What's Been Happening at The Race Track Nature Preserve
For the past two years, the Tuxedo Park Tree Advisory Board has been hard at work lovingly transforming the race track property (which over the years had become a somewhat neglected, overgrown mess) into a beautiful nature preserve. With the help of renowned landscape architects Larry Weaner Landscape Associates, the process of restoring the land and creating a native meadow full of native grasses and beautiful flowers is well underway.
You can read all about it in TAB’s most recent update “What’s Been Happening at The Race Track Nature Preserve.”
On Saturday, July 28 at 11:30 am, Tuxedo Park Nature Preserve Friends will hold an inauguration and dedication ceremony for the recently completed North Entrance of The Preserve. The ongoing restoration and planting work has been made possible by the generous donations of the Meadow Stewards, and these individuals and families will be formally acknowledged during the ceremony, with their names on a bronze plaque to be installed at the new entrance. A luncheon will follow at the Hoffman cottage on East Lake Stable Road. All Village residents are welcome and encouraged to attend! Click here to view the invitation
In March, the DPW mowed the entire flat basin. This annual operation controls the residual invasive plants, encourages native growths and prepares the ground for seeding and planting in June at the southern end where Miscanthus, a highly invasive mono-cultural silvery grass, had proliferated. Seeding and planting of other areas will follow this autumn and in 2019. For more details: visit www.tptreeboard.org
Battle training for the 5th and 6th grade students from Tuxedo Park School
Early on Wednesday morning April 18 at the RTNP, 50 students will be briefed on the environmental importance of the RTNP native-meadow restoration project and it’s multi-year establishment plan along with our strategy for fighting invasive plants. They will learn how to identify and remove the invasives. At 11:30 AM,we will plant several native treesto celebrate both Earth Week and Arbor Day 2018. Please join us at this ceremony!
The season for tree pruning is over
Pruning out of the dormant season (October—March) increases the risk of pathogen and bacterial infections both airborne and carried by beetles (e.g. the deadly Oak Wilt disease which could decimate Tuxedo Park’s Oak forest) and can disturb nesting birds.
Don’t move firewood long distances
It facilitates the spreading of invasive species such as Emerald Ash Borer that kills Ash trees. Instead, buy it where you’ll burn it, buy certified heat-treated firewood, or gather on site where permitted.
To continue the momentum of suppressing invasives and encouraging native plants. No experience is necessary as training will be provided. All that is required is a willingness to help benefit the community of Tuxedo Park as well as the environment. Please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to any of the Tree Advisory Board members, Chiu Yin Hempel, Dena Steele, Christopher Gow, Jill Swirbul and Alan McHugh (Trustee Liaison).
Mark your calendar: event in July
The North Entrance to the RTNP (opposite the parking area at the junction of East Lake Stable and Fox Hill Road), already operational, will be officially opened with a community ceremony and drinks reception which will also honor the Meadow Stewards. These generous individuals and families, in addition to the Founding Stewards, have made possible the restoration and transformation of the old Race Track into a Nature Preserve and native meadow.
Thomas Cole at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC through May 13, 2018
The exhibition of the painter and founder of the Hudson River School is an inspiring delight and highly recommended. The artist not only beautifully conveys the importance of trees in the natural landscapes but also shows how they are threatened, such as in this 1836 masterpiece “Oxbow", that depicts the natural forest on one side and clear-cut land on the other, divided by the river in the shape of a large ominous question mark.
“View From Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, After a Thunderstorm - The Oxbow” (1836)
Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, 1908
The conflict between short-term economic gains versus long-term environmental damage continues in the 21st century. In a changing climate, we need an ecologically healthier relationship (or compromise) between nature, the environment and our economic needs. We can all do our part in our own gardens by replacing each tree lost with three new ones, thus allowing us to continue to enjoy all the essential benefits they bestow: replacing the carbon dioxide with the oxygen we breathe, reducing soil erosion, flooding and airborne pollution, providing shading for our houses, and providing food and shelter to birds and animals. The economic incentive is strong too: Tuxedo Park is sought after for its wooded aesthetics, and trees increase the value of our real estate. And our own health matters: trees and shrubs planted especially by our lake’s edge are instrumental in maintaining the quality of our drinking water. By absorbing the fertilizer-rich water run-off, they help to mitigate the invasive algal blooms and milfoil which require expensive treatment that could negatively impact our property taxes.
