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Ossining Almanac: Teatown Lake Reservation

With its visitor center located at 1600 Spring Valley Road in Ossining, Teatown Lake Reservation includes 15 miles of trails that wind through forests, lakes, streams, swamps, fields and farm land.

The reservation's trails are unpaved or roughly paved with wood chips or stones, making hikers feel truly part of nature. For the most part, unpaved paths are not muddy. With leaves crunching under feet and the fresh aroma of plants, the trails are very pleasant to walk along.

Many people visit Teatown just to hike along the scenic trails either alone or with dogs and friends. Others take part in educational programs that feature bird watching, wild mushroom identification and more.

One of Teatown's most well-known destinations is Wildflower Island, a two-acre island on Teatown Lake that is home to over 230 native and endangered species of wildflower.

The public can not visit Wildflower Island on their own. They must join guided tour groups which are offered April through September.

Teatown offers educational programs for adults every weekend throughout the year, as well as summer camp programs for children, school group tours, and classes for kids during fall and spring.

Programs are seasonal and cover a wide range of topics including animal care, birding, insects, trees, pond and stream study, maple sugaring, cidering, geology, climate, and more.

Visitors can also join groups for hiking, star gazing, canoeing and snowshoeing.

Some of Teatown's most popular events during the year are the Hudson River Eaglefest in February that celebrates the winter return of the bald eagle; the March Pancake Breakfast that features maple sugar made from trees on site; the Nature-friendly Plant Sale that features hard-to-find perennials and wild flowers; and the Fall Festival that highlights Teatown's spectacular fall foliage.

Since the 1920s to the present, Teatown Lake Reservation has expanded from 33 acres to 875 acres.

The property was originally owned by Arthur Vernay, who subsequently passed his estate to Dan Hanna, who in 1923 sold his land to Gerard Swope, Sr., the Chairman of General Electric.

After Swope died in 1957, his children decided to turn his land into a conservation and educational outreach station. Teatown was eventually incorporated with 21 community members making up its board of directors.

Teatown has an annual budget of $1.7 million and an annual endowment of approximately $2.3 million.

The reserve welcomes volunteers to help with education, trail maintenance and special events throughout the year.

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