Tag Archive | "Nature Conservancy"

The Secret Life of Long Pond Greenbelt

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Two deer fighting in Long Pond Greenbelt. Photo by Jill Musnicki.

By Mara Certic

After a burglar repeatedly tried to break into her parents’ home, Jill Musnicki and her husband had the idea to install motion-sensitive cameras around the property to try to catch the crook red-handed. The police ended up catching the pilferer without the help of the cameras, but the security system she had set up inspired Ms. Musnicki to embark on an artistic investigation of her own.

“As I watched what images came out, I thought it would be neat to use them in an artistic way,” she said. As part of the Parrish Art Museum’s road show in 2012, Ms. Musnicki installed game cameras from Water Mill to Montauk to shoot pictures of unsuspecting creatures as they moved past.

The artist, who is a fourth generation East End resident, wanted to show the lives of the animals who continue to live among us, in spite of all the development that has depleted their natural habitats. The show was called “What Comes Around,” and provided a fascinating glimpse into what animals do when undisturbed by humans.

This Friday, June 27, at the South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton, Ms. Musnicki will present “What Comes Around II,” which will show the secret behavior of the animals who live in the 1,100 acres of Long Pond Greenbelt.

According to Ms. Musnicki, the cameras she installed throughout the area—which stretches from Sagaponack to Sag Harbor—are typically used by hunters to “track where the action’s going on.”

The artist, however, uses them to catch glimpses of foxes, osprey and endless deer interacting, uninterrupted by the hustle and bustle of humanity. The cameras take still pictures whenever something moves in front of them, Ms. Musnicki explained. She then collected them and has spent hours whittling down the series of images from 100,000 to 5,000.

“I put myself in the zone, sit in front of the computer, scroll through thousands of pictures,” she said. The process, she said, is hugely time consuming: “It definitely takes me away from my painting in the studio,” said the artist who is primarily known for her work in that medium.

After whittling out the photos triggered by a leaf or a twig blowing in front of the camera, Ms. Musnicki enters them into a film editing software in which she, with help, edits the pictures together, speeds up the process and creates a stop-motion film of the undisturbed animal kingdom. “It’s a little tiny pocket of animal life,” she said.

A large part of the artistic process is in the presentation of her hidden cameras’ shots.

Ms. Musnicki’s edits become a “fast little film,” adding an interesting artistic element to the project. The same film will be projected onto two giant screens at the Museum Barn at SOFO. The films will be screened in a round, if you will, with one starting five minutes after the first. “The more screens I have the more dynamic it becomes,” she said.

The Long Pond Greenbelt cameras have captured pictures of “lots of creatures,” Ms. Musnicki said. The nine-month span of this project has allowed Ms. Musnicki to document baby foxes growing up. “There’s a little log that a turtle jumped off of,” she added. The artist’s house faces part of the reserve. “I particularly love the [camera] across the street from me, so much stuff happens there,” she said, citing a brawl that she captured between two deer locking horns.

The project, she added, “involves people in every step of the process. When it comes to show it, I definitely feed off of people. I need help, I get help, people like to help, and so it turns into a nice collaboration,” she said.

Each project is very different, she said. The friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt “know where to go, and that was fun for me, to learn a few places that I didn’t know of.” Ms. Musnicki has also been working in collaboration with the Nature Conservancy on a similar project at the Warhol Estate in Montauk, thanks to grants from the conservancy and Warhol Foundation.

A preview of the Montauk project will be shown on five different screens the next day on Saturday, June 28, at the Nature Conservancy’s Beaches and Bays Gala at the Center for Conservation in East Hampton.

The final Warhol project, which has been in the works for a year, will be shown at a later date and will be the artist’s most dynamic and detailed view into our animal neighbors and “a life of their own in the middle of all of us,” she said.

What Comes Around II will be shown on Friday, June 27, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the South Fork Natural History Museum Art Barn, located at 377 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike in Bridgehampton. A preview of the Warhol project will be shown at the Beaches & Bays Gala on Saturday, June 28, which will take place at the Center for Conservation on Route 114 in East Hampton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Only Natural

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A Plum of An Island

A substantial report, entitled, “Biodiversity and Ecological Potential of Plum Island,” was recently published in book form, richly complete with maps, charts and data, by the New York Natural Heritage Program. (NYNHP — a partnership between the NYS DEC and The Nature Conservancy.) The study makes a very convincing and exciting case that the potential is truly great for the 840-acre island as an important wildlife preserve and place for the public, to borrow Shakespeare’s words, “to walk abroad, and recreate yourselves.” That is, if all of the island, or a major part of it were to become a preserve. As I wrote in the Express in January 2011, Plum’s future may be up for grabs. The U.S. Congress made a decision to sell the island, possibly to developers. As the NYNHP report says, today, “The future ownership and management of Plum Island is uncertain.”

