The Friends of Marshlands are involved with several local organizations which share similar ideals for the environment and our community, and often collaborate with these groups on educational programs and other projects.
Central Westchester Audubon Society
Our local branch of the acclaimed National Audubon Society, “the Central Westchester Audubon Society of White Plains is about birds, as its name suggests, but it is also about education: education for children, about what birds, animals, rivers and streams, trees and plants mean to the Earth and our own lives and to the future of the Earth we all live on… The mission of Central Westchester Audubon Society is to promote education, share information, support activities and advocate for a healthy environment, focusing on birds, other wildlife and human beings.” An excellent source for avian information, CWAS leads field trips to some of the best birding sites in the area (Marshlands included!), and holds an annual “Birdathon” event to raise money for scholarships to our summer camp. The Society welcomes new members of all ages and abilities to their field trips and programs. Visit their website at: http://www.centralwestchesteraudubon.org/index.htm
Rye Habitat Project
The City of Rye is on its way to becoming the first National Wildlife Federation “Certified Community Wildlife Habitat” in New York State. This designation will recognize that the residents, businesses, and community groups in the City have made it a priority to provide food, shelter, water, and nesting sites for wildlife by improving both our private and public land. Devoted Rye resident Jane Grant formed the Rye Habitat Project group in 2009, and she and the group have since been advocating for the use of native plants, sustainable and organic gardening and landscaping practices, and the exchange of wildlife-unfriendly lawn for native wildflowers and shrubs at presentations all over the City. A large map of the City now hangs in the visitor’s center at Marshlands, with each registered property, including the Conservancy, highlighted in green. Every month the newly certified properties are colored in to keep track of our progress and to encourage more homeowners to join their registered neighbors. An exhibit with photographs of beautiful local plants and ideas of what you can do to help wildlife accompanies the map. Whether or not you live in Rye, having your own yard certified is not only easy, but important for the health of our local environment. For more information, visit the Rye Habitat Project's Facebook page.
The Bird Homestead
The dedicated Committee to Save the Bird Homestead spent two years fundraising, applying for grants, and garnering support in hopes of acquiring this one-acre parcel on Milton Harbor for public land, and in August 2009, they were successful. The property, once home to three generations of pioneering scientists and a long-time Rye librarian, is now owned by the City of Rye and maintained by the non-profit Committee’s tireless volunteers through a 50 year management agreement with the City. The Homestead, located where Blind Brook feeds into the Harbor, holds both historic importance with its 1800’s farmhouse and outbuildings, and environmental importance due to salt marsh and mudflat habitats for fish and wading birds, as well as providing a valuable buffer for flood protection. The Friends of Marshlands are delighted to co-sponsor a variety of programs at the Homestead, including bud, wildflower, and bird identification walks led by Marshlands staff, and volunteer projects for sustainable landscape management. For more information, visit the Bird Homestead's Facebook page or Westchester Land Trust’s website.
Edith Read to Marshlands Stewardship Committee
Edith G. Read Sanctuary (located behind Playland) and Marshlands Conservancy make up the anchor sites for one of the 33 Long Island Sound Stewardship Areas, so named for their significant ecological or recreational value. A committee, led by National Audubon Society staff members and made up of Friends of Marshlands and Friends of Read Wildlife Sanctuary members, Westchester County staff, and representatives from other local environmental groups, was formed in 2005 with a mission to “...facilitate conservation of this area of Long Island Sound by increasing public awareness of its importance, implementing actions to help protect the unique natural resources, in particular the birds found here, and engaging more residents in conservation action.” To aid in and focus their mission, the Committee drafted a Conservation Action Plan, which ranks threats to the ecological sustainability of the area and offers recommendations for future action. More information can be found on the Committee's Fact Sheet.
Federated Conservationists of Westchester County
FCWC, of which the Friends of Marshlands is a member organization, “was founded in 1965 as a not-for-profit umbrella coalition of dozens of local environmental groups and individuals whose purpose was to form a strong, unified voice for combating pollution, preserving Westchester’s natural resources and important open space, and making sure environmental concerns are included in local land use decisions.” The group targets several local environmental issues each year, hosting educational events for the public to raise awareness, speaking out on these topics, and providing resources to the community. Visit their website at: http://fcwc.org/index.cfm
The Friends of Read Wildlife Sanctuary
If you are in the Rye area visiting Marshlands, the Edith G. Read Natural Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is another County nature preserve located just 2 miles away, tucked behind Playland Amusement Park. Their open shoreline on Long Island Sound, brackish lake favored by migrating waterfowl, and numerous trails are well worth the visit. A volunteer-run, non-profit organization to help support the programming and preservation of the Sanctuary, the Friends of Read sponsor volunteer work projects and a myriad of educational programs. New members are always welcomed, and can find more information at: http://friendsofreadwildlifesanctuary.org