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Sally Mazzarella Honored as 2017 Volunteer of the Year 

(November 2017) Winnakee is proud to announce that our founder and President Emeritus, Sally Mazzarella will be honored as 2017 Outstanding Volunteer of the Year by the Mid-Hudson Valley Association of Fundraising Professionals. This award will be presented on Wednesday, November 29 at Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor.

Sally has a long history of being a local philanthropist, champion of many causes, and a catalyst of change for the Hudson Valley. This well deserved award will be presented on Wednesday, November 29 at 7:30 AM at Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor.

Under Sally’s leadership, Winnakee has placed over 2500 acres of prime farmland and beautiful open spaces under conservation easements, and has developed miles and miles of public access trails. Sally continues to serve Winnakee as Chair of the Development and Fundraising Committee. She has been a community servant and force of change in the Hudson Valley since the early 1980’s. Since that time, Sally has served and continues to serve the northern Dutchess community through many organizations and government appointments.

She has served as the President of the board of United Way, Family Services of Dutchess County and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Treasurer of the Center for Performing Arts, and many other arts organizations. She served for five years as Walkway Over the Hudson Board Chair, Chair of the Town of Rhinebeck Planning Board for over 20 years and Chair of their Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Review Committee. She was instrumental in stabilizing and rebuilding the Rhinebeck Waterfront Town Landing and honored with renaming the Rhinebeck Community Park—the Thomas Thompson/Sally Mazzarella Community Park.

Sally has championed many causes and has long been recognized for her fundraising skills which assisted and strengthened many local organizations. She chaired and co-chaired five capital campaigns, including a children’s museum, a performing arts center, a YWCA, and a building for social service agencies.

Protecting the historic sites of the region has long been a passion for Sally. She was instrumental in creating the Scenic District Management Plan for Hyde Park, Rhinebeck, Red Hook, and Tivoli, and advocated for protecting the old stone walls that characterize the riverfront historic district. Winnakee is proud that Sally is being recognized for her important work in the Hudson Valley.

Tickets can be purchased for this event HERE.  

Winnakee Land Trust is proud to announce re-accreditation by the LTA

Rhinebeck, NY (February 22, 2017) – At a time of political change, one thing is clear and consistent: Americans strongly support saving the open spaces they love. Since 1989, Winnakee Land Trust, has been doing just that for the people of northern Dutchess County. And, since 2011, it has been doing so as an accredited land trust. Today Winnakee Land Trust is proud to announce their reaccreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and to welcome an additional 15 land trusts into the growing network of accredited land trusts across the nation that have proven their commitment to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust in their work.

“Re-accreditation demonstrates Winnakee Land Trust’s commitment to permanent land conservation in northern Dutchess County,” said Carl Meyer, President of Winnakee Board. “We are a stronger organization for having gone through the rigorous accreditation program. Our strength means more farmland, viewsheds, wetlands, wildlife habitats, and undisturbed natural areas will be protected forever, making the Mid-Hudson Valley an even greater place for us and our children.”

Winnakee Executive Director Gregg Swanzey provided extensive documentation and a comprehensive review as part of the accreditation renewal application. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded accreditation, signifying its confidence that Winnakee Land Trust’s lands will be protected in perpetuity.

As an accredited land trust, Winnakee protects over 2500 acres of local farmland and natural habitats from development and are working to permanently secure many more. Winnakee provides public recreational opportunities at Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill in Rhinebeck and Winnakee Nature Preserve and Arboretum in Hyde Park. Through the years, we have established miles of regional public access trails and are working to expand this effort with a trail feasibility study currently in progress.

“Winnakee is proud that our work is being recognized by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. Balancing land protection with appropriate development will ensure that our communities continue to have all the resources they need for generations to come.” said Gregg Swanzey, Executive Director. “We are pleased and fortunate for the funds donated by Gail Hunt Reeke and Dr. George Reeke through the Hunt Family Foundation in April of 2016 to cover the Winnakee Land Trust Accreditation Renewal fee in memory of her sister, Lucinda (Cindy) Hunt Stowell former Land Trust Accreditation Commissioner and staunch advocate of land preservation.”

