Sharing the Love for the Environment


Assemblyman Fred Thiele with Kathy Kennedy, Senior Manager of Outreach, and John v.H. Halsey, President. Assemblyman Thiele recently announced his retirement at the conclusion of this session after 30 years of service. He will be missed given his extraordinary leadership in conservation and his extensive institutional knowledge.


Albany might not be your top pick for Valentine’s Day celebrations, but Trust staff met with state legislators on February 13th and 14th. Each year the Trust works with partner organizations throughout the state to connect with the Governor and members of the State Senate and Assembly to share stories of how the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and other programs such as American Farmland Trust’s Farmland for a New Generation are creating healthier and resilient communities. 

In their meetings organized by the New Yorkers for Clean Water & Jobs on the 13th, they urged legislators to maintain the EPF at a minimum of $400 million in the state budget. Here on Long Island, funding through the EPF has protected many acres of open space, including woodlands that filter our drinking water, trails that connect us to nature, and working farms that produce food and other products.  

On the 14th, they met with legislators to discuss New York’s farmland. Along with our partners in Alliance for New York’s Farmland, we asked legislators to support $25 million in Farmland Protection as part of the EPF. The Governor proposed $18.25 million in funding, a cut of nearly $3 million from the amount allocated in last year’s Enacted Budget. We must invest in protecting our farmland for the food, farm, climate, and economic benefits they provide. 

As in years past, the Governor proposed no funding for the Farmland for a New Generation program. We asked for at least $850,000 to fund this program. This recommended funding will enable the American Farmland Trust and Regional Navigators, which the Peconic Land Trust is one, to help farmers find or transfer land. A majority (92%) of farmers over 65 in New York report not having a next generation farmer who is ready and willing to take over their farm business. Farmland for a New Generation provides these senior farmers and farm families with opportunities to connect with and mentor a new farmer or make their land available to an existing farmer more easily. 


Interested in learning more? Contact Yvette DeBow Salsedo, Vice President.


Kathy Kennedy Celebrates 25 Years

with the Peconic Land Trust


Few people can claim a quarter of a century working with one organization. However, we’ve been lucky to have Kathy Kennedy, Senior Manager of Outreach, working for the Peconic Land Trust since 1999. Starting in our Conservation Planning Department, Kathy helped the Trust with numerous preservation deals. She then moved to the Education Department in 2005 to create our Connections programming. I spoke with her about this career milestone and her time at the Trust.  


“Unfortunately, opportunities for people to engage in nature are shrinking. I remember going into the woods as a child and turning over logs to find salamanders, riding my bike to the beach to look for shells, and hanging a bird feeder in my backyard. Many children don’t get those experiences in nature anymore. With our Connections programs, we connect people and communities to the land around us and expose them to the beauty of local farms, woodlands, and our marine environment. Hopefully, they’ll return to their family and friends and share these farms, nature trails, and gardens with them, too.”  


One place Kathy loves to take people to is Bridge Gardens, the Trust’s 5-acre public garden in Bridgehampton. It’s a great community resource for horticultural knowledge and natural beauty. “I can’t wait to see Bridge Gardens become the educational center it was always meant to be with this upcoming renovation.” We’ll add ADA compliant entrances, expanded spaces for educational programming, and a teaching kitchen for garden-to-table demonstrations.


Another spot Kathy considers a hidden gem is the Mulvihill Preserve in Sag Harbor. “In the Spring, the vernal ponds and moss are magical. It’s a fairyland that I loved to bring my children to.” Kathy worked with Dolores Zebrowski, the Town of Southampton, and Suffolk County to protect these 100-acres of woodlands and wetlands. Now, she shares this preserve with the community through Connections hikes.  


Kathy on the trail at the Mulvihill Preserve during a 2013 Connections hike.


If you’ve attended a Connections program with Kathy, met her at an information table, or ran into her in the neighborhood, you’ve had “the talk.” Now, I’m not talking about the birds and the bees, although she’s also happy to share about pollinators, but the misinformation around the Community Preservation Fund (CPF). Many people incorrectly assume that the Peconic Land Trust receives money from the CPF, also known as the 2% tax. The truth is that those funds go directly to the town where the property was purchased. The Peconic Land Trust raises its operating budget through charitable gifts. Kathy hopes this information is among the many things people learn at each Connections program. 

What’s ahead for Kathy besides sharing more information about the Trust and the joy of conserved lands? She looks forward to meeting more people who love nature and farms at Trust programs and spending more time in her garden, where she’s focused on growing more native plants to support our pollinators. 

Make sure to congratulate Kathy on this career milestone at the next Connections program you see her at or email 


Join us at an upcoming program,

visit our online calendar for details and to register.


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Peconic Land Trust | 631.283.3195 |

Peconic Land Trust conserves Long Island’s working farms, natural lands, and heritage for our communities now and in the future. To learn more, visit us online at

The Peconic Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The majority of our support comes from our donors! We do not receive the 2% real estate transfer tax. Click here to learn more.

Financial Disclosure Statement: A copy of the last financial report filed with the New York State Attorney General may be obtained in writing to: New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau, Attn: FOIL Officer, 28 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10005 or Peconic Land Trust.


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AAQ / Resource: Christopher Jeffrey Architects