In Praise of Protectors’ 40-year Mission

In a filled room at LiGreci’s Staatten, Protectors of Pine Oak Woods celebrated their 40th anniversary on September 20th reaping the good wishes and congratulations from elected officials and community leaders and listening to the stories, memories, and hard earned accomplishments from the trailblazers and friends of the organization.

Ellen Pratt, a long-time member and conservationist, was quite fittingly the honoree at the 40th anniversary event giving Protectors an opportunity to recognize her decades long contributions to preserving the open space jewels that so distinctively make up our community.

The event, covered by NY1 News, was opened with a welcome by President Clifford Hagen who thanked all those who have made Protectors 40 years strong! The continuing program included remarks from Ellen Pratt after receiving her honor and special guest remarks from community leaders and governmental agency representatives who have worked with the organization over the years including Jane Cleaver, Thomas Paulo, Jack Bolembach, Barbara Sanchez, and James Scarcella, Joe Fernicola, an amateur herpetologist from Brooklyn who came to Clay Pit Ponds in 1972 to search for the rare Northern Fence Lizard, was also in attendance. Joe’s efforts in understanding the uniqueness of Clay Pit Ponds led to the formation of Protectors of Pine Oak Woods.

A special moment was when Deputy Borough President Ed Burke, adorned with an animal tie representing his love of nature, welcomed the guests and presented Ellen Pratt with a proclamation from the Borough President’s office. The Deputy Borough President spoke warmly of the group and recounted his experiences with Ellen over the years. September 22, 2015 was proclaimed Protectors of Pine Oak Woods Day by Borough President James Oddo.

—Elaine Croteau

awards 

Deputy Borough President Ed Burke presents Ellen Pratt with a proclamation from the Borough President’s office on the occasion of Protectors of Pine Oak Wood’s 40th anniversary celebration. Long-time board member and environmental advocate Ellen Pratt was singled out for special recognition.
Credit: MLM Public Relations