Garden Symposium: Preserving Our Open Spaces

May 26, 2022 | 10:30am - 2:30pm EDT

The Carriage Room at Pocantico

Tickets: $55 (includes lunch)

The 2022 Garden Symposium will examine the preservation of two extraordinary open spaces: Greenacre Park and Rockefeller State Park Preserve.

Gail Caulkins, president of Greenacre Foundation, and Lois Cremmins, executive director, will discuss Midtown Manhattan’s Greenacre Park and their work on the Fight for Light campaign, which advocates citywide to mandate sunlight preservation in urban development. Greenacre Foundation, founded by Abby Rockefeller Mauzé, conceived and developed the Park and continues to own and maintain it today. Designed by Hideo Sasaki and opened in 1971, the Park is on the National Register of Historic Places and has received several awards for its exceptional concept and design, as well as for its distinctive contributions to contemporary Manhattan life.

Peter Iskenderian, park manager at Rockefeller State Park Preserve, and Kim Fendrich, environmental educator and event coordinator, will discuss the immersive work of maintaining and protecting the Preserve’s historic carriage road system, battling the invasive species that threaten forests, creating inclusive and accessible public programming, and the dedication needed to protect this special place for generations to come. The Preserve encompasses the former Pocantico Hills and Rockwood Hall country estates of John D. and William Rockefeller thirty miles north of Manhattan. Managed by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, the Preserve is open to the public year-round, sunrise to sunset.

Coffee and pastries will be served upon arrival, and a boxed lunch will be provided following the first presentation. Weather permitting, an optional garden walk will conclude the Symposium.


All tickets must be purchased in advance online. ALL TICKET HOLDERS must show proof of vaccination and wear masks in all indoor spaces at The Pocantico Center. Proof of vaccination and a valid picture ID must be presented upon check-in.


Lois Cremmins

Executive Director, Greenacre Foundation

Lois Cremmins is the executive director of Greenacre Foundation. She has spent over two decades in the NYC horticulture world. After beginning her career as a florist, Ms. Cremmins translated her love for plants and flowers into a corporate plant and floral service firm. Upon the successful sale of her business, she transitioned to landscape firm management. Ms. Cremmins holds degrees in both landscape design and maintenance and visual art and is a professional exhibiting artist.  


Gail O’Neill Caulkins

President, Greenacre Foundation

Gail O’Neill Caulkins is president of the Greenacre Foundation and the granddaughter of Abby Rockefeller Mauzé, who built Greenacre Park as a gift to the city of New York. Gail joined the board of Greenacre Foundation in 1993 and succeeded her mother, Abby M. O’Neill, as its president in 1997. Earlier in her career, she worked in video postproduction editing and telecommunications. Her past board service has included the Rockefeller Family Fund, Hampshire College, and the Community Foundation of Oyster Bay. 


Peter Iskenderian

Park Manager, Rockefeller State Park Preserve

Peter Iskenderian has been park manager of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve since 2019, and  has held positions within New York State Parks for 23 years, having worked at Tallman Mountain State Park, the Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park, Moreau Lake State Park, and Grant Cottage State Historic Site. Peter holds an A.A.S. in parks and recreation management from the State University of New York at Delhi and a B.A. in recreation and leisure studies from California State University at Long Beach.  


Kim Fendrich

Environmental Educator and Event Coordinator, Rockefeller State Park Preserve

Kim Fendrich is an environmental educator and event coordinator at Rockefeller State Park Preserve. Kim has a M.S. in geosciences from the University of Arizona with a concentration in mineralogy and a B.S. in geology from SUNY New Paltz. Prior to joining the Preserve, Kim was at the American Museum of Natural History studying meteorites and comets. During graduate school, she worked for NASA, instructing the actions of the Mars Curiosity rover’s onboard “CheMin” X-ray diffraction instrument while conducting independent research and teaching undergraduate mineralogy lab classes.