About Us
In 1990 The Oblong Land Conservancy was formed by a group of Pawling area residents concerned about the negative effects of encroaching development. The future was clear: open space was rapidly disappearing along with 300 years of rural heritage and natural spaces. Once destroyed they will be gone forever.
Our Vision

A sustainable world where the ecology is in balance.

Our Mission

Through engagement with the community, maintain the natural resources of the Harlem Valley, to include wildlife habitats, water quality, agricultural lands and scenic vistas.


The Oblong Land Conservancy's focus of interest is Pawling, Dover and its environs located in the southeast corner of Dutchess County, New York, at the borders of Putnam County and the state of Connecticut. It is an area rich in beautiful landscapes, clean water, large rural open spaces, extensive forests, working farms, and abundant plant and animal habitats. Our name "Oblong" is derived from the historic Oblong, a narrow 2 x 60 mile tract of formerly disputed territory on the New York/Connecticut border. Thus far OLC has helped to promote village and rural trail networks and has successfully acquired conservation easements for open spaces ranging in size from 4 acres to 200 acres. We have helped protect over 1000 acres through a combination of easements (932 acres) and preserves (157 acres). Learn More

Quakers were among the first to settle the area in the 1700's. In 1767 the first effective action against slavery in The New World was taken by the Quakers in the Oblong Meeting House on Quaker Hill. In the winter of 1778 Pawling played a role in the Revolutionary War when General George Washington and his Continental Army encamped at The John Kane House and surrounding area. Pawling and Dover are nestled amid the Hudson Highlands, recognized as a "landscape of national significance" by the US Forest Service.

The Taconic Ridge on the eastern border with Connecticut is recognized in New York State's Open Space Plan, as well as The Great Swamp, one of New York's largest wetlands, which bisects the valley floor. The western highlands, known as Pawling Mountain, Depot Hill and West Mountain are listed in the State's Open Space Plan. The Great Swamp is listed as a top priority for protection. Both The Swamp and Little Whaley are also officially recognized as "Important Bird Areas" by the State.

Our region is known for its recreational opportunities. With access to the Great Swamp, lakes and trail networks, notably the world class Appalachian Trail, which winds across Pawling, and other trails located in the Pawling Nature Preserve, and connections to The Oblong Trail Association equestrian and pedestrian trails. For more see Hiking & Recreation The O.L.C. is a member of the Land Trust Alliance, and we have adopted their recommended Standards and Practices for Land Trusts.

In addition, OLC actively networks and partners with other conservation organizations such as: We have established working relationships with the Town of Pawling, the Village of Pawling, and the Town of Dover. Our Board of Directors is made up of concerned area residents, your friends and neighbors.

The OLC Board of Directors

John Burweger - Director
An expert in commercial real estate and self employed, John has an active concern with land acquisition and conservation issues. He provides valuable insights into the real estate aspects of Oblong activities. John served as President of the Board of the Pawling Free Library.

Stancy DuHamel - Director
Establishing the Dutchess County Ducks Unlimited Chapter was just another step in Stancy’s tireless advocacy on behalf of conservation in the North Flow of the Great Swamp. As Co-Founder of Grow Smart Dover in 2008, Stancy solicited Public Comment from dozens of local and regional conservation organizations on the impacts of significant land use projects impacting this natural resource. It was for her ability to collaborate, and because of her interest in public-private partnerships, that the Oblong Land Conservancy recruited her for its board.

Jay Erickson - Director
Pawling resident Jay Erickson, a life-long environmentalist, is co-founder of the consulting firm Bootsoft and the real estate tool CoopSnoop. He brings his expertise in technology and the internet to help further Oblong's mission and is also a member of the locally-based Americana band Red Rooster, a board member of the Pawling Farmers Market and a member of the Town Planning Board of Pawling. With Jay's help we are looking closely at the role that technology plays in our ongoing activities.

Stephen C. Ewing - Director
Growing up under the tutelage of lifelong conservationist and environmentalist parents, Steve learned at a young age to appreciate, love, respect and preserve Nature. Since moving to Pawling in 2004, Steve has become an active board member of the Pawling Nature Preserve restoring over 15 acres of Preserve land from being overrun with invasive plant species and the Oblong Land Conservancy, where his fundraising skills honed from a career on Wall Street, are utilized. Steve is also a founding member of the Pawling Farmers Market, the founding member of a classic soul dance band, The Hot Damn Band, member of The American Legion, and a member of The Veterans of Foreign Wars.