Plum Island is nothing less than a biological/ecological cornucopia. The largest number — more than 600 — of seals that haul out from December to April in New York State are on its shores. Right whales (so named probably because the gentle creatures were the “right” or easy kind for men to hunt and kill), humpback whales, beluga whales, dolphins and 74 species of fish swim in the waters that surround it. These waters include Gardiners Bay, L.I. Sound, and Block Island Sound — all of which, of course, are contiguous with the Atlantic Ocean. On the island are some 420 species of animals, including foxes, muskrats, otters, beavers, and five kinds of turtles. There are 187 species of birds known to be on the island, including four kinds of heron, great and snowy egrets, double-crested cormorants and osprey. However the bird population is now threatened by raccoons, which somehow made their way to the island (but not by swimming) around 1995 and are devouring birds’ eggs. The NYNHP report strongly recommends that the raccoons be removed from the island.

In addition, “Plum Island, with 16 recorded rare plant species, has one of the highest concentrations of rare plants in New York State.”

There are 25 “natural communities” on the island, among the largest of which are: marine shrubland (124 acres), maritime forest (119 acres), and maritime beach and dunes (73 acres). And the NYNHP study cites that “The shoreline is characterized by wide sandy beaches … [and] steep cliffs and bluffs.”

In addition, the report points out that a number of species that once lived on the island can be reintroduced to it. They include barn owls and green frogs. Other species found on nearby lands could be introduced or reintroduced to the island, including “10 species of frogs and eight species of salamanders.”

In 1854, when far less of America had been developed, Henry David Thoreau wrote, “We can never have enough of nature.” How much more urgently true this is 158 years later!

More information about Plum Island can be had by calling the Nature Conservancy in East Hampton: 631/329-7689.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s address and phone number are: 155 Pine Lawn Road, Suite 250N, Melville NY  11747, 631-249-2825; U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer’s address and telephone number are: 145 Pine Lawn Road, Suite 300, Melville NY 11747. 631-753-0978.

 

RICHARD GAMBINO fell in life-long love with the natural magnificence of the East End when he first saw it on a trip to Montauk in 1954, when he was 15 years old. He would like enough of it to be left to love when his grandkids become teenagers.

 

Ponds’ Healing Waters

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web_ponds hike 3.15

By Emily J. Weitz


Twenty thousand years ago, the glacier that formed the South Fork of Long Island started to melt, and it left behind a smattering of fresh ponds (about 30 in all) that continue to sustain unique ecosystems in the area from Sag Harbor to Sagaponack. The ponds are fed by the groundwater supply, and have been called the “most biologically diverse areas in New York State” by the Nature Conservancy. From Poxabogue Pond in Sagaponack to Otter Pond in Sag Harbor Village, local nature enthusiast Tony Garro will guide hikers through the Long Pond Greenbelt on Sunday to take in the splendor of these distinct ponds.

“The ponds have a subtle beauty,” says Garro. “If you stood at the edge of Crooked Pond in autumn and watched the reflection of the trees turning color in the pond itself, it’s like autumn colors in stereo. It takes your breath away.”

The wildlife and vegetation in and around the ponds are abundant, with 84 distinct bird species, 392 floral species (including 30 that are rare), and 32 types of butterflies according to the south Fork Natural History Society Newsletter.

There are also garter snakes, ribbon snakes, fish, several kinds of turtles, salamanders, frogs, dragonflies, rodents, deer, and foxes in and around the ponds. Garro has observed nature in action many times on these trails.

“A couple of years ago,” he recalls, “I was walking by Long Pond in late April or May, and all of a sudden, I looked down towards the railroad bed and I saw dozens of baby snapping turtles that had just hatched from their eggs. I just happened to be there at the moment they had hatched and were moving towards the pond.”

As the seasons change and the years pass, the ponds, too, are constantly in flux. For someone like Garro, who has watched these changes patiently, it’s one of the things that makes the area so unique.

