Butterfly feeding on butterfly milkweed plant.
Butterfly Butterfly feeding on butterfly milkweed plant. © Ryan Donnell

Places We Protect

New York

Nellie Hill Preserve

View grasslands and savannas from 120 feet.

In December 2016, The Nature Conservancy donated Nellie Hill to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the first parcel establishing Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge. Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge spans six states, focusing on protecting and managing shrubland and young forest habitat from eastern New York to Maine. For more information on Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge, contact Beth Goldstein at beth_goldstein@fws.gov.

From atop the rocky summit of a 120-foot calcareous cliff, enjoy gorgeous views of pocket grasslands that resemble savannas, sloping meadows, a rich oak woodland and a limestone woodland. Five springs burble gently through the property, and two ponds rest in the valley below. In the spring and late summer, glorious wildflowers fill the fields with color and vibrancy. Because of its varying habitats, Nellie Hill is a hotspot for migratory birds.

Why We Selected This Site

To preserve a rare calcareous red cedar barren plant community, limestone woodlands, and at least ten state and globally rare plants.

Rare plants at the preserve include green milkweed, New England blazing star, Virginia false gromwell, Carolina whitlow grass, mock-pennyroyal, Torrey's mountain mint, yellow wild flax, large twayblade and side-oats grama. Look for chestnut-sided warblers, white-eyed vireos, Louisiana water thrushes, woodland warblers and prairie warblers. 

This 144-acre preserve is located in Dutchess County, New York.