The Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Institute of Ecosystem Studies 
181 Sharon Turnpike (Route 44A)                      
Millbrook, NY 12545 

Hours: Open April 1 - October 31; Monday - Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Greenhouse: every day year round 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Administrative Offices: Plant Science Building:
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays

Gifford House: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays 

Phone: 845-677-5343


Historical Description:                                                                            

“Mary Flagler, beneficiary of part of the Standard Oil fortune, and her husband Melbert Cary sought respite from New York City at their Millbrook country home. What began as a single estate grew into over 778 hectares (1,924 aces) as the couple purchased 14 farms and properties surrounding the Cannoo Hills west of the village. Following her death in 1967, Mary Flagler Cary left her Millbrook estate to a trust. The Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust was formed to ensure the maintenance and preservation of her property and to foster ‘...scientific ...educational purposes," by a charitable organization "...engaged in the conservation, maintenance, and preservation of natural resources...’ In 1993, the Institute became a fully independent notfor-profit organization. Over the course of a decade the Institute had gained international recognition as a leader in ecological studies, boasting state-of-the-art laboratories, a scientific staff of more than 20 Ph.D. scientists, and a strong education program. This places it among the largest centers of ecological research in the world.”


The Site:                                                                                                  

“The Institute of Ecosystem Studies is dedicated to the creation, dissemination and application of knowledge about ecosystems. Toward this end, many of the Institute's 778 hectares (1,924 acres) have been set aside for scientific research. Specific trails and roads have been designated for visitors, and IES grounds provide visitors with a unique opportunity to connect with nature and view local wildlife. Attractions include: hiking trails, the Gifford Garden, the Fern Glen, the Greenhouse, and public programs for all ages and levels of interest.”


Approaching from the New York City or Albany areas: 

Pick up the Taconic Parkway and get off at the Poughkeepsie/Millbrook/Route 44 exit (the Taconic doesn’t have exit numbers). Travel east on Route 44 for 2 miles and turn left on Sharon Turnpike (Route 44A). Follow Sharon Turnpike (Route 44A) for one mile to the Gifford House, which is the second drive on the left.

Approaching from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. or parts west:

Follow Route 44 east. When you pass under the Taconic Parkway, check your mileage. Continue for 2 more miles and turn left on Sharon Turnpike (Route 44A). Follow Sharon Turnpike (Route 44A) for one mile to the Gifford House Visitor, which is the second drive on the left.

Approaching from Route 22 north: 

Traveling south on Route 22, pick up Route 44 at the traffic light in Millerton, N.Y., where Route 22 and Route 44 merge. Follow Route 22/44 until the traffic light in Amenia, then turn right onto Route 44. Drive in a southwesterly direction on Route 44 until the road makes a 90-degree turn to the left, toward the Village of Millbrook. At that point (Gilbyrne Garden Shop and Nursery is on the left and a castle-like structure is on the right), continue straight onto Sharon Turnpike (Route 44A) and follow it for 2.1 miles.

The Gifford House is on the right. If you reach Route 44 again, you’ve gone too far.

For more directions please visit the website.