Here are some of the details regarding the grants that have been received, which will ultimately benefit the Connetquot River State Park Preserve:
The Friends of Connetquot has been awarded a $41,000 matching grant from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund’s Park and Trail Partnership Grants program to create an Educational Interpretive Center at the historic Connetquot trout hatchery.
The grant, one of 27 awards totaling $900,000, is administered by Parks & Trails New York, a statewide non-profit organization, in partnership with the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. These grants go to Friends groups—nonprofits like ours, often made up entirely of volunteers—dedicated to the stewardship and promotion of New York’s state parks and historic sites, trails and public lands. These groups raise private funds for capital projects, perform maintenance tasks, provide educational programming, and promote public use through hosting special events.
Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Robin Dropkin says, “With more and more people discovering the outdoors, and visitation to our parks, trails, and public lands soaring, the need for strong public/public partnerships has never been greater. The Park and Trail Partnership Grants help bolster the role of Friends groups in these vital partnerships.”
This effort is part of a larger plan for the hatchery that Park Manager Sue Wuehler has been working on over the last three years. Staff and volunteers have been working to improve stream function by clearing obstacles from aging structures, culverts, ponds and tributaries that had been impeding the flow of water feeding the main river. Disinfection stations have been installed to prevent the spread of IPN and other diseases. Next spring, staff and volunteers plan to rehabilitate the aging historic trout hatchery rearing ponds for outdoor educational programs. The interpretive signs will provide historic information about this hatchery and the club members that built it, as well as information on, among other things, water conditions, “match the hatch” fly selection, and a basic “how to” fly fish. At the handicap-accessible fishing sites, we wish to construct and erect streamside panels and a kiosk dedicated to the preservation of the art of fly fishing.
The Environmental Interpretive Center will educate school groups and the public about the historic trout hatchery, native brook trout propagation, fly fishing, fly tying, entomology, freshwater wetlands, hydrology, resiliency, climate change, natural sciences and invasive species. The Observation Room overlooks the hatchery troughs where trout have been propagated for over a century at the South Side Sportsmen’s Club. We wish to design and install an interpretive exhibit there so visitors may view trout propagation, care and feeding and learn about the work involved in restoring native brookies to Long Island rivers. Patrons will learn the long history of one of the oldest trout hatcheries in the country.
Knowledge of our history is vital to our ability to interpret the past and understand our place here and in the future. Connetquot Park touches thousands of lives every year while raising awareness of the natural world and inspiring people to appreciate and preserve our surroundings for generations to come.
To view a list of all of this year’s awardees, visit: https://www.ptny.org/our-work/support/park-trail-partnership-pro- gram/awardees. Find more information on Park and Trail Partnership Grants at www.ptny.org, or call 518-434-1583.
These Partnership Grants must be matched in part with private and local funding. Friends of Connetquot will have to raise an additional $8,250 in matching funds, bringing our total to $49,250.
That’s where you, our generous supporters, come in. Please consider a donation above your membership dues to help us meet our goal of raising the matching sum and fulfill our commitment.
We are a nonprofit organization (emphasis on the “nonprofit”) dedicated to the preservation, conservation and history of the 3,473 acre Connetquot River State Park Preserve. We work to help park management protect a pristine environment, historic buildings and artifacts. We also support educational programs, fishing facilities and hiking and equestrian trails. None of this is possible without the continued support of members like you who treasure the wonders of Connetquot. Thank you!
Will Cote of Parks and Trails NY presentation of the Grant Check to the Friends of Connetquot Board Members. The grant will be used to create educational displays in the hatchery building.
Left to right: Will Cote, Parks and Trails NY, Advisory Board members Joseph Mikulas and Rita Trapani, Board members Tom Casey and James Fitzpatrick and President Janet Marie Soley.
February 8, 2022 - Long Island Library Resources Council just awarded the Friends of Connetquot a Technology and Innovation Grant in the amount of $4000 for the South Shore Memories Project.
In November 2021, Connetquot's Park Manager and several members of the Friends of Connetquot spoke at the Bohemia Historical Society meeting. Over refreshments, we talked about the common historical events that Bohemia and Connetquot share. Of particular interest was the fire in 1937. It was on this topic that a lovely 99 year old woman began telling us about her experience during the fire as a young girl. She spoke of firemen and sparks and fear. Her story moved us all. Her story made us wonder how many others have significant historical recollections that will be lost to future generations if we don't record stories like this one.
