Hochul opens Hempstead Lake State Park center with eye on climate change awareness

Newsday: Gov. Kathy Hochul opened an environmental education center Thursday at Hempstead Lake State Park, part of a $35 million project to make the Nassau park more resilient to the ravages of climate change. 

The new 8,000 square-foot Environmental Education and Resiliency Center will host classes designed to increase awareness of the warming planet and the growing frequency and strength of storms as a result.

Hochul said this summer’s storm season, in which hurricanes Henri and Ida lashed Long Island, in Ida’s case, as a tropical depression, are reminders that the region needs to be prepared for more intense and potentially damaging storms.

"We all take climate change seriously. It didn’t take Sandy nine years ago. On Long Island we were told Henri would have the same effects as Sandy, but literally days later we got walloped by Ida," Hochul told a room full of masked attendees at the $8.3 million center. "It was an eye opening experience that we’re still vulnerable to climate change and we have to act with that sense of urgency that we could have another hurricane every 10 days instead of every 100 to 500 years."

The center and the overall park project are funded through $125 million awarded to Long Island in 2016 by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Among the project’s aims are to prevent flooding at the park, strengthen the dam at Hempstead Lake and stop pollution from reaching the Western Bays on the South Shore. Read more>>