish list” alongside new trails, meadow restoration and public access improvements. Through the generous support of Randi and David Hoyt, Milena and DR Holmes and an anonymous donor, the Land Alliance was able to work with a children’s nature play designer to develop plans to transform what had once been a dilapidated caretaker’s cottage into a nature play area. Unlike a traditional playground (made from metal and plastic), nature play areas are made from materials found in nature, with many sourced from the property itself, like bamboo from the John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden and wooden seats from nearby fallen trees. Site preparation began in late winter and installation of the hardscape and plantings was completed in April. The nature play components will be installed this summer. Do stop by and bring your children and grandchildren! Here are some resources to help you learn more about nature play. Tree stumps, bamboo stalks, pinecones, leaves and twigs are the toys of nature that spark collaboration, creativity, imagination, inventiveness and problem-solving. When children are given the space and time to play freely outdoors, the whole child benefits. Children and Nature Network – www.childrenandnature.org Richard Louv – www.richardlouv.com National Wildlife Federation – www.nwf.org/Home/Kids-and-Family/Connecting-Kids-and-Nature/Nature-Play-Spaces Natural Learning Initiative – www.naturallearning.org


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  • Roosevelt Community Garden

    Fourth Season at the Roosevelt Community Garden

    The Roosevelt Community Garden celebrated its fourth year on April 1, 2021.  The Garden has become more than just a place to grow organic fruits, vegetables and herbs; it also is a place for gardeners to come together, to share and learn from each other. Situated in the hamlet of Roosevelt on a 10,000 square foot lot, the Garden boasts 49 raised garden beds, a garden library, picnic tables and two tool sheds. It’s open from sunrise until sunset April until November. During the growing season, gardeners and volunteers join forces to plant, weed, water and grow a variety of crops. They share in the bountiful harvest and grow food to share with community members in need. During these difficult times, the Garden is also helping to fight food insecurity. This was the original idea for the garden, but that notion became much more critical throughout the weeks and months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Garden has created a sense of community. Neighbors are working together, getting to know one another, caring for each other, building new kinds of relationships and creating a more unified community. Many thanks to Nassau County for making this opportunity available to the community. Special thanks to the volunteer Master Gardeners from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County for leading many of our educational programs in person or online. Their lifelong love of gardening and agricultural expertise continues to be an invaluable resource for the Garden and its members. To volunteer or for more information about the Garden, please contact Andrea Millwood at andrea@northshorelandalliance.org. More information about the Garden can be found online at www.northshorelandalliance.org/rcg. Special Thanks to Edrington Brands for Supporting the Roosevelt Community Garden We are most grateful to Marc Bromfeld and Edrington Brands for their generous $10,000 donation to help enhance our Garden and ensure that it is sustainable for another year. This spring, a wooden gazebo with aluminum roof was installed to create a more comfortable seating area for Garden members and volunteers to socialize and for educational programs. The gazebo will also bring warmth and character to the garden and provide shade for those working in the summer heat. A portion of the proceeds will also be set aside for programs in 2022. We hope the community finds great enjoyment in the space provided. Special thanks to Jill DeGroff, one of the first individuals to sign up to volunteer at the Garden in 2018, for spearheading this donation. We are most appreciative and grateful for her support.


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