Friends of Connetquot River State Park Preserve
WE CAN DO MORE TOGETHER - Read more about how your support has helped the Friends or to donate to continue supporting our work. | PO Box 472 | Oakdale, NY | 11769 | Contact Us

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FOC Receives Grants!

The Friends are proud of the support from the foundations whose links appear below. The capacity building grants they have awarded us will greatly help in strengthening our organization for the benefit of Connetquot River State Park Preserve:

The Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation

New York State Council on the Arts

Parks & Trails New York

Upstate History Alliance

Click here to read the details of these grants

Friends of Connetquot Lecture Series

The Friends of Connetquot is constantly looking for exciting and new ways in which its members and the general public may experience the Preserve. We are happy that the lecture series we have presented in the past were so well received.

The Friends invite the public and all members to take advantage of this benefit. We hope to see you at each lecture and look forward to meeting you and answering any questions that you may have about the projects and programs you are so generously supporting.

Please Join Us at Connetquot River State Park Preserve, Main Building

Lectures are open to the public, so bring a friend along!

Free Admission and Refreshments - $8 State-mandated parking fee (none with a NYS Empire Passport) Applies.

Advance reservations required (beginning 2 weeks before the event):
Please call 631-581-1072 or complete the form inside the lecture descriptions below.

Upcoming Lectures

Saturday, March 25, 2017 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Speaker: Matthew M. Kaelin

Topic: "Long Island’s Native Carnivorous Plants and Their Ecosystems"

Join Matthew Kaelin in an interesting photographic exploration of Long Island’s carnivorous plants. He is the author of "The Sinister Beauty of Carnivorous Plants," and his vivid photography has been exhibited in fine art galleries. He has also authored natural history articles and won horticultural awards, as well as named two Nepenthes cultivars. With his life-long interest in carnivorous plants, Matthew often searches the natural habitats of Long Island’s native carnivorous plant populations and regularly shares his observations with the New York Natural Heritage Program. Don’t miss this wonderful presentation.

Reserve a seat at this lecture:

Privacy Notice: Any information submitted on this form will be used only by the Friends of Connetquot in relation to our events and activities. We do not sell or release this information to any other entity.

Online reservations will be accepted from March 11th through March 23rd.

Fill out my online form.

Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Speaker: Chris Kretz

Topic: “Straight Shooter in a Crooked World: The Fearless Life of John K. Hackett”

Join Chris Kretz for an interesting presentation that will examine John K. Hackett’s life, his adventures, and his unique circle of friends - lawyers, politicians, artists, newspaper editors and sportsmen alike. Hackett lived life to the limit as only a man of the 19th century could. The fact that he was a founding member and the second president of the South Side Sportsmen's Club is only the start of it. From a young man growing up mere blocks from the Five Points slums, drawn west to San Francisco during the Gold Rush, back to New York where he made a name for himself as an upright judge in the era of Boss Tweed, Hackett knew no fear. Renowned as the best pistol shot of his generation, he was not above wearing his guns in court or shooting coins out of the hands of his dinner guests. He survived beatings, assassination attempts, and political attacks. The son of a famous acting family, he was a gifted mimic and practical joker who loved nothing so much as his guitar, his dogs, and his time spent hunting and fishing. Chris Kretz is an academic librarian and co-author of Oakdale from Arcadia Press. He also co-hosts the Long Island History Project podcast, sponsored by the Long Island Radio and Television Historical Society.

Reserve a seat at this lecture:

Privacy Notice: Any information submitted on this form will be used only by the Friends of Connetquot in relation to our events and activities. We do not sell or release this information to any other entity.

Online reservations will be accepted from September 2nd through September 14th.

Fill out my online form.

Past Lectures

Saturday, January 28, 2017 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Speaker: Dr. J. Bret Bennington

Topic: "The Shelter Rock Cycle: Igneous, Metamorphic, and Sedimentary Origins of Long Island"

Have an interesting rock or fossil you’d like to share or need to have identified? Bring it along and tell us about it, or ask Dr. J. Bret Bennington, our presenter, to share his knowledge about it.

