245 Acres Protected Forever

245 acres, protected forever

We are thrilled to announce that as of May 18, the heart of Teatown is protected from development, forever. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) now holds a conservation easement on the 245 acres composed of woodlands, meadows, streams, wetlands, Teatown Lake, Wildflower Island, Teatown’s environmental education center and many miles of hiking trails.

Photo by Jordan Kim

In 1963, BBG planted the seed that became Teatown by accepting 194 acres of open space that make up our main campus.

The core of BBG’s Teatown property was donated to Brooklyn Botanic Garden in 1962 by the family of Gerard Swope Sr., former chairman of General Electric, with the goal of preserving and sharing the educational value of the environment. To this end, BBG guided the creation of a new environmental education center and publicly accessible open space. Teatown Lake Reservation was formed in 1963, and until 1980, BBG and Teatown staff collaborated to develop robust educational facilities and programs. The Garden’s horticultural and educational staff, led by Elizabeth Scholtz, then BBG’s director, lent their expertise and efforts in forming what is now considered the “heart of Teatown.”

In 1980, Teatown leased the property from BBG and began to operate independently of the Garden, eventually acquiring several adjacent properties to expand the preserve’s size to 1,000 acres.

How big is 245 acres?

The land now protected from development is over 1/4 the size of Central Park.

What this means for our future

The transfer of this land from BBG is a humbling vote of confidence, and we are proud to promise it to our children and grandchildren. But this land transfer isn’t only about protecting the 245 acres from development. It is about protecting our region’s biodiversity,  assuring that this land will be made available for public enjoyment and innovative environmental education programming, and inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards.

We thank everyone who helped make this historic event possible, and we are honored to share these acres with our community for many years to come.

Your support matters

Teatown’s environmental educational programming and 1,000-acre preserve are largely funded by people like you. Please make a donation today and help us continue to inspire our community to lifelong environmental stewardship.