From the University Archives: Ashley Schiff Nature Preserve Turns 50

Stony Brook University recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Ashley Schiff Preserve. Some students know it as a scenic shortcut from the Main Campus to South Campus and back. Others use it as a “living laboratory” to study its geographical features and learn about its rich plant and animal life. For the whole community, it’s a place of enduring natural beauty. The 26-acre Ashley Schiff Preserve turns 50 this year and SBU has paid tribute to its past and underscored its importance for future generations.

The preserve was created by the university’s second president Dr. John S. Toll, along with former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, in honor of Ashley Schiff, a beloved SBU political science professor and environmental activist. Schiff, who died unexpectedly in 1969 at the age of 37, was known for his dedication to teaching and his efforts to improve the campus environment. In fact, he personally purchased shrubs and planted them with the help of his students to enhance the local landscape.

To learn more about the history of the preserve, read this recently published article and watch the short film below which features historical photographs from the University Archives.

Related site: Friends of the Ashley Schiff Preserve.

Stony Brook Celebrates as Ashley Schiff Nature Preserve Turns 50
Kristen Nyitray

Kristen Nyitray

Associate Librarian; Director, Special Collections and University Archives; and University Archivist at Stony Brook University Libraries
Contact her for research assistance with rare books, manuscript collections, historical maps, and SBU history. E-mail:
Kristen Nyitray
Posted in Ecology and Evolution, Geosciences, History, Special Collections & University Archives, Spotlight, Stony Brook University, Sustainability