• 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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  • Beech Leaf Disease

    Beech Leaf Disease: Search For a Treatment

    Last year Land Alliance stewardship staff began documenting a worrying condition at our preserves. We witnessed a distinctive striping pattern along the leaves of American beech trees. When standing under a tree and looking up at the leaves, we observed dark bands across them between leaf veins, sometimes alternating with the green leaf color. We had heard about Beech Leaf Disease (BLD); now we were finding it in our preserves – first in the Humes Stroll Garden, then in the Humes Preserve, Cushman Woods, Fox Hollow, Wawapek. And everywhere. Eventually those leaves curled up and dried out. What is Beech Leaf Disease and Its Impact BLD first documented in New York in 2018 and in Suffolk County in 2020, is caused by an exotic nematode (Litylenchus crenatae ssp.mccannii), a worm that feeds on beech leaves. The condition can cause tree mortality over time. Many of us are aware of the devastating impacts of American chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease on native tree populations, but few of us may have lived through the early stages of ravaging such majestic trees. To be experiencing a new disease whose impacts may wipe out entire populations of our cherished beeches – a dominant canopy species in so many of our Long Island woodlands – is sobering. The disease is a serious threat to imperiled community types found on the north shore of Long Island. There is no known treatment for it, but thankfully, research is underway to find one. Search for a Treatment The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) – Suffolk County and the Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center (LIHREC) recently submitted a new project proposal for a Forest Service Pesticide Impact Assessment Program (FSPIAP) grant. It would provide funding to conduct trials and evaluation of the effectiveness of several pesticides and a fertilizer over a three-year period. As one of three land trust cooperators (in addition to Peconic Land Trust and Henry L. Ferguson Land Trust) the Land Alliance would provide access to American beech populations at one or more of our nature preserves. Some promising results of trials of a phosphonate fertilizer have been documented. The trials were conducted on saplings by researchers in Ohio, where BLD symptoms were documented in 2018, and by Bartlett Research Labs of the fungicide Broadform to reduce nematode levels. There also have been successful trials. While Long Island is one of the worst hit areas of the State, given the disease’s recent appearance there has been little time to find a treatment here. CCE – Suffolk County and LIHREC set up monitoring stations in eastern Long Island in 2019 and in 2020 began trials of experimental pesticide treatments. Peconic Land Trust, with a grant through the New York State Conservation Partnership Program, began working with CCE to conduct trials of a fungicide and two insecticides earlier this year. The FSPIAP funding would be used to continue these research trials and launch additional trials of Broadform and the fertilizer used in Ohio at Henry L. Ferguson Land Trust and Land Alliance preserves. Data collection will be carried out according to the USDA Forest Service BLD long-term monitoring protocol. Visual observational data will be done in May and early September. Leaf samples from each of the treated trees will be collected in early fall for nematode extraction to gauge effectiveness of the pesticide treatments under the guidance of Margery Daughtrey of the LIHREC. Time is of the essence to find effective treatment of Beech Leaf Disease. The Land Alliance is cautiously hopeful that this important research will contribute to preserving beech trees, whether in New York or beyond our region. Many thanks to the DEC’s Jessica Cancilliere and CCE-Suffolk County’s Mina Vescera for submitting and sharing their grant application and to Margery Daughtrey for project coordination.


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  • Seed Collecting at Humes Preserve with North Country Garden Club

