The Long Island Conservancy is dedicated to creating native habit in our communities, whether in our public parks, our main streets, or in our own yards. We support local stewardship. Every community has local champions for some park or lake or forest or meadow, or a particular local species of bird, reptile, amphibian or fish. How can we build local habitat for them where we live?
There are so many parks that need our help. Most overrun with invasive plants (like the rest of Long Island). The Long Island Conservancy works with the general public, with environmentalists, with municipalities, and with other environmental non-profits to restore native habitat in Nassau and Suffolk County and the communities they comprise.
So much depends whether you can at all see the problem. As we no longer farm or live within nature for the most part, we no longer know what we are looking at — what kinds of trees or bushes or flowers, and most crucially what is and isn’t native, and what is invasive.
On Long Island, we are witnessing massive habitat destruction, much caused by having alien plants instead of natives. Without native plants, we lose our native wildlife. Most people don’t realize how dire our situation is, but they need to start to know if we collectively hope to answer this environmental crisis, one that is at once local and global.
Once you see it, you can’t unsee it: A simple plant identifying app like PictureThis! or iNaturalist is how it often starts. See what is growing in your yard, and everywhere else you care to look. What happens when you realize that 95% of what is growing around you is either invasive or non-native? What if you came to understand that with so little native, we were effectively starving local wildlife to death? On the positive side, find out along the way the purpose and characteristics of each plant: What does it need in terms of soil, light, and moisture? What feeds on it? How does it propagate? What is it related to? These were all things that people a hundred years ago knew as a matter of course. It’s a joy to rediscover this knowledge.
What happens when you suddenly know that we need to rebuild habitat locally if our wildlife is to have a future? What if we saw where we could take action by planting natives not only in our parks or at our schools, but in our yards and on our Main Streets as well?
Do you have a beloved local park you wish to support? Is it overrun with invasive plants or is the pond choked with algae? Do you see bamboo, Japanese Knotweed, Chinese Tree of Heaven, the preferred habitat for the Spotted Lantern Fly? Wisteria, Porcelain Berry, English Ivy, kudzu? Contact us. We will help your community get rid of it.
We are also actively working to restore The American Chestnut, planting groves that will in time be crossbred to produce a blight-resistant strain.
We are speaking with the leading researchers the latest scourge, Beech Leaf Disease. An invasive nematoid it seems.
We are fighting for Long Island’s natural future. The task is monumental. We will only succeed if we address the challenge from the ground up, through the community. It is the task of a conservancy to work with both the public and with government to enhance our natural world, and all that begins with people getting their hands involved — in seeding, planting, and harvesting. We have forgotten how to do most things.
We have hosted numerous tours of our native plantings — for garden clubs, civic associations, and municipalities, and we welcome your inquiries. Most recently, we hosted SWEEP, a Sayville High School club dedicated to preserving and restoring local habitat in the community. 14 students gathered 24 mason jars full of seeds from 20 different plants. There will be a follow up harvest for the late bloomers — the Seaside Goldenrod and the asters.
Native Wildflower Seed Harvest, Part II, November 11th, as reported in The Suffolk County News (subscription required)
From there, we set to work learning how best to sow/germinate/start/plant each of these species while also choosing locations within the community where we would want to establish wildflower beds. Enough seed was gathered to plant ten acres. We are seeing this “grassroots” movement grow in other communities like Port Washington as more and more come to understand how important native plants are to our environment.
The Long Island Conservancy is always available to speak before your school or group. We need to understand at once what we are up against, and what we can each do to make a difference.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at (212) 380-8418. We look forward to seeing how we can help!
Yours in Nature,
Marshall Brown, Executive Director