At the time of this writing, it appears that Covid cases are lessening, and vaccinations and sites are increasing. Let’s hope it will be behind us and we can begin to recover and move forward. The CDC has stated that fully vaccinated Americans now can gather with other vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing. We miss seeing everyone and have been either cancelling our events and lectures or rescheduling them.
However, NYS Parks has scheduled the 10th Annual I Love My Park Day with some restrictions. It will be a two-day event on Sat. May 1st and Sun, May 2nd , with no more than 50 people a day, no communal food or drink, social distancing, masks, and no sharing of tools. (Volunteers, bring your own.) Projects include a spring cleanup of the historic buildings, including window washing, interior cleanup on the Grist Mill; some exterior painting on the Pump House and Carpenter Shop; weeding, raking, pruning and mulching the Pollinator Garden; and cleaning the trout ponds, installing predator proofing and other work at the Hatchery. Registration is required. Look for registration information on our website.
Although many things have been shut down in all of our communities, Connetquot River State Park Preserve is and has been open, and the terrific staff is working hard to improve many of the rooms in the Main Building and the grounds. They are spackling and painting to expand the Museum exhibits, along with many other important maintenance and improvement projects. They had a very difficult winter trying to remove the endless snow. Volunteers and staff are continuing to show much progress in our Grist Mill restoration, the Billiard Room and many other areas.
Our fundraising via donations from wonderful members and friends has been healthy, and we are working toward replacing the tin ceiling in the Fish Room. When we received the old Astor House stove for our Billiard Room it did not have feet on it. After an exhaustive search for replacements turned up nothing, John Remmer engaged an artisan to design and fit the stove for new feet.
We have initiated a new newsletter section of information and photos specifically for equestrians. Jerry Trapani and new Board Member Carole Scialdone will be authoring it, and we think it will be an interesting addition.
Sadly, we lost former Board Member and Membership Chair Bob Wilson recently. If you attended our many Galas, Trail Rides, I Love My Park Days or other events, you always saw Bob assisting. Our condolences to his wife, Edith and their family.
I was able to participate virtually in “Lobby Day” in Albany this year via Zoom during “Park Advocacy Day.” Several other Friends groups from Long Island were on calls to elected officials urging them to support the capital budget and Environmental Protection Fund. We hope our efforts will be successful and we can look forward to NYS Parks continuing to maintain and improve our parks.
We are also working on redesigning our website. Hopefully, it will be finished soon. In the interim, look for us on friendsofconnetquot.org or on Facebook at “Friends of Connetquot.” Happy Spring!