“The rise and the fall of the water in the ponds means every time you walk past it’s a different pond,” he said. “Around each pond are five biospheres, and each biosphere has its own unique system of flora and fauna that depend on the water level at a given time.”

He recalls when he first came to the area and hiked near Crooked Pond.

“There was a drought and the ponds were low,” he said. “There’s a little island in the middle, but at this point you could actually walk to the island. Then you think ‘Maybe the pond will disappear’, but no, it became an island again.”

These changes apply to the forest surrounding the ponds too. Even though now, walking deep into the woods, there’s a feeling of timelessness and peace, Garro warns that  “The Greenbelt is far from pristine. In fact, it’s been exploited over the last 300 years. At one time it was probably like a Garden of Eden in there, but then the forest was cut for firewood and wood for houses, and the railroad was built right through it. It’s like a scar that runs through the Greenbelt.”

Over the last 40 or 50 years, though, Garro says the Greenbelt has been left alone. “And son of a gun, it’s regenerated itself,” he says.

On the five mile hike that Garro will lead, hikers will pass Poxabogue Pond, Little Poxabogue, Crooked Pond, Deer’s Hole, Long Pond, Little Long Pond, Round Pound, Fore and Aft Pond, and Otter Pond.

“Each has its own special beauty,” says Garro. “Each one is an individual, with its own physical characteristics and its own personality. The Native Americans thought that each of the ponds fulfilled certain needs.”

Poxbogue Pond, the only pond with an Algonquin name, was believed to have healing qualities. In William Halsey’s book “Sketches from Local History,” he recounts the story of a Shinnecock woman who was walking down the long road which is now the Bridge/Sag Turnpike.

“She was visibly pregnant, and she asked a farmer if she could ride in the back of his wagon. When they got to Poxabogue Pond, she got out and disappeared into the woods. The next day she was seen walking out carrying her infant. She gave birth in what she thought was a healing place… To the Shinnecock, these weren’t just ponds,” Garro sighs.

“So much has been lost of the Native American worldview,” Garro continued. “I would like to know their take on each pond in the Greenbelt. But that’s lost and gone forever.”

Still, due to the hard work of many over the past several decades, the Long Pond Greenhbelt is rejuvenating.

“It can never go back to pristine,” says Garro. “But it is beautiful, with a subtle kind of grandeur that has been recaptured. If you leave nature alone, it will heal itself.”

The Southampton Trails Preservation Society will sponsor this hike, from 10a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 18. Meet at Mashashimuet Park.

East End Digest – December 4

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Holiday Tea and Décor Light Up Cormaria

Over 100 people turned out for Cormaria Retreat House’s annual holiday tea and Christmas décor workshop on Saturday, November 29. Sister Ann Marino and her fellow sisters in the order opened the doors of the former captain’s mansion for an afternoon that featured a workshop in creating holiday table décor.

Michael Grimm of Sag Harbor Florist, a longtime supporter of Cormaria, led participants through the intricate yet straightforward creation of floral designs to grace their holiday tables. Following the workshop, guests moved into the great entranceway of the mansion for a concert of seasonal carols and hymns performed by the Harbor Bells handbell choir. At the concert’s end, Sister Ann invited everyone to participate in one of the nun’s old traditions of marking pristine white starfish with the name of loved ones ill or lost who they wished the nuns to keep in their prayers. The starfish were then placed on the sister’s Tree of Remembrance with the promise to have their loved ones remembered in prayer.

New York State: Property Tax Relief Report Accepted

On December 2, the New York State Commission on Property Tax Relief issued its final report to Governor David Paterson and the state legislature. The report contains dozens of measures that are aimed at reducing the costs for local school districts and provide relief to New York taxpayers, who pay some of the highest local taxes in the nation.

The report contains 32 recommendations, including a property tax cap and several additional proposals designed to rein in school districts’ costs, therefore addressing what the state perceives as the root cause of high property taxes. Included in those recommendations are consolidation measures, a property tax cap, limiting of school district operational costs, among others. Also suggested is a STAR “circuit breaker,” which would provide targeted relief to individual taxpayers based on income and ability to pay through an income tax credit.

