Little People Walk at the Kent Library

Little people are part of the folklore of many cultures around the world. Whether leprechauns, fairies, trolls or gnomes, stories of the teeny-tiny abound. Youngsters are invited to look for evidence of little people right here in Kent, as part of the Halloween Extravaganza at the Kent Public Library on Saturday, October 29 at 12:15. After a short walk in the forest, families are invited to construct their own fairy house using natural materials.

Photo of a house that little people in the woods might be living in
I wonder if they’re home. Photo: Beth Herr

The walk is sponsored by the Kent Conservation Advisory Committee. Local artist, Lisa Amejide, will share stories about her miniature haunted houses. Families with little children are welcome to this free program. Meet in front of the library.

Hike to Hawk Rock and the Mead Farm Ruins

Join members of the Kent CAC on Sunday, May 22, 2016 from 11am to 2pm for our annual hike to two of the Town of Kent’s most interesting landmarks. We’ll meet at the DEP parking area at the end of Whangtown Road.

If you haven’t been to Hawk Rock, you’re in for a treat. When the glaciers retreated northward at the end of the last ice age, they were carrying some really big rocks that sometimes ended up in odd positions when the ice melted. One of these so-called “erratics” is Hawk Rock. Local lore has it that long ago the Native Americans named it and used the site as a meeting place. It is certainly a believable story; the setting is beautiful and it’s one impressive rock.

Photo of Hawk Rock with Beth Herr standing in front of it
Hawk Rock. Photo: Dave Ehnebuske

The Mead Farm, like the rest of this hike, is on land that was originally part of the hunting grounds for the Nochpeem tribe of native Americans, a part of the Wappinger Confederacy. After passing through various people’s hands, sometime in the 1860s Moses F. Mead purchased the eastern part of the farm where the ruins are today. The site includes a number of interesting features, including the foundations of the house, the stone portions of a cow barn and one of the most beautiful corbelled stone chambers anywhere.

This is a moderate hike that takes three hours or so round trip including stops for lunch and to look around the farm site. If weather forces us to cancel or postpone the hike, we’ll let everyone who subscribes to our hikes list know by email and post the news here. For further information contact Dave Ehnebuske, or call him at 878-7592.

Wildflower Walk

Spring has sprung! All the wee little native spring flowers are reaching for the sun before trees’ leaves shade them. Join the CAC for a wildflower ramble at Clough Preserve in Patterson at 1pm this Sunday, April 17. Meet at the Brewster High School parking lot to car pool a short distance to the preserve.

Photo of purple trillium (Trillium erectum) and yellow trout lily (Erythronium americanum)

While it has been cool, and wildflowers slow to waken, the preserve offers an easy walk through hemlock forests, along a swamp, to Ice Pond. Ramblers will enjoy the return of bird song, frogs calling and other spring delights.

The forecast is for terrific weather for this walk, but you never know. If the weather suddenly turns rotten, we’ll post a message to the CAC website and an email alert to CAC hikes subscribers (click here to subscribe) by 11am the day of the hike. Or, if in doubt, call (845) 228-5635.

Valentine’s Day Hike for Nature Lovers

Sunday, February 14, 1pm
Lake Gleneida Trail

Sorry folks, this hike has been canceled due to the frigid weather!

Celebrate Valentine’s Day out in nature. Bring your sweetheart, bring a friend, or just bring yourself. Join the Kent Conservation Advisory Committee for a pleasant walk around this glacial lake right in the middle of Carmel. Meet at 1pm at the NYCDEP kiosk. Park along Route 301 near the historic courthouse.

It is extraordinarily beautiful right here where we live. Come join this excursion through the winter world and learn about old Carmel, too. Historian Judy Kelley-Moberg will share stories about the old houses around the lake, the cholera outbreak and other tidbits of history. Along the trail we’ll try doing a hug-a-tree with one of the biggest oak trees in our area!

Wear good hiking boots. A light snowfall would provide a canvas for animal tracks, but deep snow or an icy coating would postpone the hike with an alert on kentcac.info by 11am that day. Or call 228-5635 for the latest status. Co-sponsored with Friends of the Great Swamp.

Kent CAC New Year’s Day Hike

Friday January 1, 2016, 11am
Fred Dill Wildlife Sanctuary

Start the new year with nature and neighbors! Join members of the Kent Conservation Advisory Committee for their annual walk on the first day of January. Meet at 11am in the parking lot at Putnam Family and Community Services, 1808 Route 6 (map), to enter the preserve on the south end.

Photo of hikers on New Year's Day 2012
Hikers explore the Fred Dill Wildlife Sanctuary on New Year’s Day 2012
Photo: Dave Ehnebuske

It is extraordinarily beautiful right here in our own backyard, even in the midst of winter. Come join this excursion through the winter world and learn some history too. We will be walking over the old Putnam County Fairgrounds, by the railroad that never was, and under the “wolf” oak trees.

