Fourth Annual Long Island Natural History Conference










Hide and Seek in the Wilds of Long Island

Dave Taft, Jamaica Bay Coordinator, Gateway National Recreation Area

Long Island is home to many overlooked, charismatic plants.  Their fascinating survival strategies rival more heralded animal neighbors, and incorporate subterfuge, parasitism, predation, mimicry, camouflage, and a new term for some, mycoheterotrophy.  Some of these plants may not appear above ground for years, others grow leaves which remain buried by snow for months, losing them just as the sun warms their native woodlands, still others lack leaves and have given up on photosynthesis completely.  It's enough to make us question our concepts of "dormancy," our ideas about seasonal cycles, and our notions of the passive lives plants lead.  Dave Taft offers portraits of a few notable Long Island plants of fields, woods, and wetlands.

Dave Taft was born and raised on Long Island's "other end" ‑ Brooklyn. He is currently the Coordinator of the Brooklyn and Queens units of Gateway National Recreation Area.  A contributing writer for the New York Times, Mr. Taft's  NYC Nature column takes aim at the overlooked plants and animals that lead their lives alongside 13 million fellow New Yorkers. Email: