Preserve Spotlight / November 2017


Widow’s Hole Preserve 


The Trust’s Widow’s Hole Preserve in Greenport greets travelers from the Shelter Island ferry.  
Located on the southeastern corner of Fourth and Clark Streets along the Peconic River in Greenport Harbor, the preserve, which is undergoing a habitat restoration, is also a perfect outdoor learning space for kids to explore. 

Preserve Spotlight / October 2017


Deborah Ann Light Preserve


The fertile farmland of the Deborah Ann Light Preserve is in its glory in the late summer and early fall season, with rich vibrant colors and acres of vegetables and flowers in the fields ready for the fall harvest.

The Light Preserve, and the adjacent Town Lane Preserve, are leased to local farmers — some new to farming while others are more established — as part of the Trust’s Farms for the Future Initiative.


Preserve Spotlight / September 2017


Phillips Pond Preserve

Southampton Village  

Phillips Pond Preserve by artist Susan D’Alessio
It’s a widely held view that September and October are the most perfect times of the year here on the East End. And an ideal time to walk along the shorelines and take a dip in the ocean, bay, or sound.  While the air is getting chilly, our waters often retain their summer warmth into the Fall, unless they are riled up by storms.
But take care: lifeguards are no longer on patrol and rip currents from recent storms can make our waters dangerous, especially the ocean.
An ideal place to start a walk is along the first property donated to the Trust in 1984, the first piece of our Phillips Pond Preserve.  By making a total of 3 gifts in the 1980s, Burton Brous protected 6 acres of oceanfront and the shoreline of Phillips Pond.
“Burt bought three oceanfront lots in 1979 for a total of $750,000.  After he built his house on one lot, he began to fully appreciate what he had acquired, not just financially, but also aesthetically.  As such, he  decided to donate the other two lots,” remembers Trust President John Halsey.  “He was a gregarious, witty, and determined individual – an adventure to work with, and the first to put his trust in us!”
Located on the Atlantic Ocean in the Village of Southampton, Phillips Pond Preserve is the quintessential dune ecosystem, under constant change from the natural forces of wind and water. Most of the south shore of Long Island looked like this 75 years ago. Sea rocket, seabeach amaranth, Ammophila beach grass, beach heather, dwarf shrub beach heather, young pitch pines, bayberry shrubs, and seaside goldenrod can all be seen at the preserve, which is also a known habitat for Monarch butterflies or migratory song birds. 
Phillips Pond Preserve by Gordon Matheson
During summer months the monarch butterflies arrive to lay eggs and die. Their offspring undergo metamorphosis in August. This new generation of adult butterflies rely on the nectar contained in the flowers of the seaside goldenrod that flourish on this preserve. These flowers help fuel their journey to Mexico during the months ahead.
Want to learn more about the conservation story and the ecology of Phillips Pond Preserve? Contact Matt Swain, Senior Stewardship Manager, at 631.283.3195

Preserve Spotlight / August 2017


Preserves Along Goldsmith’s Inlet

Maldutis, Peconic Bluffs and Switzer

North Fork

Maldutis Preserve and Goldsmith’s Inlet photo by Christine Kraft

Between 1999 and 2004, the Peconic Land Trust acquired over nine (9) acres of natural habitat near Goldsmith’s Inlet in Southold. The lands feature a combination of undisturbed woodlands, and beautiful freshwater and tidal wetlands. The conservation of these lands eliminated a potential of up to eight (8) residences, and the requisite septic systems. Eight less homes means a significant reduction in nitrogen intrusions into the inlet, which has helped to keep the ecosystem of the area healthy, critically important to the water quality of Goldsmith’s Inlet.  Many local residents have also enjoyed the “greenspace” provided to this community. 

Switzer Preserves

The protection of this area began when Hugh Switzer donated three building lots, located in the Goldsmith’s Inlet area of Peconic, to the Trust in November 1999. Totaling just a half acre all together, their preservation eliminates the potential development of three residences while preserving wildlife habitat and vistas.

Switzer Preserve

Peconic Bluffs Preserve

In January 2003 the Trust acquired the Peconic Bluffs Preserve — just to the west of the Switzer Preserves. The purchase of the property was made possible by donations from neighbors in the community and the Town of Southold acquiring a conservation easement on the land from the Peconic Land Trust.  The 9-acre woodland that included freshwater wetlands had an approved 4-lot subdivision.  Several neighbors have deeded access to a dirt road running both through and along the northern side of the woodlands.

