Millbrook, Dutchess County, NY


located 75 miles north of New York City; Taconic Pkwy. to Rt. 44 east; two miles to 44A; after one mile, Glifford House is the second building on the left.

Hours: Monday-Saturday 9-4, Sunday 1-4; closed holidays. Admission: no fee; obtain a Visitor Access Permit at the Glifford House Visitor and Education Center.

Features include: the Glifford House (built in 1817), containing a small reference library and Gift and Plant Shop; the Perrenial Garden, offering examples of  low-maintenance choices; 60 cultivars of lilacs; the Greenhouse, where visitors may see tropical plants and propagation techniques; and the Fern Glen, ferns from Europe, Japan, the Soviet Union, Mexico and parts of North America.

History (source: Institute of Ecosystem Studies website):

1923  --  Mary Flagler, heiress to the Standard Oil fortune of her grandfather Henry Flagler, marries Melbert Cary; this is the start of events that would culminate exactly 60 years later with the opening of the Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

the 1930s  -- Searching for a weekend retreat from New York City, the Carys return to the village of Millbrook, N.Y., site of Mary Flagler's childhood home. They purchase 14 farms and other properties surrounding the Cannoo Hills west of the village, and build a cottage that they name the Tea House atop one of the two hills.

1941  -- Mr. Cary dies. Mrs. Cary spends long periods of time in Millbrook overseeing the care of her property, especially the maple trees, her particular favorites.

1967  --  Mary Flagler Cary dies. In her will she created a trust designed to ensure the preservation of her property in Millbrook and its use for the public benefit.

1971  --  the Cary Trustees chose The New York Botanical Garden as the custodian of the property, accepting its proposal to develop an arboretum. During the next decade, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust supported the construction of buildings and roads, the purchase of equipment and the salaries of staff for the new Mary Flagler Cary Arboretum.

early 1980s  --  The New York Botanical Garden began a two-year international search for an eminent scientist who would realize the potential of the Arboretum's site and resources by developing an institute of ecological studies. Dr. Gene E. Likens was named vice president of The New York Botanical Garden and director of both the Arboretum and the new ecology center in 1983. Dr. Likens named this new center the Institute of Ecosystem Studies (IES).

Dr. Likens came to the Institute from Cornell University, where he was chairman of the Section of Ecology and Systematics and the Charles A. Alexander Professor of Biological Sciences. Dr. Likens' pioneering research with colleagues of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study in the White Mountains of New Hampshire led to the discovery of acid rain in North America and the documentation of its destructive effects on the environment. He had been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences in 1981.

The Institute has flourished over the past decade to become an internationally recognized center for ecological research and education. Currently the Institute has 26 members on its scientific staff, including 23 Ph.D. scientists. As such, it is one of the largest centers of ecological research in North America. Facilities include some 27 buildings located on 819 hectares (2024 acres) of land. Dormitories and residences are available to house students and visiting scientists. State-of-the-art laboratories and an excellent library of ecologically-related source materials (books, journals, reprints, maps) support research and education programs. IES investigators established research sites and collaborative studies around the globe. The Institute inaugurated postdoctoral fellowships, a summer fellowship program, a weekly seminar program and periodic workshops and conferences, bringing scientists from around the world to collaborate, train, speak and interact with IES staff.

In 1985 the Institute organized and hosted the first international Cary Conference. Since then, these conferences have gained wide recognition and are held at two-year intervals to provide a forum for addressing major questions about the future directions and the long-term impact of the science of ecology. The attractiveness of the Arboretum, the availability of dormitories and meeting rooms and the energy and dedication of staff, combined with the absence of urban distractions, have made these conferences unique in ecology and extremely valuable and productive for fostering synthesis of the disparate ideas and intellectual initiatives within the field of ecology. As such, Cary Conferences are one of the hallmarks of the Institute's programs.

Affiliations with Cornell University, Rutgers University, the University of Connecticut and Yale University were established to train graduate students. The existing continuing education program for area residents was reinvigorated and programs in ecology for school children and college undergraduates were developed.

Because of the growing maturity, stature and independence of the Institute's programs, on September 17, 1992 The New York Botanical Garden's Board of Managers authorized the Institute of Ecosystem Studies to become a new and independent corporation. The Institute became an independent not-for-profit corporation on February 19, 1993.


five miles of paved road and two nature trails.