Over hundreds of millions of years, Long Island was formed by formidable geologic forces including fire, mountains, and ice. Do you know that our island rests on a foundation of metamorphic bedrock 230 to 350 million years old? Or that its land surface was sculpted by the advance of a massive continental glacier during the Pleistocene Epoch? Today, you can still find signs that reveal our island’s dynamic origin–for example, a famous boulder, Shelter Rock.

Join Dr. Bennington for a fascinating presentation and Show-and-Tell. He is a professor of Geology and chair of the Department of Geology, Environment, and Sustainability at Hofstra University, and a paleontologist by training. Dr. Bennington is also involved in research on the glacial geology of Long Island and the recent environmental history of our coastal wetlands, including the history of major storms recorded in the marshes of Long Island.

Sunday, February 28, 2016 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Speaker: Frank Vincenti

Topic: "The Diverse Wild Canids of Long Island: Red Fox, Wolf, and Coyote"

Join Frank Vincenti, a self-educated expert on wild dogs of the world and founder of the Wild Dogs Foundation. His informative talk will include the current status of the Red Fox population of Long Island, the existence of a second fox species, former wolf populations that were here, and the arrival of coyote, a wolf-like animal that is recolonizing our area. What are the adverse and beneficial effects of these carnivores on the ecology of Long Island and its people? Can we coexist with resurgent carnivore populations? Come and find out.

Saturday, September 19, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Speaker: Bill Reed - Volunteer Tour Guide at Sagamore Hill National Park

Topic: "The Journey and Legacy of Theodore Roosevelt"

Join Bill Reed, who for the past three years has been conducting informative tours of the Roosevelt home in Oyster Bay, Long Island. Come and hear the fascinating story of Theodore Roosevelt who overcame a sickly childhood to become the youngest person to hold the office of President, and throughout his full and strenuous life garnered many other accomplishments: Naturalist, author, hunter, explorer, Rough Rider, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, New York City Police Commissioner, trust buster, husband, and father. Theodore Roosevelt still leaves his mark on Americans and people throughout the world, and his policies are still relevant today.

Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Speaker: Mark Romaine, Docent of Connetquot River State Park Preserve

Topic: "The South Side Sportsmen's Club - The Place and the People"

Mark Romaine spoke about the history of the Connetquot River State Park Preserve many people love...from its start as part of the Nichol patent and later its life as a private sportsmen's club, to the preserve we know today. A time line of the different incarnations the Connetquot Preserve has gone through.

Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Speaker: Mark Romaine, Docent of Connetquot River State Park Preserve

Topic: "The Men and Activities that Developed Long Island’s Original Gold Coast"

Several prominent men who regarded the south shore of Long Island as a sportsmen’s delight first came here in the early nineteenth century to escape their demanding financial pursuits in New York City. Before long, they wanted to spend more time on the island and began building their luxurious country estates in the South Shore for their families to enjoy the ocean breezes of summer while they enjoyed hunting, fishing, sailing, and socializing with their peers. Join Mark Romaine, a volunteer docent of Connetquot Preserve and avid history enthusiast, in exploring the ways in which these powerful men influenced the growth of the South Shore and shaped not only the history of Long Island but that of New York State and the country.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Topic: "Amphibians and Reptiles of Long Island"

The Friends' Lecture Series of 2014 opened on March 15th with Ariana Newell's presentation of "Amphibians and Reptiles of Long Island." This wonderful program was long in coming, as it had to be postponed last year. Ms. Newell, who is the New York State Parks Biologist for Long Island and New York City, declared her long-time interest in herpetology at the outset, but her knowledge and passion for this science was evident to the large audience that filled the historical dining room of the Connetquot Preserve's Main Building as she expertly and concisely shed light over the ecology, conservation, and habits of usually little-seen creatures, such as snakes, frogs, salamanders, turtles, and more that live in the Connetquot Preserve and other places of Long Island. She used photographs and live animals to illustrate her discussion, and she drew such deep interest in her audience that many remained after the question-and-answer period to ask additional questions or share relevant stories with Ms. Newell.

