North Shore Land Alliance

The North Shore Land Alliance’s (NSLA) mission is to protect and preserve in perpetuity the green spaces, farmlands, wetlands, groundwater and historical sites of Long Island’s north shore for enhanced quality of life and the enjoyment and benefit of future generations. The designated area of focus reaches from the southern boundary of the Northern State Parkway to the shore of Long Island Sound, and from the western boundary of Nassau County to the western boundary of Brookhaven Township.

The Moore Charitable Foundation, through its regional affiliate Robins Island, partners with the NSLA in their conservation and preservation efforts. The Foundation has supported the following projects:

Wawapek Preserve

This hillside overlooking Cold Spring Harbor was slated for a 15-lot subdivision, destroying a scenic vista and jeopardizing the health of the harbor below. To preserve this property, the North Shore Land Alliance with support from The Robins Island Foundation and the local community, purchased a two-year option.

The Land Trust was successful in acquiring the 32-acre DeForest Williams property in 2015 in partnership with the Town of Huntington, County of Suffolk and New York State, along with generous support from the local community. This is the first time on Long Island that a non-profit will share title with a municipality. This property will become a public preserve, open sun up to sun down for the enjoyment of birders, hikers and all who love the natural world. It will be named the Wawapek Preserve and the support of The Robins Island Foundation was integral in securing this very important option and ultimately protecting a much-loved open space.

Long Island Small Farm Summit

In 2011, the North Shore Land Alliance convened and organized the first Long Island Small Farm Summit to build community awareness and facilitate positive action in support of local food production farmland preservation, food waste reduction and recycling, water conservation and agricultural education. Nearly 600 gardeners, farmers, health and energy advocates, students, teachers and interested individuals attended the inaugural event in support of sustainable local agriculture and growing the local food source. Joel Salatin, a third-generation alternative farmer, presented a keynote address debunking ten myths about farming and the event consisted of 20 workshops led by 72 expert panelists presenting on topics ranging from food and farm policy to raising honeybees, to starting an organic or school garden. Discussions, educational exhibits and demonstrations led by non-profit, commercial, university, and municipal organizations helped participants gain a deeper understanding of the breadth of issues facing farmers and Long Island and New York City residents in pursuit of local food sources. A second Small Farm Summit was held in 2012 and the third in the series, the Long Island Food Conference, will take place April 2015 focusing on urban agriculture and healthy eating. A generous grant from The Robins Island Foundation provided seed money allowing Land Alliance to undertake this ambitious and successful endeavor.

Impact Story

Water Education Program

A pressing reason to defend Long Island land is water protection. Long Island water comes from an underground aquifer and open, undeveloped land is critical to its recharging. Western Long Island's only remaining recharge area is located in the heart of the Land Alliance's designated area.

In an effort to educate the community on the importance of protecting land in special groundwater protection areas, the Land Alliance has developed a Water Education Program for local schools. Launched in fall of 2014, it has reached 275 fourth, fifth and sixth graders at St. Patrick School in Huntington and James H. Vernon and St. Dominic Schools in Oyster Bay. Through a series of interactive lessons both in and outside the classrooms, students learned about the aquifer as the source of drinking water, its connection to cherished streams, bays and Long Island Sound and how human activities can affect the quality and quantity of this precious resource.

Additional partnerships for spring semester 2015 will launch in schools such as East Street, Burns Avenue and Old Country Road Schools in the Hicksville School District, West Side and Laurel Hollow Schools in the Cold Spring Harbor School District and Boyd Intermediate School in the Elwood School District. The Land Alliance expects that by the end of the 2014/15 school year, the program will have reached approximately 1050 students.

Many of the students visit the Land Alliance’s 95 Shore Road (former ExxonMobil) property in Cold Spring Harbor for a field trip. This session enhances their understanding of how conservation and stewardship of natural areas can help water protection. Students are led in an exploration of the shoreline, learning about the plants and wildlife that depend on a healthy coastal community to thrive. Other activities have included using a seine net to investigate wildlife living in Cold Spring Harbor, testing Harbor water quality, beach cleanup, absorption comparisons of water from permeable open space vs. runoff from paved surfaces, and participation in grassland restoration by collecting soil samples and harvesting Switchgrass and Indiangrass seed that will be planted there in the future to augment existing populations.

Numerous volunteers have helped make this program possible. The Robins Island Foundation is proud to have supported The Land Alliance as they expand the program into more schools.

Learn more about The North Shore Land Alliance here

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