Presentation by Larry Weaner Landscape Associates September 30, 2017 Posted: 10-2-17
On Saturday September 30, the Tree Advisory Board was pleased to welcome Penn Marchael, Native Meadow Expert from Larry Weaner Landscape Associates who spoke to residents about creating Natural Meadow landscapes. Specifically, he addressed working with and not against nature to create a beautiful landscape with minimal maintenance and creating successful non-turf ground-layers that are visually stunning, environmentally positive and cost-effective. An Update/progress report on the Race Track Nature Preserve was also given.
Click here to hear a recording of the presentation in it’s entirety.
Tuxedo Park Tree Advisory Board - Upcoming Events Posted 6-16-17
Tours of the Race Track Nature Preserve
Saturday June 10 & July 8 10am or by appointment: email email@example.com
Managing Common Invasive Species in Home Gardens Talk by Master Gardener Ann Barry
Saturday July 8 Tuxedo Library 3pm
A comprehensive presentation with a slideshow and live plant specimens to help homeowners and gardeners identify and control the most common invasive species including Japanese barberry, Norway maple, Oriental bittersweet, mile-a-minute, multiflora rose, garlic mustard, burning bush, black swallowwort, Japanese stiltgrass, wineberry, purple loosestrife and Japanese angelica tree. The Tuxedo Park Tree Advisory Board (TPTAB) thanks the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Rockland County and the Lower Hudson Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (LHPRISM) for collaborating with this lecture.
Native Meadow benefit prints
Kindly donated by Mae Shore, there are still some available and can be viewed at the Cheymore Gallery, Tuxedo Square Monday to Friday 9-4pm Saturdays 11-3pm www.cheymoregallery.com
Race Track Nature Preserve: June 2017 update
As summer approaches, the Tuxedo Park Tree Advisory Board (TPTAB) continues to monitor, plant and plan for the future.
At the northern portion of the circular mowed path, we uncovered a section of the historic underground drainage system that extends in a grid pattern throughout the basin. We also found the foundations of the Grand Stand and a watch tower. These sites will be preserved and landscaped as archaeological features of the Preserve.
New native plantings
The DPW and TPTAB planted six grey dogwoods, an excellent native substitute for extremely invasive barberry and burning bushes, having maple like leaves, white flowers and salmon-to-burgundy color in the Fall. Grey dogwoods are a woody, colonizing (it spreads) shrub that grows to 2-6’. It can be planted in dry shade.
We also planted two flowering dogwoods, a small, beautiful white flowering native tree that produces a berry essential to migrating birds.
Lastly, we planted a tulip tree, chosen by John Yrizarry, 2017 Arbor Day honoree, near the planned new entrance at the Fox Hill/northeast end of the Preserve. (We have flagged the paths, to be constructed, that will lead to the new entrance.) Located on a slight rise, the planting site provides a scenic vantage point to view the entire basin. The tulip tree is a stunning, fast-growing (two feet a year) shade tree with tulip-shaped yellow-orange blossoms that attract hummingbirds high in the canopy. The seeds attract finches and cardinals. The tree is also a host to the Eastern Swallowtail butterfly.
Ongoing invasives control
The beneficial effects of the late-winter forestry mulching continue to be seen. Natives such as penstemon, spiderwort, bellwort, bee balm, zig-zag goldenrod (a rare plant), trillium, bloodroot, fern, and spireae are coming back. The natural flow of underground and surface water into the basin before draining out via Augusta Brook has become more apparent, especially at the northeast end of the Preserve. The woody invasives such as Japanese barberry, multifloral rose and burning bush show little sign of regenerating.
