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Sands Point Preserve Conservancy holds its annual summer white party

Georgia DeYoung welcomes some of the evening’s guests (Photos courtesy of Sands Point Preserve Conservancy)

The White Party, A Benefit for Education” was yet another successful and sold-out affair at Hempstead House on the former Gould-Guggenheim estate as the Sands Point Preserve Conservancy held its popular annual summer garden party on August 16. Invitations encouraged guests to dress in summer white, so the 300 guests heeded the call, wearing their finest attire, including a wide assortment of hats.

Honorees this year were Amrit Sethi, conservancy board member and founder and director of the Happy Montessori School in Port Washington, along with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County.

“I am thrilled to be able to support educational programs at the beautiful Sands Point Preserve,” says Sethi, who founded her school in 1970 in order to provide quality education to young children. “We are very fortunate to have people who have given their time to take care of the preserve and who are creating such thoughtful and engaging programs for people of all ages.”

An exciting addition to the preserve this year is a new organic vegetable “demonstration” garden to be used as a teaching resource. The 2,000-square-foot space contains 12 raised beds and includes a section dedicated to a planting methodology called “square foot gardening” that uses fewer resources than traditional single row gardening. The garden is the brainchild of Conservancy chair Karli Hagedorn, who created its design and is the underwriter for the project. The conservancy entered into a much appreciated collaborative arrangement with the Cornell Cooperative, which made the garden a “priority project of the season.” The conservancy thanks its longtime friends Calabrese & Sons Landscaping in Port Washington for constructing the space and Butch Starkie of Starkie Brothers Garden Center in Farmingdale for his donation of the organic plants.

Beth Horn, managing director of the conservancy, expressed gratitude to all of the parties involved in bringing the new garden to the preserve, thus extending the range and depth of programming offered by the conservancy.

“All of our education programs for children age 2 through eighth grade are based on New York State Common Core Standards, so they are true enrichment for classroom study,” says Horn. “At the preserve, we connect children with their environment for experiential learning—beyond what they encounter in schools, and away from their cell phones and computers.”

Front row, from left: Marco Sethi, Honoree Amrit Sethi, Karina Sethi, Leo Sethi, Uttam Sethi; back row, standing, from left: Anita Sethi, Paul Sethi, Amy Sethi, Rita Sethi

Proceeds from the annual event help fund the conservancy’s education goals, including after-school programs for students in preschool through eighth grade, horticultural programs at the organic vegetable garden, school visits for curricular enrichment, programs for individuals with special needs and family and adult nature programs.

The evening started with a VIP cocktail hour at the new organic vegetable garden, which enabled guests to meet and talk with Master Gardener and Certified Square Foot Instructor Reese Michaels. A sunset dinner followed at the Hempstead House Rose Garden, overlooking Hempstead Harbor. This year’s farm-to-table locally-sourced buffet dinner was catered by Philip Stone and sponsored by Dr. Lyle Leipziger, Chief, Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at NSUH-LIJ. Michael Douglass of Post Wines & Spirits in Syosset graciously served as purveyor for the event’s wines and cocktails. Jazz and dance music throughout the evening was provided by DJ Sal Scott.

The White Party is one of several events held throughout the year by the Sands Point Preserve Conservancy to support its education goals. Upcoming events include “Vampires through the Ages,” an immersive theater experience to mark Halloween 2018.

For more information about the Sands Point Preserve Conservancy, its mission, its programs and future events, visit www.sandspointpreserveconservancy.org.

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