“Accredited land trusts such as Winnakee are united behind strong ethical standards ensuring the places people love will be conserved forever,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. “This network of land trusts has demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.”

Winnakee Land Trust is one of 1,363 land trusts across the United States according to the most recent National Land Trust Census, released Dec. 1 by the Land Trust Alliance. Almost 20 million acres of farms, forests and natural areas vital to healthy communities are now permanently conserved by an accredited land trust.

A complete list of accredited land trusts and more information about the process and benefits are detailed at


Winnakee Land Trust President, Sally Mazzarella, steps down, Carl Meyer comes forward. Winnakee welcomes several new board members in 2017.

Carl Meyer

Carl Meyer

Rhinebeck, NY, (January 20, 2017): Winnakee Land Trust Board of Directors announces longtime board President Sally Mazzarella—who has run the organization as President since its inception in 1989—has stepped down from the presidency. Mazzarella will remain active on the board as President Emeritus, Interim Treasurer, and Chair of the Fundraising and Development Committee. Carl Meyer, President/CEO of The Solar Energy Consortium (T-SEC) and former President/COO of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp, has taken over the reigns as President of the Winnakee Board. Other Board officers include Lisa Camp as First Vice-President and Secretary, Robert Wills as Second Vice-President.

Sally Mazzarella

Sally Mazzarella

Sally Mazzarella was the lead founder and first board president of Winnakee Land Trust and has served in that capacity for 28 years (plus 10 years before that when Winnakee existed as the Hudson River Shorelands Task Force). She has worked tirelessly to protect open space and farmland and establish systems of trails in northern Dutchess and has overseen the growth of Winnakee from an impassioned group of volunteers to a financially secure,   LTA-accredited, organization with four full time staff members dedicated to carrying out Winnakee’s mission.

Under Sally’s leadership Winnakee has placed over 2500 acres of prime farmland and beautiful open spaces under conservation easements and has become a highly credible land conservation and trail development resource in northern Dutchess county and throughout the Hudson Valley. Winnakee owns and maintains Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill in Rhinebeck and the Winnakee Nature Preserve and Arboretum in Hyde Park.

Protecting the historic sites of the region has long been a passion for Sally. She was instrumental in creating the Scenic District Management Plan for Hyde Park, Rhinebeck, Red Hook and Tivoli and advocated for protecting the old stone walls that characterize the riverfront historic district. The importance of the historic properties, both public and private, to the character and legacy of the region has been a focus of Sally’s lifetime of public work. Sally has chaired and served on many county-wide organizations addressing planning, recreation, social and human care services, culture and the arts.

“The work of Winnakee helps to protect and preserve all that is special about this place I call home,” said Mazzarella. “I value our limited precious resources, our open space, our farmland, our viewsheds, and our rich heritage and am grateful for Winnakee’s commitment to protect and sustain these important community assets for future generations. It has truly been an extraordinary honor to serve as President.”

“Winnakee is on solid ground for fulfilling its vision for the future” continued Mazzarella, “thus the transition of the Presidency comes at a good time. Carl Meyer is prepared to be the next President of Winnakee and will be a wonderful and talented leader. Carl has a long history with our organization, he is a good steward of the land, and will be dedicated to the Winnakee mission.”

Meyer has served on the Winnakee Land Trust Board of Directors since the early 90s.“I don’t expect to make any organizational changes at the outset,” claimed Meyer.  “Winnakee enjoys tremendous community support and is blessed with a very active, engaged board.  We are seeing an increased interest in land conservation and trail development in northern Duchess, so our primary focus will continue to be on Winnakee’s mission and our enabling fundraising initiatives.”

