By Candace Sindelman
The Southampton Trails Preservation Society is honoring long-time supporter and friend to the trails, Dolores Zebrowski, by dedicating a bench in her name on Friday at 11:30 a.m. at Marine Park.
What was your reaction when you found out you were being recognized through a bench in your honor?
I was surprised. I wondered why they were giving it to me. I remembered years ago, I told the association they could walk through my property. At the time I owned it and my father had left me the farm, 75 acres. I said, “Of course you could walk through.” A lot of people wouldn’t let other people walk on the land and I never understood that. In England you could walk all over and the farmers would just wave. I sold the acres to the town. Now you can walk Bridgehampton Turnpike to Brickiln Road through the woods.
What have been some of the organization’s greatest accomplishments?
The Trails have done a terrific job and their membership is growing. There is a big group that clears the trails in areas where you can’t walk because it is so thick. There is also a group that rides horses through the lands. I don’t ride, but it seems like fun. The Trails have done a wonderful job in preserving the land. If they see a piece of land they think that needs to be preserved, they bring it to the attention of the town.
What has been the most rewarding part of being involved with The Southampton Trails Preservation Society?
I am happy to see the Trails Association expand and print walks in the paper. They have a walk after Thanskgiving to Walk-It-Off. That’s a good one. More people meet me and tell me how happy they are to go on the walks. A lot of other organizations have picked up on the idea. The Trails have helped this area become more environmentally interested.
What was it like growing up on the property?
When I was younger we all used to go into the woods and pick blackberries for breakfast. One time we picked 21 quarts of blackberries. My brother and father used to walk around the woods and plant apple trees close to the house. The apples fell and the deer would arrive. The deer loved apples. It was wonderful growing up on the land.
What were some of your fondest memories on the farm?
Our house was always filled with people on Sunday. People were always dropping by; a lot of people came to visit us. My father was a retired Navy officer and my brother Bill used to spend the summer on the farm. The family and children spent a lot of time walking in the woods and I knew how much they enjoyed it.
I loved the winter. In ‘47 there was a big storm and we were snowed in. Some of my best memories were at Christmas. We weren’t allowed to cut down a tree, so we had the worst tree in Sag Harbor. We tried to decorate the tree so you wouldn’t see the empty spaces.
Why is it so important to value the woodland space?
There isn’t any more left. The habitat for deer, rabbits, foxes, if there isn’t any land, all of these things are going to disappear.