Brooklyn Botanic Garden transferred ownership of 245 acres in Ossining to Teatown Lake Reservation, the nonprofit nature reserve in northern Westchester County on Friday, May 18.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s president, Scot Medbury, and Teatown’s executive director, Kevin Carter, signed the title transfer, which also ensures that the property will be protected from development in perpetuity by a conservation easement.
“From the very beginning, Teatown and BBG have been closely linked,” Carter said. “In fact, without BBG, there would be no Teatown."
“Brooklyn Botanic Garden is thrilled to convey title to the core Teatown property to Teatown Lake Reservation, with every confidence that Teatown will continue to be an exemplary steward of this land and will continue to use it to educate new generations of environmental stewards,” Medbury said.
The core of BBG’s Teatown property was donated to Brooklyn Botanic Garden in 1962 by the family of Gerard Swope Sr., former chairman of General Electric, with the goal of preserving and sharing the educational value of the environment.
The 52-year-old Garden guided the creation of a new environmental education center and publicly accessible open space.
Teatown Lake Reservation was formed in 1963, and until 1980, BBG and Teatown staff collaborated to develop robust educational facilities and programs. The Garden’s horticultural and educational staff, led by Elizabeth Scholtz, then BBG’s director, lent their expertise and efforts in forming what is now considered the “heart of Teatown.”
In 1980, Teatown leased the property from BBG and began to operate independently of the Garden, eventually acquiring several adjacent properties to expand the reservation’s size to 1,000 acres. The 245 acres given by BBG include the environmental education center, administrative offices, museum, and other public facilities. Also part of the property are the Wildflower Island sanctuary, as well as 15 miles of hiking trails and wetlands, open fields, woodlands, and the 40-acre Teatown Lake.
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