An executive with 35+ years of experience in the energy and economic development sectors of the Hudson Valley and New York State, Carl Meyer is currently the President/CEO of The Solar Energy Consortium (T-SEC), headquartered at Stewart Airport in Newburgh, NY. T-SEC is a regional industry-driven, not-for-profit, public-private partnership dedicated to providing small and medium-sized manufacturers in the Hudson Valley region with technical and business support services to enable them to grow their companies and create jobs.

In addition to Winnakee, Carl currently serves on the board of the NYS Business Development Corporation and on the boards of several regional non-profit organizations including Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress. He also serves on Dutchess County Economic Development Advisory Council and currently chairs the Mount Saint Mary College Business Advisory Council. From 1998 through 2008, Carl served on the Board of Trustees of Mount Saint Mary College where he was recently awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science degree.

The Winnakee Board approved a new slate of directors to begin three year terms in early 2017 including: Sam Phelan, Former Executive Chairman of Board of Taconic Biosciences, Inc.; Sarah Olson, Former Superintendent, Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt’s Val-Kill, Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Sites, Martin Van Buren National Historic Site; Tom Liptay, CFO of Good Judgement, Inc.; Angela Maier-Lore, ESQ; and Marybeth Cale, President, Cale Consulting, LLC, DBA Cale Communications.


Winnakee receives Greenway Grant and launches the Northern Dutchess Trail Project

Marist College Students Clearing Trails

Rhinebeck, NY, December 13, 2016: Winnakee Land Trust is pleased to announce the Northern Dutchess Trail Project and receipt of a grant in the amount of $14,800 from the 2016 Greenway Conservancy Trail Grant Program. The grant, announced by Governor Cuomo in October, was one of 22 received in the Mid-Hudson Valley and Capital Region. The Greenway Conservancy Trail Grant Program, funded by NYS Environmental Protection Fund, supports the Greenway’s goal to establish the Hudson River Valley Greenway Trail, a contiguous trail linking cultural and historic sites, parks, open spaces, and community centers from New York City to the Adirondacks.

The Northern Dutchess Trail Project will lay the groundwork for greatly increased connectivity in the Town of Rhinebeck between existing parks, schools, and village center as well as the establishment of bike/pedestrian infrastructure within Northern Dutchess County with Rhinebeck as a hub where several trails would converge. It will be matched with a $10,000 grant from the Thomas Thompson Trust and additional funds from the Land Trust Alliance Conservation Partnership Program. This project, currently underway, will enhance the experience for residents and visitors to the area by connecting them to a regional network as well as improve safety for school children walking or biking to school or to the local parks.

“Funding from Greenway Conservancy will be transformative for Rhinebeck and instrumental in increasing the connectivity of the Northern Dutchess area in general and within Rhinebeck specifically by enabling us to generate a broad-based feasibility study and individual planning documents for specific trail projects that are identified as priorities and that are doable. It will provide additional resources for contracted services for survey mapping and legal advice,” said Gregg Swanzey, Executive Director of the Winnakee Land Trust.

Winnakee owns the land at Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill and maintains trails there through a large troupe of active volunteers. In addition to this, Winnakee has been building connections from the riverfront trail we have helped to establish in Hyde Park, now connecting as far northward as Norrie Point State Park with the potential to get to the Rhinebeck town line, and ultimately to attain a connection to the two and a half miles of trails at the Thompson-Mazzarella Park.

“At this juncture, Winnakee would like to work toward a regional trail vision that articulates how communities are connected, but with a heightened focus on the Town of Rhinebeck,” said Sally Mazzarella, President of the Winnakee Land Trust Board of Directors. “It is a vision that would see the Village of Rhinebeck connected to the neighboring hamlet of Rhinecliff – and, as such, Rhinecliff’s Hudson River waterfront and Amtrak train station – as well as look at trail connectivity potentials to remove discontinuities in the network with the Town of Red Hook, including Bard College and Tivoli, to the north and Staatsburg and Hyde Park to the South.”

