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Updated: Dec 29, 2020

Crawford Park is a Winter Wonderland

Hello all -

Just a quick word of gratitude to all of you who donated to our end of the year appeal this year. And a huge thanks to Park Director, Vic Federico and his staff at the park for transforming the mansion into a winter wonderland.

The Town of Rye has really improved the park this year and I don't think they have been given as much credit as they deserve. So while this crazy year comes to a close, I wanted to take the time let the community know how much the Town is doing to make Crawford Park a safe and wonderful place to be.

The park staff has quickly adapted to an ever-changing landscape during this pandemic. From shutting down the playground as mandated by the state, to safely opening it back up when they were told they can do so.

They hired bathroom attendants who disinfected them several times a day and handed our free face masks to those who needed them. (Note: The bathrooms are currently closed for the season.) And the Town organized and scheduled several safe outdoor activities for the community. They helped the Town of Rye sustainability committee organize a vine clearing day and through a grant they received, they were able to hire additional hands to help clear out the invasive vines throughout the park. The Friends of Crawford are now looking at these newly recovered spaces and planning on what we can plant there next year.

As a volunteer who has helped beautify the park for 16 years, I am so impressed with the amount of progress the park staff has made this year. I notice how quickly things get addressed now. New arbors are installed, debris gets picked up daily, trees and bushes are cut back from the path and much more.

Having a well-maintained park, makes our mission of beautification so much easier. The Friends of Crawford Park are planning and planting next year and if you want to help us out please email me at and I'll send you information on our January zoom meeting, scheduled for Jan. 14th @ 7:30pm.

Or if you still want to make an end of the year donate - see the "Donate" button at the top of this page.

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Dear Friends:

2020 has been a year like no-other and like so many other non-profits, The Friends of Crawford Park adapted to our new reality and, meeting virtually, we continued with our work to beautify the park and make it a treasured space for all its visitors. With your generosity, we were able to make many enhancements this year:

  • Although our community planting day was cancelled, we were able to use funds to buy and have planted hundreds of flowering annuals in the Sunken Garden, Morabito garden and mansion beds.

  • We installed the new planting area and bought 3 new dogwood trees for the parking lot area

  • 3 new benches were installed

  • The wildflower meadow was revitalized

  • Over 600 bulbs were planted this fall all around the park

  • Containers at the exit to the park were planted and maintained

  • We installed a new fountain feature in the center of the Sunken Garden

The park has been a refuge for so many of us during these social distancing times and the community usage has never been higher. Our plan is to continue to enhance the park and support it as a community destination for nature, tranquility and recreation.

We promised you a new path as part of our Pave the Way campaign and it is still our top priority for 2021. The path renovation is costly, and we are partnering with the Town of Rye to secure funds to fulfill this goal, but it will also require donations from our park-goers and patrons to reach our goal. And so, we are sending you this appeal to help us create a safe and smooth walking path in 2021. Please contribute whatever amount you can to help us turn our Pave the Way goal into a reality.

We hope to be back in 2021 with our annual Rock Lobster gala, but until then, we’ll see you in the park!

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Updated: Sep 3, 2020

Another beautiful summer is sadly coming to a close. And as the kids are preparing to go back to school, either physically or virtually, the Friends of Crawford Park are gearing up to plant more great flora in the park. Shrubs, trees and perennials are all on order and the soil is getting prepped for more plants in the parking lot beds and in our other gardens throughout the park.  

Gardens are our ever-evolving gifts to the community that provide joy throughout the year. The Friends are happy to continue planting these gifts and we are grateful for the ongoing community support we are given.  If you love what you see and want to further our efforts, click here to donate.

September’s Spotlight Tree: The Shagbark Hickory

Hickory nuts are now beginning to fall providing a feasting ground for all types of local animals like squirrels, fox, red bellied woodpeckers and wild turkey. In the spring moth and butterfly caterpillars will feast on the hickory’s leaves. The birds then feast off the caterpillars and the ever-expanding spiral of the food web spins away. 

You can find six Shagbark Hickories in the park. If you are impressed with my intimate knowledge of tree inventory, I must disclose my source. The Town of Rye commissioned Bartlett Tree to make an extensive inventory of trees in the park and the whole database is online right here.

This Shagbark Hickory is listed as tree #280 on the Arborscope database. Right now, if you sit under its mighty strong branches you might get conked in the head as it sheds its nuts for the season. And 2020 seems to be a bumper crop for nuts, in the horticultural world this is called “mast year” that happens every three to four years.  It is as if the trees are talking to each other saying I think it is time to try to make more little trees and they drop many more nuts during mast years than others - there is power in numbers and the probability of creating a seedling is much more likely.  But to grow a hickory from seed to its current size will take longer than our lifetimes. This tree takes so long to grow that it is called the “patience tree” - it takes up to 40 years to bear fruit and can live up to 300 years. It is also one of the strongest woods in the forest  - baseball bats and golf club shafts have been made with their wood and chipped up hickory wood makes wonderful smoked meats. 

Keep an eye on this tree throughout the year. Right now it is bearing nuts, soon its leaves will turn golden and start to fall, in the winter its bark will start to peel back like a bad hair day, hence the name Shagbark Hickory and then in the spring the caterpillars will inch their way back to their home and the cycle will continue.  

So the next time you pass a hickory in the park take a second to appreciate it for all that it does for our local ecosystem. But there is no hurry - she has been there for many years and (knock on wood) she will be there for many more to come. 

Bluebirds Fly High and Multiply

During a recent late afternoon visit to the park I ran into Sandy Morrissey, aka the Bluebird Lady.  I re-introduced myself and we chatted about the birds and the bees...well, mainly the birds. She was happy to report that the bluebird population at Crawford Park is doing remarkably well this year. 

Each year the Eastern Birdbird population fluctuates and a few years ago the docile bluebird was at risk of extinction due to the fact that they were running out of natural habitat. But thanks to people like Sandy, who have erected these nesting bird houses you see affixed to posts in the middle of the fields at Crawford Park, the Bluebirds now have a place to call home. And according to Sandy this year has been a great one for the Bluebird. 

She has seen four nesting Bluebird pairs this season at Crawford Park alone compared to just one last year.  If you look for them, our resident bluebirds are still living in the park. I usually see them perched on a small weeping cherry tree in front of the mansion. 

Community Garden Coming Soon???

At our last Friends of Crawford Park meeting, we decided to explore creating a community food garden that would supply fresh produce to those who are food insecure. According to Amy Benerofe, of Our New Way Gardens, ¼ of Westchester residents are food insecure, meaning they don’t know how they are going to feed themselves. And that statistic was before Covid-19. 

We are currently in the exploratory stages and are looking for feedback from the community. If you are interested in supporting a “giving garden” please fill out this quick survey. We are looking for synagogues, schools, churches or other organizations or just one or two awesome farmers to run the garden. The Friends can build the structure, but we want to make sure it is 1- necessary, 2- maintained, 3- supported by the community at large.

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The Friends of Crawford Park is an all-volunteer, 501(C)(3) organization whose purpose is to continually enhance and maintain this jewel of the community.

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Photo Credit: Diana Lee Angstadt


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A: 122 North Ridge Street
     Rye Brook, NY 10573 USA