Timeline of Conservation: 1983 to Present
Please take a moment to look back at some milestones in our conservation work since the founding of the Peconic Land Trust in 1983; all of which were made possible by you through your support and dedication to protecting Long Island's working farms, natural lands and heritage.
These are only a few of the more than 400 projects that the Trust has completed with landowners, government agencies, partner organizations, donors and communities. We will update the timeline over time, please bookmark and visit again soon.
All of us at the Peconic Land Trust look forward to working with you to protect what we know and love on Long Island
- Incorporation of the Trust
On August 1, the incorporation of the Trust by founder John v.H. Halsey and a small group of neighbors, Terry Stubelek, Richard W. King, Roy L. Wines, Jr. and Edward Sharretts. By December 31, changes to NYS Conservation Easement law remove the "impertinent requirement" allowing land trusts to acquire conservation easements on properties not directly adjacent to properties they own. This opened up a whole new level of conservation opportunities.
- Phillips Pond Preserve
First project completed: Phillips Pond Preserve, approximately 6 acres donated by Burton Brous between 1984 and 1986, situated between Phillips Pond and the Atlantic Ocean in the Village of Southampton, this ecologically sensitive area is an important gateway to the ocean in the village.
- First Challenge Fundraising Initiative
With donations from 34 members of the community, the Trust met its first Challenge fundraising initiative – raising $10,000 to meet an anonymous match. Since then, thousands of individuals have donated to the Trust’s Annual Fund, making our conservation work possible. This was also the year the scallop shell logo was first used, designed by Linda Sherman, Roger Smith and Lee Foster.
- The First Peconinic
The first Peconinic – our annual Thank You party for supporters – was held at the Foster Farm in Sagaponack. Since then, the Peconinic has been held in every East End town, in celebration of our rural heritage.
- Conservation of our First 100 Acres
By this time, with the support of landowners, municipalities and the community, the Trust had conserved its first 100 acres, including farmland protection in Southampton and Southold, and the Village Green in Southold hamlet.
- Land Trust Alliance’s Professional Standards
The Trust adopts the Land Trust Alliance’s professional standards and practices for land conservation
- First Project in Smithtown
Louisa Lawrence donated a 45-acre conservation easement on her property in Smithtown. Since then, we’ve worked with four families in the community protecting more than 80 acres of wetlands, woodland, pasture and historic façade easements and have established an on-going relationship with Avalon Park and Preserve
- Quail Hill Farm
Quail Hill Farm is established in Amagansett on land donated by Deborah Ann Light. One of the original CSA farms in the US, Quail Hill today supports over 250 family members with summer and winter shares and grows over 300 varieties of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. The farmland at Quail Hill, along with the adjoining Light Preserve, is now part of the Trust’s Farms for the Future Initiative (see 2010).
- Reel Point Preserve
Reel Point Preserve, an iconic peninsula at the end of Ram Island, is donated by the Stern family to the Trust and becomes our first project on Shelter Island. Through 2013, the Trust has worked with landowners, the Town, County and State to conserve approximately 350 acres on Shelter Island, most recently with our work with the heir to Sylvester Manor, Eben Ostby (see 2011-2012).
1997 - 2000
- Downs Farm Preserve
Working with the Baxter family, Suffolk County, Southold Town and conservation buyer Russ McCall, we conserved over 100 acres in Cutchogue, known as the Downs Farm Preserve, which includes the Fort Corchaug historic site (50+ acres owned by the Town), and McCall Vineyard and Ranch (80+ acres owned by McCall, with a conservation easement donated to the Trust). In 1999, the Trust worked again with Russ McCall and the Ginsburg family to conserve an additional 54+ acres, most of which was purchased by McCall who donated a conservation easement on that parcel. 3.5 acres of that parcel, including a farmhouse and historic barn, were retained by the Trust and today is our North Fork Stewardship Center. Restoration of the 18th century barn is on-going.
- The Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund
The Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund was enacted by public referendum in the five East End Towns of Long Island: Riverhead, Southampton, Southold, Shelter Island and East Hampton. Through 2013, more than 10,000 acres have been conserved with funding provided through the CPF. A common misperception is that the Trust is the recipient of those funds. The funds are actually collected by Suffolk County and redistributed to the Town where the property transfer occurred. The Towns use the funds for their land conservation. The CPF has been renewed two times through voter referendum and currently is in effect through 2030.
- Cow Neck
Louis Bacon donates a conservation easement on 540 acres on Cow Neck to the Trust; the organization's largest single conservation easement to date. The property, acquired by Mr. Bacon from the Salm Family, includes undisturbed tidal and freshwater wetlands, woodlands, agricultural and equestrian lands, and meadows.
- Fund for the Environment
The Trust’s Fund for the Environment was established with a $2 million challenge grant from the Peter J. Sharp Foundation. The Fund is a source of capital that serves as a revolving fund, providing interim financing for the Trust’s acquisitions of land, conservation easements, or other environmental assets. To date, the Trust has used the Fund on 17 projects, the first of which was Dam Pond. Over the years, the Fund has grown to nearly $5 million through donations by other individuals and foundations for this express purpose.
- Northwest Woods
Marillyn B. Wilson donated a conservation easement on a 22.7-acre parcel of woodland in the Northwest Woods section of East Hampton, on the Accabonac Trail, to the Trust. The site contains locally rare woodland of majestic white pine and oak. In 2008, Ms. Wilson donated the conserved property to the Trust, plus an additional 23 acres, to create Wilson’s Grove, which includes her architecturally distinctive home and woodland gardens
- Through Farms and Fields
Through Farms and Fields, the Trust’s annual fundraiser was launched – with a farm tour and luncheon held in the Galban Barn in Sagaponack. Over the ensuing years – the event, a country "luncheon" or "supper" has been at iconic properties, including the Wesnofske’s historic barn in Bridgehampton, the Salm’s Port of Missing Men in North Sea and the Halsey’s Whitecap Farm on Mecox Bay.
