There will be much to celebrate at the Third House Nature Center at Montauk County Park on Sunday: the 30th anniversary of the founding of the nature center, the 50th anniversary of Suffolk County’s first purchase leading to the formation of the county park, and the 50th anniversary of Big Reed Pond’s designation as a National Natural Landmark.
The 1,183 acres that now make up the park were, according to the nature center, “the last Montaukett tribal land remaining in the Town of East Hampton until the ruling in 1885 that dispossessed the tribe of these lands.” It contains Montaukett archaeological sites and a diverse range of habitats and natural features, which the Third House Nature Center works with the county’s Parks Department to maintain for educational, environmental, historic, and cultural purposes.
The celebration on Sunday will begin with a hike through the nature trails around Big Reed Pond from 10 a.m. to noon. During an open house at Third House from 1 to 4 p.m., the Montaukett Women’s Circle will perform a blessing and a dance, and Sandi Brewster-walker will offer a welcome and talk about Montaukett history.
There will also be discussions by Dick White on the purchase of the land by the county, Kelly Dickinson on the dude ranch era, Henry Osmers on the park’s military history, Dean Phillippe on the development of the park there, Ed Johann and Victoria Bustamante on its ecology, and Stephanie Krusa on the founding of the Third House Nature Center.