Once the lawsuit was filed, the LIPBS began a remarkable campaign to enhance the environmental awareness and knowledge of Long Islanders. The public and government leaders of Long Island, in general, and of Suffolk County, in particular, had supported many environmental initiatives in the past: the banning of phosphate-laden detergents, farmlands preservation, and
directing a portion of sales tax revenues to protect drinking water
supplies. However, the notion of preserving of an entire ecosystem was not a consideration for most. Housing developments, shopping malls and other commercial projects were being proposed and approved in a piecemeal process, with little regard for the cumulative environmental impact of such projects.
Through community meetings, informational mailings and extensive media attention, the LIPBS informed Long Islanders about their drinking water supply, habitats and the Pine Barrens. The role of the Pine Barrens in maintaining the drinking water supply and the diversity of species that reside there drew interest from the public.
In but a few short years, the membership of the LIPBS increased from 50-80 to over 5,000! What was more astounding was that many of these members volunteered their time and effort to lead meetings, prepare print materials and help to effect political change. Along with members of other local environmental groups, they attended Town Board and County Legislative meetings, gathered signatures on petitions, contributed funds to support the numerous legal proceedings required and wrote and phoned their local and state representatives. A true grassroots effort!