Working for the past thirty years to conserve our landscape and environmental quality in Pawling and Dover, the Oblong Land Conservancy (Oblong) has long had a wider mission of public education and engagement. While continuing to serve the traditional functions of holding and managing conservation easements and preserves, Oblong is now undertaking new projects to work with the Town and the Village of Pawling to protect natural resources and reclaim habitat.
Together with the Pawling Community Foundation, Oblong has undertaken a biological assessment of Murrow and Lakeside Parks and is now exploring improving the trail system to better preserve ecological resources. Oblong is also looking into creating an environmental center and field test area, where students, scouts, and community volunteers will be able to monitor invasive species and climate change impacts, and test strategies of reestablishing native habitats and rebuilding bio diversity.
Another new Oblong project is to create a new publically accessible nature preserve at the headwaters of the North Flow of the Swamp River in the middle of the Village on West Main Street.
Oblong has also been working together with the elementary and high schools and the Pawling Central School District, to create special study project opportunities, and to develop curriculum. Oblong has engaged students and teachers in programs and presentations on the history of development, the science of water quality, biodiversity and resilience, and the environmental and economic future of our area.
In partnership with the Putnam County Land Trust, and the Friends of the Great Swamp, Oblong has worked to raise public awareness that we are living in an important and sensitive watershed flowing into the Great Swamp. Through public outreach, distribution of brochures, posting signs, and asking citizens to take a “Swamp Smart Pledge,” Oblong is working to raise public awareness of how home owners’ individual lawn care practices, product choices, and domestic waste disposal habits affect not only the health of the Great Swamp ecosystem, but also, through it, the quality of our drinking water.
Oblong also maintains nature preserves, such as its Slocum-Mostachetti Preserve on Pleasant Ridge Road in Wingdale, and the recently acquired Kinney Preserve in Dover, where the public is invited to hike, enjoy the beauty of nature, and learn about the flora and fauna on display. Oblong is looking for stewards, and volunteers, to help cut trails, and to oversee and implement both resource protection and public access to these properties.
For all of these projects, however, Oblong is finding it needs more hands – fellow community members interested in working to preserve the remarkable natural resources we in Pawling and Dover are blessed with, and friends and neighbors interested in working to secure a sustainable future for our community. People with all levels and variety of skills, energy, and talents are heartily welcome, from those with a simple desire to get outdoors occasionally to work with others to protect the land, to people interested in working with the young and our future generations to instill environmental awareness and responsibility. Oblong is looking for people interested in reaching out to their neighbors to involve them in projects to benefit the whole community, and for fellow citizens interested in influencing public policy and decision making to ensure a healthy future for our area.
Oblong also has some vacancies on its board of directors and would welcome those with strong interest to inquire and see about joining the team and help lead this effort.
Additional information about the Oblong Land Conservancy can be found at OblongLand.org online. Oblong can be contacted by email at info@OblongLand.org or by telephone at (845) 855-5993.