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Winnakee Land Trust is proud to announce reaccreditation 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.”


Past Events

September 24th- 11:00 am to 6:00 pm

Winnakee Land Trust Annual Tour of Historic Barns and Working Farms

Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome

Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome

The annual barn tour will wind through Northern Dutchess towns of Red Hook and Rhinebeck starting off at the Kaatsbaan International Dance Center at 11:00 am and culminating with a reception from 4:30 to 6:00 pm at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. The tour offers visitors a rare opportunity to visit some extraordinary properties and benefits Winnakee Land Trust, a non-profit organization that protects open space and farmland in northern Dutchess County. A mapped program will outline the self-guided route. Docents will guide people through each site, offering the history and background of how the buildings were built and used. Please look for more information on our website. For tickets go to the Registration Page.

June 25th- 9:30 to 11:30 am

Join Winnakee and Hyde Park Trails for a guided walking tour of the Winnakee Nature Preserve. The purpose of this walking tour is to help familiarize you with the preserve and Winnakee Land Trust as well as to organize a Friends of Winnakee Nature Preserve group. The Friends of Winnakee Nature Preserve will partner with Winnakee and the Hyde Park Trail Committee to benefit the Preserve in various ways, such as conducting fundraising efforts, providing volunteer services, performing trail maintenance, assisting with resource management and preservation, and being the eyes and ears of the preserve.  Please RSVP to Tierney Rosenstock at or call (845)876-4213 ext. 3.

June 23rd- 4 to 5:30 pm

Winnakee Land Trust will be hosting a Winnakee-Dutchess Trails Roundtable meeting at the Farm and Home Center located at 2715 US-44, Millbrook, NY 12545. Please, join us!

June 4th- Evening

Winnakee hosted a SOLD OUT gala fundraiser! Read more here. 

June 4th- Morning 

Join Winnakee Land Trust’s Land Projects Manager and botanist, Tierney Rosenstock, to celebrate National Trails Day at Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill. We’ll start from the parking lot and look at various plants that can be found in the wetland, grassland, and hedgerow habitats at Burger Hill. Bring your binoculars and we’ll do some birding too!

The walk will start promptly at 10:00 am and go until about 11:00 am.

May 26th
Help build the newest section of the Hyde Park Trail” Norrie Point Connector Trail”. Join your local volunteers and members of the Hyde Park Trail Committee for an afternoon of trail work. The workday will be held from 2:00-7:00 pm and we’ll meet at the River Ridge Sales Office 40 Rolling Rock Road, Hyde Park, NY 12538 (on Route 9 north of the village).

Bring a snacks and water bottle. Don’t forget to wear you work boots and work gloves. Bring bug spray with DEET. Some hand tools are available, but if you have a pair of loppers, bring them.

April 22nd
Winnakee celebrated Earth Day at Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill. We spent the day cleaning up around the Park’s crabapple trees and planting bulbs. Thank you to our volunteers and planters!

March 30th
It’s the first official day of Winnakee’s  spring monitoring season! Our Land Projects Manager, Tierney Rosenstock, will be visiting our conservation easements to track any changes in the landscape. We keep our easements healthy by detecting potentially landscape-altering problems as they arise and devise methods for solving those problems whether its an owner violation, change in habitat, an infestation of invasive species, etc.

March 23rd
Winnakee’s Executive Director recieved a letter from New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand, commending the organization’s work in land conservation. Read the letter here!

March 17th
Winnakee Land Trust hosted the first quarterly Winnakee-Dutchess Trails Roundtable of 2016 on Thursday, March 17th from 4 pm- 5:30 pm in Room A of the Farm and Home Center located at Route 2715 Route 44 in Millbrook. Get the meeting agenda here!

March 11th
We had our first gala committee meeting! Anticipated in June, Winnakee’s annual gala is the organization’s largest and most important fundraising event. Every year, we choose a beautiful estate in northern Dutchess to host nearly 200 guests with a catered dinner, cocktails, live music, dancing, and a silent auction. Stay tuned for more details! If you are interested in joining the gala committee or would like learn more about this wonderful event, contact Karissa Stokdal at

March 10th
Amphibian migration is upon us! Nighttime conditions were ideal and Winnakee’s Executive Director, Gregg Swanzey, went out to assist the salamanders and frogs with their journey. We need volunteers! Learn more about the migration and how you can get involved here.