The mission of the Sanctuary, as stated in the By-Laws, is "to preserve or to aid in the preservation of all types of wild nature, including natural areas, flora and fauna, and biotic communities; to establish nature reserves to be used for scientific, educational, and aesthetic purposes; to promote education in the fields of nature preservation and conservation."
North Shore Wildlife Sanctuary was originally founded as a preserve in the Village of Mill Neck in 1929. It was a pioneering effort by local landowners to set aside land in Mill Neck to protect the native wildlife. The original Warden, Robert Ford, summarized the objectives and activities of the enterprise along with his observations in his initial report to the Trustees. The words written by Robert Ford in 1932 are both prescient in their observations and informative in their knowledge. Even though the current threats to the wildlife and the environment are different, his insights are certainly applicable today ("Warden report 1932").
The Great Depression caused the project to be neglected until a curious chain of circumstances led to its resurrection. A new resident had purchased a piece of property on Frost Mill Road in 1960 and, during the course of some interior renovations, he found a map attached to a door which appeared to define a "Bird and Game Refuge in and about the Village of Mill Neck" ("Original Sanctuary 1930"). No one had told him about any "refuge" … not the seller, not the real estate broker, not any of the other local residents. Bob Deans took the map to his neighbor, Bill Dunn, who was the Mayor of Mill Neck at the time. They got together with another friend, Len Marshall, and did some additional research which inspired them to resurrect this "refuge". They retained the local law firm of Humes and Wagner where several residents of Mill Neck were partners and formed the "North Shore Bird and Game Sanctuary" in 1963. A Board of Directors was solicited and Robert Hornosky was retained as a Warden. In 1968, the organization was formally renamed as "North Shore Wildlife Sanctuary, Inc.". It was registered as a tax exempt organization under Regulation 501(c)-3 and began taking donations of land and capital to ensure its survival.
Since its re-establishment in 1963, the Sanctuary has benefitted from the generosity of residents and neighbors who have donated land, capital, and time with the result that the organization now owns 13 properties closely centered around the communities of Mill Neck and Lattingtown. The properties include a wide variety of habitats such as lakes, salt marshes, swamps, open meadows, and forests.