William Garrett Foscato - Director
As a local businessman (landscape construction & design) and avid outdoorsman, Bill has a great interest in conservation. His background in business development and marketing can help Oblong meet the challenge of promoting our organization to the public. His outdoor interests extend to hiking and fishing, landscaping and plant materials and a particular interest in the use of water features in landscape design. Bill is also fond of music.

Sibyll M. Gilbert - Vice Chair
A strong background in conservation has made Sibyll a major player in the field, not only in Pawling but across Dutchess County. For many years she has served as a member and primary researcher for the Pawling Conservation Advisory Board. Her strong personal interests in birding, nature study, and formal training in landscape design and art contribute to her achievements.

Bart Louwagie – Director
In his 30 years of working with technology, Bart has been an out of the box thinker, driven to define clear goals and using empowerment to reach them. He has negotiated large deals by focusing on the mutual benefits of collaboration and loves using tools and techniques that create good group collaboration.

Amelie Rives Rennolds - Director
Ms. Rennolds has won prestigious awards for her residential architectural designs. Currently self employed, her design work has involved her with volunteer planning work for Pawling's Village Green.

Theresa Ryan - Co-Chair
A project manager for a civil engineering form, Theresa is a committed environmentalist. When not designing and managing projects she can be found in the field or in a kayak enjoying the sights and sounds of our natural world. Theresa brings a great deal of experience to Oblong in terms of past service on the Town of Dover Conservation Advisory Council and her professional career that spans just about every aspect of site planning including site design, erosion control, stormwater management, and regulatory agency approvals.

Brian Smith - Treasurer
Brian Smith is owner/president of Fairway Accounting, Inc. and an “enrolled agent,” authorized to practice before the Internal Revenue Service, with over twenty years of experience working in accounting and taxation services. A resident of Pawling since 2001 he currently is president of the Pawling Library Trustees and serves on the boards of Pawling Youth Development and the Quaker Hill Burial Ground Association. He is a member of the Pawling Rotary Association.

Louis Trombetta, PhD - Secretary
A professional toxicologist and member of the Society of Toxicology, Louis has engaged in extensive research in aquatic pollution. He is past president of the New York Entomological Society at the American Museum of Natural History, and his strong conservation interests are focused on land management, water and land pollution and environmental standards.

Philip van Buren – Director
Philip van Buren is a lawyer who specializes in land use and development related cases, representing small business and community interests. His experience includes eminent domain and Freedom of Information Law litigation and appeals, policy analysis of urban planning and economic development proposals, including economic development and neighborhood condition studies; environmental review comment and litigation, policy advocacy, small business building code, zoning, and environmental compliance and advocacy, and commercial landlord/tenant negotiation and litigation. He has participated in Clean Water Act regulatory revision and litigation and advocacy and litigation under the Historic Preservation Act, and for a short time worked under the commissioner at the DEP as liaison with environmental organizations in relation to New York City watershed regulation and planning.

Charles Werner - Director
Chuck's experience as a corporate banker, and in recent years as founder and partner of an institutional brokerage firm, brings financial expertise to Oblong. A Pawling Community activist, Mr. Werner is the owner of the local book store The Book Cove which is a landmark Pawling Village magnet.

Dorian Winslow - Director
Dorian has been a Pawling resident since 1993. Her company Womanswork makes gardening products sold worldwide. Dorian's background in marketing and her entrepreneurial drive and focus adds much needed skills to our efforts.

Christopher Wood - Co-Chair
Well versed in all aspects of real estate and development, Chris is an invaluable asset. He is also president of the Quaker Hill Civic Association, serves on the Board of Friends of the Great Swamp (as Director of Development), and is on the Board of Trustees of the Philosophy Day School in Manhattan, an independent children's day school where he serves as Treasurer.

Advisory Board:

Elizabeth Allen
Elizabeth Baker
Philip Bonnano, M.D.
F. Gordon Douglas
Constance (Stancy) DuHamel
James Earl Jones
David Rathbun


The Oblong Land Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in 1990 under Section 402 of the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law of New York. A copy of our latest annual financial report may be obtained by requesting in writing to this land trust, or to the Office of the Attorney General, Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271.