Soil and Spirit, Storytime Under the Stars, Exploring Birds, Saltwater Frontier

Poet-Farmer Scott Chaskey Reflects on ‘Soil and Spirit’

On Thursday, August 24, the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum will host Scott Chaskey, poet-farmer and pioneer of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement, for a presentation of his latest memoir, Soil and Spirit: Cultivation and Kinship in the Web of Life (Milkweed Editions, 2023).

As a farmer with decades spent working in the fields, Chaskey’s worldview has been shaped by daily attention to the earth. His career as a writer has been influenced by these experiences, showing a profound commitment to the promotion of food sovereignty and organic agriculture. In both writing and farming, his efforts have been animated by a central conviction—that humble attention to microbial life provides us with invaluable lessons for building healthy human communities.

Soil and Spirit is a collection of personal essays, mapping the evolution of Chaskey’s thoughts on ecology, agriculture, and society through decisive moments in his biography. In its pages, he takes readers to his original homestead in Maine; the rugged Irish countryside, complete with blackberries, heather, and Nobel-Prize-winning poets; the ancient granite cliffs of the Cornwall coastline; Santa Clara, New Mexico, where he harvested amaranth seeds alongside a group of indigenous women; and finally, to Amagansett, in Suffolk County, where he recalls planting Redwood saplings and writing poetry beneath a centuries-old beech tree.

The lecture will take place at 7:00 pm in the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium. Support for the lecture series is generously provided by a grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.


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Scott Chaskey is the author of Soil and Spirit. He is also the author of a memoir, This Common Ground: Seasons on an Organic Farm, and a book of nonfiction, Seedtime: On the History, Husbandry, Politics, and Promise of Seeds. His poetry, first printed in literary journals in the early seventies, has been widely published over four decades.

A pioneer of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement, for thirty years he cultivated more than sixty crops for the Peconic Land Trust at Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett, New York, one of the original CSAs in the country. He is the past president of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York and was honored as Farmer of the Year in 2013.

Chaskey was a founding board member for both the Center for Whole Communities, in Vermont, and Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, in Shelter Island, New York. He taught as a poet-in-the-schools for over two decades and as an instructor for Antioch International and Friends World College in Southampton. He lives and works on the east end of Long Island, New York.

‘Storytime Under the Stars’ Returns to Planetarium

Storytime Under the Stars. Sponsored by Bank of America. Your favorite bedtime storybooks come to life in the planetarium theater! Children are invited to wear their most comfy pajamas and bring their favorite stuffed animal. Sunday August 27 at 6:00pm. $8 gusts, $6 members. Ages 2+.The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s Storytime Under the Stars series, sponsored by Bank of America, will host its first Storytime of the season on Sunday, August 27, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm in the Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium.

Storytime evenings will feature a live narrator at the front of the theater who reads from selected picture books, with pages projected onto the Planetarium dome so families can enjoy the illustrations and follow along. Narrators include Museum educators and local guest authors.

During the first Storytime of the 2023 season, on August 27, Ellen Mason will read her book, Patches and Stripes, one of four scheduled that evening. The book, co-authored by Vanderbilt Museum colleague, Ed Clampitt, tells the true story of a family that lost an heirloom during a Museum visit and chronicles the search for the missing heirloom, a tale of “Vanderbilt magic.”

Mason, a Museum tour guide, and Clampitt, a member of the security staff, will sign books in the Planetarium lobby after the show.

“Bank of America is committed to supporting local cultural institutions and educational opportunities across Long Island,” said Marc Perez, president, Bank of America Long Island. “Sharing stories, both our own and others’, helps create greater understanding and brings our communities closer. We look forward to bringing new and classic stories to life at the Museum’s iconic Planetarium.”





The Planetarium’s 145-seat theater provides a magical and immersive literary experience for everyone. Between stories, an astronomy educator explores seasonal constellations visible from here on Long Island.

All children are invited to wear their comfiest pajamas and bring their favorite stuffed animals. The admission fee is $8 per person and $6 for members.


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Hearing stories read aloud creates a delightful opportunity for families to connect—and to have fun while learning. Featured stories include children’s classics, motivational and virtues-based subjects, and more. Many evenings will offer light refreshments, product giveaways, book signings, and workshops.

