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Letter: 2009 at the Bird Sanctuary

Happy New Year! As we start the official 15th anniversary year at our community nature preserve, we are using this opportunity to thank you all for your support and to give you a bit of a summary of what’s been happening with “sump-thing” at the Bird Sanctuary.

The year 2009 had its ups and downs, like much of the world economy, but we accomplished a lot. The year started with a car accident outside the Bird Sanctuary knocking down perimeter fencing on Tanners Pond Road, but that was quickly replaced through the driver’s insurance. The original Winterfest tree was stolen in February, but has been replaced and two additional evergreens planted.

It rained. And it rained some more. And some more. We saved nearly $3,000 in watering expenses, but our poor mower died trying to keep the grass under control. Thanks to generous donations from Robert Taylor, Julia Giacinto, Rhonda Brittan and others, the mower was replaced (a $2,500 expense) and has served us well since. The frequent rains also resulted in frequent postponements of our events, but the May Twilight Cocktail Party and October Halloween Fest were both successful and well attended – and we gratefully thank the Garden City HS HOPE Club and Adelphi for their extensive help! Thanks again to Chaminade for their long-term support and to Nixon Peabody and Timberland Roosevelt Field for their volunteers! In 2009, Rob Alvey was honored with a bench at Bethpage Park (compliments of Jim and Gina DeBold) and a Lifetime Volunteer Award for the Long Island Volunteer Hall of Fame, but mainly because so many people have helped make “sump-thing” a success. “Mark Twain” also gave a benefit performance lecture raising much-needed funds. (Thanks Rob!)

We had our first Annual Benefit Yard Sale in April (again thanks to HOPE) raising nearly $1000 for each organization. Save your stuff for next April! We also dedicated a dozen new memorial trees, thank you Rev. Adelmann and Rabbi Goodman. We completed the Urban Forestry grant program and received reimbursement of the NYSDEC $7,500 grant. We’ve also worked closely with Nassau County’s Department of Public Works and they are designing and planning to install a “wet meadow” at the Bird Sanctuary through the 2006 Nassau County Environmental Bond that designated the GCBS for a $55,000 project. Congratulations also to Bobby Horvath as the Bird Sanctuary’s Environmental Stewardship Award winner for 2009, and Kelsey Whitney, Garden City Middle School, for winning the sixth grade Environmental Essay Contest. Volunteer efforts of the Nature and Wildlife Photographers of Long Island and Suzie Alvey resulted in a fantastic October exhibit at the Garden City Public Library.

Congratulations also are extended to John Cassano, Andrew Kuruc, John Valenti and Jack Farley for their Boy Scout Eagle projects. John, Andrew and John all received their awards this year and Jack installed a vegetable garden and raised over 200 pounds of fresh vegetables for the Interfaith Nutrition Network with assistance from Timberland, the Della Ratta Family and William Chu. We added Jeanette Chu as a new director and hope for a continued recovery to Director Marye Heston after a fall led to a serious injury. We also have our first movie thanks to Ryan Sukhdeo, a York College student volunteer who filmed a four-minute introduction to the Bird Sanctuary. Another “teaser” film is on YouTube about the famous lizard colony from GC. Thank you Marcus!

We also thank our first “Lifetime Members” of the Garden City Bird Sanctuary, Peter and Kaye Negri, Nancy Fardelman, Robert and Phoebe McMillan and Marye Heston. Membership continues to grow and we hope you renew for 2010.

The Garden City Bird Sanctuary

Board of Directors