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Taste Of Spring

TR Sanctuary friends visit

Planting Fields main greenhouse

The invitation to the Taste of Spring benefit for the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center on Jan. 12 was very clear about the need. It was to help repair the damage caused to the sanctuary grounds by Hurricane Sandy. The main greenhouse at Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park was filled with guests chatting and enjoying the venue. More came than expected in spite of the uninviting weather that night with fog creeping along the ground on the dark roads.

Edward Mohlenhoff, event chair, explained there was a great deal of damage to the trees at the TRS as well as at Youngs Cemetery next door. “It’s taking a long time for the TRS to do the cleanup. It is because of the time involved in dealing with the insurance and with FEMA and other things that have to come together before the cleanup is complete. Our neighbors are a little impatient with us, but it is not an overnight fix. We will do everything we can to take care of it as soon as we can,” he explained. (See accompanying article.)

Ted Scherff, TRS&AC director, called the group to attention to make some remarks saying, “I knew you were having a good time because I couldn’t get your attention for some announcements.” He thanked all the TRS board members for their support saying, “It means an awful lot to me.” He added, “The day I was introduced to Elizabeth Roosevelt I knew I liked her.” She was one of the guests at the event.

Ms. Roosevelt has a special connection with the TRS&AC since in 1923, her grandparents, W. Emlen and Christine Roosevelt, established the first Audubon Songbird Sanctuary in the nation. The 12 acres were donated to Audubon in memory of their cousin, Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president.

Sharff thanked Edward Mohlenhoff and called him the greatest advocate for the TR Sanctuary. He hosted the event. Mohlenhoff explained more of why the TRS needs their help because of Sandy and also invited the guests to the group’s 90th Anniversary Gala. The theme of the gala is the 1920s and will be held on May 4 at the Piping Rock Club. He encouraged guests to buy a table to sit with friends as they enjoy the evening.

Everyone was enjoying the pleasure of each other’s company. Thomas Ross, Sagamore Hill Historic National Park supervisor, reminded the guests that the site is still open during renovation. “The woods and the nature trail are open all seasons of the year,” he said. “They are pulling out all the windows for rehabilitation, and doing selective demolition.”

He explained that the public will be able to see some amazing photographs of the mansion on March 8 when a new exhibit opens at the Oyster Bay Historical Society’s Koenig Center. He said, “Artist/photographer Xiomara had unfettered access to Sagamore Hill after we had emptied the house. He is an National Park Service artist in residence at the Weir Farm National Historic Site in Connecticut. We learned about him through his work there. He lives on Long Island, in Roslyn Heights. The Sagamore Hill photographic exhibit is going to be quite hot. He took photographs of features and parts of the rooms the public can’t see; and objects that were blocked by other items or were deep into the rooms. He is revealing them in an artistic way.”

Nearby, Louis Norris was chatting about the Great Horned Owl he had donated to the TRS. He inherited the museum specimen and then wondered what to do with it—where it would be appreciated—when he decided to donate it to the TRS. It was shot 50 years ago, he said. He said it is brought around to children’s fairs for them to see, “a genuine critter that they wouldn’t see unless they were in the mountains of New Hampshire.”