Peconic Bluffs Preserve
Maldutis Preserve
In December 2003, Julius Maldutis, Jr. donated 0.4 acres of woodlands to the Trust, which he had owned since the early 1960s. Situated within the Town’s designated tidal wetlands area, the addition of the Maldutis Preserve enhances in the water quality protection of the inlet.
These areas offer habitat for diverse plants and wildlife, including vernal pools on the Peconic Bluffs Preserve. American  beech, White oak, White pine, and Sassafras are among the plants at the Peconic Bluffs Preserve, whereas the shoreline preserves include Hickory, Black oak, Black cherry and successional shrubland. 
Habitat for deer, red fox, red-tailed hawks, great horned and screech owls . . . over 30 New York State protected species of birds . . . make their home at Peconic Bluffs, and shoreline birds, including Osprey, Great and Snowy Egrets and Kingfisher can be found at Maldutis and Switzer. These preserves provide a wonderful opportunity for bird enthusiasts to explore! We thank Mr. Switzer and Mr. Maldutis for choosing conservation and the community for their support of this beautiful area.
Want to learn more about the conservation story and the diverse ecosystem of the preserves? Contact Denise Markut, North Fork Stewardship Manager at 631.734.5630.

Preserve Spotlight / July 2017

The lush and contemplative landscape of Bridge Gardens is a special gift to the community. In 2008, we were honored to accept the Gardens as a donation from Jim Kilpatric and Harry Neyens, who had lovingly designed and installed its many elements. This year we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Bridge Gardens as well as Jim and Harry for their vision to create a public garden on the East End. It would not exist but for their passion for gardening and their hope that Bridge Gardens would bring joy to the community at large for many years to come. Next year we will have been the stewards of this hidden gem for a decade.

From a simple plan to just grow more, Jim and Harry created a five-acre oasis in the heart of Bridgehampton — sharing it with friends and opening the Gardens many rooms to the public over the next 21 years. (For more on the donation of the Gardens, see our Winter 2009 newsletter — you can also visit our website for more information).

Today, under the stewardship of Trust’s Rick Bogusch, the lush garden beds planted and sown by Jim and Harry continue to flourish, but, as with all living things, they have evolved, with new plantings and purpose. The Gardens’ mission to serve as a demonstration garden and outdoor classroom closely matches the goals Jim and Harry set out many years ago: to make Bridge Gardens a place that inspires others. Today, community garden plots, a large demonstration vegetable garden and an expanded herb garden sit among the acres of sustainably managed lawns, trees and shrubs, as well as interesting and varied annual and perennial plants.



Preserve Spotlight / June 2017

 Shellfisher Preserve, Southold

Donated to the Peconic Land Trust in 1996 by the Plock Family, Shellfisher Preserve is a fully operational mariculture facility that is contributing to our enjoyment and health in so many ways — the revitalized shellfish operation not only provides us with oysters, clams and scallops for the local market, but it also grows and distributes shellfish through seed progrmas that improve the water quality of Southold Bay and beyond.

John Plock founded the Shelter Island Oyster Company on the site in 1935, but due to personal circumstances the maricultural facility was shut down in the late 1970s. In the early 1990s, the Plocks came to the Trust, and working with John v.H. Halsey and Tim Caufield created a limited development plan for their 21.8-acre parcel — which permanently protected 14 of those acres in 1992.

Four years later, the Plock’s donated the protected land to the Trust. Working with Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Suffolk County’s Marine program, and a grant from the National Grid Foundation and the United States Department of Agriculture, the Trust restored the shellfish facility. Shellfisher Preserve is now managed by CCE and the Trust — and is leased to a cooperative of shellfish farmers, Noank Aquaculture Cooperative, who are growing oysters, hard clams and bay scallops.

We thank the Plocks for seeking out a conservation plan for their land and helping to keep alive the tradition of shellfish farming on Long Island. To learn more about the family’s history, in 2014 The Shelter Island Reporter ran a fantastic story featuring Bill Plock and his memories of his dad and grandfather and growing up around the Shelter Island Oyster Company. Read it here.

We are also grateful for the support of CCE, National Grid, the USDA, and Noank in the preservation and on-going management of the preserve!

Special: Next time you are out and about and see “Peconic Pearls” oysters on the menu consider ordering a dozen. Peconic Pearls are sold with a 5 cents premium, which is donated to the Trust in support of water quality projects.