    by special guest authors Sealy Hopkinson and Melissa Worth, Chairs of the NCGC Horticulture and Conservation Committees Members of the Conservation and Horticulture Committees of the North Country Garden Club met with the Land Alliance’s Jane Jackson and Charlotte Brennan on October 11th to collect seeds. This was part of the ongoing, multi-year project for NCGC’s Partners for Plants (P4P) project funded by The Garden Club of America (GCA). NCGC was awarded this grant in late spring of 2020 to support the revitalization of the Humes meadow in Mill Neck. The Land Alliance, in partnership with the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District and the local community, is in the process of restoring the meadow, (which was at one time farm fields). It is a central piece of the Humes Preserve, a critical part of the Beaver Brook corridor of 150 contiguous acres of protected open space. The particular focus of the P4P project was to remove invasives, closely monitor the effectiveness of the removal and restore native plants throughout the meadow’s four acres. The GCA’s P4P grant funded the hiring of a trained horticulturist, Penn Marchael, of Pennington Grey, who served as project manager of the restoration process. The project is now in its third year. Penn, together with accomplished Land Alliance staff and the help and support of NCGC, has succeeded in controlling invasives and transforming the property into a meadow filled with native grasses and wildflowers. It supports a broad variety of insects, together with migrating and local birds that rely on natives for their survival. As you can see from the photos, the wonderful collaboration between NCGC and the Land Alliance continues. Under Jane and Charlotte’s guidance on this beautiful October afternoon, NCGC members collected seeds from little bluestem, big bluestem, Indian Grass and purpletop grasses, along with several goldenrod species. The seeds will be dried and kept in cold storage by participating NCGC members in preparation for future propagation and reseeding. That will be in the spring of 2023, at the Nassau County Museum of Art William Cullen Bryant Preserve in Roslyn, which is developing its own meadow! It is a wonderful, ongoing project for North Country Garden Club.


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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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  • Roosevelt Community Garden 2022

    Season Five at the Roosevelt Community Garden Completed

    Our Roosevelt Community Garden in the Town of Hempstead is gaining momentum and receiving much deserved attention since its inception in 2018. The Garden has become an avenue for adults and children to work together to grow fresh wholesome food while learning about agriculture, biodiversity and appreciation of the outdoors. The lessons of the Garden also deepen the connection between protecting our land, air and water and our health. With the help of our partners, each year we provide a series of educational programs and activities for seasonal gardeners and all residents in the County. Here’s a summary of our 2022 activities: Educational Programs Our monthly gardening workshops, facilitated by Master Gardeners from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County, provided information to those interested in gardening, horticulture and related topics. We hosted seven workshops, which included a square foot gardening demonstration, succession planting talk and Garden to Table: How to Prepare to Grow presentation. Our aim was to support gardeners by teaching them how to start and maintain a vegetable garden in small spaces, care for their crops and soil and get more produce throughout the season. Family and Community Engagement This year, 41 families secured a raised garden plot for the 2022 gardening season, of which 10 were new. We kick-started the season with our annual Earth Day program. It was attended by more than 80 participants who took action to help their environment. During the summer we hosted Paint Night in the Garden to get more people outdoors and reduce stress, followed by our fall Dinner in the Open Air to celebrate another successful growing season. Young Explorers Program This season, more than 50 young botanists and future conservation stewards from Roosevelt and surrounding communities visited the Garden to do more than grow flowers, vegetables and herbs. The Land Alliance Young Explorers program provides a pathway for children, ages 4-17, and their families to engage with nature, learn about wildlife and the ecosystems they need to survive as well as how to improve their own health. We also had the pleasure of hosting students from the Roosevelt Prevention Coalition. They visited the Garden each month to connect with nature and find ways to cope with stress. Community service opportunities were also available for high school students. We hope to see many of these students and their families again next year so we can continue to cultivate a love of nature. Volunteers Engagement and commitment from volunteers is vital to the sustainability of the Garden. We are so grateful to all our volunteers for their immeasurably valuable work including leading educational programs, planting and harvesting crops, weeding, spreading woodchips and organizing social events. Our achievements have been made possible thanks to the many partners who have helped us over the last five years: Cornell Cooperative Extension – Nassau County Master Gardeners Roosevelt Public Library Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock Social Justice Committee One World Girl, Inc Hofstra University Department of Geology, Environment and Sustainability Bank of America Associates in Nassau County Girl Scout Troop #4703 Volunteers for Wildlife Roosevelt Prevention Coalition sponsored by Family and Children’s Services We welcome new partners from schools, civic organizations and local businesses. For more information, please contact Andrea Millwood at andrea@northshorelandalliance.org or 516-922-1028.


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