The Land Alliance turned 15 years old on June 1, 2018! Many people judge success in terms of metrics like how many acres protected (nearly 1,200), how many members (3,200+ families), how many conservation easements (21), how many preserves open to the public (9), or how many children educated (6,000+). But here on the North Shore of Long Island, where land is a very precious thing, we prefer to judge in terms of quality – we take pride in the quality of the places preserved like the Banfi/Youngs Farm fields, Wawapek, Shore Road Sanctuary, Cushman Woods, the Humes Property and the adjoining Japanese Stroll Garden to name a few, as well as the quality and quantity of the water sources protected and the quality of life that is enhanced by our work.
The occasion was marked with a series of celebratory events, beginning with an easement donor thank you party at the Oyster Bay Cove home of Paula and Richard Weir. Easements are the backbone of any land trust. Our 21 easement donor families have made a real mark in the protection of our North Shore community.
A birthday party dinner for board and staff followed, where long-term Board Chair Carter Bales was presented with a painting by Abby Youngs Weir of the Youngs Farm fields, considered by many to be the Land Alliance’s most emblematic land save.
On June 2, 2018, the official 15th Anniversary birthday party for members, friends and elected officials was held at the historic Humes property in Mill Neck. The party kicked off with an early-morning bird walk led by Stella Miller. Guests spotted a variety of birds on the 28-acre piece of land like Baltimore orioles, goldfinches and scarlet tanagers. Later that morning families and friends gathered on the great lawn between the Rumpus house and the meadow for a variety of fun-filled activities. The Land Alliance’s Long Island Water Education Program educator Karen Mossey taught guests how to build aquifer models in cups with sand, water and rocks. Children boasted bright smiles while feeding the goats at the petting zoo and gluing leaves and twigs to miniature wooden fairy houses. Guests enjoyed a lovely tour of the exquisitely manicured Japanese Stroll Garden, which just reopened to the public May 12th, and Senator Marcellino chatted with Land Alliance Board Chair Carter Bales during the dogwood tree planting honoring Bales.
Under a blazing sun in the early afternoon heat, Lisa Ott, Land Alliance President & CEO, cut slices of rich birthday cake while guests, staff and volunteers sang a heartfelt happy birthday. “What a memorable and fun day this has been. Thank you all so much for coming,” Ott said. “I am so proud of all we have accomplished together over the past 15 years and I’m very grateful to all our staff, board, members, local foundations, nonprofit friends and government partners. We would not be where we are today without all of your help and support.” Just as she finished her remarks, the first guest, a hungry 1-year-old, took a huge bite of chocolate cake.