Come Explore Birds With Dr. Gabby Wild

Calling all ornithophiles!  Join National Geographic Kids Educator Dr. Gabby Wild on Sunday, October 8, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm for a morning full of bird-related STEAM activities at the Vanderbilt Museum. Best suited for children in grades 3-5.

Children will learn about bird evolution, anatomy, and physiology; identify birds by sound and appearance; draw birds in the collection; and bird watch on the Vanderbilt Estate grounds!

Tickets: $30 guests | $27 members


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Wild, acclaimed for her role as “the veterinarian” on National Geographic Kid’s Animal Jam, the world’s largest online “playground” with 54 million players, she creates videos about conservation medicine.

A wildlife veterinarian, conservationist, and educator, she has traveled the world saving a variety of wildlife species from Sumatran rhinos to Belizean jaguars. Wild is certified in Chinese veterinary acupuncture and became the first elephant acupuncturist in the past 3,000 years.

When not in the wild, she works as a veterinary surgeon at the Animal Surgical Center and volunteers as a veterinarian with the Wildlife Conservation Society Health Program at the Bronx Zoo in New York City. She is the mother of four, she said, “two humans and two fur babies.”

Untold Colonial History: ‘The Saltwater Frontier’

The Vanderbilt Museum will host Andrew Lipman, Associate Professor of History at Barnard College, for a lecture based on his award-winning book The Saltwater Frontier: Indians and the Contest for the American Coast (Yale University Press, 2015) – on Thursday, September 28, at 7:00 pm.

In The Saltwater Frontier, Lipman shares the previously untold story of how the ocean became a “frontier” between colonists and Indians. In a radical reinterpretation of early America, Lipman’s analysis shifts our attention to when the English and Dutch empires both tried to claim the same patch of coast between the Hudson River and Cape Cod, transforming the sea itself into an arena of contact and conflict. During this period of violent European invasions, the region’s Algonquin-speaking Natives were important navigators, boatbuilders, fishermen, pirates, and merchants. Lipman’s study demonstrates how these seafarers became active players in the emergence of the Atlantic World.

Drawing from a wide range of English, Dutch, and archaeological sources, The Saltwater Frontier uncovers a new geography of Native America that incorporates seawater as well as soil. Lipman makes a persuasive case for rethinking our traditional understanding of the period and for appreciating the significance of Long Island’s coastal waters in the early history of colonial America.

The lecture will take place at 7:00 pm in the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium theater. Support for the lecture series is generously provided by a grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.


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Andrew Lipman is a historian of Early America at Barnard College in New York, New York. His research interests include the Atlantic World, early America, Native Americans, violence, technology, and the environment. His first book, The Saltwater Frontier: Indians and the Contest for the American Coast, was a finalist for the New England Society Book Award in Nonfiction, the PROSE award in U.S. History, and the winner of the Bancroft Prize in American History.

Lipman’s work has appeared in Common-Place, Early American Studies, Reviews in American History, and the William and Mary Quarterly. He has also contributed pieces to Slate and Time. His research has been supported by the American Philosophical Society, The Huntington Library, The International Seminar in the History of the Atlantic World at Harvard University, and the John Carter Brown Library. He is presently completing a book manuscript titled The Death and Life of Squanto.

‘Haunting Menagerie’, Museum’s First Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition

Gericroix (Pegasus)
Wendy Klemperer

On Earth Day, April 22, the Vanderbilt Museum debuted Wendy Klemperer: Wrought Taxonomies, the first exhibition of outdoor sculpture at the historic summer estate of William Kissam Vanderbilt II.

Wendy Klemperer’s sculptures—a haunting assemblage of animal forms that span imaginary, endangered, familiar, and exotic species—celebrate natural history and the nonhuman world through evocative interactions with the surrounding environment.

Using materials salvaged from scrapyards, she composes ecological narratives that respond to the history and collections of Suffolk County’s first public park and museum. Her brilliant use of gestural lines captures the spectator’s attention and invites museumgoers to reflect on the relationship between an interest in animal life and the incessant push of human industry.

Wrought Taxonomies is the inaugural exhibition in the Vanderbilt Museum’s outdoor sculpture program and the institution’s second exhibition of contemporary art focused on the relationship between culture and animals.

