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Westchester Land Trust Celebrates Interns, Sets Forum on Findings

Intern Jason Manning studied accessibility at Westchester Land Trust preserves. Photo Credit: Provided
Intern Kristen Gamboa, and her daughter, Sorrel, share a moment at a WLT preserve. Photo Credit: Provided
Intern Ben Smotrich worked on land management projects. Photo Credit: Provided

BEDFORD, N.Y. -- Westchester Land Trust, which says it is helping produce the next generation of conservationists, will host presentations from its three newest summer interns.

The public forum will take place from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 17, at the trust's Sugar Hill Farm campus, 403 Harris Road, Bedford Hills.

Westchester communities have benefited tremendously from the “dedication and efforts” of land trust interns such as Jason Manning, Kristen Gamboa, and Ben Smotrich, said Tom Gabriel, WLT development director.

Manning, a junior majoring in Biology and Political Science at Swarthmore College, helped support the trust's Hudson to Housatonic (H2H) Initiative.

With the understanding that open space should be accessible to all, especially those with disabilities and the disadvantaged, Manning studied programs and tools used by land trusts all across the country.

His research, Gabriel said, will help the land trust establish criteria for improving access, such as: trails for physical activity and rehabilitation; scenic views for mental and emotional restoration; and opportunities to observe native flora and fauna firsthand.

Gamboa, a recent transfer student at Pace University, is supported by a grant from the Rusticus Garden Club. She studied biodiversity at three of the land trust's preserves: Tom Burke, Frederick P. Rose, and Pine Croft Meadow. She looked at native wildflowers and grasses, made recommendations about the removal of invasive species, and put together a mowing schedule.

Smotrich, a sophomore at Colorado College, worked along the Westchester Land Trust’s director of stewardship, Tate Bushell, on land management projects at the organization’s preserves. At Pine Croft Meadow, he helped remove an aggressive patch of bamboo, Gabriel said. He also assisted the trusts’s resident farmer, Doug DeCandia, through the Food Bank for Westchester.

For more information, contact Gabriel at (914)-234-6992, ext. 18., or

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