Mattituck resident Lynn Summers remembers a time when few osprey came back to nest on the North Fork.
“Back in the ‘70s, osprey were pretty much extinct,” she said. “But look at what we’ve done since then."
Summers, a lifelong educator who has worked in many capacities for the , and Riverhead school districts, says she is running for Southold Town Trustee because she wants to continue the legacy of local environmentalists such as Howard Meineke, , Peggy Dickerson, and Frank Kioski, advocates who helped build several osprey platforms across the North Fork with the intention of making the majestic birds feel comfortable.
“All of these people have had a great effect on me over the years,” Summers said. “It’s a very different world now, but I hope to follow in their footsteps.”
A native of Philadelphia, Summers, 65, moved to Mattituck in 1970 with her husband, George, who is the longtime pastor at Mattituck’s With special qualifications in early childhood education, marketing and art, she’s taught nursery school through college levels.
A, Summers is a self-described “people helper,” descended from a long line of doctors, lawyers, firemen and teachers. She said she helped wine country pioneer Louisa Hargrave pick one of the first crops of merlot grapes grown on Long Island in 1975 and worked as a tasting room assistant at for 11 years.
“It’s a wonderful local industry,” she said of the wineries.
Summers spent 13 months in 2002 and 2003 to save in Mattituck from potential stagnation caused by the threat of private development near the fragile, spring-fed lake, a tucked-away nature preserve enjoyed during the winter by ice skaters.
“It’s a shame that not everyone thinks of the environment — but oftentimes it comes down to private property owners versus the environment,” she said. “Yes, we need to uphold property rights, but we also should not jeopardize our neighbors, friends and our children’s futures by doing things like super-hardening shorelines.”
If elected as trustee, Summers said she will see to it that people will be able to walk the beaches of the North Fork without worry of restrictive fences. She will advocate that certain types of fertilizer should be restricted because of harmful chemicals that can wash into the water.
Summers also believes that it’s good to have a Democratic woman’s point of view on the table.
“If moves up to Council, then it’ll be a boys club,” she said of the Trustees. “I’ve never been ashamed of what I am. It’s about time women bring some sensibility to these things. And as far as I know, we still are a two-party system out here.”