To learn more about this groundbreaking project, visit our website. Shellfisher Preserve was also featured on the Land Trust Alliance’s “Conservation in a Changing Climate” website. Check it out here!

Have questions? Interested in organizing a group visit? Contact Pam Greene, Senior Vice President at 631.283.3195.


Preserve Spotlight / May 2017


Berglund & Lesster Preserves, North Sea


The North Sea area of Southampton is a nature lovers paradise, with over 1,000 acres in preservation, including trails along the Paumanok Path. Hikers and paddlers have miles of terrain to explore, including two Trust nature preserves: Berglund and Lesster.

The 40+ acre Berglund Preserve along West Neck Creek was donated to the Trust in 1993 by Nils Berglund. As often happens, the estate tax burden on the property was significant and the family was concerned that the woodlands and wetlands that provided important habitat for wildlife would be lost. Donating the land to the Trust helped with both the future estate tax issues as well as protected the land from residential development, forever. A few years later, the Trust purchased the adjacent five acres from Elizabeth Lesster through a bargain sale at a nominal value. Mrs. Lesster also wanted to see her property conserved along with the bountiful woodlands and wetlands along Little Sebonac Creek.

In 2012, the family of Logan James Kirby donated a bench within the preserve in his memory — as a place to sit quietly and enjoy nature.

The woodland and wetland preserve areas are abundant with an array of flora and fauna, including native grasses, such as smooth (Spartina alerniflora) and saltmeadow (Spartina patens) cordgrasses, a variety of flowers (Swamp azealea, Marsh mallow, and seaside goldenrod) and forest trees, predominately American beech, although there are some pitch pines as well. The preserve is also a haven for many species of owl including Great Horned, Barn and Eastern Screech — along with a wide variety of other birds, mammals and reptiles.

The preserve can be accessed through the hiking trails within the Town’s Wolf Swamp Sanctuary, just to the north of the Paumanok Path trails — and you can get a great waterside view into the preserve by kayaking or canoeing West Neck Creek (added treat: it leads into Scallop Pond).

The Berglund Preserve was used by local hunters long before it was donated to the Trust. In keeping with this tradition, it is leased to the North Sea Gun Club and the Island Creek Hunting Club in the fall and winter as part of the Trust’s Wildlife Management Program.  

Want to learn more about the conservation story and the diverse ecosystem of the preserves? Contact Matt Swain, Senior Stewardship Manager at 631.283.3195.


Preserve Spotlight / April 2017


Downs Farm Preserve, Southold



Beginning in the mid-1990s, the Peconic Land Trust worked with conservationist Russ McCall as well as the Baxter and Ginsburg families, the Town of Southold, Suffolk County, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Cutchogue/New Suffolk Historical Society, and the Old House Society on the protection of what is today over 200 acres of farmland, woodlands and historic resources — including the 51-acre Fort Corchaug and Downs Farm Preserve. Want to learn more about the conservation story, including Downs Farm Preserve, the McCall Ranch, and the Trust’s neighboring North Fork Stewardship Center? Click here. For an historic look back at the conservation story, check out our Newsletter from 1997!

Questions? Call Director of Conservation Planning Melanie Cirillo at 631.283.3195 or email


Preserve Spotlight / March 2017


Quail Hill Farm, Amagansett


unnamed-175Quail Hill Farm picking day, August 2016 by Michael Halsband

In its 28th season, Quail Hill Farm, under the direction of Scott Chaskey and Layton Guenther, is a model for Community Supported Agriculture across the country — and around the globe. A stewardship project of the Peconic Land Trust for all these years, the farm is located on the Trust’s Quail Hill Preserve, donated by Deborah Ann Light in 1990. The farm has nurtured hundreds of families and aspiring farmers! We have been fortunate to be a part of so many hopes and dreams and are looking forward to welcoming summer members in early June.

unnamed-176Apprentices in the fields, August 2016 by Michael Halsband.

In his letter to interested shareholders for the 2017 season, Scott said:

“Recently a potential Apprentice, applying for the 2017 season, began her letter of intent with this, “Objective: to provide honest labor…” This seems like an admirable place to begin, and just the right kind of promise that a farmer may make to those who have chosen to support the farm.

“Years ago, attempting to define an ecological approach to agriculture, I entitled a chapter of This Common Ground: “To Provide Some Harmony.”

