John Muir, the Scottish-American naturalist, author, and 19th and early 20th century advocate of the preservation of wilderness areas in the United States, once wrote that “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” A generation later, Franklin D. Roosevelt stated “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”An appreciation for trees, and an understanding of how important trees are to life on this planet, is celebrated on Arbor Day, an annual holiday in the United States and around the world. The celebration actually began in a small Spanish village in 1805, launched by a local priest who was convinced of the importance of trees for “health, hygiene, decoration, nature, environment and customs.” (Miguel Herrero Uceda, Arbor Day).
The first American Arbor Day was held in Nebraska on April 10, 1872, and in 1883 the American Forestry Association began a campaign for Arbor Day nationwide. According to Wikipedia, on April 15, 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt made a public statement to schoolchildren about trees and the destruction of American forests. Roosevelt issued an “Arbor Day Proclamation to the School Children of the United States” about the importance of trees and that forestry deserves to be taught in U.S. schools. Today, National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April.
Speaking of trees, in memory of Jack Musnicki, Judy Musnicki and her family will donate a beautiful Copper Beech tree to the Bridgehampton Museum, to be planted on the grounds of the historic Nathaniel Rogers House. If you’ve driven by the house recently you may have noticed that restoration work has resumed. In the coming weeks foundation walls will be stabilized and restored and some interior carpentry and exterior painting will be finished. It is still expected that all exterior and interior restoration work will be completed on the house by the end of 2015.
In the same spirit of taking care of our outdoors, and in conjunction with the Great East End Cleanup, Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt will be sprucing up the Old Railroad Spur and Ligonee Creek on Saturday, April 26, at 10 a.m. The rain date is the next day, on Sunday. They would welcome any and all volunteer help. Meet on the corner of Woodruff Lane and the Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike. Bring your own gloves, and call Dai Dayton at (631) 745-0689 for more info.
Also on that Saturday, April 26, at 10 a.m., the Southampton Trails Preservation Society will be cleaning the new Hamlet to Hamlet Trail, and they could use your help. Meet on Lumber Lane in Bridgehampton, just north of the LIRR tracks. Contact Susan Colledge at (631) 283-0071 to let STPS know you can come. STPS will also be hosting a Horses on Trails ride that day. As always, bring your own horse and helmet, and riders must be a member of STPS for insurance purposes, but you can join on the day of the ride. Call Leslie Lowery at (631) 603-8661 for reservations and details on the meeting place and time.
And again on Saturday, April 26, at 10 a.m. The Horticultural Alliance of the Hamptons will be presenting its Jim Jeffrey Camellia Group. Moderating the informal study and discussion will be Bridget DeCandido, joined by Matt Hunter, former president of The American Camellia Society, who will bring with him a newly introduced camellia, Rev. Jim Jeffrey, which will be planted in a brief ceremony in the HAH garden. All camellia lovers are welcome and encouraged to bring blossoms from their gardens. Admission is free, and the meeting will be in the John LoGerfo Library on the ground floor of the Bridgehampton Community House.
Later on that same day, the HAH is having a workshop and plant sale that features “Carnivores in Captivity” at 1 p.m. in the basement of the Community House. Participating will be Seemore Carnivorous Gardens, and the program will discuss types of carnivorous plants and their care and maintenance. You will be able to purchase your very own carnivorous plant to take home. Admission is $10 for HAH members and $15 for non-members.
Looking ahead, volunteers are starting to line up to help out at the “Hamptons Marathon and Half,” being held on May 10. If you want to volunteer, contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don’t want to watch the runners, you can always watch the trees.
Finally, the Bridgehampton Museum held its annual membership meeting last week during which two members retired from the Board of Trustees due to term limitations. Past President Gerrit Vreeland and Trustee Andrea Madaio both rotated off the board after being thanked for their great service to the organization. Newly elected to the board were Bill Campbell, part-owner of the Topping Rose House, and Dr. Ed Wesnofske. Dr. J. Kirk Flack was reelected for a second term.