“This report provided many thoughtful recommendations that I am in support of,” said State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. on Tuesday. “The main recommendation is the need for a property tax cap. As one of the initial supporters of the cap, I am encouraged that the commission, as well as the governor are continuing their support of this measure.  I am also in support of the commission’s recommendation to promote school consolidation. I am currently drafting a bill based on a Maine law recently passed which will provide for such consolidation.  Finally, I support the commission’s finding that unfunded mandates are a large part of high property taxes and that they need to be eliminated.”

Southampton Town: County Road 39 Workshop

Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot and members of the town’s department of land management invite all residents to a public workshop this week to discuss the future of the County Road 39 “corridor” and the issues facing decision makers regarding the area’s future land use.

Running concurrently with the CR 39 corridor moratorium, the town’s consultants and planning staff will conduct a full-fledged area study in order to make recommendations on design, zoning, and possible future uses. The results of the public workshop, consisting primarily of input from residents and business representatives, will then be incorporated into an overall plan.

The workshop will be held at the Tuckahoe Common School cafetorium on Magee Street in Southampton on Thursday, December 4 from 7 to 9 p.m.

New York State Assembly: Enforcing Gas Laws

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. has called upon State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to investigate existing illegal gasoline pricing practices and enforce the new prohibition on zone pricing of gasoline. The new law went into effect on November 24.

“In enacting the zone pricing law, the state legislature found that zone pricing was ‘artificial price manipulation.’ Zone pricing is the setting of different wholesale prices for gasoline for gasoline retailers that operate in different geographic areas. The legislature further found such practices harm consumers around the state, including the South Fork. We have outlawed this practice. It is clear that the major oil companies are challenging the state to enforce the law. The Attorney General must meet that challenge with quick and aggressive enforcement.”

Under the law, the state attorney general may seek to enjoin violations of the zone pricing law as well as seek restitution, additional allowances and civil penalties.

“My informal survey of gasoline prices indicates that there exist price differentials of 20 cents or more between the South Fork service stations and other regions just miles away,” added Thiele. “It is clear these differentials are based only on geography and not legitimate economic factors.”

Thiele urges South Fork residents to write or e-mail his office with any evidence of illegal zone pricing, which he will forward to the state attorney general.

Sagaponack: Deadline Extended For Pike Farm

The Hopping family in Sagaponack has decided to extend the amount of time the Peconic Land Trust has to raise over $8 million to preserve and save Pike Farm Stand on Sagg Main Street. The Peconic Land Trust originally had until mid-October, but the Hopping family has decided to extend that until April.

Hallockville Museum Farm: Victorian Christmas

Hallockville Museum Farm’s annual Victorian Christmas will take place on Sunday, December 7 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event includes guided tours of the fully decorated historic Hallock Homestead, costumed interpreters, musicians performing through the day, antique dollhouses, antique toys and much more. Something new this year is a celebration of a Polish-American Christmas in the recently restored Cichanowicz Farm House. The Depression-era home will be decorated as it would have been in the 1930s.  Sometime in the afternoon, Santa is expected to arrive in Hallockville’s own bright red 1939 Ford farm truck. There will be special activities for children, horse-drawn carriage rides and antique trains from the Long Island Railroad Museum. A holiday market in the Naugles barn will feature hand-made crafts and Christmas accessories. Admission for adults is $8 per person, including free cider, hot chocolate and mincemeat tarts served in the Homestead kitchen; $4 for children ages 6 to 12; younger children are free; and families (two adults and children 12 and under) are $20. All fees directly support the museum farm’s educational programming and mission of re-connecting the community with its agricultural heritage.

Nature Conservancy: Green Gifts 

This holiday season, The Nature Conservancy on Long Island is encouraging consumers to give gifts that will go twice as far – gifts that will delight loved ones while also protecting and preserving some of our most precious habitats for future generations.

“Interest in green gifts is at an all-time high, and starting at just $10, the Conservancy makes it easy to stretch each dollar,” said Nancy Kelley, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy on Long Island “It’s an opportunity to give your friends and loved ones a unique holiday gift that’s also a lasting and secure investment for the future of our planet.”

For 2008, the Conservancy’s green gift offerings include opportunities to adopt an acre of a threatened landscape, protect Palau’s stunning coral reefs, and plant trees in South America’s Atlantic Forest. The conservancy’s new holiday gift site at nature.org/giftguide features an interactive map, photos, and fact sheets to introduce holiday shoppers to the regions they’re invited to protect.

