Friends Of The Rockefeller Preserve Gala Celebrates 20 Years: Bette Midler Is The Honorary Chairperson

Mount Pleasant Daily Voice
Friends Of The Rockefeller Preserve Gala Celebrates 20 Years
By Donna Christopher


POCANTICO HILLS, N.Y. — Bette Midler is an honorary chairperson for the Saturday, Dec. 10, gala to celebrate 20 years of fundraising by the Friends of the Preserve gala for Rockefeller State Park Preserve. Comedian Robert Klein will be master of ceremonies.

The gala will be held in the Playhouse, a Normandy-English style structure designed by Duncan Candler in 1927.

Along with the award-winning actress, singer and environmental advocate, philanthropists and park supporters David Rockefeller and Ann Rockefeller Roberts will be honorary chairs for the evening.

“We are happy to celebrate the many accomplishments of the Friends over the past 20 years,” said Clare Pierson, president of the Friends board.

“At the same time, we always need to create public awareness of the need to participate in supporting this natural treasure and to be sure we are ahead of its next need that the state is not able to fund.”

Daniel Blum, president and CEO of Phelps Hospital/Northwell Health, will receive an award honoring the hospital’s long-standing support of the Friends.

“The preserve is a natural and cultural treasure. The Friends have been a vital force that has enabled visitors to walk, run and ride safely on the famous carriage roads of the park preserve,” Blum said.

The preserve has more than 1,400 acres of Hudson Valley vistas and trails. It serves as a sanctuary for people seeking recreation and reflection.

The preserve has 32 miles of carriage roads over acres of woodlands, fields, wetlands, stone arch bridges over waterways and views of the Hudson River.

It attracts more than 300,000 visitors from around the world annually and has been designated by the National Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area, given the 180 bird species there.

The carriage roads were designed by John D. Rockefeller Jr. to preserve the natural beauty of the area while providing an environment to be enjoyed by everyone.

The preserve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that was formed in 1983, when 1,600 acres of the family estate were deeded to New York state as a gift from the Rockefeller family

Since the Friends organization began:

  • During the recent economic downturn, the Friends’ funding assistance enabled the preserve to maintain its basic infrastructure.
  • In 2006, the Friends established an endowment fund to perpetuate the maintenance and improvement of the preserve.
  • Expansion of the preserve and building of new trails have taken place.
  • Existing trails, such as the Equestrian Access Trail, have restored on an ongoing basis after Superstorm Sandy and significant weather events.

The Friends was established in memory of Peggy Rockefeller, the wife of David Rockefeller, who during her lifetime was dedicated to the beautiful terrain in Pocantico Hills, said a news release.

For more information on the Friends or to purchase tickets, or call 914-762-0209.

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