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Holtsville Ecology Site

A crowd of several hundred spectators booed and groaned as Suffolk County’s most famous weatherman’s prognostication was read at the Holtsville Ecology Site on Feb. 2, Groundhog Day. At 7:25 a.m., Brookhaven Town Councilman Neil Foley announced Holtsville Hal, the groundhog, had seen his shadow when he awoke Sunday morning, meaning six more weeks of winter for residents in the Town of Brookhaven.

While Nassau County’s fellow woodchuck, Malverne Mel, agreed with Hal, neither Staten Island Chuck, upstate’s Dunkirk Dave or Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil, saw their shadows.

According to the peculiar Pennsylvania Dutch tradition, if a groundhog sees its shadow after emerging from his burrow on Groundhog Day, there will be six more weeks of winter weather; if not, spring should arrive early. 

Superintendent of Highways Dan Losquadro, who was not able to attend the event this year, issued a statement on Monday. “I’m always hopeful Holtsville Hal will not see his shadow and assist with my snow removal budget,” he said. “However, if Hal’s prediction proves to be correct, the Brookhaven Highway Department remains ready to handle whatever Mother Nature decides to send our way.”

After the event, festivalgoers were treated to bagels and hot chocolate and were able to visit the 100 animals that call the Ecology Site home including deer, horses, goats, llamas, hawks, a black bear and buffalo.

“I want to thank everyone who took the time to come out and take part in this fun, annual tradition, including Councilman Neil Foley, who was the honorary Mayor for the Day, as well as the Holtsville Fire Department, 7-Eleven, Bagel Lovers, WBLI and Max 103.1 FM,” said Losquadro.

All photos by Kristen D’Andrea/ Town of Brookhaven Highway Dept.

Photo from Town of Brookhaven

The Town of Brookhaven’s annual Holiday Light Spectacular at the Holtsville Ecology Site attracted thousands of visitors on opening weekend, Dec. 7 and 8. 

Visitors walked through the winter wonderland of lighted, festive displays before stopping to take their photos with Santa in his workshop. The show returns on Dec. 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22. Hours on Fridays and Saturdays are 5 to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 5 to 8 p.m.

“This is a fun-filled, affordable entertainment option for families who want to come and enjoy the spirit of the holidays,” said Highway Superintendent Daniel P. Losquadro. “I want to thank my staff at the Ecology Site for working so diligently to transform the greenhouses and make this event so memorable. Over the years, walking through the Holiday Spectacular has become a wonderful holiday tradition for many families.”

Admission to this event is $6 per person; children 3 and under are free. Discounted tickets are currently available for pre-purchase online at www.Brookhavenny.gov/holiday. Photos with Santa are available for an additional fee. Proceeds benefit the Holtsville Ecology Site and go directly to the feed and care of the more than 100 animals residing there.

The Holtsville Ecology Site is located at 249 Buckley Road in Holtsville. For more information, call 631-758-9664. Photo from TOB

By Heidi Sutton

The Town of Brookhaven held its annual Groundhog Day celebration at the Holtsville Ecology Site and Animal Preserve on Saturday, Feb. 2. Many families with young children braved the frigid weather to hear a very important prediction from Suffolk County’s most famous weatherman, Holtsville Hal, and the little guy did not disappoint.

At 7:25 a.m., before a crowd of several hundred spectators, the groundhog awoke from his slumber and did not see his shadow, joining Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil, Malverne Mel, Staten Island Chuck and Dunkirk Dave in predicting that spring weather is right around the corner.

Councilman Kevin LaValle (R-Selden), who was joined by Councilman Neil Foley (R-Blue Point), served as honorary Mayor of the Day and read Hal’s prognostication:

“Upon waking up this morning from my long winter’s nap, I heard Honey Bear yawning after this unusual cold snap, Lucy the Buffalo was up, Victoria the eagle too, wondering what everyone is planning to do. I exited my burrow and took a step out, realizing that my prognostication is what this is all about. Hundreds have gathered waiting to hear, will it be an early spring or more snow this year. I know you’re all anxious to hear what I have to say, I won’t keep you waiting at 7:25 on this cold blustery day. When I came out of my burrow and put my paws on the floor, I did not see the shadow I was looking for. According to folklore, go home and ready your lawn, spring is coming and the winter is more than half gone.”

Superintendent of Highways Daniel Losquadro (R), who was not able to attend the event this year, issued a statement on Monday.  “I’m sure we are all looking forward to an early spring and keeping our fingers crossed that our resident weatherman maintains his accuracy,” he said. “Regardless, the Brookhaven Highway Department remains ready to handle whatever Mother Nature decides to send our way.”

