Westmoreland Sanctuary was established in 1958 as a not-for-profit nature center and wildlife preserve with the mission to "acquire, establish and maintain for the free use, enjoyment and appreciation of the public. . . tracts of land, including woodland and streams, as a nature sanctuary . . . to promote nature appreciation, preservation and conservation generally, for the present and future benefit and enjoyment of the public." Today the Sanctuary maintains 640 unspoiled acres offering 7.5 miles of hiking trails that lead approximately 5,000 visitors annually past rocky cliffs, streams, ponds and fields.
Westmoreland offers a variety of environmental education, conservation and recreational programs and events serving over 10,000 students of all ages every year. Educational programs are offered to schools to meet curriculum requirements, to scout groups to meet rank advancement, and to organizations and the general public to promote greater awareness of the natural world.
Westmoreland’s conservation programs center on the complex array of ecosystem and habitat types in our preserve supporting an abundance of wildlife species. Programs such as Bird Banding, Eastern Bluebird Nest Box Management, Aquatic and Terrestrial Amphibian Surveys, and Christmas & Summer Bird Counts not only serve conservation goals but are shared with the public to increase their understanding of the environment.
A reconstructed 200 year-old building--formerly a Presbyterian Church in Bedford Village--now serves as the Sanctuary’s Nature Center and Museum, containing exhibits on the flora and fauna of Westchester County, a bird observation area, and an auditorium for public programs. As part of a multi-phase renovation plan, new enclosures providing the Sanctuary’s live animals with more natural environments, a Nature Lab with a beehive display, Invertebrate Investigation area, and an interactive Site Model have recently been installed. Plans are in the works for expanded and revised programming areas both within and outside the building, improved parking, landscaping and access. The Nature Center is open to the public from 9 to 5 Monday to Saturday and 10:30 to 5 on Sundays; trails are open every day dawn to dusk.