September 7, 2013

Speaker: Annie McIntyre

Topic: "Migration of Monarch Butterflies"

The last program of the 2013 Series was “Migration of Monarch Butterflies,” with speaker Annie McIntyre. Beautiful and fragile, the monarch butterfly undertakes an arduous journey each fall and spring to and from Mexico. The annual migration cycle of this butterfly has been described as the most spectacular in the insect world. Come learn about this fascinating animal and learn about its life cycle, habitat requirements, and the challenges they face with the present threats to its breeding, migration and winter habitats. Ms. McIntyre is the L.I. Regional Manager of the Environmental Office of NY State Parks.

Click photos to enlarge

March 16, 2013

Speaker: Ginny Fields

Topic: "The Millionaire Men of the South Side Sportsmen’s Club and the Beginning of the South Shore Gold Coast"

Ginny Fields, former NY State Assemblywoman and present Friends of Connetquot board member will discuss how the South Side Sportsmen’s Club gave rise to the Islip and other nearby communities with her program “The Millionaire Men of the South Side Sportsmen’s Club and the Beginning of the South Shore Gold Coast."

September 22, 2012

Speaker: Richard Remmer

Topic: "The Friends of Connetquot Vision for the Hatchery and Nicoll Grist Mill"

For more than four years, Richard Remmer, former president of the Friends of Connetquot, has led the Friends’ Board of Trustees with untiring zeal and dedication in their undertaking of two huge, ongoing projects—the Restoration of the Nicoll Grist Mill and the Hatchery Upgrade and Renovation. In this interactive program, he will share the Friends’ vision for these two historic gems within the Connetquot River State Park Preserve and invite audience input that will help refine the Friends’ future plans for educational programs.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Speaker: Roger Smith

Topic: "The Trout Will Return: Future Plans for the Connetquot Fish Hatchery"

The Friends are pleased to present Roger Smith, Principal partner of Burton, Behrendt, and Smith Architects and Engineers, PC, who will share the work being done to open the Preserve’s Fish Hatchery once again. The work, a team effort being overseen by the Friends, includes interior and exterior renovations and upgrades that will make the hatchery complex bio-secure with a new supply of well water and water disposal system and include a new Rearing House and Educational Center.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Speaker: Kurt Hirschberg of Jan Hird Pokorny Associates, Inc.

Topic: "Connetquot’s Colonial Past Restored: The Preservation of the Nicoll Grist Mill"

Kurt Hirschberg, Project Coordinator for the architectural firm of Jan Hird Pokorny Associates, Inc. told the story of the restoration process of the Preserve’s historic Nicoll Grist Mill. When complete, this structure will be a working testament of a technology that dates back about two thousand years and is part of the Colonial history of Long Island.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Speaker: Jerry Trapani

Topic: "History of Horse Drawn Carriages: From New York City to the Great South Bay"

Jerry Trapani is an experienced professional farrier and noted competitor carriage driver who founded the Paumanok Driving Club of Long Island.  He is also a member of the Carriage Association of America and has given seminars at the Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 at

Speaker: Shaibal Mitra

Topic: "Bird Migration Through Long Island"

Shai Mitra has studied birds in the northeastern United States and around the world for over thirty years.  He has a BA in Biology and a PhD in Evolutionary Biology.  Among other pursuit, Shai Mitra is an Assistant Professor of Biology at the College of Staten Island and editor of The Kingbird, a publication of the NYS Ornithological Association.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Speaker:  Linda Kasten, artist, past president of the now dissolved William K. Vanderbilt Historical Society, former employee of the Southside Sportsmen’s Club, and present environmental educator in the Environmental Office of NY State Parks.

Topic: "From Sportsmen’s Club to Park Preserve"

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Speaker: Harry W. Havemeyer, author of "Along the Great South Bay: From Oakdale to Babylon The Story of a Summer Spa 1840 to 1940." Harry Havemeyer is a four generation summer resident of the town of Islip. His ancestors first rented a cottage in 1884 and in 1889 bought a home in Islip.

Topic: The Cultural History of the Southside Sportsmen’s Club.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Speaker: Gary Lawton, Regional Environmental Manager, L.I. State Park Region

Topic: The Natural History of Connetquot River State Park Preserve

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