Conservation of Wildflowers
Many of the wildflowers native to our region are now under extreme duress as human development, invasive species and overabundant deer populations continue to exact their toll.
The impacts of these threats are clear: many of the species found on the island can no longer be found in local forests. Land managers and scientists are currently working to mitigate these threats, and sanctuaries like Wildflower Island are essential demonstrations of what a healthy forest looks like.
Visit Wildflower Island
Due to the importance of preserving this delicate sanctuary, the island is only accessible on Open Gate Days or by guided tour.
April – September
Reservations are required and can be made by calling Teatown reception at (914) 762-2912 x110. Children 12 and over are welcome. Private tours on weekdays can be arranged for groups of 6 or more. Dogs are not permitted on the island.
The Island’s History
Wildflower Island did not begin intentionally. In 1924, Gerard Swope, Sr. dammed Bailey Brook to create what has become Teatown’s most iconic lake, leaving an elevated knoll of land above the water line. This “island” has remained isolated from the Teatown “mainland” ever since. In 1970, Warren Balgooyen, Teatown’s first naturalist, landed a canoe on the island and discovered “a treasure chest of floral jewels.” He and Marjorie Swope began to cultivate the island garden, and Jane Darby became the first Wildflower Island curator.
Teatown’s preserve faces rising pressures from deer browsing, invasive species, and other disturbances that threatened once-common woodland wildflowers like lady’s slipper orchids, trillium, and wild columbine. But Wildflower Island– virtually inaccessible to deer and less vulnerable to invasives – has become a sanctuary for such species, some of which were transplanted from the larger preserve to ensure their survival. Recent years have seen a dramatic decline of many native wildflowers in our woodlands, leaving Wildflower Island to represent the forest that once was.