Start receiving our award-winning magazine today!


New York

Hope Goddard Iselin Preserve

As you travel the pathways at this preserve, you will see field and forest ecology in action. Two former farm fields separated by a tangled hedgerow of trees and shrubs cover about half of the acreage.

The southern field is mowed periodically to maintain a perennial grassland ecosystem, while the other is being allowed to revert slowly back to forest. The rest of the land is richly wooded with white pines and a small area of beech trees in the southern portion of the preserve and oak forest north of the fields.

The peserve is dedicated to Hope Goddard Iselin, who devoted her 100 years to nature. The land was a gift to the Conservancy from Sidney A. Mitchell, Jr. and his sisters, Mary Dodderidge and Ann Payne. The North Shore Land Alliance has been a partner in helping with the mowing and tree removal.

The preserve is a wonderful place for hiking, birdwatching and observing the natural process of forest succession at work. The trails are open for hiking and observing nature from dawn to dusk.

Parking lot available for a maximum of 5 vehicles and must be accessed through a locked, gated entrance. Please see the "Get Directions" tab for further information on accessing this preserve.

Prepare for your visit by looking over our Long Island preserve guidelines.

Download a trail map.

In most of the Northeast, forests eventually reappear on land cleared for farming or by storms or other natural events in a process known as succession.
Young meadows are full of early annual wildflowers. In a few years, perennial grasses and wildflowers appear, then shrubby plants such as sumacs and red cedar begin to grow.

Many birds inhabit this “old field” environment and play an important role in dispersing seeds. Eventually, forest saplings begin to dot the field. You can see this stage of forest succession in the preserve’s northern field.The deciduous woodlands at Hope Goddard Iselin Preserve have been undisturbed for the past century and are now mature second-growth forest. Most of the shrubs in this forest belong to the health family, including blueberries, huckleberries and mountain laurels. Lady’s slipper orchids, spotted wintergreen and trailing arbutus are among the few plants that can grow in the acidic soil.

The preserve’s rich diversity of habitat supports a diverse assortment of small mammals and birds. Many birds relish the berries growing in the old field and hedgerows, including the wild grapes, which are also commonly sought by foxes. The oak woodland is full of migrating songbirds in spring and fall. The pine forest attracts a unique variety of birds, including black-capped chickadees year round and white-winged crossbills in winter. 

This 42-acre preserve is located in Upper Brookville, Long Island, New York

  • From the Long Island Expressway, take Exit 41N and follow Route 106 north to Route 25A.
  • Turn left (west) onto 25A and proceed about 2.3 miles.
  • Turn right onto Wolver Hollow Road and proceed about 1.5 miles.
  • Turn right onto Chicken Valley Road and proceed 0.4 mile.
  • The preserve entrance is in a chain link fence on the right.
  • Pull off the public road and up to the gate. Open the lock and park in the parking area. Please close the gate before you go for a walk and please close and lock the gate when you leave. Call the Conservancy at (631) 367-3225 for the combination to the lock.

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

comments powered by Disqus

Read our guidelines on posting comments

We’re Accountable

The Nature Conservancy makes careful use of your support.

More Ratings

x animal

Sign up for Nature eNews!

Sign Up for Nature e-News

Learn about the places you love. Find out
how you can help.

Thank you for joining our online community!

We’ll be in touch soon with more Nature Conservancy news, updates and exciting stories.

Please leave this field empty

I'm already on the list!

Read our privacy policy.