What is Your Daydream About CEED?
It’s Saturday, June 14, 2025, and we’re at the Washington Lodge, on South Country Road in Brookhaven Hamlet, home of the Center for Environmental Education and Discovery. At 10 in the morning, CEED is a beehive of activity. In fact, there’s a bee-keeping class going on in the field, where a professional beekeeper is showing participants CEED’s hives and demonstrating how to harvest honey. A group of eight people is assembling with Ranger Eric to set out on our trails to hunt for edible mushrooms, and learn how mushrooms help forests grow. At the head of the trail, they pass by the CEED Birders Group, coming back from their morning search for warblers.
The birders stop to check the giant concrete pool, created a hundred years ago, probably by George Constance Washington, for whom the Washington Lodge is named. The pool was repaired in the summer of 2023, and over the last two years it has filled with rainwater. It’s now home to frogs, aquatic insects, turtles and native pond plants.
In the field, families chat as they weed and harvest in our raised garden beds. Some families are on their fifth year of cultivation, and all the plots look great!
We jump ahead to Wednesday, July 17, to see a new set of activities. The renovated Lodge building is bustling with activity, because a school bus pulled in at 9:00 a.m. and out spilled 50 third graders on a field trip. Before the students head outside, they begin in the Activities Room, for orientation by Ranger Eric and one of CEED’s intern educators. It’s a bit noisy inside the building because construction is underway on the 2nd and 3rd floor, creating shared office space for CEED and other environmental organizations, and building our innovative and unique nature retreat center.
Later in the day, another group of kids from Brookhaven Hamlet and Bellport will hang out at the Lodge after school, helping with conservation projects and taking care of our animal ambassadors. In the evening, 25 adults convene in the Activities Room for a talk by a Stony Brook University professor on the latest home technology for going green. Meanwhile, the Teaching Kitchen is bustling with activity as our Chef cooks up the latest finds from the forest and gardens and a savory smell wafts through the Lodge, making everyone’s mouths water. Even the painting lesson in the Art Room takes a pause to see what’s cooking in the next room!
By the end of the week, more than 300 people of all ages have been on the CEED “campus” for one reason or another. CEED has become a central feature of life in the community – a source of fun, education, nature experience … and wonder.
And that is my daydream for the future of CEED.
Tom Pelletier, Board Chair
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