After the event, festivalgoers were treated to bagels and hot chocolate and were able to visit the 100 animals that call the Ecology Site home including deer, horses, goats, llamas, hawks and its newest addition, a pine martin. The center, which is open all year round, also includes jogging and exercise trails.

Greg Drossel, who has been Holtsville Hal’s handler for 22 years, said, “I remember when this ecology site was started by Harold Malkmes [Brookhaven’s longtime superintendent], 25, 30 years ago with a pair of buffalo and a pair of bald eagles and now it’s a gem in the Town of Brookhaven and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Located at 249 Buckley Road, Holtsville, the Ecology Site will next host the 2019 Home & Garden Show on March 23, 24, 30 and 31 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 631-758-9664.

The annual Home & Garden Show in Holtsville is a fun event for the whole family. File photo by Heidi Sutton

Highway Superintendent Daniel P. Losquadro (R) recently announced the return of the annual Brookhaven Town Home & Garden Show, benefiting the Holtsville Ecology Site. The show, which will once again run for two weekends, will kick off on March 25. The event will feature dozens of vendor exhibits including landscaping, garden centers, awnings, stonework, driveways, garden structures, sprinklers, siding and windows, interior décor, gutters and more.

“After a long winter, residents are always eager to come out and enjoy the wide array of home improvement ideas our vendors have on display,” said Losquadro, adding, “The Home & Garden Show is a wonderful opportunity for residents to support local businesses and reinvest in our local economy. From building outdoor fireplaces and getting more creative with landscaping design to replacing fencing and walkways or even putting in a hot tub, the Home & Garden Show features some innovative ways to enhance your home, garden and property this spring.”

In addition, with paid admission, visitors can participate in free educational workshops and hands-on classes. Workshops for adults include flower arranging, an introduction to beekeeping, organic tree care and composting. Children can learn about recycling, plant care, water conservation and make a craft. Classes and workshops are subject to change ­— a comprehensive schedule of seminars will be available at www.brookhavenny.gov as the event nears.

The show will run on March 25 and April 1 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and March 26 and April 2 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost of admission is $6 for adults, children 16 and under are free. Parking is free, as is the opportunity to walk through the animal preserve, which is home to more than 100 injured or non-releasable wild and farm animals and will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“All proceeds from this event will be used to benefit the Holtsville Ecology Site, one of our Town’s hidden gems,” Losquadro continued. “Over the years, so many families have enjoyed and appreciated all the Ecology Site has to offer. Investing the proceeds from this event directly back into the Ecology Site will help to ensure there is adequate funding to support its continued operations.”

The Town of Brookhaven’s Ecology Site is located at 249 Buckley Road in Holtsville. For further information, call 631-758-9664, ext. 18.

Update: Spring craft and storytime

Cindy Sommers, author of “Saving Kate’s Flowers,” will be at the Town of Brookhaven’s Home & Garden Show on March 25, 26 and April 1 at 11:30 a.m., 1, 2:30 and 4 p.m. and on April 2 at 2:30 and 4 p.m. Sommers will read from her book and help the children make a spring craft. Free with admission to the Home & Garden Show.

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Several thousand visitors came out to enjoy the festive, lighted displays and have their photos taken with Santa at last year’s Holiday Spectacular. Photo from Town of Brookhaven

Town of Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Daniel P. Losquadro recently announced the return of the annual Brookhaven Town Holiday Spectacular, an indoor, walk-through holiday light show benefiting the animals at the Holtsville Ecology Site.

Last year, several thousand people walked through the winter wonderland of lighted, festive displays, before stopping to take their photos with Santa in his workshop. Admission to this event is $5 per person; children 3 and under are free. There are additional fees for raffles and photos with Santa. All proceeds benefit the Brookhaven Wildlife Center, Inc. and go directly to the feed and care of the more than 100 animals residing at the Ecology Site.

“This is a fun-filled, affordable entertainment option for families who want to come and enjoy the spirit of the holidays,” Superintendent Losquadro said. “I want to thank my staff at the Ecology Site for working so diligently to transform the greenhouses and make this event so memorable. Over the years, walking through the Holiday Spectacular has become a wonderful holiday tradition for many families.”

The show will run Dec. 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18; hours on Fridays and Saturdays are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sundays, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Holtsville Ecology Site is located at 249 Buckley Road in Holtsville. For more information, call 631-758-9664.