Today was Orientation Day for new 1L Pace Law School students interested in our environmental program. As part of the event students could go on a field trip. I accompanied my colleague Nick Robinson and students to the Jay Heritage Center and the Marshlands Conservancy.

Pace Law faculty were instrumental in the legal and political battles to save the Jay property from development into condos. Today, with Nick leading the trip, we used the property as a teaching case study for how to protect both natural and cultural heritage: the pre-historic American Indian site; the early colonial New York State history and war of independence; the slave and African-American heritage history (it is designated on the County’s African-American Heritage trail also for being the home of the Jay family that for generations campaigned to end slavery in New York); and the birthplace and burial site for America’s first Chief Justice and an early Governor of New York, John Jay; as well as the architectural heritage of the buildings and grounds covering 200 years of family life. Over the years, Pace students have done research to help with the protection and restoration of the site. It includes the oldest cleared and mowed field from Long Island Sound to the Boston Post Road, with a unique ecology ~3000 years old, and the woodlands and salt marsh of the Marshlands Conservancy, which is a County nature park the stabilizes that last small forest system along the Westchester coast. It is also a laboratory for studying adaptation to climate change (the Peter Jay house has geo-thermal heating and cooling).