Muttowntown Preserve, Bill Paterson Nature Center and Chelsea Center
Muttontown Lane, East Norwich, (516)571-8500
550 acres


0 home, Hastings-on-Hudson; 4.7 Cross County; 8.5 Hutchinson River Parkway; 12.4 Pelham Bay Parkway; 16.7 White Stone Bridge; 18.7 Cross Island Parkway; 20.3 exit 29S; 24.3 exit 30 for Long Island Expressway; 31.3 exit 38 Jones Beach; 36.7 exit 41 North on Route 106; 41.2 Route 25A; 41.3 Muttontown Lane; 41.6 enter.


1903  --  This preserve was once part of the estate of Egerton L. Winthrop (1861-1926), lawyer and prominent member of New York Society.  He built the state in Beaux-Arts Federal style.

1923  -- Benjamin Moore, descendant of Clement Clark Moore, author of  Twas the Night Before Christmas, builds a mansion on what later became preserve property.

1969  -- the county acquires the Winthrop mansion, now known as Nassau Hall (it houses the administrative offices of the Nassau County Museum).

The Bill Paterson Nature Center here is named for the naturalist who served as supervisor of the preserve from 1968 to 1992. Paterson had previously worked at the Tackapausha Museum and was the nature advisor for the Nassau County Boy Scouts. He lived in Baldwin until the 1980s, when he moved to the preserve grounds.

(Cynthia Blair, Newsday Names of Long Island.

The Nassau County Dept. of  Parks says:

Comprised of 550 acres of fields, woodlands, ponds and estate grounds, Muttontown Preserve is Nassau County’s largest nature preserve.

Acquired in the late 1960’s, over 400 acres were purchased from the Lansdell Christie Estate. The Nature Center and the Chelsea Estate, donated by Mrs. Alexandra Moore McKay, sprawl across a 100 acre parcel; and a 20 acre parcel showing evidence of the pre-Revolutionary Duryea farm, was donated by Mrs. Paul Hammond.

The nature center offers a variety of guided public nature walks and school educational programs. The preserve, noted for its abundant and varied bird life, acts as a field station for botanical and wildlife studies and has been involved in several important reparations of local fauna. Cross-country ski trails offer a popular winter activity when weather permits, while the equestrian trails are open year-round for recreational enjoyment. A special horse van parking area is available.

Chelsea, an estate c.1924 which was designed by architect William A. Delano and landscape architect Umberto Innoccenti, is an amalgamation of architectural styles and traditions from several cultures spanning several centuries. Chinese landscaping and elegant roof lines represent the Oriental attributes of the house, while the front facade, steeply sloped roof, and u- shaped wing arrangement are distinctly influenced by 17th and 18th century French styles. The estate is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Chelsea home is currently a special use building housing the Nassau County Office of Cultural Development. Rooms

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

Acer japonica (Japanese red maple)
Acer platanoides (Norway maple) 4/26
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven)
Amelanchier sp. (shadbush)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carya spp. (hickories)
Castanea dentata American chestnut
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Diospyros virginiana (persimmon)
Fraxinus americanus (white ash)
Ilex opaca (American holly)
Juglans nigra (black walnut)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Larix decidua (European larch)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Philodendron amurense (cork tree)
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Picea rubens (red spruce)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine)
Populus grandidentata (big tooth aspen)
Prunus sp. (cherry, white) hort. 4/26
Pyrus sp. (crab apple) 4/26; 5/4
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Rhus sp. (sumac)
Salix discolor (pussy willow)
Salix sp. (willow)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras) 5/4
Tilia sp. (linden) hort.

Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) 5/4
Cephalanthus occidentalis (buttonbush)
Chimaphila maculata (spotted wintergreen)
Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern)
Corylus sp. (hazel)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Heracleum mantegassioni (giant hogweed) (LIBS Newsletter, Oct-Dec 2003)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush) 4/26
Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle)
Lonicera tatarica (Tatarian honey suckle)
Myrica pensylvanica (bayberry)
Rhamnus sp. (buckthorn)
Rhododendron periclymenoides (pinxter flower)
Rhododendron sp. (rhododendron) hort.
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose) 6/5
Rubus alleghaniensis (common blackberry) 6/5
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry)
Spiraea alba v. latifolia (meadowsweet)
Taxus canadensis (yew)
Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) 4/26; 5/4
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum opulus (cranberry viburnum)
Viburnum recognitum (arrowwood viburnum) 6/5
Vinca minor (periwinkle)

Apios americana (groundnut)
Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Hedera helix (English ivy)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Rubus hispidus (swamp dewberry)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vicia cracca (cow vetch)
Vicia tetrasperma (slender vetch) 6/5
Vitis sp. (grape)
Wisteria sp. (wisteria)