We reached out to the Libraries and Historical Societies adjacent to Connetquot and learned that all of them at some time, did a similar project to what we proposed. As Connetquot River and the South Side Sportsmen's Club was the nucleus for the development of the South Shore Gold Coast, we feel compelled to be the location where area Libraries and historical societies come together, share ideas and programming.
Do you know someone we should video? Do you have a story that should be preserved for future generations to enjoy? Do you enjoy video production? We are looking for volunteers for our video crew. Please contact us with your interest in this project.
December 14, 2021 - The Friends of Connetquot River State Park Preserve was just awarded $46,651 in a matching grant for the restoration of the South Side Sportsmens Club Fish Preparation Room located in the Club House that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The restoration will include repair of the skylight and replacement of tin ceiling details.
This is wonderful news, but now comes the task of raising the matching funds to make this plan a reality! As you consider what to give in response to our Annual Appeal, please keep this project in mind!
Oakdale, NY, September 9, 2015 - The Friends of Connetquot Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the Friends were awarded a Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation matching grant of $66,000 to support efforts to restore the Nicoll Grist Mill located in the Connetquot River State Park Preserve. The Mill, which dates to the early 1700's, is an iconic structure and one of the few mills in the nation whose mechanisms are still based on the original Norse design utilizing a horizontal wheel to grind.
The Friends have been spearheading the restoration of the Mill. To date, work on the foundation, framing, shingles and doors has been completed. The Friends will utilize the matching grant from the Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation to reinstall the main drive mechanism, horizontal wheel and mill stones. Once complete, the Mill will be a museum dedicated to increasing the public’s understanding of the social and industrial history of Long Island and the Preserve's role within that framework.
Friends Board Chair Robert Labuski, speaking on behalf of the Board, has said that the Friends "are very grateful to the Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation for their constant support of the Mill restoration. Their generosity is allowing us to finish the Mill restoration, which, when complete, will be a new cultural resource for the residents of Long Island."
Download this press release in PDF format.
Oakdale, NY, April 1, 2015 - The Friends of Connetquot Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the Friends were awarded a Parks & Trails New York Capacity Building Grant of $2,500. The grant will fund educational signage that will describe the workings of the historic Nicoll Grist Mill at the Connetquot River State Park Preserve in Oakdale, New York.
The Friends have been spearheading the restoration of the Mill. To date, the structural and exterior finish work is complete; work on the interior and the Mill mechanisms is scheduled to begin this summer. Once complete, the Mill will be a functioning mill and a museum dedicated to increasing the public’s understanding of the social and industrial history of Long Island and the Preserve’s role within that framework.
The educational signs funded by Parks & Trails New York will be used to both highlight the Friends’ activities at the Preserve, particularly the Mill restoration, and the Mill’s history from its construction in the 1700s until now, its internal mechanisms, including a description of how the horizontal tub wheels grind and operate, and the natural aspects that are necessary for Mill functions, such as hydro power. There will be five signs in all, posted on both the exterior and interior of the Mill.
Friends Board Chair Robert Labuski, speaking on behalf of the Board, has said that the Friends "are grateful to Parks & Trails New York for their support of the Mill restoration. Such support is crucial to our success."
Oakdale, NY, June 8, 2010 - Robert Labuski, president of the Friends of Connetquot is pleased to announce the receipt of a Get Set grant of $3000 in support of developing a strategic plan that will set the course for the Friends’ organizational growth and the future use of the Oakdale Grist Mill after it is restored. The funds will be used to secure the services of Susan Mathisen, president of SAM Fundraising Solutions Corp., who will help guide the planning process.
Ms. Mathisen has over ten years experience working throughout the United States and Europe to assist museums and related organizations in capacity-building projects. Her work with the Friends will include focus-group meetings for planning the steps required to build on the organization’s strengths and to expand its membership and donor bases as well as its ties with other organizations in the area. The resulting strategic plan will help meet the goal of seeing the Oakdale Grist Mill fully restored and used as a museum dedicated to Long Island history. This plan will also serve to generate new audiences for the museum, its exhibitions and programs.
