Who is he named after? The Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary

HUDSON VALLEY, NY – Edith Mathews Gwynne Read has spent her 102 years on earth making this world a better place for the rest of us. It is perhaps fitting that his name lives on as the protector of a cherished patch of unspoiled natural beauty.

But the Edith G. Read Sanctuary, which encompasses Playland Lake, the surrounding wilderness, and an undeveloped portion near the Long Island Sound shoreline, almost didn’t bear his name.

Read was a lifelong resident of Rye, well known as an avid environmentalist. She played the lead role in establishing what became the Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary in 1985, according to Friends of the Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary.

According to the group, the life of the sanctuary began in the 1970s with Read helping to forge an agreement between Westchester County and environmental organizations to stop the dumping of dredged material on what would become the excavated earth in Playland Park for The sanctuary. Read even paid legal fees for organizations that sued to protect the land.

Read Later convinced the county in 1983 to agree to dedicate the land as a natural park. She refused to accept anything other than a “forever wild” sanctuary ceded by the county.

Read initially refused the honor the county wanted to bestow on her by naming the sanctuary after her, but in October 1985, the Edith G. Read State Park and Wildlife Sanctuary was dedicated to her.

To commemorate Read’s role in the creation of the park, the now familiar rock monument with a bronze portrait of her designed by Mike Keropian and Bob Clyatt was installed in 2010.

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