Winnakee Land Trust, incorporated in 1989, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of natural, agricultural, and scenic land and the connection of trails in northern Dutchess County and beyond. At the heart of the Winnakee’s mission is a deep regard for the history and natural beauty of northern Dutchess County.



Sam Phelan; Sally Mazzarella, Winnakee President; Ellen Phelan; Gregg Swanzey, Winnakee Executive Director

Winnakee Permanently Protects 81 Pristine Acres in the Towns of Red Hook and Milan

Rhinebeck, NY, October 24, 2016: Winnakee Land Trust has accepted a donated conservation easement on 81 beautiful acres of wetland and forest in the Towns of Red Hook and Milan. Landowners Ellen and Sam Phelan, long-time advocates for land conservation, have chosen to protect their land from development by establishing an easement with Winnakee Land Trust.

“We are delighted to have Winnakee accept an easement to our 80+ acre woodland and wetland property in northeast Red Hook,” said Ellen and Sam Phelan. “It is part of one of the last extensive woodland areas in Red Hook. For over 25 years we have enjoyed viewing the wildlife and natural scenery of the property. It was a playground for our children and has provided us with warmth (fire wood) each year. With Winnakee’s assistance we now can be assured that the natural beauty and resources of our property will be protected in perpetuity. Many thanks to Winnakee’s professional staff for helping to make this possible.”

“Sam and Ellen Phelan have a great appreciation of the rural, scenic landscape of northern Dutchess County and are dedicated to protecting it for future generations. This gift of a conservation easement not only protects an important natural asset for the entire community, but also offers inspiration to other landowners to develop easements on their property,” said Gregg Swanzey, Executive Director of Winnakee Land Trust.

Such conservation easements permanently protect water resources, habitat, migration corridors, valuable diverse forests, and the scenic quality of local communities. Aside from the satisfaction of forever protecting a beautiful parcel of land, a donated conservation easement brings several generous tax benefits to the donating landowner.


Watershed map showing Phelan property easement and its impact on the Hudson River

According to Tierney Rosenstock, Land Project Manager at Winnakee; “The Phelan property easement protects pieces of two large wetland complexes of open marsh and hardwood swamp. Protection of wetland habitats ensures foraging and breeding ground for a variety of birds, fish, amphibians, and other wildlife. The property lies at the headwaters of the Saw Kill, the Stony Creek, and the Roeliff Janson Kill, making it critical to the protection of Hudson River water quality.”

Winnakee Land Trust, incorporated in 1989, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of natural, agricultural, and scenic land and the connection of trails in northern Dutchess County and beyond. At the heart of the Winnakee’s mission is a deep regard for the history and natural beauty of northern Dutchess County.


Rhinebeck, NY, October 11, 2016 — For Immediate Release:

Ellen Henneberry Joins Winnakee Land Trust
Promoting the Preservation of Open Space and Farmland and Establishing Trail Connections in the Hudson Valley

Nadine Slowik Named Development Assistant

Ellen Hennheadshoteberry is a fundraising and marketing professional living and working in the Hudson Valley since 1998. Passionate about hiking, kayaking, and the great outdoors, her move to Winnakee Land Trust in the position of Director of Development is a natural fit. As Development and Marketing manager for Walkway Over the Hudson, the adaptive reuse of the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge, Henneberry was instrumental in significantly increasing the operating budget and branding the annual benefit event, Starry Starry Night, which generated over $195K in revenue in 2016. Before joining Walkway, Ellen worked at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck and began her work in fundraising as a consultant for the Office of Advancement at the Culinary Institute of America. Previously, she was owner of the popular Twist Restaurant in Hyde Park where she developed a Wine Spectator Award winning wine list. “I am so pleased to focus my energy on the mission of the Winnakee Land Trust to protect and preserve Dutchess County’s natural, agricultural, and historic resources for
generations to come.”