• The Land Alliance 30×30 Conservation Plan

    Every five years (or as new data becomes available), the Land Alliance updates its Community Open Space Plan. We have generally included the 12 to 14 Villages in our designated area where the most viable land conservation opportunities remain. The timing of this update turned out to be serendipitous this year in light of the recent “30×30” challenge that is gaining strength across the country and the world. In addition to identifying parcel location, the objective of our expanded plan will be to tell the story of open space preservation in our North Shore community. We will be asking questions like how much land is currently preserved in each village, how much opportunity for future conservation exists in each village, and what are the best methods for conservation. This plan will provide the baseline we need to measure our quest for protecting 30% of our communities’ lands and waters by 2030. The Land Alliance utilizes a program called geographic information system (GIS). GIS allows the user to input multiple layers of information into geographically rooted analysis. In short, this is a fantastic tool to identify conservation opportunities based on many factors such as parcel size, location, wetlands, slope, and the list goes on. As helpful as the program is, every few years a portion of the information becomes out of date, often in the case of parcel subdivision or change in landowner.  The updated maps offer the most up-to-date information provided by Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The map above represents the Land Alliance catchment area and offers detailed color coding of land cover. Scattered among the pockets of red (which represent highly developed areas) remains a considerable amount of green space where we will focus our primary conservation efforts. While we have completed an analysis of only twelve villages to date, some interesting trends are emerging. Golf courses account for most of the large swaths of open space, totaling 1,150 acres. Unfortunately, golf courses are vulnerable to large-scale development and many on the North Shore are in questionable financial condition or others, such as Cedar Brook Club in Old Brookville, have already been sold to developers. These twelve villages include Brookville, Old Brookville, Upper Brookville, Centre Island, Cove Neck, Lattingtown, Laurel Hollow, Matinecock, Mill Neck, Oyster Bay Cove, Muttontown, and Old Westbury and comprise 27,759 acres. With a total of 2,544 acres already protected (or 9%), the Land Alliance has identified the potential to protect an additional 6,503 acres (21%). The potential protection area amounts to more than the total village area of Laurel Hollow and Matinecock combined! Each village, regardless of size, has extensive conservation opportunities. Lots of interest are based on 2x the minimum zoning required by code for each village. These maps are for illustrative use by the Land Alliance and are very useful in the nuanced approach to identify conservation opportunities. Here are a few examples of what we have found. The numbers behind the Village of Cove Neck offer some interesting perspective. Although it is the second smallest village by area at 819 acres, 361 acres have been identified to offer conservation potential. That amounts to 44% of the total Village area. In stark contrast, neighboring Laurel Hollow offers the least conservation potential of the villages mapped thus far. Out of the Village’s 1,894 acres, 6% or 131 acres of conservation opportunity exist. Additionally, Laurel Hollow also has the smallest percentage of already protected land at 85 acres (or 5%) of Village total acreage. Old Brookville mapping reveals interesting information. While the Village acreage is the third largest at 2,550 acres, only slightly over 2% or 63 acres are protected. Based on mapping information the Village offers one of the largest conservation opportunities, around 864 acres (which is 33% of the total Village area). In terms of total conservation potential, Old Westbury has the most, by nearly 300 acres. Old Westbury is full of conservation potential, with 30+ properties that lend themselves to conservation. These properties total 1,149 acres (or 20%) of the total village area. We are proud to shed light on the detailed approach we take to advance conservation efforts in our community. Our members and friends invest in our work to keep our towns and villages beautiful and to steward the land in a sustainable manner for future generations. We have a 6,503- acre path forward (so far) and are up to the challenge! ARE YOU? Many thanks to Meghan Leverock, Associate Director of Stewardship and GIS, for putting these wonderful and informative maps together. To be continued….


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  • Conservation Tools


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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 Preserve Red 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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