• 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.

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  • 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].

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  • Williams Preserve, Lattingtown

    Williams Preserve Progress

    Our first order of business at the charming Williams Preserve in Lattingtown, donated by Mary and Tim Williams, was to mow the areas along the driveway to facilitate access for maintenance. We then conducted an initial clearing of what will become a tiny parking area, to be installed once we have secured local approval. Since our last newsletter we began the long process of tackling extensive growth of undesirable vegetation throughout the property. A large volume of vines and invasive shrubs has been cleared mechanically, rescuing a number of native trees and shrubs (including a statuesque oak leaf hydrangea) in the process. In addition, a wall that was part of a formal garden designed by Ferruccio Vitale was uncovered. Much of the remaining clearing needs to be done by hand to protect the native vegetation that remains and access hard to reach areas along sensitive slopes and pond and stream edges. Coincidentally, Ferrucio Vitale also designed the formal garden at the Rumpus House at the Humes property. Umberto Innocenti began his work as a landscape architect at the firm of Ferruccio Vitale and Alfred Geiffert, Jr. He left it in 1931 to start the firm of Innocenti & Webel which, over the following decades, became the preferred landscape architects for the Humes Estate. Since the initial clearing was completed, our dedicated volunteers have removed vines by hand from the countless mature, majestic trees that are found throughout the property. They are beginning to remove invasive shrubs and vines from along the creek that goes from the property boundary and under the driveway into the pond. The spring ephemeral trout lily was observed on the bank of the creek in the spring; we hope to find more of this and perhaps other spring ephemeral’s as the property’s restoration continues. The creek is also lined with native jewel weed, which supports hummingbirds, so we are excited to learn more about the wildlife here. A highlight of the work our workers and volunteers has done was the uncovering of a stone staircase installed decades ago to connect the future meadow at the top of the property to the pond below. While it will require a little “engineering” to fully make the connection and become safely navigable, it is a discovery we are very happy about! We are working to develop a phased habitat restoration plan that will map out several natural communities – meadow, grassland, freshwater pond, stream and woodland – with implementation to begin next spring. We welcome volunteers and look forward to the time when St. John’s Church parishioners and summer camp attendees can take a quiet stroll or eat a sandwich by the pond. With many thanks to the Williams family for their generous gift.

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  • Peter O'Connor

    Volunteer Spotlight – Peter O’Connor

    Peter O’Connor has been volunteering with the Land Alliance since September 2020. He is one of our most dedicated volunteers and lends a helping hand every week. He can regularly be seen in the Humes Japanese Stroll Garden cutting bamboo, digging up rhizomes and preparing the Garden for visitors. He started volunteering for the Land Alliance as a way to give back to his community after spotting our name and information at the entrance to the Hope Goddard Iselin Preserve. His favorite Land Alliance holding is the Japanese Stroll Garden because it’s unique and there’s always something new to learn. Stroll Garden Manager, Mary Schmutz, says that Peter is an invaluable resource and a dedicated steward of the Garden. Peter’s curiosity and inquisitive nature have inspired volunteers, staff and interns. Recently, three black walnut trees were damaged in the woodland garden at the Humes Preserve. Peter swooped in and saw an opportunity to make a difference and embark on a new project. With help from Garden Manager Mary and fellow volunteer Melanie Howard, Peter researched methods to save the trees. He organized a work party and, with the help of three nature enthusiasts, attached locust twigs to the girdled areas of the walnut trees. They wrapped the wounds in duct tape and tarp to protect them from the elements. The Land Alliance is grateful to Peter (aka Dr. FrankenTree) for his ingenuity and enthusiasm in his volunteer efforts with the Land Alliance. In the coming seasons, we will keep a close watch on the walnut trees as we wish them a safe recovery!

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  • Happenings at Humes – From Gardens to the Garage

    We were kept busy with mowing the phase two area of the meadow this year but unfortunately that was more due to controlling weed growth than keeping winter rye from going to seed, (as had been the case with phase one).  Last fall’s seeding of the phase two area was less productive than phase one’s. For this reason, the area will be overseeded shortly. We will follow with adding wildflowers generously provided through a Garden Club of America Partners for Plants grant secured by the North Country Garden Club of Long Island. The phase one area of the meadow is thriving.  It benefited from the addition of bluebird boxes, which yielded chicks in the spring. Much of this activity was monitored by Barbara Garriel and Jan Guga. We were also graced with daily visits by Judy Rasin, whose photographs document the meadow’s use by butterflies and other pollinators throughout the 2021 growing season. The fall was planting time for the native woodland demonstration area next to the nature play area. Designed and installed by Spadefoot Design and Construction, the project occupies a 4,000 sq. ft. area that not long ago was a dumping ground for Humes Estate weeds and rubbish.  Now a short path will enable visitors to explore a suite of native trees, shrubs, ferns and wildflowers typical of the understory of a local woodland. This past summer, new Land Alliance Board Member Oliver Grace launched a $100 Thousand matching grant challenge for improvements at Land Alliance properties. Excitingly, the grant was quickly matched and seeded multiple projects in need of funding. With the Humes Preserve fitness area heavily trafficked, the Land Alliance felt the adjacent garage needed an overhaul to beautify the visitor experience and provide us with much needed storage for tools and equipment. We hired Tim Lyons of LMW Group to do the work and his generosity exceeded our expectations. Unfortunately, no treasure was found during the demolition, only empty wine bottles in the rafters dating back to the 1960’s. The restoration included a new roof, updated electrical, new garage doors, paint, shelving and rotted wood replacement among other things. The refurbishment not only looks great but promises to keep people and things dry for years to come. We would like to thank Oliver Grace and those who took part in his matching grant challenge for their generous support and Tim Lyons for his craftsmanship. Thanks to the generosity of the the Annunziato, Driscoll, Hoyt, Kalenderian and McGlone families a beautiful new flagpole has been installed next to the meadow. These families thought of everything! The new pole has a solar light so the Stars and Stripes can fly over Humes 24 hours a day. Excitement grows as construction of the new Land Alliance headquarters begins. In mid-November, the retaining wall behind the Tavern House was raised and a sturdy new one was installed. This process required several months of engineering, bidding and permitting. The new retaining wall will solve slope and drainage issues as we get one step closer to the actual restoration of the Tavern House. Simultaneously, the nearby swimming pool was removed to make room for public access to the new Tavern House headquarters. This process began with the removal of all the bluestone around the pool (which will later be used for pathways). Next, the pool had to be pumped of roughly 30,000 gallons of murky pool water. While monitoring the pumping, volunteers noticed the frogs that had called the pool home for so long, were chasing the retreating water. Volunteers sprang into action and grabbed buckets to dutifully rescue the frogs and relocate them to the a nearby pond. Later that week the heavy machinery moved in for demolition and removal of the pool. One thing is certain, there is never a dull moment at the Humes Preserve! We have more exciting things to come in 2022 as we begin the work to restore the Tavern House and surrounds as the Land Alliance’s first ever HQ! Click here if you would like to help us maintain this preserve.

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