Long Island stretches northeastward from one of the biggest, liveliest cities in the world, so it may be hard to believe that it’s also home to several thousand acres of preserved natural land. Maps of the Island are heavily embroidered with green patches, representing habitat types ranging from pine barrens to freshwater swamps to saltwater marshland, and hosting a diverse suite of plant and animal species, all next door to some of the densest suburbs in the U.S.
I get really excited when I explore those maps. Each quadrant offers a different treat. Where should I go today? A glacial kettle hole or an upland hickory forest? A bog or a tupelo-shaded river? The possibilities for adventure seem boundless, and there’s so much to learn.
That’s why I’m really happy to introduce a new photo series I’m calling The Long Island Project. My goal is to visit every preserved natural space on Long Island, and document each one in pictures. There’s no schedule, and no rules. I hope the result will be a revealing portrait of the treasures we share and protect here on Long Island. And if you don’t live here, I hope you enjoy the tour just the same.
Cranberry Bog Nature Preserve
Location: Riverhead, New York
Habitat: Reclaimed cranberry bog, freshwater wetland in the Peconic River watershed
From top: Spotted wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata); birch bark; shadbush (Amelanchier sp.); leaf buds from an unknown shrub; and two views of birch polypore mushrooms (Pitoporus betulinus).