The Vanderbilt Museum occupies the former Gold Coast estate of William Kissam Vanderbilt II, the great-grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt and a pioneer of American motorsport. Located in Centerport on the north shore of Long Island, it is renowned for its extensive marine and natural history collections, Spanish revival architecture, and picturesque parklands.

All sculptures are viewable with general admission to the Museum grounds. Educational programs and workshops associated with the themes and content of Wendy Klemperer: Wrought Taxonomies will be offered throughout the exhibition. Special thanks are due to the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, whose generous support made Wrought Taxonomies possible. The exhibition will run through April 22, 2024.

‘Morning at the Museum’ for Families with Special Needs

The Vanderbilt Museum will present Morning at the Museum, its annual event exclusively for people with special needs and their families, on Saturday, October 7, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. Admission is free, but advance registration is required.


Free Registration


Spend the morning exploring the collections, grounds, gardens, architecture, and the Reichert Planetarium’s “Open Sky.” Activities include a preserved specimen touch table and crafts.

For more information contact Beth Laxer-Limmer at 631-854-5552 or

Next Classic Car Show: Jaguars, September 10

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum has honored William K. Vanderbilt II’s automotive and racing legacy for more than three decades by hosting shows of beautiful, restored vintage automobiles on the estate grounds.

The next show of this season will be presented on Sunday, September 10 (rain date: September 18) by the Jaguar Drivers Club of Long Island. The final show will be on Sunday, October 29, presented by the Porsche Club of America, Inc.

Visitors pay only general admission to the museum – adults $10; seniors (62 plus) $9; students (with ID) $9; children 12 and under $7; military and children under 2 are free.

Vanderbilt, a pioneer race driver who competed in Europe, brought auto racing to the United States. He inaugurated the famous Vanderbilt Cup Races in 1904. That same year, he set a new land-speed record of 92.3 miles per hour in a Mercedes at a course in Florida. He also spurred the development of the American auto industry and built the prototype for the first toll road, the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway on Long Island.

Shakespeare Festival: ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’

The Vanderbilt Museum’s thirty-fourth annual Summer Shakespeare Festival concludes with Love’s Labour’s Lost, which runs through September 8. Performances are presented on the Mansion Courtyard stage.

Wednesday and Friday at 8:00 pm, and Sunday at 7:00 pm.

Tickets: adults, $20 | seniors & children under 12, $15


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Linda Trott Dickman” Under the Sea & Poetry

Join local poet Linda Tott Dickman, and write a poem inspired by the amazing creatures in William Vanderbilt’s collections. Sunday, October 15, from 10:00 to 11:30 am.

Guests $20 | Members $18


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Dickman, who has lived most of her life in East Northport, is an award-winning poet whose work has been anthologized locally and internationally. She is the author of four chapbooks and a poetry prompt book for children of all ages. The coordinator of poetry for the Northport Arts Coalition, she also works with poets of all ages at the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association and at local museums and leads a poetry workshop at Samantha’s Li’l Bit O’ Heaven coffee house. Dickman is a retired elementary school librarian.

‘Laser Taylor Swift’ Extended to September

Showings of the Vanderbilt Reichert Planetarium’s wildly popular new show, Laser Taylor Swift, have been extended through Sunday, September 3 – every day (Tuesday through Sunday) at 4:00 pm. If you can’t score tickets to the Eras tour, Laser Taylor Swift is the next best thing!

With more than 200 million records sold, a shelf full of Grammys, and an army of fans, Taylor Swift is an inspiration for generations. This dynamic show takes her biggest hits and brings them to life in dazzling laser light.

Tickets: $18. (Free for Museum members.)


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You Need To Calm Down

Love Story

Anti-Hero Exile

Look What You Made Me Do


Lavender Haze

I Knew You Were Trouble

Blank Space

You Belong With Me

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Shake It Off

CEED Biologist-Ranger to Lead Three Owl Prowls

Biologist and ranger Eric Powers, co-founder of the Center for Environmental Education & Discovery (CEED), has planned three Owl Prowls on the grounds of the Vanderbilt Estate and Museum – at 6:00 pm on Saturday, October 21; Friday, October 27; and Friday, November 17.

After a presentation on the owls of Long Island, Powers will lead a walk on the estate grounds, during which he will attempt to call in nearby owls. Flashlights are not permitted. Sturdy footwear is recommended as the trail is uneven and it will be dark.

