The team at Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve welcomed Tom and Mitch Stokes, the sons of Barbara Hoyt Stokes, as they delivered fieldstones adorned with memorial plaques, honoring the legacies of their Mother, Barbara Hoyt Stokes and Aunt, Rosalie Chase Hoyt. On June 1st of this year, Tom and Mitch Stokes drove from Massachusetts towing a utility trailer which contained large fieldstones, embedded with bronze plaques to pay homage to their Mother and Aunt.
“We are incredibly grateful to Tom and Mitch Stokes for their generosity, keeping the memory of their mother and aunt alive and for remaining involved in the Nature Preserve's mission. Hoyt Farm is a wonderful refuge to build memories with family, to learn about our history, our natural habitat, and the creatures we share our home with. Having the blessings of the Hoyt Family and witnessing their appreciation for the good work that the Nature Preserve team does daily there means the world to the Town of Smithtown. We look forward to keeping our promise to the Hoyts, and future family generations for years to come.” - Supervisor Ed Wehrheim
The stones were installed by Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve’s staff; Director Jeff Gumin, Park Interpretive Specialist at Hoyt Farm Sheryl Brook, Kate Murphy and Dominick Guadio. Stones were installed in the memorial garden for Barbara that is next to the nature museum.
“Installing the plaques with the staff was a memorable experience for Mitch and me. The creation of the Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve and the way its mission has been carried out over the years has inspired my life-long work as an environmental advocate. I have always appreciated the town’s commitment to the preservation of this unique place and the dedication, inspiration and leadership of the staff, especially that of the current crew. Along with our siblings and our St. John and Hoyt cousins, we thank Jeff, Sheryl, Kate and Dominick for their ongoing stewardship of Hoyt Farm.” - Tom Stokes
Barbara and Rosalie grew up on Hoyt Farm with their siblings Nancy Hoyt St. John and Edwin C. Hoyt Jr. Their parents Edwin C. Hoyt Sr. and Maria Louisa Hoyt purchased the Farm in 1910 and operated it as a commercial orchard through WWII and later, on a more modest scale, through the 1950s.
“The Hoyt Family created a vision for this park many years ago and we take great pride in fulfilling it. Hoyt Farm is a special gem tucked in-between big highways and suburban homes. To be able to nurture wildlife, educate the public, and promote conservation efforts in such a busy world is a dream for us all. We are truly honored to be the caretakers of Hoyt Farm and to be able to carry on the legacy of the Hoyt Family.” - Park Director Jeff Gumin & Park Interpretive Specialist at Hoyt Farm Sheryl Brook (on behalf of the Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve Team)
The inscriptions on the plaques read: “In memory of Barbara Hoyt Stokes, 1912-1965. An artist and lifelong student of nature, she loved these woods and sought to protect them.” and “In memory of Rosalie Chase Hoyt, 1914-2006, Physicist, Teacher, Environmentalist.”
“The family is especially grateful to the Farm staff for their dedication to educating and inspiring a love of nature in the next generation.” - Mitch Stokes
A Brief History of the Hoyt Family Farm: The Town of Smithtown purchased the property in 1965 from Maria Hoyt, and the 133 acres of land developed into Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve. Prior to the Town’s acquisition of the preserve, Edwin C. Hoyt purchased the home in 1910 from Willard Wicks. The Hoyt family had a successful apple and peach tree orchard, on approximately 350 acres known as Crooked Hill Farm. The Hoyt’s apples and peaches were sold across the Island and the Boroughs of New York, from the Bronx to the Hamptons. Today, the Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve Team, led by Jeff Gumin, maintains the remaining 24 apple trees on the Town’s property, without the use of pesticides on any of the vegetation in the park.
Today, the team at Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve works to keep the Hoyt Family legacy alive and well with various educational programs, events, concerts, and historic tours of the Hoyt House and grounds. Educational programs range from marine, wildlife and indigenous plant life on Long Island, to Native American artifacts, and maple sugaring classes. Additionally, the preserve boasts beautiful nature trails, pollinator gardens, mature oak forests, pastures, ponds, the picnic grounds, playground and pavilion, and is home to historic buildings and monuments such as two World War I cannons, formerly located at Town Hall, the Hoyt House and the Water Tower, which was recently restored by the Cosentino Family in honor of local Veteran, Smithtown Resident and Builder John Baker.
Hoyt Farm is located at 200 New Hwy in Commack, NY. For questions about educational programs and events at Hoyt Farm, call: (631) 543-7804.