President's Letter

We Preserve Nature on Staten Island for Times Like These

Parks offer untold benefits to all of us—in countless ways.

FOR DECADES, PROTECTORS OF PINE OAK WOODS has made every effort to see open space preserved as parkland across the Island. From Goodhue Woods to Mount Loretto Unique Area, Protectors and our membership have advocated for the preservation of open space because we saw the value of preservation. Now, more than ever, Staten Islanders have been enjoying the benefits of our work. 

Sure, there is value in preserving open space for the sake of nature. Protectors is always cognizant of our mission to advocate for an increased stewardship of park properties. The natural world, which still thrives on the Island, deserves our attention and care. It has been the preservation of open space which has allowed bald eagles, grasshopper sparrows and pileated woodpeckers to return to Staten Island to breed. It has been the preservation of open space which has allowed endangered species of flowers, shrubs and trees and the interconnected ecology they require, to find a place here—still endangered, but not yet extinct. There are definite, immediate benefits to the preservation of open space on Staten Island.

Those definite, immediate benefits are not relegated to the natural world alone. Staten Island is a healthier, wealthier place to live because of our parks. The economy of parks is real. Any realtor will tell you that a home’s value is directly related to its proximity to park space. The real value of the homes across our Borough of Parks includes the added benefit of preserved, open space.

The value of natural areas preservation seen firsthand

The last and most obvious benefit we each enjoy is the benefit our park properties afford visitors. Our lives of late have been enveloped by a new stress, an unacceptable stress which has brought despair to so many. The isolation, the fear and anxiety we share have found an outlet and relief on the trails and walkways of our park properties.

Since our effort to preserve Clay Pit Pond State Park and Preserve in 1975, Protectors has understood that open space is essential to our need for a peaceful experience, for contemplation or a spiritual connection. Now we see and embrace the many souls flocking to our parks seeking solace and comfort. Like never before, our friends and neighbors have found themselves visiting parks regularly. Those visitors have sought relief from overwhelming realities, relief from loneliness. Our parks offer us a connection with the natural world, a connection with each other and a connection with something much larger than ourselves. It is an inexplicable connectedness which soothes our ills and defends against the fear and anxiety wrought by isolation. 

The members of Protectors of Pine Oak Woods have always understood the intrinsic value of nature, of preserving open space both for our wildlife and our inner life, as well as the life of our communities. This is why we work tirelessly to preserve open space and continue to ask our friends and neighbors to support our work. Our work benefits our community.

—Cliff Hagen

Summer 2020

© 2020 by Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, Inc.