• 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 [email protected]. 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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  • 2021 O’Neil Conservation Stewards

    We are excited to announce that we have received applications from many qualified candidates and from those chosen three interns for the summer 2021 class. They will begin their internship the first week of June.  Throughout the summer, they will conduct plant surveys and wildlife inventories, maintain trails, manage invasive species, learn to monitor conservation easements and lead environmental programs for children. This most valuable program gives the Land Alliance additional capacity to not only maintain but improve our preserved lands for the benefit of the public and for our ecosystems. With thanks to the William C. and Joyce C. O’Neil Charitable Trust for funding this critical program. MEET THE 2021 O’NEIL CONSERVATION STEWARDS Kaitlyn Cunningham Born and raised on Long Island, Kaitlyn Cunningham is a rising senior at Vassar College currently studying Chemistry and Earth Science. Kaitlyn has taken various environmental courses and worked with EcoLeaders to remove invasive vines and establish a pollinator garden on campus. She is particularly interested in water systems and their protection. Kaitlyn enjoys spending time outside surrounded by plants and rocks to identify, swimming or reading Danielle Moore Danielle is currently a senior Sustainability Studies major at Stony Brook University. Last summer she worked in Colorado with the Rocky Mountain Conservancy and the US Forest Service performing trail maintenance, removing invasive species and building new trails. Danielle is passionate about conservation and protecting our natural resources. When she is not working, she loves to go to the beach, hike and try new foods Emily Power Emily Power is a native New Yorker and a rising junior studying Conservation Biology at Middlebury College. She joins the Land Alliance with experience in environmental activism, natural sciences, farming, and education. After recently completing an internship focused on limiting greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture in her college town, Emily is thrilled to follow her passion for protecting natural spaces and wildlife while continuing to develop her skills with the North Shore Land Alliance!

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  • Photo Credit: Tina Walsh for Hudson River Park

    How Investments in Clean Water Can Restore Ecosystems

    In March, after a long year of social distancing and cold, cloudy weather, two dolphins were spotted swimming up the East River in New York City. This atypical pair provided a much-needed sign of hope and recovery for City dwellers. Even more surprisingly, tiny seahorses can now be found clinging to oyster cages and other submerged objects in the lower Hudson River. These little seahorses, known as the Lined Seahorse, are one of many aquatic species that now make up a diverse and thriving ecosystem in the Hudson River estuary. For decades, the Hudson River was severely polluted after PCBs, oil, heavy metals and solvents were all dumped into the river by factories producing cars and paper. At one point, local fishermen could tell what color General Motors was painting cars based on the color of the river that day! In 1972, Congress passed the Clean Water Act to restrict “point sources” such as factories and power plants from discharging contamination into US waterways. Over the nearly 50 years that have passed since then, NYC has invested more than $12 Billion to upgrade wastewater treatment to improve the health of the Hudson’s delicate, aquatic ecosystems. And, it has worked. A 2017 report by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection found that the Hudson River is the cleanest it has been in over a century as evidenced by the presence of the Lined Seahorse that would not be found in the Hudson River without these extraordinary cleanup efforts. Efforts such as these give us hope that if we take measures now our ecosystems can, indeed, be restored. We must also remember to stay vigilant in protecting our waters to ensure healthy ecosystems for future generations. Photo Credit: Tina Walsh for Hudson River Park

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