Achillea millefolium (yarrow) 6/5
Agalinis purpurea (purple gerardia)
Agrimonia sp. (agrimony)
Ajuga reptans (bugleweed) 5/4
Alisma sp. (water plantain)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 4/26; 5/4; 6/5
Anaphalis margaritacea (pearly everlasting)
Anemone quinquefolia (wood anemone)
Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Aralia spinosa (Hercules club)
Arctium minus (common burdock)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Aster acuminatus (whorled aster)
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster)
Aster novae-angliae (New England aster)
Aster pilosus (heath aster)
Barbarea verna (early wintercress) 5/4
Barbarea vulgaris (common wintercress)
Bidens frondosa (beggar tick)
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle)
Brassica nigra (black mustard)
Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea)
Chelidonium majus (celandine) 4/26; 5/4
Chiondoxa (glory of the snow)
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye daisy) 6/5
Cichorium intybus (chicory)
Circaea quadrisulcata (enchanter's nightshade)
Cirsium discolor (field thistle)
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)
Collinsonia canadensis (horse balm)
Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower)
Convallaria majalis (lily-of-the-valley)
Cuscuta gronovii (common dodder)
Cypripedium acaule (pink ladyslipper)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)
Desmodium sp. (tick trefoil)
Dianthus armeria (deptford pink)
Draba verna (whitlow grass)
Epilobium coloratum (purple-leaved willow herb)
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane) 6/5
Eupatorium sp. (boneset )
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot)
Euphorbia cyparissias (cypress spurge) 4/26; 5/4
Fragaria virginiana (wild strawberry)
Galium mollugo (wild madder)
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)
Geum laciniatum (rough avens)
Gnaphalium obtusifolium (sweet everlasting)
Helenium flexuosum (purple-headed sneezeweed)
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily)
Hieracium caespitosum (king devil hawkweed)
Hieracium sp. (hawkweed) 6/5
Hypericum gentianoides (orangeweed)
Hypericum perforatum (common St. Johnswort)
Impatiens capensis (orange touch-me-not)
Iris pseudacorus (yellow flag) 6/5
Lactuca serriola (prickly lettuce)
Lamium purpureum (purple dead-needle) ( 5/4
Lemna sp. (duckweed)
Lepidium virginicum (poor man's pepper)
Lespedeza capitata (round-headed bushclover)
Lilium superbum (Turk cap's lily)
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs)
Lobelia inflata (Indian tobacco)
Lotus corniculatus (birdfoot trefoil)
Lycopus sp. (bugleweed)
Lysimachia ciliata (fringed loosestrife)
Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled loosestrife)
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Matricaria matricarioides (pineapple weed)
Melilotus officinalis (yellow sweet clover)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipe)
Narcissus sp. (daffodils)
Orobanche uniflora (one-flowered cancerroot)
Osmorhiza claytonii (sweet cicely)
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel)
Penthorum sedoides (ditch stonecrop)
Phryma leptostachya (lopseed)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Podophyllum peltatum (mayapple)
Polygala polygama (racemed milkwort)
Polygonatum biflorum (Solomon's seal)
Polygonum pensylvanica (pink knotweed)
Polygonum persicaria (lady's thumb)
Polygonum scandens (false climbing buckwheat)
Polygonum virginiana (jumpseed)
Potentilla argentea (silvery cinquefoil)
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil)
Potentilla recta (rough-fruited cinquefoil)
Potentilla sp. cinquefoil ( 6/5
Prunella vulgaris (heal-all)
Ranunculus acris (tall buttercup)
Ranunculus ficaria (lesser celandine) 4/26
Ranunculus abortivus (kidneyleaf buttercup)
Rudbeckia hirta v. pulcherrima (black-eyed susan)
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Rumex acetosella (field sorrel)
Saponaria officinalis (bouncing bet)
Scilla sp. (light purple squill) 4/26; 5/4; 6/5
Scutellaria lateriflora (maddog skullcap)
Silene (evening lychnis) 6/5
Sisyrinchium sp. (blue-eyed grass)
Smilacina racemosa (Solomon's plume)
Solanum carolinense (horse nettle)
Solidago caesia (blue-stemmed goldenrod)
Solidago juncea (early goldenrod)
Solidago erecta (slender goldenrod)
Solidago altissima (tall goldenrod)
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) 4/26
Triadenum virginicum (marsh St. Johnswort)
Trichostema dichotomum (blue curls)
Trifolium arvense (rabbit-foot clover)
Trifolium aureum (hop clover)
Trifolium pratense (red clover) 6/5
Trifolium repens (white clover)
Triodanis perfoliata (Venus's looking-glass)
Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot)
Uvularia sessilifolia (sessile bellwort)
Verbascum blattaria (moth mullein)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Veronica sp. (speedwell) 6/5
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)
Viola sororia (common blue violet)

Rushes and Sedges:
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)
Luzula multiflora (wood rush)

Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Dactylis glomerata) (orchard grass)
Poa annua (annual bluegrass) 5/4
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Athyrium filix-femina lady fern
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern )
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis New York fern
Thelypteris palustris (marsh fern)

haircap moss
reindeer lichen

May 6, 1995 (Saturday). MUTTONTOWN PRESERVE. East Norwich, N.Y. Meet at 10 a.m. at the parking lot. Be prepared for wet walking and bring lunch, beverage, and insect repellent. Take the Belt (Cross Island) Parkway to exit 30. From there, go east about 13 miles on the Long Island Expressway (Route 495) to exit 41. Go north on Route 106 (which becomes Jericho-Oyster Bay Road) about 4 miles to East Norwich. Turn west (left) on Route 25A (North Hempstead Turnpike); after 0.3 mile turn south (left) onto Muttontown Lane. Go 0.2 mile into the preserve headquarters and parking lot. Leader: Patrick Cooney, 221 Mt. Hope Blvd., Hastings-on- Hudson, NY, 10706; (914) 478-1803.

Heracleum mantegassioni (giant hogweed) is an invasive plant with oils nastier than those of poison ivy leading to severe skin reactions and possible blindness.  (LIBS Newsletter, Oct-Dec 2003)