Tickets: Members, free; non-Members, $12.




CEED, based in Brookhaven, Long Island, is a nature center that inspires connections to the joys of nature through education and experience. CEED serves children, youth, and adults through public nature programs and events, school and community-based environmental education, conservation projects, live animal ambassadors, and more.

‘Wildman’ Steve Brill: Foraging at the Vanderbilt

Environmental educator and author “Wildman” Steve Brill, who leads wild food and ecology tours, will offer Foraging with the ‘Wildman’ on the estate grounds of the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum on Sunday, October 29, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.

“The Vanderbilt Museum grounds—with cultivated areas, fields, thickets, and woods—is a bonanza for wild foods in late fall,” Brill said, “and everything the group will be finding is renewable.”

Brill said wild greens will be thriving in sunny areas and along trail edges. These include chickweed, which tastes like corn on the cob, lemony sheep sorrel, garlicky garlic mustard, spicy hairy bittercress, pungent and field garlic. Roots could include burdock, field garlic, and wild carrots. We could find fruits and berries such as wild raisins, autumn olives, and crab apples.

If there have been days of pouring rain beforehand, gourmet mushrooms such as chicken mushrooms, hen of the woods, oyster mushrooms, various puffball species, and inky caps could be growing in abundance as well, and other habitats will provide many more delicious, renewable edible and medicinal species, he said.

A 60-minute indoor presentation in the Vanderbilt Reichert Planetarium will precede a two-hour foraging tour, followed by a book signing.

Adults and children 10 and older $10, children under 10 free. Members $9.

“Participants should bring plastic bags for veggies and herbs, and paper bags for mushrooms, which spoil in plastic,” he said. “Digging implements such as small hand shovels are recommended, as roots will be in season.”

Everyone should wear closed shoes, long pants, and long sleeves for protection from poison ivy and ticks, plus an extra layer of clothing in case it gets cold. Smoking and vaping are not allowed. Please note that this is the first day of Daylight Savings Time.




Brill’s books include Foraging in New York (Globe Pequot Press, 2017), on the state’s best edible plants; Foraging with Kids (Brill is author, artist and publisher, 2014), a wild foods guide with science, folklore, history, recipes, games, and activities, for teachers, parents, and grandparents to use with kids; The Wild Vegan Cookbook: A Guide to Preparing Wild (and Not-So-Wild) Foods (Harvard Common Press, 2002).

Also: Shoots and Greens of Early Spring (Brill is author, artist and publisher, 2008), and Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not So Wild) Places (Harper-Collins 1994), plus the iOS/Android app Foraging with the Wildman.

Environmental educator Brill is still best known for having been arrested and handcuffed by undercover park rangers for eating a dandelion in Central Park in 1986. (See for details, and more.)


Vanderbilt Wine Supports Education, Preservation

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum has partnered with Old York Cellars to create a special selection of wines – your purchase will support the Museum’s preservation efforts and education programs.

Eagle’s Nest, the waterfront estate of William K. Vanderbilt II, is the home of the Vanderbilt Museum and Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium.

Help us preserve this vital piece of local and national history. STEM education programs are based on Vanderbilt’s marine, natural history, and cultural-artifact collections. Educational planetarium offerings are provided to more than 25,000 schoolchildren each year. Please purchase wine today and support our mission.


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Journey into Earth’s Ecosystems in New Show, ‘We Are Guardians’

Join us for the premiere of a new award-winning planetarium show: We Are Guardians. Saturday, April 22, 2023 at 3 PM. Adults $16, students and seniors $15, Children ages 2-12 $13, members FREE.The Reichert Planetarium’s new show, We Are Guardians, takes audiences on a journey into, under, and around the many ecosystems across our planet. Ages 8 and up.


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We are all connected. Come and find out how.

Join us on a journey into, under, and around the many ecosystems across our planet. Discover how each component fits together, and how the health of each part is vital to the health of Planet Earth. Find out how, with the help of satellites and scientific study, we can understand the links between human activities and climate change, and what we can do to work together to improve the health of our shared home.

This visually stunning show is an immersive science film that features beautiful animation and creative storytelling that viewers of all ages can enjoy together.


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