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. Tickets are available online at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s website. Support for the lecture series is generously provided by a grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.
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.
Summer Science Fun for Children, Grades K-5
Fascinating, fun summer learning for grades K-5! Vanderbilt Museum science educators will offer a second five-day session of Junior Explorer and Astronomer workshops for children during the week of August 14-18. Sail the seas, dive the oceans, and make unique art. Advance registration is required.
Summer Science Fun
9 am – 12 pm
$200 non-members | $180 members
Interested in membership? Learn more here.Become a Member
Space is limited and spots fill quickly! Advance registration is required.
For more information and to register, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Junior Explorer Workshop Grades K-3
Explore the world at the Vanderbilt Museum!
Join us for a week of creative science and history workshops. We’ll sail the seas, dive the deepest oceans, soar among the tallest trees, and make unique art inspired by nature and the collections.
Registration is open for children entering Kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Register AUGUST Jr Explorer Workshop
Junior Astronomer Workshop Grades 3-5
The Reichert Planetarium presents an exciting program for young astronomers!
Junior Astronomers have the opportunity to learn about multiple astronomy topics including our solar system, how to use a telescope, and how to identify constellations they can see from their own backyard. This program focuses on hands-on learning with STEAM activities and crafts supplemented by immersive live and pre-recorded fulldome presentations in our Planetarium theater.
Registration is open for children entering 3rd through 5th grade.
Register AUGUST Jr Astronomer Workshop
‘Haunting Menagerie’, Museum’s First Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition
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.
‘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.)
You Need To Calm Down
Look What You Made Me Do
I Knew You Were Trouble
You Belong With Me
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
Shake It Off
Museum Together: Explore and Make Art
Join a museum educator for a tour of Willam K. Vanderbilt II’s collection of marine life and make a creative project together.
Fee: $10 | $9 for members
Beth Laxer-Limmer, Associate Director of Education, says, “Families will have fun exploring the Museum’s collection of ocean fish and mammals together and collaborating on a work of art.
Next at Shakespeare Festival: ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’
Tickets: adults, $20 | seniors & children under 12, $15
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
July 7 – August 6
Wed and Fri at 8:00 pm, Sun at 7:00 pm
Love’s Labor’s Lost
August 11- Sept 8
Wed and Fri at 8:00 pm, Sun at 7:00 pm
Vanderbilt Wine Supports Education, Preservation
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.
Tours Explore Vanderbilt Architecture and Collections
Take an intriguing walking tour of the Vanderbilt Estate with knowledgeable Museum educators. Learn about the history of the Eagle’s Nest estate; Warren & Wetmore’s design and exterior architectural details of the 24-room Spanish Revival mansion; and the striking ironwork of Samuel Yellin, considered the greatest iron artisan of the early 20th century, and visit the marine, natural history, and cultural artifact collections
Created by the Vanderbilt Museum Education Department, the next of these tours will be offered on Thursday, August 24, at 12:00 and 1:30 pm.
Tickets, which include general admission, are available for purchase only at the door: Adults $16; seniors/students $15; children under 12, $14; and members free.
Beth Laxer-Limmer, associate director of education, said, “The grounds are beautiful at this time of year and the walking tour is a perfect way to be introduced to the history of the estate. There is an abundance of beauty in the eclectic architecture and the unique details that reflect William Vanderbilt’s interests.”
William K. Vanderbilt II (1878-1944) spent summers at his Eagle’s Nest estate and mansion on Northport Bay between 1910 and 1944. He and his wife, Rosamond, hosted intimate gatherings and entertained well-known guests, such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Pierre Cartier, Conde Nast, Charles Lindbergh, and the Tiffanys. Eagle’s Nest is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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—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. Tickets are available online at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s website. Support for the lecture series is generously provided by a grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.
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.
Pop Up Prana Yoga: Three Upcoming Events
Jennifer Eagen of Pop Up Prana Yoga has scheduled another of her popular programs at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum. On Friday, August 5, she will present Sunset Yoga Flow. Early registration is suggested.
Friday, August 5: Sunset Yoga Flow on the Great Lawn
7:00 to 8:00 pm | $30
Kick off your weekend with a beautiful view of Northport Bay. All props and mats will be provided upon request. This is an open-level yoga practice and newcomers are welcome to join. Those who are advanced and seeking growth will be given an opportunity to shine and improvise their own variations throughout the session.
Three Museums and Cafe Celebrate Harry Potter’s Birthday
The Town of Huntington Historic Partnership created the event to connect the magic of the Harry Potter series with local history. Several local museums and a café are participating.
Huntington Town Historian Robert Hughes said, “Huntington’s museums are always looking for new ways to get people—especially young people—to visit their wonderful collections. What better way than to tap into the enthusiasm for all things Harry Potter? This will be a fun, educational way to celebrate everyone’s favorite wizard’s birthday.”
Nomi Dayan, Executive Director of The Whaling Museum & Education Center of Cold Spring Harbor, said, “To stay relevant today, museums need to interpret their collections through a creative lens. Highlighting connections to the world of Harry Potter gives our local community a fun entry point to connect with our diverse collections.”
Walt Whitman Birthplace
Find Quidditch brooms, the Mirror of Erised, earn Walt Whit’s Beans, and try a sorting hat. Bring in a Potter-themed poem for display!
Children 15 and under free with adult admission
246 Old Walt Whitman Road, Huntington Station, NY 11746
Whaling Museum of Cold Spring Harbor
July 25-August 5
See the largest cauldron in Huntington! Search for Potter-themed haunted items and potion bottles. Decorate an owl mask.
Free with admission. Closed Mondays.
279 Main Street, Cold Spring Harbor NY 11724
Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum & Reichert Planetarium
Visit for a special scavenger hunt called “Mr. Vanderbilt’s Fantastic Creatures & How to Find Them!”
Free with admission
180 Little Neck Road, Centerport, NY 11721
July 25-August 5
Enjoy a Butter Beer Latte (decaf available) at Sweetie Pies in Cold Spring Harbor from
181 Main St, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724
Members of the THHP members include the Huntington Historical Society, Huntington Town Historian, Preservation Long Island, Walt Whitman Birthplace, Whaling Museum & Education Center of Cold Spring Harbor, Greenlawn-Centerport Historical Association, and Northport Historical Society, and Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum.
Come Explore Birds With Dr. Gabby Wild
Calling all ornithophiles! Join National Geographic Kids Educator Dr. Gabby Wild on Sunday, October 1, 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
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.”
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 Mustang & Shelby Club of Long Island.
Oct 1 – Studebaker Drivers Club, Inc.
Oct 29 – 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.
‘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 wildmanstevebrill.com for details, and more.)
Journey into Earth’s Ecosystems in New Show, ‘We Are Guardians’
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.
Paved with Love: A Gift That Lasts Forever
Purchase and engrave a brick that will become a permanent part of the Vanderbilt Museum.
Your donation will help the Vanderbilt to bring outstanding science, history, and art education to more than 25,000 students annually.
Your brick will be installed and displayed installed in your favorite brick walkway around the Vanderbilt Mansion and Terrace, or on the 43-acre grounds of the beautiful waterfront Estate.Purchase a Brick
For more information, email: madison@