A visit to the Hempstead Plains reserve on the Nassau Community College campus gave me a chance to explore. While only 19 acres in size, smaller than most open space habitats, this place is special. It is a tiny left-over from the original 60,000 acre ecosystem. I put on my blinders and fastened my earplugs, stepped off the beaten path and began an aimless walk to see what I could see.
Since the seventeen hundreds, the habitat has shrunken, become infested with nonnative plants, and paved over. The Friends of the Hempstead Plains is trying to restore what is left, a major undertaking. It is slowly beginning to look like plains again. However, with every other step I took, I found a plant that wasn’t here three hundred years ago. Removing the invasive plants and encouraging the natives is the ongoing task.