“Harmony and honest labor: good words to repeat (and provide) as we enter our 28th season of community agriculture in Amagansett.” 


Quail Hill is a magical place — consider joining us this summer as a shareholder, or at one of the Connections programs at the farm this Spring, Summer and Fall — starting with our annual Seed Workshop on Saturday, April 1 at 10:00 amFor more on our Connections programs, visit our website.


Preserve Spotlight / February 2017


Winter Exploration:

Paul Stoutenburgh Preserve in Greenport


There is no better place for a brisk winter walk than the 52-acre Paul Stoutenburgh Preserve in Greenport (formerly the Arshamomaque Pond Preserve). Assembled by the Town of Southold using a combination of Community Preservation Funds and Open Space Capital funding, the Trust was pleased to have played a part in its protection, assisting the Town with the purchase of 24.8 acres from the Sutermeister and Neuer families in 2000. That portion of the preserve, along the southeast edge, includes over 1/3 of a mile of land along Hashamomuck Pond. 

The preserve showcases the diversity of the East End’s natural environment: tidal salt marsh meadows, pristine woodlands, vernal freshwater ponds and wetlands. Its forest lands are dominated by oaks and hickories, but also includes birches, maples, American beech and mature white pines. This diversity provides habitat for a wide-range of wildlife, including: egrets, salamanders, herons, hawks, crabs, deer, bats, and fox.


On November 17, 1983, in his “Focus on Nature” column that ran in the News Review/Suffolk Times for 50 years, Paul Stoutenburgh wrote:

“The openness of our area and the views across the farms and waterways give us something special. I never tire of the broad open spaces that Orient has to offer, the country roads and views along the North Road and Sound Avenue heading to Riverhead or the little quiet road from New Suffolk to Mattituck along the bay. Each of us has our own special place and as the seasons change we renew our acquaintance with these areas.”

Interested in reading more? An archive of Paul’s columns can be found on online.



Barbara and Paul Stoutenburgh along with their son Peter and Trust’s Tim Caufield at opening of our North Fork Stewardship Center in 1999.


His column that day was a call to us all to remain vigilant and to do what we can to protect what is special about the East End. His life — along with that of his wife Barbara — was dedicated to that purpose. Indeed, we are honored to have had Paul serve on the Trust’s Board of Directors for seven years. We thank the people of Southold for honoring Paul with the renaming of the Arshamomaque Pond Preserve to the Paul Stoutenburgh Preserve in 2013.

Interested in hiking the preserve? Click here for the trail map, which can be accessed 2/10 of a mile east of the Port of Egypt Marina on Route 25, on the north side of the road. Have additional questions? Please contact North Fork Stewardship Manager, Denise Markut.

Address: 63445 Main Road (Route 25), Southold, NY). 


Preserve Spotlight / January 2017


Winter Exploration:

The Ruth Oliva Preserve at Dam Pond 


It may be cold outside, and our summer migratory birds may have flown south for the winter, but there’s still lots to see and experience if you are a bird enthusiast, or would just like a nice brisk walk after a few days of indoor hibernation. 

Head out to the Ruth Oliva Preserve at Dam Pond in East Marion and take in the winter beauty. Bring your binoculars and see if you can spot a few waterfowl — including buffleheads, horned grebes and red-breasted mergansers who settle in at this important wintering spot on the East End. Click here for a trail map of the preserve.

The jointly managed County and Town Preserve is part of a 118-acre collection of land that was conserved through the work and cooperation of many, including the Trust, Suffolk County, Southold Town, landowners and partner organizations including the Oysterponds Historical Society. 

Who is Ruth Oliva? As our friend, and past Board member, Joe Townsend said: “Ruth was one of the earliest people to publicly work on behalf of preservation in Southold, from the early 1970s. She worked tirelessly. While she wasn’t the most outspoken, she was the most consistent and the area around Dam Pond was one she worked very hard for.” The preserve was renamed and dedicated to Ruth in September 2010.  We thank Ruth and the many people in our community who work day in and day out to make conservation happen.  


Want to read more about the conservation of this area?  
Check out our Fall 2012/Winter 2013 newsletter.  

Have questions about the Ruth Oliva Preserve at Dam Pond, the neighboring  Edwards Farmland Conservation effort or other conservation activities in the East Marion and Orient area? Contact Tim Caufield or Holly Sanford at 631.283.3195.