 

East End Digest – November 20

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75 Christmas Boxes & Counting

Thursday night’s “Wrap a Box of Kindness” event, sponsored by the Bridgehampton Parent Teacher Organization, brought many Bridgehampton families out to decorate and pack gifts into shoeboxes. These boxes will be delivered to needy children all over the world.

Operation Christmas Child is a project designed and operated by Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse. It began in 1993 and has grown each year into a worldwide endeavor. All the boxes collected from around the United States are brought to over 130 countries and hand-delivered into the arms of a child – who may have never received a gift before.

Sag Harbor ARB: Vets Get Fence

Ralph Ficorelli, commander of the Sag Harbor VFW Chelberg & Battle Post 388, approached the Sag Harbor Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board on Thursday, November 13 to request a fence at the VFW in order to ensure the building’s parking lot is reserved for members of the post, rather than the general population, which has been parking there.

Ficorelli, accompanied by a number Sag Harbor veterans, requested a four-foot high, 261-foot long chain link fence, covered in green vinyl for the south and west sides of the VFW.

“The main reason we are doing this is because it is being used as a public parking lot and members down there, we have trouble finding places to park our cars,” explained Ficorelli.

The board had no quandary with the fence, but was concerned about residents on Rysam Street having to look at a green, vinyl chain link fence – which would generally not be approved in a residential neighborhood in the historic district of Sag Harbor.

Ficorelli argued that the green coating would help blend in the fence to the surrounding area and that the VFW intended to plant shrubbery around the fence to help shield it.

The board agreed to approve the fence with the caveat that the fence be shielded with shrubbery and the entry gate on Rysam be made partially of wood in keeping with the residential character of the neighborhood.

In other ARB news, Howard Kanovitz was approved to replace a historic column and repaint the historic residence at 27 Suffolk Street. Kanovitz also has sought to replace the windows, although the board has asked he look into restoration. Sean Murphy was approved to replace French doors at 27 Garden Street, Harbor Heights Gas Station was approved for new signs at their Hampton Street business, Anastasia Cole was approved for a picket fence at 3 Bay Street, Michael Butler was approved for building alterations at 37 Eastville Avenue and Blair and Cheryl Effron were granted permission for the demolition of an existing house at 34 Long Point Road and for a new two-story residence at the same site.

Suffolk Community College: Thanksgiving For The Needy

Faculty and students at the Suffolk County Community College Culinary Arts Center will be partnering with the Dominican Sisters Family Health Service located in Hampton Bays to prepare and individually package more than 150 dinners that will assist in feeding those in need for Thanksgiving.

Under the direction of chef/instructor Jerry Dececco, preparation for this event will take place at the Culinary Arts Center located at 20 East Main Street in Riverhead on Tuesday, November 25 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The menu will consist of roast turkey with giblet gravy, seasoned cranberry bread stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, string beans Almondine, dinner rolls, apple pie and pumpkin pie.

New York State Assembly: Update On Fiscal Crisis

In accordance with a new law enacted last year to help increase fiscal accountability and transparency in state government, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr., a member of the ways and means committee, joined Assembly minority leader James Tedisco and the Assembly Minority Conference last week to formally submit their assessment of New York’s current fiscal condition. The report outlines estimates of the conference’s disbursements for public assistance, Medicaid and school aid, along with estimates for tax receipts and lottery receipts.

“Our state is facing tough economic times ahead that will require us to tighten our belts and exercise true fiscal discipline to ensure New York can weather this fiscal storm,” said Thiele. “Our conference’s report is comprehensive and forecasts a continued decline in state revenues while emphasizing the need for fiscally sound proposals to close the budget deficit without doing so on the backs of taxpayers.”

In its report, the Assembly Minority Ways and Means Committee estimated the public assistance rolls will closeout the current fiscal year with 501,096 cases, that total expenditures for public assistance in the state will be $2.158 billion and that the state share of those expenditures will be $828.8 million. The conference also estimated that public assistance caseload for the 2009-10 fiscal year will be 512,683, with total expenditures of $2.212 billion at a state share of $848.6 million. The 2009-10 estimates represent a 3.2 increase in caseload and a 2.3 percent increase in costs to the state.

According to Thiele, the conference has also estimated the Medicaid rolls will increase by 2.8 percent in the current fiscal year – resulting in a total enrollment of 3.6 million individuals. The ways and means committee expects the state share for the current fiscal year to be $17.7 billion. They also estimate that enrollment for the 2009-10 fiscal year will rise 4.8 percent, for a total of 3.8 million individuals with a state share of $19.4 billion and a local cap of $965 million.

