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Sands Point Preserve’s Gold Gala

Friends of the Sands Point Preserve held its fifth annual Preservers’ Celebration honoring cultural arts programs. Glitz, glamour and gold, with a nod to James Bond, was the theme of the evening. Guests passed a silver Aston Martin parked in the portico of Hempstead House -- a beautiful mansion dating back to 1917 and one of the inspirational homes for the new film The Great Gatsby.

More than 250 people arrived in Bond-inspired attire to eat, drink and dance the night away. The motif for the night came from executive director Jean-Marie Posner. “It was five years ago that the Nassau County Legislature entrusted Friends of the Sands Point Preserve to manage, operate, and to determine all of its uses,” said Posner. “We are pleased that we are able to celebrate five years and wanted to have a fun event so we figured 50 years for Bond, five years for us, why not?”

The event honored special guests introduced by Friends chairwoman Karli Hagedorn: “Our honorees are the ‘Bee Whisperers of the Gold Coast’” said Hagedorn. “We have bee hives here that came originally from Hofstra. They helped us get the bee hives up and running. There are all sorts of medicinal uses for bees. It’s a fun thing and it’s a sustainable and natural environmental experience for the kids, so it is a wonderful adjunct for what we do.”

Honorees included Edie Katz and Patrick J. Gannon, PhD, chair of the Department of Science Education at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, and his wife, Nancy Kheck, PhD. The Gannons raise honeybees at their home on City Island and produce City Island Gold Honey. They were instrumental in starting bee hives at the medical school and started a research project showing how eating natural honey can help people prevent seasonal allergies. Growing up in England, Dr. Gannon learned the value of bees. “Farmers knew that if they kept bees and brought them out to their apple orchards in the spring, pollination would occur and their crop would be magnified,” said Gannon.

Dr. Kheck added, “They share their treasures with us because they make honey for the purpose of surviving the winter. A good bee keeper knows how much you can take from them to allow them to survive.”

 Second year medical students Alexander Blood, Branson Sparks, and Matthew Katz received the Preservers’ Awards of Distinction. The students were so inspired by Dr. Gannon that they not only participated in raising the bees and helping educate the public about their importance, but they also learned some valuable lessons along the way. Blood had known bee keepers growing up in Virginia and was a little hesitant at first, but learned “they are actually completely harmless creatures,” he said. “We started giving classes to the public about keeping bees. Jean Marie Posner came to one of the sessions and was enthralled about what we were doing and the possibilities for the Sands Point Preserve. We introduced the bees to the Preserve and they have been gracious enough to give us a platform to teach the public.”

To learn more about bee seminars at the Sands Point Preserve and upcoming events throughout the year go to