Unfortunately, however, some invasives such as miscanthus, mugwort, stinging nettles, phragmites, and crown vetch still have a stronghold despite last year’s effort by the TPTAB to hand pull the plants and cover the infestation sites with geotextile fabric. LWLA estimates approximately 15 to 30% of the Race Track is still dominated by invasives.
We decided against using mechanical removal in the summer, because it would disturb the soil and threaten wildlife already resident at the Preserve. We also wanted to reduce the time frame to create the desired landscape, and to be cost-effective.
Accordingly, LWLA recommended limited application of proprietary-blend herbicides that do not persist in the environment. They assure us, based on their thirty-year experience in creating native meadows and being a recognized leader in ecologically sensitive native landscaping, that “none of the chemicals …(would) do any damage to wildlife (vertebrate or invertebrate)”.
To further restrict any negative impact of using chemicals, LWLA’s professional staff will spot spray individual invasive plants and, in areas of dense invasive coverage, a broom sprayer attached to an ATV will be employed. Because of the quick breakdown of the herbicide, dead vegetation will be left in situ to replenish soil nutrients.
This treatment, planned for mid-June, will avoid the breeding season of birds, amphibians and other wildlife and allow us to take advantage of the Fall planting season (when there is less need to water new plants and seeded areas). LWLA will supervise all aspects of the targeted herbicide application. Signage will be posted, and the Race track closed for twenty-four hours.
After the Arbor Day festivities on April 29 (visit www.tptreeboard.org for photos and details), Village Engineer Pat Hines inspected the Race Track Nature Preserve with Jeff Voss, Head of DPW, Ethan Dropkin, Designer from Larry Weaner Landscape Associates (LWLA), Mayor Mary Jo Guinchard and Chiu Yin Hempel, Chair of the TPTAB. Village Grant Writer Fred Rella was also present to assess any potential grant opportunities.
At the Tuxedo Road and Clubhouse Road embankments, we reviewed potential erosion and storm water run-off issues. Other than adding native rock (harvested on site) rip rap under the culverts and drain openings, no further green infrastructure was deemed necessary.
Towards the southern end of the Preserve, the inspection team made the decision to leave open a DPW excavation site near municipal water lines (the area is continuously filled with water) to allow easy access for future repairs, and to provide a watering hole for wildlife, especially birds and amphibians. The bank area has since been graded and seeded with wild native flowers for a more appealing, natural look.
LWLA landscape design and installation plan
Looking ahead, the landscape design and phased installation plan, guided by both the needs of the site and available budget, is being finalized. Assuming success in controlling the remaining invasive species, we hope to perform a dormant seeding of the meadow and install more native plants this Fall.
For more information on the Race Track Nature Preserve, visit www.tptreeboard.org
Larry Weaner & Assoc. Racetrack Presentation April 8, 2017 Posted: 4-18-17
Race Track Nature Preserve Presentation April 8/Public Hearing on the Budget April 12
Please be advised that the Tree Advisory Board is giving a presentation on the Race Track Nature Preserve to Village residents on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at the Village Hall. The Board of Trustees of the Village of Tuxedo Park will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. for the purpose of holding a public hearing on the Village 2017-2018 Tentative Budget and any other matters that may come before the Board. Additionally, the regular monthly Board of Trustees meeting will be held on the third Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. All meetings will be held in the Village Hall, 80 Lorillard Road, Tuxedo Park, NY.
BY ORDER OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Deborah A. Matthews
Update From the Tree Advisory Board Posted: 3-6-17
March 7—9: restoration work starts at the Race Track Nature Preserve! Larry Weaner Landscape Associates, the award-winning native-meadow specialist we have chosen from an open bid process to guide the restoration, will bring in men and machines to cut and mulch the invasive barberry bushes and porcelain berry vines that occupy a vast area of the basin.
All Tuxedo Park residents are welcome to the following Tree Advisory Board events:
1) April 8: 11 am-12:00 noon, Village Office, Larry Weaner will make a presentation to the Board of Trustees on the Race Track Nature Preserve restoration masterplan.
