Notes from CAC Star Party Event

On September 24, 2022 we held our second Star Party astronomical event with the Mid-Hudson Astronomical Association (MHAA) at the Town of Kent Town Center. The MHAA folks were wonderful and we extend a BIG Thank-You to them for bringing their telescopes and knowledge. Without a doubt, the big highlight was the surprise viewing of a rocket lifting through the atmosphere in the Southern sky. We lucked out to catch a view of the SpaceX Falcon9 rocket lifting mission SL4-35, a Starlink mission installing 52 new Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit (about 550km above the surface of the Earth).

View of SpaceX Falcon9 rocket launch in the Southern sky

In addition to our surprise viewing of the SpaceX rocket launch, the MHAA team helped folks see such astronomical features as Jupiter (currently the brightest object in the sky), Saturn, Andromeda, and “E.T.”, an unnamed constellation that does look a bit like E.T. We had a great evening!

Program Notebook

Throughout the year individuals and families participate in a number of CAC-sponsored hikes and indoor programs. It’s terrific to get together with old friends, meet new ones and together enjoy our wonderful outdoors or learn about and discuss environmental issues. By browsing these notes on what happened at past CAC events we hope you’ll see what we mean!

If you haven’t joined us for a program yet, we hope to see you at one in the near future. If you were at one and would like to contribute a photo or your own notes on the program, we’d love to hear from you. Contact Dave Ehnebuske (

Mount Nimham Fire Tower Festival

On October 11, 2015, the CAC organized a festival at the top of Mount Nimham to mark the tenth anniversary of the restoration of the Mount Nimham Fire Tower. There to record the festivities was long-time friend Jeff Hodges who agreed to let the CAC host the documentary he produced. Thanks so much, Jeff. You really captured the spirit of the festival.

Many thanks to all the volunteers who have given and continue to give countless hours and much money to restore and maintain the tower for all of us to use. The festival would not have been possible without you!

Carmel Students Create Artistic Panels for Historic Kent Fire Tower


Carmel Students Create Artistic Panels for Historic Kent Fire Tower

Members of the GFMS Go Green Club arrive at Mount Nimham fire tower with CAC Chair Beth Herr

Members of the GFMS Go Green Club arrive at Mount Nimham fire tower with CAC Chair Beth Herr — Photo by Marty Collins

Members of Carmel’s George Fischer Middle School Go Green Club accepted a challenge by the Kent Conservation Advisory Committee to create four painted murals to replace the cab walls atop the historic 85-foot Mt. Nimham Fire Tower.  The fire tower was built in 1940 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It is the tallest fire tower still in existence in New York State.

Members of GFMS Go Green Club show off two of the four murals they painted for the Mount Nimham fire tower's cabin

Members of GFMS Go Green Club show off two of the four murals they painted for the Mount Nimham fire tower’s cabin — Photo by Marty Collins

The panels, each depicting a separate season of the year and featuring local flora and fauna, have been given protective coats of varnish and will have acrylic sheets attached to protect them from vandals who regularly cover the tower interior with graffiti. Before the colorful panels are installed, however, they will be presented to the Kent Town Board during the June 25 meeting in the Kent Town Hall.

A representative from Assemblywoman Sandy Galef’s office was present and presented the young artists with a Proclamation citing their hard work declaring the artwork, “Outstanding.”

GFMS Go Green Club receive a proclamation from Assemblywoman Sandy Galef

GFMS Go Green Club receive a proclamation from Assemblywoman Sandy Galef — Photo by Marty Collins

KCAC Chiarwoman Beth Herr advertised the project in local newspapers. GFMS art teachers Amanda O’Shaughnessy and Jayne Chiappone responded and supervised the club’s 25-week long project which ran from October 2012 through May 2013. The KCAC has been charged with the care of the fire tower and its grounds and will initiate fundraising efforts to have the fire tower repainted and restored.

Fall Foliage Hike 2012


Fall Foliage Hike 2012

For many years now, the CAC has held a fall foliage hike to the restored fire tower at the top of Mount Nimham. We try to aim for mid-October when the leaves are at their peak of color, and the woods smell like fall in the northeast. This year 17 people enjoyed the hike from the DEC parking area on Gypsy Trail Road to the Mount Nimham fire tower and back. Here we are preparing to cross a small stream using a newly installed bridge along the trail.

Hikers prepare to cross a footbridge

As you can see we had a terrific hike in what turned out to be perfect fall weather. When we got to the top, we all had lunch at the base of the tower then climbed to the top and had a look around. George Baum gave a short talk about the history of the area and of the fire tower.

On the way down, we split into several different groups. Some hiked down Nimham Court, some explored new trails, and some returned the way we came along the well marked trail. Those that went that way got to watch hike leader Dave Ehnebuske step off the small dam in the creek at the bottom and into knee-deep nice cool water! Luckily for Dave it was at the very end of the hike, not at the beginning.

New Year’s Day Hike 2012


New Year’s Day Hike 2012

The 4th Annual New Year’s Day Hike broke records: 47 people walked the trails at the Dill Preserve with January temperatures above 50 degrees! Many attendees had never walked in the park before, and all agreed it is a remarkable place: a sanctuary of nature and quiet nestled right in the center of the Carmel hamlet.

After an introduction by bodger Ralph Szur, who shared tools and toys made from a variety of woods, the group set off with intention to find and learn at least five trees. Black birch, American beech, black oak, shagbark hickory, and tulip trees were seen throughout the forest, with stops to admire an American elm, the wolf white oaks, and the sinewy ironwood trees.

Hikers listen to hike leader Beth Herr

While nature study was the focus, history was clearly evident in the remains of the old fair grounds’ race track and the foundations of a rail bed. Nearby meadows with barns visible through the trees, and the criss-crossing stone walls spoke of a rich farming tradition.

Led by Beth Herr, with Dave Ehnebuske as sweep, hikers traversed the length of the park to where the new bike trail was visible. Two small loops of additional trails were enticing, one leading to a pond, the other to a wetland. But most of the group turned back to complete the circle. Many said they would return to investigate.

It was a lovely hike. Most of the damage from last autumn’s storms had been cleared from the trails, the sun shone brightly on ice-free paths, and hikers enjoyed two hours walking with friends and neighbors. It was a wonderful way to start 2012.