Restore Native Habitat With The Long Island Conservancy

The Long Island Conservancy is dedicated to restoring native habitat in communities across Long Island. We support local stewardship. What park do you care about? We are here to help. Is there a sump in your neighborhood that could become a bird sanctuary? Are invasive plants taking over your community? How can you find out what plants are native and would work in your yard or park?

Invasive Plants Destroy Native Habitat!

Right now, our focus is on invasive plants as part of The Dirty Dozen Campaign is a collective effort from The Town of North Hempstead, Sands Point Preserve, The Science Museum of Long Island, and plant specialists across Long Island. We are fighting for every acre now.

Taking a Stand Against Invasive Plants

This Thursday Sept 7th 11AM -12 PM, we will be running an episode of Little Green Shoots called Kill The Spotted Lanternfly and The Tree of Heaven: An Online Forum. Here a member of The Dirty Dozen is also playing host to an invasive insect! One of the things we just learned is that oriental bittersweet and multiflora rose, two other members of The Dirty Dozen, are also preferred host plants for The Spotted Lanternfly. Remove these invasive plants, or watch The Spotted Lanternfly decimate our flora regularly.

We are also checking out the claim that common milkweed will poison The Spotted Lanternfly and that farms and vineyards should be planting it at the perimeters. One speculates that since milkweed is toxic to about everything except The Monarch Butterfly, which adapted so it could feed on it and since Spotted Lanternflies have no such adaptation and don’t “know” to avoid it, this could well be true. Further research is necessary. Hopefully we will have people on in the forum who can speak to that.

Below are what we designated The Dirty Dozen, Long Island’s twelve worst invasive plants. Once you see them, you can’t unsee them and they are now everywhere. There were dozens of others we considered, and we will get to Japanese Honeysuckle, Garlic Mustard, Autumn Olive, Privet, Hairy Bittercress and so forth in an extended “Most Unwanted” list. For now though we will have our hands full.

The Dirty Dozen

We have written on Japanese Knotweed, English Ivy, Wisteria, Lesser Celandine, The Callery Pear, and most recently Tree of Heaven on our blog. We will be posting pages on all of the Dirty Dozen — and then some — on our site for everyone’s reference. We need to learn how to best eradicate these plants or they will continue to destroy habitat on Long Island.

Another thing we came to learn and wish to impart to people: The worst of all the invasive plants here on Long Island is arguably lawn. Kentucky Bluegrass is Eurasian, and invasive. Its pushing out our native grasses in The Great Plains. A lawn is meant too to be a ‘monocrop,’ but take a look and it is riddled with invasive species. We spend such efforts watering and fertilizing it, spray it with fungicides and insecticides just to keep it neon green in this strange environment when we could be creating native habitat in our own yards without any of the expensive — and often futile — effort.

Do you have an issue with invasive plants? Not sure? Don’t know what to do next? So much of what we have growing on our properties and in our parks is non-native or invasive. Get a plant identifier app on your phone. PictureThis! or Google Lens, iNaturalist. Drop us a line and tell us what you are up against. Long Island is losing a war it does not even know it is fighting. Only broad public awareness can open people’s eyes to what in fact they are seeing. That is why we launched the Dirty Dozen Campaign with our environmentalist non-profit partners. We have to begin to know what we are in fact looking at.

Likewise, is there some native habitat that could be created in your community? A sump turned into a bird sanctuary? Is there a lawn that could become a meadow? Is there a local park you can help “Go Native?” Long Island needs replanting.

Native Habitat
Meadow Year Two — Butterfly Milkweed

Contact Us!

Little Green Shoots

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our latest posts, event information, and our latest episodes of Little Green Shoots! How can you help restore native habitat? We are here to help you and your community!

Subscribe To Receive Weekly Updates

* indicates required

Latest Blogs

We very much encourage you to reach out to us. We need to know where we can help. If there is a local park or public space you wish to protect, or if you are seeking to bring Nature to your yard and neighborhood, contact us below. Tell us what you have in mind. We look forward to seeing how we can help.


Marshall Brown
Executive Director
The Long Island Conservancy