The Alley Pond Environmental Center (APEC) is a non-profit environmental awareness and education institution that is dedicated to teaching adults and children in the New York urban area. It is an organization that aims to protect and preserve the Alley Pond Park, its open spaces and water bodies, and advocate for sustainable environmental practices and protection.
Alley Pond Park is the home of the Douglaston Estate Windmill, an emblem of its agricultural heritage. The original windmill was constructed around 1870 on the Douglaston Peninsula. It was used to pump up water to the agricultural fields and farms in the community. At the end of the century, farmland was replaced by homes and the windmill was turned into a two-room abode for a while.
In 1985, the location where the windmill stood was sold and a Committee to Save the Windmill was established by local folks who triumphed in moving it to a place just west of APEC?s building. Unfortunately, it was razed to the ground in a violent act of arson.
The committee built a new water-pumping replica in its place, and now APEC has a well-functioning windmill hoisting fresh water from the ground to the surface. The water is used for resource management and in projects that are meant to improve park development. The Douglaston Windmill is now an urban landmark.
The center is a treasure throve of natural habitat in the middle of Northeastern Queens. APEC is snuggled within Alley Pond Park, where over 635 acres of ponds, fresh and salt water marsh forests, and meadows are home to more than 300 species of birds and other land and aquatic wildlife. Visitors can walk its forest trails and wetlands, see lush flora and fauna, feel its tranquil ambience, and savor its changing seasons even in a bustling metropolitan landscape.
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has started plans to constructs a new building for APEC. It will include electrical systems, cooling, efficient heating and other amenities to enhance its visitors? experience and enable the center to host more events each year.
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