Make that the Paul Stoutenburgh Preserve

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | Town Supervisor Scott Russell presented Barbara Stoutenburgh with a plaque during the ceremony.

In honor of a lifelong commitment to environmental conservation, the 120-acre Arshamomaque Pond Preserve in Southold was officially re-named the Paul Stoutenburgh Preserve Thursday.

In room full of friends and elected officials, Mr. Stoutenburgh’s family received a plaque immortalizing Mr. Stoutenburgh’s dedication to the environment. Mr. Stoutenburgh, 91, was unable to attend.

“He taught me to appreciate nature and to give back to a community,” Mr. Stoutenburgh’s grandson, also named Paul Stoutenburgh, said. “This preserve means a lot to all of us.”

Mr. Stoutenburgh, a Cutchogue resident, wrote the popular weekly column “Focus on Nature” for The Suffolk Times for 50 years. A dedicated public servant, he served three terms as a Southold Town Trustee, including one year as board president, and four years as a town councilman championing environmental causes.

“He helped changed the culture of the town,” County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) said. “He really had a vision of the town going into the future.”

Mr. Stoutenburgh and his wife, Barbara, are largely responsible for getting Southold Town to adopt its first wetlands code and preventing development of the type that has taken over much of Long Island. In 2011, the couple was named The Suffolk Times People of the Year for their efforts.

During the ceremony Barbara Stoutenburgh spoke about the man behind the causes and read aloud one of her husband’s poems entitled “Looking Back.”

“I know where the largest rock on the island lies and how the warm sandy beach was formed,” he wrote. “I have seen the wonders of a boy and a girl and then another boy… and so with it that a sense of place was found and I a part of it.”