From the President

Elizabeth McCance

This March, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Cuba with an environmental group. We spent five days aboard a dive boat in the Gardens of the Queen marine protected area, snorkeling and SCUBA diving. The fish, corals, seagrasses, sharks, sea fans, rays, and other wildlife were tremendous. Their sheer numbers, both the quantity of fish per school and the overall diversity of marine species, offered a remarkable demonstration of the effectiveness of protected areas. Back from my trip, I am eager to explore the range of life in our own protected areas in the Land Trust.

Our Land Trust trails are in great shape. I hope you will visit them this summer, either on a scheduled nature walk, as a volunteer steward, or on your own. We have a great number of conservation projects going on: invasive species removal, creating parcel-targeted land management plans with visiting scientists and specialists, and treating Beech Leaf Disease, to name a few. You will find details of these projects within this newsletter.

Very excitingly, the Land Trust is expanding with the impending acquisition of two new undeveloped parcels, one across the main road opposite the entrance to Chocomount Beach and one adjacent to the Osprey Cam near Middle Farms Pond. We also look forward to the culmination of a two-year biodiversity survey conducted by the New York Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP), the results of which will be presented on July 30 at the Museum. Preliminary findings confirm that Fishers Island is a very special place ecologically. Please see the summary article HERE.

Not surprisingly, Museum Director Pierce Rafferty has put together three exciting new exhibits. The main exhibit, titled “The Sketchbooks of Charlie Ferguson,” will showcase Charlie’s spontaneous drawings and watercolors, as well as daily notes and natural history observations, spanning a period from the mid-1970s to mid-2010s. The other two exhibits are titled “Early Photographs of Fishers Island” and “Early Paintings of Fishers Island.” Framed prints of the featured iconic photographs will be available for purchase, with proceeds supporting the Museum’s Art Fund.

As always, we have an exciting lineup of guest speakers this summer. In addition to the talk on Fishers Island’s biodiversity by scientists from NYNHP, Jacob Albert will give a presentation on the modern houses of Fishers Island, Trudy Coxe, executive director of the Preservation Society of Newport County, will examine the Gilded Age in America, and Pierce will give two illustrated talks: one on the wreck of the Steamer Atlantic on North Hill in 1846 and another on electric power generation and distribution on Fishers Island – its past, present, and possible future. Please CLICK HERE for our full list of illustrated lectures.

A special thanks to all our Museum members, whose generous contributions enable us to provide such a wide range of events, programming, and special projects. If you are not yet a member, we welcome you to join our community today. We look forward to seeing all of you at the Museum – or on the trails – this summer.

Line of children on sandbar in front of Hay Harbor Club bathhouses, 1913. Photo by Brown & Dawson. “Early Photographs of Fishers Island” exhibit.