Additionally, the committee forecast state school aid to increase by en estimated $1.9 billion for the 2009-10 school year. The increase would bring total funding for annual state school aid to $23 billion. The estimate is based upon May data provided by the state education department.

The state division of the budget’s mid-year update projects that New York State is facing a $1.5 billion budget gap this year and a $12.5 billion budget gap next year. The minority conference fiscal analysis suggests the gap is likely to be $1.2 billion this year and $11.6 billion next year.

Nature Conservancy: Clam Population Recovering

The Nature Conservancy and Suffolk County today announced study results that show early signs of a recovery for the bay’s hard clam population.

Four years ago, The Nature Conservancy, backed by a wide range of public and private supporters, took a chance – embarking on a shellfish restoration to “make the Great South bay Great Again” by restoring its hard clam population.

Hard clams play a vital role in the bay, helping maintain water quality by filtering debris and plankton out of the water as they feed. At the start of this effort the Bay’s clam population was so low that in much of the bay they were no longer reproducing successfully.  To help boost natural reproduction, the Conservancy-led partnership added over three million adult clams to the Bay in the last four years, creating a network of over 50 sites, or sanctuaries, where adult clams could grow and reproduce without disturbance.

Carl LoBue, senior marine scientist for The Nature Conservancy on Long Island said, “Our summer survey of the bay bottom revealed over 250 million juvenile clams which we believe to be offspring of the adult clams that we have been stocking in the Bay. That represents a 4,000 percent increase in the clam population of the central part of the bay since 2006. This is a very positive sign that we are on track towards meeting our restoration objectives. However recurring episodes of brown tide and natural predators are a continued threat. We must continue working with our partners to do what we can to ensure the continued success of this exciting restoration project.” 

Hard clams once were so abundant that Great South Bay supplied over 50 percent of the entire nation’s hard clams. Today the reported commercial harvest is down by more than 99 percent. Not only does the decline of shellfish have economic impacts, but water quality is also affected.  Chronic algal blooms (such as brown tide), which negatively impact marine life in the Great South Bay, have been linked to declining clam populations. Clams filter water and help keep the algae in control.

Inspired by its initial success, The Nature Conservancy will continue to work with partners on the Bluepoints Bottomlands Council on additional restoration activities, with the goal of eventually stepping back as nature takes over and the clams become self-sustaining.

Southampton Hospital: Recruits Genetic Counselor

Southampton Hospital is proud to announce the recruitment of the first Genetic Counselor to the East End of Long Island. Emily Smith, MS has joined Southampton Hospital this month to develop cancer counseling through genetic testing for ovarian and breast cancer (BRCA 1 & BRCA 2). She will serve as a resource for local physicians to explain the science of genetics, walk people through the decision of having a test and make recommendations on a case-by-case basis.

In the process of genetic counseling, family history and medical records are evaluated. At the patients request genetic tests are ordered and the results are assessed.  Counseling and psychological support are provided to enable the patient to reach a decision to learn more. 

Genetic counseling gives people an opportunity to sit down with a trained health professional to discuss their risk for a genetic disease and to help people learn more about the causes of genetic conditions and how they may be affected.

Previously, patients had to travel to Stony Brook Medical Center or Good Samaritan Hospital for genetic testing.

“I am anxious to provide this service to this great community, a service that many other parts of the country have had for more than 10 years,” said Smith.  She adds that the test results generally take approximately three-to-four weeks with a 99 percent level of accuracy.

“We plan to provide the state-of-the-art care that everyone deserves,” said Smith. 

Ms. Smith, a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors, is a graduate of Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois and has varied clinical experience in the Genetic Counseling field.  According to Frederic Weinbaum, MD, Chief Medical Officer, “Offering this new service to the community is indicative of Southampton Hospital’s direction.  We are striving to provide the most advanced medical care available and will continue in this direction with the communities support.”

Smith was hired to be working specifically within the Breast Health Center providing genetic counseling for ovarian and breast cancer but she hopes that the department will expand into other aspects of genetic counseling.  She also plans to hold an informational seminar on genetic counseling during the upcoming Health Insights lecture series this winter.

Additional information is available on the Hospital website at www.southamptonhospital.org or contact Emily Smith to schedule an appointment at 377-3477.