Garden City Bird Sanctuary Tree Dedication and Reception
Saturday, September 8, at 2:00 p.m.
Tanners Pond Environmental Center
(Opposite 181 Tanners Pond Road in Garden City)
The community is cordially invited to join the board of directors, members and friends on Saturday, September 8, at 2:00 p.m., for the Garden City Bird Sanctuary’s annual Tree Dedication Ceremony. The brief ceremony will be followed by light refreshments and personally guided tours of the Tanners Pond Environmental Center.
The Tanners Pond Environmental Center is the end result of nearly 20 years of community effort to transform a lowly 'sump' into an attractive community green space. From Halloween Hikes to Eagle Scout Projects to the simple joys of digging in the dirt, jogging the trails or watching the birds, the Center has provided our community hundreds of opportunities to come together for a common cause – the belief in the importance of preservation of nature, especially in an area as highly developed as Nassau County.
The transformation of this 9- acre Nassau County stormwater basin into a unique park, arboretum, wildlife sanctuary and environmental research center by the volunteer nonprofit organization has been possible with the many trees, shrubs, arbors, signs, and benches donated by individuals, families, groups, and companies over the years. Initial “Memorial Trees” were donated in memory of George Morton and Lucy Stark by the Garden City Community Church to support the first Boy Scout Eagle project by Troop 56 Scout, Jim Okas in 1995. Over 100 additional trees have been planted through funds donated either in 'memory' or 'honor' of loved ones, or simply as 'compliments' in support of this program. Benches, gardens, bird baths and other items have also been added through the generosity of many donors. Markers indicate the honoree and a list of names, donors, and trees is on a bulletin board at the site.
Each year, a dedication ceremony is held at the site. Many years ago, when GCBS Director Jim Zacharias, a NYC special education schoolteacher passed away after a courageous battle from cancer, a tree, bench and trail, appropriately named “Zacharias Way” was added to the site at that year’s tree dedication. When Colonel. Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli Astronaut, was tragically killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003, Rabbi Stephen Goodman from the Garden City Jewish Center officiated the dedication of an Atlas Cedar tree planted from funds raised by their student classes. The 9/11 World Trade Center tragedy also led to the planting of several trees in memory of Garden City victims. It brought a tremendous amount of visitors to the sanctuary as everyone needed a quiet place to walk or sit.
There are many stories and personal notes about the tree and shrub donations. In 2005, trees were donated by Garden City High School classmates in memory of Harry Fenik, a GCHS alumnus from 1969, and another donated in memory of Joan Meyer-Chadsey, a GCHS alumnus from the Class of 1963. The tree in memory of Joan was donated through the coordination of fellow alumni, Tedd Miller and Rich Melis. They provided the following letter read during the service, “It was comfortable to be around Joan. She was self-confident, never defensive. I heard once that you can tell how powerful a person is by how gracious they are. She put those around her at ease because she had no concerns in herself. Her personality was as smooth as velvet, as strong and fluid as silk. The condensed version is: It wasn't just her hair, her face or her figure - it was the brightness of her mind, the warmth of her heart, the texture of her soul.”
"Big Sister Corner" was named to honor all "big sisters" after the passing of former Garden City resident and GCHS 1964 alumnus, Maureen Prisco. The bench currently at that corner was donated by former GC Mayor Barbara Miller to honor GCBS founder Rob Alvey. The tragic loss of the Parente family led to the installation of the Parente garden by another Boy Scout Eagle project in 2010. This area, too, has had a number of visitors coming to sit, reflect, and enjoy a quiet spot and nature. Over the years, some of the informal dedication ceremonies have been officiated with assistance from a number of Garden City clergy, including Rev. Jim Adelmann, Ian Rottenberg, Licensed Minister George Bashian, Rabbi Goodman, Steve Hosmer, Rev. Barbara Hosmer, and Deacon George. Some years included music, accompanied by flute- playing, guitar by Steve Hosmer, trumpet music and even an accordion (thanks, again George!).
This year’s trees are columnar oaks added along the newly cleared slope of the main basin. They were added to complete the Urban Forestry/Community Tree Planting grant program and they overlook the wet meadows installed through the Nassau County Environmental Bond funding. Families and friends are invited to say a few words about the people who have had trees donated and all are welcome to walk the trails or have a short guided tour of the site.
Please mark your calendar and join us as we commemorate dear loved ones as well as all of those who have worked so hard to carve out a true sanctuary for human and wildlife alike in our beautiful community. Visit the sanctuary on-line at www.gcbirdsanctuary.org. For information, e-mail the sanctuary at firstname.lastname@example.org.