Eileen Anders shares her love for horticulture and history with Huntington, Northport

Eileen Anders shares her love for horticulture and history with Huntington, Northport

Susan Walsh Lauria, Eileen Anders and Penny Ferraro at the Northport Library. Photo from Friends of the Northport-East Northport Public Library

By Julianne Mosher

Penny Ferraro spent her entire adulthood in Port Washington. When her children moved east, the newly widowed Ferraro decided to start a new life in Northport and get involved within her community. 

Eileen Anders, center, gets ready to dig at the East Northport Library with Friends of the Library members Penny Ferraro, left, and Doreen Earl, right. Photo from Friends of the Northport-East Northport Public Library

Five years ago, she joined the Friends of the Northport-East Northport Public Library group where she met Eileen Anders. 

The first thing Ferraro noticed about Anders was that she was “a quiet, constant presence,” who could lead a group, but also was one to follow suit. 

“If you come up with an idea, she’s right there,” Ferraro said. “She’s a team player.”

Anders, a retired public-school teacher from East Northport, is known locally for her involvement with several different causes. A past secretary of the Friends of the Library, she is also heavily involved with the Huntington Historical Society, the Long Island Horticultural Society, the Heckscher Museum and more. 

For her active devotion to local horticulture and history, TBR News Media names Anders as a 2022 Person of the Year. 

“I have known Eileen for several years as we meet at a Friends of the Northport-East Northport Public Library meeting,” said Susan Eckert, of Northport, and a 2021 TBR News Media Person of the Year. “At her suggestion, I also joined the Long Island Horticultural Society. We have since gone together to garden and house tours and other cultural and artistic events.”

Eckert said that Anders’ love for teaching followed her into retirement where she continues to educate people in her role as a volunteer.

“She’s so active in her community in different organizations throughout Nassau and Suffolk,” she said. “It’s wonderful she shares her knowledge about gardening with us.”

Ferraro agreed. In the few years she’s known Anders through the different nonprofits and organizations they volunteer with together, she said that she is always ready to tackle a mission and does it with a smile. 

For example, last year the Friends of the Library decided to start what would be a two-year task of planting daffodil bulbs in the courtyards of the Northport and East Northport libraries. A small handful got together last year to plant 100 bulbs – 50 in each location. When 2022 came a year later, several factors came in the way of having the same number of volunteers – rainstorms, scheduling and illnesses. Ferraro said that Anders didn’t mind and the two took it upon themselves to plant another 100.

Eckert said that her colleague’s love for horticulture goes beyond the courtyards of the local libraries. Anders is a master gardener who has conducted workshops on gardening through programs sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension, and is on the board of directors at the Long Island Horticultural Society where she at one time coordinated the monthly program.

Anders is also a history buff who conducts tours at Planting Fields Arboretum’s Coe Hall mansion in Oyster Bay, volunteers as a docent in training at the Heckscher Museum in Huntington, is a former tour guide at Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay and is a current member of Preservation Long Island. 

Just recently, Ferraro mentioned that Anders, who again will drop what she’s doing to help out the cause, joined at the last minute to volunteer at the Holiday Historic House Tour with the Huntington Historical Society. 

This volunteerism impresses Ferraro. “Volunteering is important because we can’t get things done by ourselves,” she said. “You need to have a group of people who are passionate about certain issues and ideas.”

And she believes Anders does just that. 

“She epitomizes contributions to the community without grandstanding which is absolutely amazing,” Ferraro said. “Eileen has energy, stamina, intelligence, curiosity and everything going for her that makes her a very valuable person to our community.”