- Connections Launches
With initial funding from the R.K. Mellon Family Foundation, the Trust’s Connections educational programs, designed to connect the community with the land, is launched. To date, thousands of people of all ages have participated in programs from the tip of the forks to NYC. This is also the year the Trust established the partnership with the artists of Plein Air Peconic.
- True East
Seeking to focus the public’s attention on the serious issues threatening local agriculture, and working with landscape designer and photographer Wendy Chamberlin, the Trust publishes "True East," featuring her photos and stories of four local farming families: Corwith, Foster, Halsey and Zaluski. Taken over the course of one year, the books showcase their commitment to agriculture on Long Island’s East End.
- New Suffolk Waterfront
New Suffolk Waterfront is acquired by the Trust, a 3.4 acre property threatened by development, and held until the community is able to raise the funds to purchase it from the Trust in December 2010. Today, the site is owned by the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund, and is the setting for numerous events and a community garden, continuing its future as a community resource.
- Charnews Farm
The Trust acquires Charnews Farm, and through a community-led fundraising campaign, transforms the property into the Agricultural Center, leasing farmland to new and established farmers (see Farms for the Future Initiative, 2010). The Ag Center is also the site of our Community Garden, which in 2013 has about 100 families and individuals participating, as well as our Learning Garden which offers programs to local school groups.
- Bridge Gardens
Harry Neyens and Jim Kilpatrick donate Bridge Gardens, a five-acre garden in the heart of Bridgehampton, open to the public from April through October. In 2012, Bridge Gardens adopted a mission to serve as a multi-purpose, multi-disciplinary outdoor classroom, demonstration garden and community resource - and tied the Gardens purpose more closely to the mission of the Peconic Land Trust.
- Anderegg and McQuade Preserves
The Trust receives donations of two significant properties along Long Island Sound in Riverhead: the Anderegg and McQuade Preserves. These new preserves add a total of 83.5 acres to an assemblage of over 250 acres of beach, bluff, farmland, meadow, and woodland, conserved with the cooperation of numerous landowners, Riverhead Town, Suffolk County, donors and the Trust.
- Farms for the Future Initiative
Farms for the Future Initiative was formalized. This program works with established and new farmers to provide access to affordable farmland – through leases, incubator programs and sales.The program, which is also designed to promote the diversity of farming operations, has a focus on encouraging food production on Long Island.
- Hopping Farmland
The Hopping farmland, 7.6 acres of farmland in Sagaponack, home to the Pike Farm Stand is acquired by the Trust. Through a community fundraising effort, and the sale of development rights to Suffolk County and Southampton Town, the Trust conserves the farmland, and in 2011, after the implementation of innovative overlay easements resells the property to Jim and Jennifer Pike at an affordable farmland price. The tools employed in this complex farmland conservation effort became the basis for the Trust’s Farms for the Future Initiative, which was formalized in 2010.
- Sylvester Manor
Working with Eben Fiske Ostby, owner of Sylvester Manor, along with the non-profit Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, the Trust helps to conserve 48 acres of this 243-acre estate on Shelter Island. The Trust continues its conservation planning work with the family and the Educational Farm, supporting the restoration of the land to active agriculture at this historic site.
- Oysterponds Historical Society
Working with the Oysterponds Historical Society (OHS), the Trust purchases conservation easements on 13 acres given to OHS through a bequest by Sonja Stein, continuing our conservation work on the lands around Orient’s Dam Pond, which began back in 1989. Today, over 118 acres of fragile wetlands, beachfront, and woodlands surrounding Dam Pond have been conserved through public/private partnerships fostered by the Trust.
The Trust works with ExxonMobil on the conservation of two former terminal properties on Long Island: an 8-acre site on Shore Road in Cold Spring Harbor and a 2-acre site on Shelter Island Sound in the Village of Greenport. In partnership with the North Shore Land Alliance, Southold Town and Greenport Village, these donations by ExxonMobil represent the first significant donations of surplus property for conservation purposes on Long Island by the Corporation.
- Hayground Farms
On July 25, 2013, with the assistance of the South Fork Land Foundation, the Trust acquired 20 acres of productive agricultural land on Route 27 in Bridgehampton. Known as Hayground Farms, the land will be incorporated into the Trust's Farms for the Future Initiative and will continue to be leased to a local farmer.
- Galban Easement
The Galban Family donated an overlay easement with affirmative and affordable farming covenants of 33.4 acres in Sagaponack to the Trust in December of 2013. This donation ensures that the land will remain in active agricultural production.
- Danilevsky Farmland
The Trust purchased 33 acres of prime agricultural land in the hamlet of Water Mill from the estate of Charlotte Danilevsky. The Town of Southampton was an important partner in this farmland conservation, purchasing the development rights on the property from the Trust, including new additional restrictions that will ensure the land is affordable and accessible to food production farmers at its true agricultural value. The farmland is in the process of being sold to qualified farmers through an RFP process.
- Forge River Conservation
In September 2014, the Trust with encouragement from local residents, the Town of Brookhaven, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, purchased a 4+ acre parcel on the peninsula of the Forge River in Mastic Beach from the Stony Brook Foundation. The property will be restored to its natural state. In October, the Trust received confirmation from the USDA that we will receive funds from a grant through the Hurricane Sandy Relief Funds that will cover most of the costs related to the acquisition and restoration of the project. As part of the grant, the USDA will be purchasing an easement from the Trust on the property.
For more information on these projects and many more, visit our website and check out our new interactive map!