2) April 29: 2:00 pm, Race Track Nature Preserve, we will announce the winner of the 2017 Arbor Day Reward and unveil the bronze plaque commemorating the Founding Stewards’ generous donations to the Preserve. This ceremony will be followed by guided tours of the Preserve.
Friends of the Race Track Nature Preserve invite all Tuxedo Park residents to the following event:
April 29: 5:00-7:00 pm, Cheymore Gallery, Tuxedo Square, drinks reception to launch a limited edition (150) woodblock print, “Native Meadow" created by local artist Mae Shore, with proceeds benefiting the Race Track Nature Preserve.
The Race Track Nature Preserve restoration project is funded entirely by donations and grants.
For more detailed information, please visit www.tptreeboard.org
Save the Date Saturday April 29th Drinks Reception & Limited Edition Print Launch Benefiting The Race Track Nature Preserve Posted 2-16-17
Saturday April 29th 2017 Arbor Day Celebrations
2 pm Tuxedo Park Race Track Nature Preserve
Unveiling of the Founding Stewards Plaque and
2017 Arbor Day Award Presentation Ceremony
Followed by theme-based tours of the Nature Preserve: each tour focuses on
Birds, Trees, Native plants, Invasive species, Geology and Mastodons, Nature for Kids and History of the Race Track
5 – 7 pm Cheymore Gallery, Tuxedo Park (Tuxedo Square)
Drinks reception to launch the limited-edition Tuxedo Park Nature woodblock print by resident artist Mae Shore. Framed (optional), signed and numbered prints will be available for purchase (cost is in part tax deductible). Thanks to the artist and Elizabeth Cotnoir, all proceeds will benefit the ongoing restoration of our Nature Preserve.
The Friends of the Race Track Nature Preserve are delighted to announce that Merrill Mahan is now leading the fundraising efforts for the Preserve. If you wish to support this important environmental cause Merrill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Just published: Winter guide to the Nature Preserve that details the flora and fauna to look out for as you walk around the Preserve.
Geological Evolution of the Race Track by Professor James D. Hays. Download attachments
For more information on the Nature Preserve email the Tree Advisory Board email@example.com or log onto our website
Geographical Evolution of the Race Track Posted: 2-16-17
SENATOR BONACIC VISITS TUXEDO PARK NATURE PRESERVE Posted 10-26-16
(Middletown, NY)- State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/C/I) visited the Tuxedo Park Nature Preserve yesterday, where he received a tour and update on the progress being made. Restoration of nature preserve was a multi-year project funded entirely by private donations and government grants. When fully complete, the preserve will be an expansive meadow of colorful native flowers and grasses, surrounded by a healthy forest and featuring meandering footpaths that will offer all-season enjoyment and educational opportunities, and will be greatly beneficial to the ecological health of the Village.
Senator Bonacic tours the Tuxedo Park Nature Preserve with (L-R), Tuxedo Park Mayor Mary Jo Guinchard, and Tuxedo Park resident Chiu-Yin Hempel.
Sunday’s Race Track Nature Preserve dedication ceremony was a lovely event, enjoyed by all who attended. Thank you to the Tree Advisory Board, the Deviners, the Tuxedo Park Garden Club, and the DPW for all of your hard work!
The TPTAB was established by law in January 2016 by the Village of Tuxedo Park Board of Trustees under the Charter of Tree City USA.
Trees are vital to the environmental and economic prosperity of Tuxedo Park.
To protect and enhance this invaluable asset, their mission is to promote the benefits of a healthy forest with a sustainable tree population by advocating responsible policies and by implementing tree conservation, education and planting programs.
The TPTAB assumes a leadership role but our work relies on community collaboration: each resident of Tuxedo Park is a partner in the wise oversight of our forest infrastructure. They understand the need to balance aesthetics with environmental requirements, but also recognize what individual residents do with trees on their private properties impacts the well-being of the entire community. We are all guardians of this critical resource for the benefit of current and future generations.