A new era of restoration, research, and education in the Forest began in 2008 with the development of the Thain Family Forest Program. The first goal of this program is to improve forest health through active management informed by research. Forest staff, interns, and volunteers conduct a forest inventory every five years that provides data to prioritize invasive plant species to manage and areas of the Forest that require immediate attention.
Management of invasive plant species is carried out by staff with the help of thousands of volunteers including corporate and community groups. Areas managed are then planted with native plants grown from seed collected in the Forest. Since 2008, thousands of native trees, shrubs, and herbs have been planted within the 50-acre Thain Family Forest. This management strategy has been successful, having changed the future of the Forest that is now dominated by populations of native plants improving habitat and benefiting all who visit to enjoy and learn about northeastern forests.
Forest staff participate in local, regional, and international organizations to share experiences and expertise in ecological restoration and to work together to broaden the impact of improving ecosystems through successful management. These organizations include:
- Lower Hudson Partnership for Invasive Species Management (LHPRISM)
- Ecological Restoration Alliance of Botanic Gardens (ERABG)
- New York City Restoration Practitioners
- Society for Ecological Restoration
- Ecological Landscape Alliance
- Natural Areas Conservancy
- Environmental Monitoring and Management Alliance of the Hudson Valley