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In Seaford, wildlife up close

Earth Day at Tackapausha draws a crowd


Children and their families gathered at Tackapausha Museum and Preserve last Saturday, where employee Sam Hammel introduced them to a variety of the preserve’s residents, including a screech owl named Nutmeg and a python named Pat. All the animals he showed the crowd were rescuees, each with its own stories of how it ended up at the Seaford museum and preserve.

As part of its annual Earth Day celebration, Tackapausha held live animal presentations, scavenger hunts and craft sessions for children. Families not only got to see eight animals and learn about them in the presentation, they also got to pet or hold some of them.

“I’m excited everyone got the chance to come out and learn about the animals for Earth Day,” Hammel said. “The most important thing is conservation, of course.”

Throughout the pandemic, the preserve held online events so people could continue to learn about and support its animals. “All the money goes back to them,” Hammel said, adding that an affectionate fox named Sahara especially missed seeing visitors in person.

In addition to the museum, Tackapausha has an 84-acre preserve that was acquired by Nassau County in 1938. It features five miles of nature trails starting at Merrick Road and stretching north to Jerusalem Avenue.

The preserve is divided into three sections by major roads, and the southernmost section boasts the county’s largest stand of Atlantic white cedar trees. Further north is a small pond that is home to waterfowl and amphibians. The preserve is also a favored destination for local bird-watchers, who hike the trails to view more than 170 species that have been identified within its boundaries.

The 3,000-square-foot museum, on Washington Avenue, at the southern end of the preserve, opened in 1965, and features presentations on Long Island’s ecology as well as numerous animal exhibits. The museum is also available for birthday parties on weekends.

For more information about the museum and preserve, go to www.nassaucountyny.gov/2951/Tackapausha-Museum-and-Preserve.