The Get Set grant, from the New York State Council on the Arts, is administered by the Upstate History Alliance (whose name was recently changed to Museumwise) and is one of a series of grants offered to help museums and organizations such as the Friends of Connetquot strengthen their institutions and work with their communities. These grants are designed to make it easy for organizations to access professional help and improve their effectiveness. To learn more about these grant programs, eligibility requirements and deadlines, visit UHA’s website at www.upstatehistory.org or contact them by email at email@example.com and by phone at 1-800-895-1648.
The Oakdale Grist Mill is part of the historical complex of Connetquot River State Park Preserve, located in Oakdale, New York. For more information about the Preserve, visit their website or call 631-581-1072.
Download this press release in PDF format.
Friends of Connetquot is one of nine not-for-profit park and trail groups selected to receive a Capacity Building Grant from the statewide advocacy organization, Parks & Trails New York. The awards are designed to help groups increase organizational visibility and generate community support, grow membership, and attract additional volunteers.
"Grassroots groups play a key role in the development and promotion of our state's many parks and trails which make such a significant contribution to the economy of our cities, towns and villages, as well as to the health and well-being of their residents," said Robin Dropkin, Executive Director, Parks & Trails New York. "Made possible by a generous private donor, these nine grants are a small investment in strengthening our state’s not-for-profit park and trail organizations that will reap big benefits, enabling these groups to leverage more private funding and marshal more volunteer power to better fill the gaps in government spending created by challenging economic times."
Friends of Connetquot received $1,200 for a membership brochure and development of a tabletop display.
Robert Labuski, president of Friends of Connetquot said “Our
organization is thrilled by the support of Parks & Trails New York. This
grant will allow us to inform the community of the Friends’ ongoing work
to restore and maintain the Connetquot River State Park Preserve in
hopes that many more people will be encouraged to join us. In the
present tough economy, this spectacular natural and historic treasure
needs the community’s support more than ever.”
Awards were also granted to:
Parks & Trails New York received 55 applications from organizations located in 30 counties throughout the state. This is the second year that Parks & Trails New York has offered this funding assistance.
Parks & Trails New York is a statewide not-for-profit organization that has nurtured New York’s park and trail movements for more than 20 years, helping hundreds of groups and municipalities build, maintain, and promote parks, greenways and more than 1,200 miles of multi-use trails.
The Friends of Connetquot—a not-for-profit organization founded to support and supplement historic preservation and public education programs at Connetquot River State Park Preserve—is, in concert with the State, presently restoring the Oakdale Grist Mill, a historic structure within the preserve. The Friends’ goal is to make the mill operational to expand the preserve’s educational programs and activities and bring Long Island’s mill history to life for the public.
More information on the grant program and Parks & Trails New York can be found on the website, www.ptny.org or by calling 518-434-1583
Oakdale, NY — Robert Labuski, president of the Friends of Connetquot is pleased to announce the receipt of a GET READY grant to help the organization begin its strategic planning process. The grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, will enable the Friends to work with consultant Jacqueline F. Day, who will meet with the board to provide an overview of the planning process and to introduce the importance of planning in helping the Friends meet their mission of preservation, conservation, and continuation for future generations of the Connetquot River State Park Preserve.
The GET READY grants are one of a series of grants offered to museums, historical societies, and historical and educational organizations, such as the Friends of Connetquot, to help them strengthen and develop their institutions and work with their communities. These grants, administered by the Upstate History Alliance (UHA) are designated to make it easy for organizations to access professional help and improve their institutions. To learn more about these grant programs, eligibility requirements and deadlines, visit UHA’s web site at www.upstatehistory.org or contact the Upstate History Alliance, by e- mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at 1-800-895-1648.
Connetquot River State Park Preserve is located in Oakdale, New York and maintains 3,473 acres of land and water for the protection and propagation of game birds, fish and animals. The grounds of the preserve include a complex of historic structures, dating back to the 19th century and beyond, that once housed Snedecor’s Tavern and the Southside Sportsmen’s Club. There is also a grist mill that is presently undergoing restoration. The preserve operates year round. For more information call 631-581-1072.