Friends of Hempstead Plains

We are currently Open to the public Thursdays 10am-2pm & Saturday 9am-1pm
Always open by appointment - please email for more information
**Open Friday July 23 8am-12pm**

THANK YOU to all our friends who joined us for an Evening on the Plains!
Friday June 25th, the Friends of Hempstead Plains held a fundraiser at the beautiful Long Island prairie. It was a wonderful evening of outdoor socialization with our supporters and friends. The smooth sounds of the jazz band Santosha filled the evening until sunset. County Exectutive @countyexecutivecurran shared her thoughts about the importance of this unique LI habitat. FHP President Nina Shah-Giannaris spoke about our restoration work, in this, our 20th Year of stewardship. Sweetbriar Nature Center staff brought a Kestrel and Great-Horned Owl.
A big thank you to all who attended, and our board for their ongoing work and support.
Some of our Friends of Hempstead Plains Board of Directors with the County Executive @countyexecutivecurran From left to right: David Stolarz, Laura Curran, Betsy Gulotta, Nina Shah-Giannaris, Betty Borowsky, and friend Joe Gutleber.
The jazz band Santosha graciously donated their time and considerable musical talents to the event.
Dr. Hattie Robertson was one of our many lucky raffle winners.
A great horned owl attended as an animal ambassador. Many thanks to the Sweetbriar Nature Center for supporting the FHP with her visit.
Volunteer Jason Valverde was another lucky winner.

Announcing a New Science Education Program at the Hempstead Plains!
The Friends of Hempstead Plains are pleased to announce the creation of new, authentic field science learning experiences.  These engaging activities strongly support the New York State Science Learning Standards and are grade level specific.  All of the programs allow students to explore phenomena and conduct inquiry science learning, and they take place at the beautiful Hempstead Plains and our Education and Research Center.  
Our staff will guide classes as they investigate the plants and soils of our restored tallgrass prairie and discover patterns in nature.  
Many studies have shown the great benefits of getting students outside and using the natural world as a place to learn about science and our environment.  
Please contact Program Director Doug Schmid at for more information, a copy of our curriculum guide, and to plan your program.


We hope to see you soon. Please follow us on Facebook & Instgram (@HempsteadPlains) for unique updates and hours of operation!

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Become a member today!

Friends of Hempstead Plains at Nassau Community College is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the Hempstead Plains and to offering educational programs about this special and rapidly vanishing ecological and historical habitat.

Seasonal Mowing CONTINUES at the Plains!

May 2021- Since our last update, we have continued to mow new areas, to target invasive growth close to the education center. Invasive Cyprus Spurge has become an issue, and we continue to combat invaisve with multiple approaches.  In 2020 we tried herbicide on dense patches, with some success.  In 2021, we have begun to mow highly concentrated areas to hopefully deter further growth.  Man invasives are difficult to fully erdicated without harming the existing native growth.  We continue to work with partners to come up with solutions that best align with our mission; to be stewards of this remnant Long Island Praire. 


March 2021- Spring mowing has begun! Thanks to our partners for allowing us to stay on top of invasive growth each season. Our Contractor, Andrew has been mowing the site for many years and continues to be a vital asset to our habitat management

Be on the look-our for our new Spring hours, which will be posted soon!

College Parcel is Looking Great this past Fall

After a long summer of clearing invasives with volunteers we have been rewarded by the autumn grasses.  
Francis Purcell Preserve Restoration Moving Forward
We began restoration in summer 2018 and the progress is astounding.  After a summer mowing and many days of invasive plant removal, we are starting to see the prairie grasses expand.  

Natives Planted at the Francis Purcell Preserve
In October 2019 Little bluestem, Big bluestem and switchgrass were planted at the entrance to the Purcell Preserve thanks to a grant from South Shore Audubon's Burke grants for native plants.  

Front Garden Planted  
Over 20 Boyscouts and Nassau Community College students transformed the look of the Education Center by removing weeds around it and replacing them with natives.   Thank you to all who came out, especially to Eagle Scout Candidate Scott Henneberger and his family, as well as the South Shore Audubon Society, who granted funds for restoring habitat with native plants.  

Invasive Species Controlled 
Black Swallow-wort appeared for the first time on this section of Plains in 2017.  It is a highly invasive plant which is particularly detrimental to Monarchs.  Volunteers did an amazing job knocking back the Swallow-wort and thus protecting Monarchs.  



 Friends of Hempstead Plains at Nassau Community College, Inc. was formed in 2001, dedicated to the perpetual preservation, restoration and management of the site through scientific research and education. 
Our goals are: 
• Protect the land ~ prevent further destruction of critical habitat and promote compatible development in the surrounding area.
• Restore the ecological habitat ~ restore the prairie grassland that once covered the area and rare species that depend on it.
• Promote and provide assistance for good stewardship of the land.
• Develop educational programs ~ offer environmental education for the community and coordinate educational opportunities for students of all ages.
• Promote research by college faculty and students.
• Encourage community involvement in restoration and management practices.

Directions: From Meadowbrook Parkway take Exit M4 to Charles Lindbergh Blvd.  Or from Merrick Ave., turn west on Charles Lindbergh Blvd. (between Hempstead Ave. and Stewart Ave.) Follow Charles Lindbergh Blvd. to first right turn into NCC East Campus.  Turn Right into East Campus. See Hempstead Plains at first intersection. Turn right into Hempstead Plains parking area.  @40.7271276,-73.5882271

Google Map Link

For information: email
Board of Directors
Prof. Nina Shah-Giannaris, President
Dr. Paul vanWie, Vice President
Ms. Meagan Fastuca, Secretary
Prof. Annetta Centrella-Vitale, Treasurer
Dr. Betty Borowsky
Dr. Scott Emmons
Dr. Lisa Filippi
Prof. Betsy Gulotta
Prof. Robert Pollack
Mr. David Stolarz


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