Celebrating a Special 50th Anniversary

Community Programs, Conservation, Events, History, Nature Center

Fifty years ago, on June 14, 1972, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), still in its infancy, issued an order essentially ending the use of the pesticide DDT.

That decision preceded CEED’s founding by about 45 years, but we still feel a special connection to this special anniversary in the history of environmentalism because of Dennis Puleston and other local activists.

Dennis was a naval architect, a naturalist, and a remarkable artist. He was one of the first to point to DDT as the cause of the drastic crash in the number of osprey, eagles, and other birds of prey. He and other locals filed a lawsuit to prevent the use of DDT to kill mosquitoes on Suffolk County’s marshes. Their victory was one of the very first to affirm a right of all to have a clean, safe environment.

With Bellport high school teacher Art Cooley and scientist Charlie Wurster, Puleston helped found the Environmental Defense Fund. After their victory in Suffolk County, they led the way to bans on DDT statewide in New York and then later nationwide.

At CEED, we hope to continue Long Island’s tradition of environmentalism. We’re proud that we are caretakers for one of two Suffolk County preserves named for Dennis Puleston. We’re also grateful for support from Dennis Puleston’s family, and in our newly opened Woodlands Hall, we display several of his gorgeous watercolors.

I hope you’ll come to our Summer Solstice Festival on Saturday, June 18 to share in our commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the DDT Ban that saved our beloved osprey and put environmentalism in the national and worldwide spotlight for the first time. And please visit our new Woodlands Hall to see Dennis’ paintings and pay homage to one of the people who started it all.

Tom Pelletier, Board Chair
Dennis Puleston painting of quail
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