Planting & Habitat Restoration

Image 2The deterioration of our planet is reversible! When you participate in the Group’s planting and habitat restoration projects you learn about the fragile balance in our natural environment and how to restore balance. Each year, Group for the East End involves hundreds of school children and community volunteers in native planting & habitat restoration projects across the East End.

To find out how your school or community group can participate, or to nominate a worthy East End location, please contact Anita Wright at 631-765-6450, ext. 206 or

2014 Program Accomplishments

DSCN0314As of May 2014 the Planting & Habitat Restoration Program has completed four beach grass restoration projects and three native plantings. Approximately 150 individuals, ranging in age from elementary school children to adult volunteers, have planted an impressive 5600 beach grass plugs along East Hampton, Hampton Bays, Orient Point, and Sagaponack shorelines in efforts to restore damaged habitats. Additionally, dozens of native plants were put into the ground in both Cutchogue and Flanders by a local Girls Scout troop, Mattituck High School’s Community Service Organization, and civic associations while creating rain gardens and gutter gardens. We would like to thank all those who have helped us in continuing our efforts of restoring and protecting our local environment and ecology.

To contribute to the Planting & Habitat Restoration Program, or to nominate a planting location for next year, please contact Anita Wright at 631-765-6450 x206 or

2013 Program Accomplishments

DSCN0079Group for the East End spearheaded nine community plantings and/or habitat restorations in the fall of 2012 through spring 2013. These plantings and restoration projects tools place in Riverhead, Southold, Springs, and Orient. For these projects, we teamed up with six schools (Springs, Southold Elementary School, Peconic Community School, Mercy High School, Our Lady of Mercy, and Our Lady of Wisdom) and two community organizations (Harbor Lights Civic Association and Girls Scouts of America). Approximately 300 individuals, ranging in age from elementary school students to adults, volunteered their time to plant native gardens that support local wildlife and help remediate stormwater run-off, as well as assisted in restoring damaged dunes from Superstorm Sandy by planting thousands of beach grass plugs.

To contribute to the Planting & Habitat Restoration Program, or to nominate a planting location for next year, please contact Anita Wright at 631-765-6450 x206 or

2012 Program Accomplishments

photo_6We accomplished a lot this spring through our Planting & Habitat Restoration Program! The largest project featured 8,000 plugs of beach grass planted  to restore the dune at Mecox Beach (Bridgehampton). Over 20 high school students and community volunteers pitched in. Another 3,000 plugs of beach grass and other native species are now thriving on Taylor’s Island (Shelter Island). Many thanks to the Garden Club of Shelter Island for their help (see a video of the planting)! Rain gardens at the Springs School, Shelter Island School, and New Suffolk School were funded through the Peconic Estuary Program and the Levitt Foundation (Springs School). Finally, the Group collaborated with Southold Town, North Fork School for Dogs, and local dog lovers to install over 50 native plants at the Peconic Lane Dog Park. This is a true community collaboration and we thank everyone who helped us restore native wildlife habitats on the East End!

To contribute to the Planting & Habitat Restoration Program, or to nominate a planting location for next year, please contact Anita Wright at 631-765-6450 x206 or photo_7photo_6





Example Projects

Massive Dune Restoration Project in Hampton Bays

In April 2011, Group for the East End orchestrated an expansive dune restoration project at Tiana Beach in Hampton Bays. After contacting Chris Bean from Southampton Town’s Parks and Recreation Department, we learned the dunes at Tiana Beach were severely damaged by an early winter storm. The Parks Department replaced 6,600 cubic feet of sand in March, and in two hours on a sunny afternoon, 50 volunteers (most were Southampton High School students from Greg Metzger’s science class) planted 8,000 plugs of beach grass, helping to anchor the sand and restore the dune.

After-School Program Helps Remove Invasive Species

Students from Springs School Project M.O.S.T. helped with an ongoing project to eliminate invasive Japanese Knotweed from the nature preserve at Louse Point, East Hampton.  Ready with gloves and shovels, they learned first hand that knotweed develops a deep and tough taproot, making it very hard to dig up.  After an hour of diligent digging and pulling, students discussed (over cookies) the problems invasive plants can cause and the importance of using native plants in our yards and gardens.

Native Planting to Help Protect the Bay

This past November, Group for the East End organized a habitat restoration project with financial support from the Peconic Estuary Program, approval from the Town of Riverhead, and most importantly hands on help from Ms. White’s 3rd grade class at Aquebogue Elementary School. The students walked down to Meetinghouse Creek Park right on the bay, where we discussed the importance of native plants and how plants can help provide a buffer between runoff from roadways (and the pollution it might contain) and our precious local bays. The students and parent volunteers then dug right in, planting ~90 native plants in clusters throughout the waterfront park, while keeping an eye out for interesting insects and discussing how our efforts could help a variety of wildlife.

Group, Greenport Girl Scouts Restore Beach Habitat

In October 2010, Group for the East End worked with local community gardeners and two Greenport girl scout troops to plant a variety of native beach plants, including beach grass, bayberry, seaside goldenrod, and beach plum. The girls learned about the Peconic Estuary, erosion, and dune habitat, while digging in and helping to make a difference in their local community. The beach near 5th Street Park (just a short walk from the school) never looked better and is providing more native habitat and erosion control now than it has in a long time.