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Donor Spotlight | Arthur Beckenstein

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January 16, 2020

By Yvette DeBow-Salsedo

For the Love of Nature

For over 25 years, Arthur Beckenstein has been a donor of the Trust. Recently, Janet Schutt, Senior Manager of Donor Services, connected with Arthur and asked what inspires him to support the Trust:

“The reason I have a special place in my heart for Peconic Land Trust is because I care deeply about the beauty of what makes the Hamptons so very special, our amazing natural environment. The Peconic Land Trust has the same concerns that I do and is doing something about protecting it,” said Arthur.

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“When I first started coming to the Hamptons in 1967, it took four hours to get here from the city. The Long Island Expressway had not yet been extended to Riverhead. It was all local roads through small towns to get to this magical, unspoiled destination. I was in my 20s and was part of a weekend share house. The old house we rented was on the west side of Three Mile Harbor, on the water. You had to drive through the woods to get there – roads were just being cut through that year and summer houses were being built.

“When you occasionally saw a deer on the way, it was exciting. There were not many deer in those days so people didn’t worry about what they planted. There were lots of beautiful ring-necked pheasants. Seeing a fox was a truly rare sighting. Years later, foxes were becoming plentiful, then mange wiped out the local fox populations and now they are a rarity again. Raccoons were everywhere and at night, they filled the trees. You would hear them chattering away and when you looked up, the light would catch all these eyes looking down at you. Bay scallops were so plentiful in local waters and such a delicious treat. And there were so many farms in the 60s and 70s. Ticks were not a problem. Yes, dogs would get ticks, but we were not aware of any tick-borne diseases in those days.

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“You wanted your friends to know about this special place, but you hated it when you saw the local farms disappearing as farmland was being gobbled up by new construction. The water was clean and well water was delicious. As wonderful views and open space disappeared with new construction, you dearly missed what had been there before.

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“I love birds and animals and care deeply about our special environment and our way of life on the East End. Peconic Land Trust is one of the main caretakers of our beautiful home. I have lived full-time in the Hamptons for many years and never fail to appreciate the natural beauty of this special place. Photography has become a passion and I love being surprised by what I see outside my house on Three Mile Harbor. I’m still lucky enough to live on the water, but on a different side of Three Mile Harbor. There are natural springs in front of my house and I’m lucky enough to be the current resident. I’ve been in my house for 45 years now and have recently discovered how special this place was to the Shinnecock Indians. Where I live, in a community called Hampton Waters, was the land the Shinnecocks had their annual Pow-wow until it was developed in the 50s and 60s. The land was a sacred place because of the “Springy Banks.” Clean fresh water runs from the earth 24/7 into the salt water bay and wildlife comes here to drink.

“I love and appreciate the East End and am grateful to the Peconic Land Trust and similar organizations who are acting as caretakers to preserve what we have for future generations.”

Thank you to Arthur for his passion and support over the past 25 years. And thank you to all our supporters whose dedication to the East End truly makes our work possible!

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