Dr. Ashley Schiff, was a dedicated and popular Associate Professor of Political Science and avowed naturalist in the early days of Stony Brook University. In the early fall of 1969, he died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 37, leaving behind a wife and young family. In 1970 a 26 acre woodland, lined with oak and maple trees, often walked by Prof. Schiff and his students was set aside to honor him. This Nature Preserve was dedicated in his memory by the former U.S. Interior Secretary Stewart Udall and SUNY Stony Brook President John S. Toll.
A rich variety of plants and animals can be found in the forest, among them the Red Maple (Acer rubrum), White Oak (Quercus alba) and Sassafras (Sassafras albidum). A number of these plants are vulnerable native species under threat from development in many parts of the state. Animals such as garter snakes, Virginia opossums, and box turtles are known to live there.
More information on Dr. Schiff, as well as the creation of the preserve can be found in the history page. Newspaper articles, legal documents maps and photographs of the preserve can all be found in the documents page.
The preserve is located in the southern campus between Roth Quad and the Marine Science Research Center. It can be easily accessed entered through pathways located across South Loop road from Roth Quad and just north of Nassau Hall near the Marine Sciences Research Center.
It is a great place to walk, especially after a snowfall. A science walk written by Walter Gurzynski and Reid Solomon for the Earth Science Research Project is available for anyone interested in seeing this little slice of wilderness. Additional information on the plant and animal life as well as the area's geology can be found on the nature page.
A variety of university courses make use of the preserve as a part of their curriculum. For example, it is used in "Introduction to Forest Ecology" and "Fundamentals of Biology: Organisms to Ecosystems" for laboratory exercises involving ecology and tree identification. Further details can be found in the uses page.
Link to an article by Dorothy Schiff Shannon about the importance of the Ashley Schiff Park Preserve -- Forever Wild
Site design and construction by Kevin Bilyk; with thanks to Drs. Gilbert Hanson and Malcolm Bowman