Protecting and Preserving Parkland

Parkland Donated by Donald Trump

“Through our research we learned that many animal species either exclusively live in the area or stop there on their migratory routes. Without this piece of property, several species could very well have been wiped out.” — Carmine Gaudio ‘08

View Gaudio’s PDF of Donald Trump State Park at French Hill

How does a piece of land originally destined to become another Trump golf course end up being the focus of an independent project for a Dyson environmental studies major? It’s easy. Thanks to Pace alumnus and New York State Parks naturalist, Marty McGuire ‘06, and director of the Pace University Environmental Center, Angelo Spillo, Carmine Gaudio ‘08 was connected to an environmental review of the 153-acre donation this spring.

According to McGuire, “Angelo Spillo and I met last summer to discuss the possibility of a partnership between Pace and Parks where Pace students would work alongside Parks staff to get their feet wet. Carmine was the first student to work with us, and we hope to work with more Pace students in the future.”

Protecting the wildlife
Once the parkland was donated to the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), McGuire, who is an assistant to the director of natural resource protection there, was assigned to assess the land for use that would not disturb the wildlife. Under McGuire’s guidance, Gaudio inventoried and assessed the flora, fauna and ecological communities of the newly acquired property, which was the focus of his independent environmental studies research project. As Gaudio points out, “By having this land designated as a park, we were able to save 153 acres of plants and animals, which otherwise would have been completely wiped out. Through our research we learned that many animal species either exclusively live in the area or stop there on their migratory routes. Without this piece of property, several species could very well have been wiped out.”

Internships with true meaning: sustaining the environment
“The experience of working with someone in my field gave me a whole different set of information that I could never learn sitting in a classroom. And because Marty McGuire is a Pace alumnus, it made the experience more comfortable,” Gaudio reveals. As McGuire says, “Knowing what exists on a parcel adds to its proper management. Sustainability is the goal.”

Gaudio sees a future career path in environmental protection. “This project definitely opened my eyes to several jobs in land use and conservation that I might be interested in. It has even got me thinking about graduate school to continue learning about these topics.”

How will the parkland be used?
McGuire explains. “A trail system will be developed so that hikers can enjoy the park without the destruction of habitat essential to the survival of birds, animals and plants native to this area.” Located in Yorktown, New York, the newly named Donald Trump State Park at French Hill, which holds 20 acres of wetlands, was originally a farm.

Learn about the Environmental Studies program

Read more about the Pace University Environmental Center