THE FRIENDS OF MARSHLANDS
If you enjoy your visits to Marshlands Conservancy, value your local environment and the diverse wildlife it supports, and appreciate the opportunity to observe nature in a peaceful and unhurried atmosphere, the Friends of Marshlands invite you to join in their efforts to support the Conservancy.
Who We Are
The Friends of Marshlands is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the protection, preservation, and enhancement of the Conservancy and fostering a deeper understanding of nature and our role in it. Annual membership dues help to supplement Westchester County’s funding of the site.
Founded in 1978 to help support the fledgling Conservancy (opened to the public in 1972), the Friends were also instrumental in fighting for the acquisition of the adjacent 23 acre Jay Property, which had been separated from Marshlands when the former estate was divided in 1966. Beginning in 1979, the Friends of Marshlands spent the next 13 years working with local, county, state, and federal groups to help protect the County-owned Conservancy and the newly-recognized historic district from the negative impacts of suburban encroachment. We now advocate for a management process that preserves the wildlife habitat, historic character, air and water quality, and restorative nature of the land.
Current Board of Directors
President: Chris Graseck
Treasurer: Tom Burke
Secretary: Jackie Bruskin
Alison Beall, Michael Bochnik, Faith Kostel-Hughes, Jon Pattengill, Walter Terrell, and Chris Mignone
Web Design: Megan Aitchison
What We Do
Funds raised by the Friends are used in a variety of ways that support the programs, research, and facilities at Marshlands. In the past, the Friends of Marshlands have:
- installed the visitor’s center birding window and osprey nesting platform
- purchased aquariums and related equipment
- financed the re-roofing of the Barlow Lane House, possibly one of the oldest buildings on the Jay Property
- installed hardwood floors in the Devereux Cottage and financed other physical improvements to the property’s many buildings
- funded the charting for and creation of the Marshlands trail map
- sponsored numerous biodiversity research projects
- purchased an insect teaching collection
- co-sponsored several decades of annual art and photography exhibits
- provided scholarships for summer camp and teacher training workshop participants
- helped manage and purchased hand tools for the weekly volunteer work projects
- advocated for sufficient staffing and proper management of the Conservancy
- attended numerous meetings on the local, state, and national level concerning acquisition of the Jay Property
- served on the Edith Read to Marshlands Stewardship Committee, working on conservation and education efforts in Milton Harbor and Long Island Sound
The Yellow-Crowned Night Heron
The yellow-crowned night heron was chosen to represent the Friends of Marshlands in the organization’s logo because it represents how tremendously important the continued preservation of land is to threatened wildlife. With a main food source of crustaceans and a preferred nesting habitat of coastal marshes, the night heron has faced a huge loss of breeding habitat as salt marshes have been filled in and replaced with lawns and waterfront houses. When the Friends of Marshlands formed in the late 1970’s, the Conservancy was the the only site in mainland New York where yellow-crowned night herons were consistently nesting. As a threatened species in New York State, preserving our salt marshes was critical to the continued success of this population. For many years they built their nests in trees along the marsh, and fed their hatchlings with crabs and fish from the channels. Unfortunately, with the arrival of great-horned owls to Marshlands in 1983, the predatory behavior of the owls against the heron nestlings was too much for the yellow-crowns, and they have since ceased using Marshlands to raise their young. The herons can sometimes still be seen visiting our marshes as they migrate through each summer, but we are forever hopeful that they may one day return to breed.
The Marshlands Messenger
The Friends of Marshlands’ newsletter, describing the past year’s activities, is published annually in early March and mailed to current members. The most recent past issues can be downloaded here (files are large and may take a few minutes to load).
Please note that the files are in PDF form; you will need a copy of Adobe Reader to view them.
A free download of Adobe Reader is available by clicking the link here:
Join the Friends of Marshlands!
The Friends welcome new members who share our ideals for the environment and love of the Conservancy. Individual membership is and has always been just $5 (families are just $15), as we truly value your appreciation and support of the site. Members, as well as the general public, are invited to attend our Annual Meeting, usually held the third Sunday in March each year.
To join the Friends, download and print our membership form here, drop it off at the visitor’s center, or mail to:
The Friends of Marshlands
P.O. Box 237
Rye, NY 10580
We only accept cash or personal checks at this time. Please make your check payable to “Friends of Marshlands, Inc.”
Thank you so much for your support!