Our Work / Stewardship

Green Initiatives

photo by Jeff Heatley

Peconic Land Trust’s values and goals reflect our organizations desire to protect our environment and appreciate our natural resources. Over the last several years we have taken steps to minimize our carbon footprint by making our offices more efficient and by integrating “green principles” throughout the organization. We aim to continue making a difference by providing resources to the public and to the land trust community about the positive effects that land preservation has on climate change.

What has become very clear is that our core values and our strategic goals already reflected the current trends toward “Going Green.”


About

We've also spent some time recently looking at our internal operations, and seeing where small changes could make an impact. Here are some of the things we are doing to go Green throughout our organization: 

Operations: 

  • Recycling cans stationed throughout the offices.
  • Lights are to remain off in any unoccupied rooms.
  • Printing many of our newsletters, invitations, brochures, and calendars on environmentally friendly paper.
  • In 2007 and again in 2016, the Trust purchased a Toyota Prius for everyday use, cutting gas consumption in half.
  • Net-metered solar photovoltaic array installed at North Fork Stewardship Center.
  • The Trust’s budget process includes analysis of baseline energy cost and consumption.

Agriculture, Farming:

  • Actively supporting local farms and farm stands in partnership with Long Island Farm Bureau, Long Island Wine Council, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County.
  • Maintaining a 30-acre CSA farm to provide for over 200 families with organic produce at Quail Hill Farm. Quail Hill Farm also participates in local farmers markets and donates produce to the food pantries in East Hampton. 
  • Lease farmland to over 20 farm operations on over 200 acres across the East End through our Farms for the Future Initiative.
  • Creating our own compost for internal use and sale.
  • Maintain a community garden at The Agricultural Center at Charnews Farm with up to 50 plots for organic produce.

Sustainable Gardening:

  • Employing low-impact, sustainable lawn practices at Bridge Gardens.
  • Offering lawn care advice through partnerships with Perfect Earth Project, Cornell Cooperative Extension and Peconic Estuary Program
  • Installed a demonstration vegetable garden at Bridge Gardens, with the produce donated to the Sag Harbor Food pantry
  • Started a new 20-plot Community Garden program at Bridge Gardens in 2015. 
  • Repurposing bamboo at Bridge Gardens for planting materials and fencing.

Water Quality:

  • Promote better water quality in natural wet lands through conservation projects. A few recent examples: Forge River, Ward's Point
  • Partner on water quality research projects with the Noank Aquaculture Cooperative, National Grid Foundation and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County through our Shellfisher Preserve and the Peconic Pearls program. 

Tips from the Peconic Estuary Program

Tips from our partners at the Peconic Estuary Program:

  • Eliminate or reduce fertilizer and pesticide use by planting native wildflowers, grasses, and trees.
  • Use natural cleaning products in the home, yard and on the boat.
  • Bring old medications to local police stations for proper disposal.
  • Stay off beach dunes and fenced-off areas, remove trash and clean up pet waste.
  • Store hazardous products in spill proof containers. Dispose of old products on STOP collection days.

Tips from our friends at the Perfect Earth Project on Lawn Care

  1. Soil. The foundation for plant health, strong deep roots and nutrient uptake. Chemicals kill the natural immune systems that occur in soil. Healthy soil contains organisms that fight lawn and landscape pests, eliminating the need for continual toxic pesticide treatments.
  2. Water. Overwatering promotes shallow rooting, fungus diseases, mosquitoes, and nutrient run off. Do not start watering in early summer until the weather is truly dry. Monitor your irrigation settings: water infrequently and deeply. Once, or maybe twice a week for at least an hour is generally adequate.
  3. Mowing. Mow high: 3-4". Longer leaf blades collect more sun, provide more energy to roots and shade out weeds. Mow often: remove no more than 1/3 of a leaf blade at a time. Mow sharp: dull mower blades tear grass which invites fungus infections. Leave clippings: grass clippings return nutrients to the soil.
  4. Aeration. Aerate annually, more often in high traffic areas. Aeration reduces compaction and encourages better drainage and incorporation of nutrients.
  5. Fertilization. Feed lawns in early fall only. Spring Fertilization encourages fast, weak growth and invites disease problems in hot weather. Use compost or slow-release, organic fertilizer. Slow release fertilizers feed your lawn continuously over the course of the growing season, eliminating the peaks and valleys of chemical fertilization. They are also less likely to run off, reducing the risk for watershed pollution.
  6. Overseeding. Rake and over seed in fall when grass seed germinates best and weed seeds are dormant. Grass will then out-compete weeds in the spring. 
  7. Diversity. Clover fixes nitrogen (natural fertilizer) and fills gaps in lawns. Dandelions are excellent aerators and are soon overwhelmed by the healthy turf they pioneered.
  8. Be Patient. Most good things take time, and a healthy, pest resistant lawn is no different. By making your lawn accustomed to gradual, rather than rapid change, you produce a balanced ecosystem that is resilient to environmental stresses around it.

From April through October, Paul Wagner of Greener Pastures Organics, offers free lawn care advice at Bridge Gardens on Tuesday afternoons. This is a co-sponsored program with the Perfect Earth Project.

Don't have time to visit the garden? Paul will answer your questions by email at LawnExpert@PeconicLandTrust.org