Open Space



Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Pound Ridge, NY

FCWC's Position:


Since its inception, FCWC has advocated for sound open space preservation in Westchester County.  Throughout Westchester’s history, both the public and private sectors showed foresight in setting aside land for public use, yet with increased urbanization and suburbanization of Westchester, such lands are at a premium.  


Open spaces provide aesthetic and quality of life benefits for Westchester’s residents, in addition to being of vital ecological importance.  From public access to Long Island Sound and the Hudson River, to private and municipal parks allowing people to roam the forests and fields - the human benefits of open spaces can be felt from a single visit.  From an environmental perspective, open spaces are essential to maintaining a healthy ecosystem: forested tracts of land act as heat and carbon sinks; forests, fields, and salt marshes clean our air and water; and open spaces provide habitats necessary for protecting the Westchester’s fragile biodiversity.


FCWC has long advocated for the preservation of Westchester’s open spaces.  Examples include David’s Island in New Rochelle, the creation of Edith G. Read Natural Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, as well as many examples of supporting our member organizations in helping to fight for local municipal land and open space. 


Part of why residents choose Westchester County as a place to live is because of the amazing quality of life provided by Westchester’s ample open space.  Preservation of these special

places is, and has been, a central goal of FCWC.



We've put together a map of the County's parks to help you better find which one is closest to you!

Want to know what's going on in Westchester's open space community? Check out the Westchester Open Space Google Group.


Created based on discussions at the 'Future of Westchester's Parks, Sanctuaries, and 

Nature Centers' workshop, hosted by FCWC and Greenburgh Nature Center; it was concluded that a listserv of this type would be helpful for organizations to collaborate to manage and preserve Westchester's open space resources. 


This online public space is a medium to start discussions, pose questions, or make announcements concerning management or preservation of any park, sanctuary, nature center or open space in Westchester County.


Turn your attention here:


Blue Mountain Reservation, a County-owned park is currently under threat of being compromised by a high pressure gas pipeline project.


Erik Kiviat PhD, of Hudsonia Ltd. produced a report on the project titled, "Preliminary Biodiversity Assessment of the Algonquin Gas Pipeline at Reynolds Hill and Blue Mountain Reservation". Dr. Kiviat presented his findings to the Westchester Board of Legislature.


FCWC Workshop: The Future of Westchester County Parks, Sanctuaries, and Nature Centers:



On January 23, 2015, about 50 representatives

from many of Westchester's Audubon
societies, friends groups, nature centers,

County parks, and land trust came together

to discuss the 'Future of Westchester Parks,

Sanctuaries, and Nature Centers'. One

dominant theme was that there was a lot of

knowledge, skill and talent in the room,
and that we need to share this so each group

is not continuously re-inventing the wheel.


The next step is to determine how these issues will impact open space properties
throughout Westchester, and then create a plan to address and mitigate these issues.
Federated Conservationists of Westchester County (FCWC) plans on hosting a series of
workshops over the next few years, several which touch on many of these topics pertaining to Westchester's parks and open spaces.


Two great concepts came out of this workshop. Already being put into action, these ideas will help pave the path for a more interconnected open spaces community in Westchester County.


  1. FCWC has created a Westchester Open Space Google Group, where members will be able to start a discussion, pose a question, or make an announcement concerning management or preservation of any park, sanctuary, nature center or open space in Westchester County.

  2. FCWC has begun orchestrating an open space advisory group. A roving collection of experts across the county that can help identify the issues on a given property and find solutions to those problems.


So far we have had three volunteers sign up for this roving advisory group. They are from Trailside Nature Museum, Saw Mill River Audubon and Hudson River Audubon. We welcome anyone else who is interested to contact FCWC. In addition, if you have a question on a property that you would like assistance with, FCWC would be happy to make the 'match' and ask the advisory group to visit your location.

Westchester Enviornmental Directory:




To be published by FCWC,

The Westchester Environmental Directory will be a compilation of groups working in environmental protection and preservation, with special emphasis on Westchester County.


*Listing in the Directory does not constitute endorsement by FCWC nor is it possible to include all groups.



LISoundFest: Celebrating the Long Island Sound







Adriaen Block, who discovered Long Island Sound, marveled at this very large estuary’s abundant life.  Today the Sound, especially at its densely populated, narrow western end near New York City, has been depleted -- to the point of dead zones in summer.  Climate change and massive pollution threaten its animals and plants.  An environmental treasure under threat, the Sound shore was further damaged by 2012’s Hurricane Sandy.


Yet the Sound boasts a brilliant cultural history.  In The Great Gatsby, the iconic green light shines out across an inlet in the Sound, speaking to is long appreciated allure. LISoundFest is an opportuntiy to celebrate what an amazing resource Long Island Sound truly is.


While science festivals are proliferating across the country, and the National Science Foundation has stated that its goal is "a science festival in every community," there is no science festival that
focuses on a body of water.  In fact, there is only one science festival on the Atlantic coast -- in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The Long Island Sound Science Festival  aims to 1) educate families with children K-12 in Sound shore communities about the Sound and its environmental problems, 2) excite them and engage them in hands-on citizen science and conversations with researchers who study the
Sound, while 3) they have fun.  A follow-up event will enable participants to measure the difference they have made to the Sound's health.


If you would like to learn more about research being done on the health of the Long Island Sound visit the work being done by the Long Island Sound Study.



One of the primary goals of this event was to help spread information. So check back frequently as we will be sharing the wealth of knowledge accumulated from this discussion.