In the late 1990’s, residents in many Long Island communities began to be concerned about how quickly our landscape was changing, how our critical natural resources like beaches and forests, fields and meadows were disappearing before our eyes. The large estates and the productive farms were being subdivided and sold for dense development. The pristine beaches and bays were becoming more polluted every year. Moreover, both the quality and quantity of the groundwater were declining.
In the late 1990’s several volunteer initiatives were already underway. In 1998 Carter Bales and Larry Schmidlapp formed the Centre Island Land Trust. Also in 1998, the Oyster Bay Cove Land Trust was formed with Rosemary Bourne, President, John Bralower, Vice President and Lisa Ott, Secretary.
In 1997 Julie and Luis Rinaldini purchased Groton Place, a hundred acre estate in Old Westbury. Understanding the value of conservation, they were interested in protecting the land from development by placing a conservation easement on their property. When they realized there was no local organization with the ability to hold an easement, they looked for others to help.
At that time, the mission of The Nature Conservancy was adopting a more landscape-scale, global focus. The Conservancy was no longer able to acquire small, local parcels. Paul Rabinovitch, then Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy, saw a need for a local organization to take on this role. Patsy Randolph and Nancy Douzinas of the Rauch Foundation saw this need too.
In 2002, they all gathered together around a table and formed the North Shore Land Alliance.
The Nature Conservancy applied to the Rauch Foundation for a $20,000 grant to fund initial set-up of the 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization and hired Lisa Ott as a part-time executive director.
Since then, our community has embraced the concept of saving land, creating parks and protecting natural resources and critical habitat. We’ve added thirty well-respected community leaders to our board and built a growing membership and able corp of volunteers.
Read more about the history of the Land Alliance in our timeline of events.