Wear warm clothes and good hiking shoes for a few rock scrambles, and bring water, too. A light snowfall would provide a canvas for animal tracks, but deep snow or an icy coating would postpone the hike with a posting to the CAC website and an email alert to CAC hikes subscribers (click here to subscribe) by 10am that day. Or, if in doubt, call 228-5635.

Walk Off the Turkey Hike

Hike with us to see Wonder Lake and burn off some calories.

The Kent CAC is sponsoring a hike to Wonder Lake on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Hikers will meet at 11 AM at the Wonder Lake State Park parking area (map) on Ludingtonville Road. The trail is easy-to-moderate and the hike will last about 3 hours, including a short break for lunch.

It’s late fall and hunting season, so wear warm, bright clothing. Because the trails will by covered in spots with slippery leaves, comfortable hiking boots are a must. Bring lunch and a beverage.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate, but if it turns miserable we’ll have to cancel the hike. In that case, I’ll send you an e-mail and post the news on the home page about an hour before the scheduled start. For further details contact hike leader David Ehnebuske by phone at 878-7592 or by e-mail.

Mount Nimham Fire Tower Festival and Fall Foliage Hike

Originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1940, and restored in 2005 by members of the Kent Conservation Advisory Committee and other volunteers, the Mount Nimham Fire Tower is one of the most-visited treasures in the Town of Kent.

On October 11, from 2-4pm, the Conversation Advisory Committee (CAC) and the Kent Conservation Foundation (KCF) will be hosting a festival at the fire tower to commemorate its restoration and celebrate its value to the community. Prior to the festival, those who want to participate in the CAC’s annual Fall Foliage Hike will meet at 11:30am in the parking area off Gipsy Trail Road (map) to take a guided walk through the woods to the fire tower. Since driving up the road to the top is prohibited, there will be shuttles running from the Gipsy Trail Road parking area beginning at 1pm.

If you’d like to volunteer to help with the event, please contact Beth Herr at 228-5635 or at herrszur@comcast.net by October 1 or sooner if possible. We’d really welcome your help.

Directions to the festival and other details will follow as the event grows closer. Hope to see you there!

First Annual Butterfly Count

Become a citizen scientist and join the Kent Conservation Advisory Committee (KCAC) for its first annual Butterfly Count on Saturday, July 18 from 10am to 2pm. The count will start at the Nimham Mountain State Forest parking area on Gipsy Trail Road. Those who join in on the count will actually be supporting the North American Butterfly Association’s (NABA) efforts while adding to Kent’s Natural Resource Inventory by finding as many butterflies as possible.

Okay, just what is a butterfly count? Well, it’s much the same as a bird count except participants search for and count butterflies at certain sites for a limited period of time. The annual reports are then compiled by the NABA and help determine the geographical distribution and relative population sizes of the species counted. By comparing results over a period of years, scientists and others can monitor changes in butterfly populations and study the effects of weather and habitat change on butterflies. The NABA and other interested organizations then develop plans to protect butterflies from extinction.

Photo of a giant swallowtail butterfly giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)

A giant enjoys a backyard snack. Photo: Beth Herr

Why butterflies? Because butterflies can actually represent just how well – or not – Mother Nature is doing. The NABA reports that butterflies quickly react to changes in their environment. A decline in butterfly populations should be treated as an early warning sign for additional wildlife loss. So counting butterflies is much like taking Mother Nature’s pulse.

Butterfly habitat, meadows where wild growing plants such as milkweed and violets, each contributors to a butterfly’s life cycle, have, in fact, declined. That and excessive use of pesticides are, according to NABA experts, two of the major threats to the butterfly population.

Participants will learn about the habits and habitats of these brilliant insects, visiting four different meadows by caravan. Hike leader and KCAC Chairwoman, Beth Herr, will compile the butterfly sightings and help participants look for butterfly eggs, caterpillars, and chrysalides. In addition to butterflies there are other summer delights which are likely to be found in the tall grass fields and forest edges.

“Counters” should be prepared to stand and watch for periods of time. Anyone wishing to bring a pair of close-focus binoculars may do so but a pair of eyes is actually quite sufficient. Participants should wear sturdy shoes and long pants. Please bring water and lunch, but leave the family dog at home for this outing. Children over six years are welcome.

Registration is required for the count so please contact Beth at (845) 228-5635. In case of rain – when butterflies wisely choose to stay under cover – the count will be postponed until Sunday, July 19, same time, same place. If that happens we’ll announce it on the home page and by email to hike announcement subscribers.

For further information on butterflies and butterfly counts, visit the NABA website.

Arts on the Lake Mount Nimham Hike

Saturday, June 13, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Using a variety of marked and unmarked trails, the leader will assemble a figure-8 hike of about 7 miles that includes the summit and climbable fire tower on Mount Nimham (views to the Catskills and Manhattan) along with other highlights (brooks, caves, abandoned homesteads and mines) of this multiple-use forest that is the center of central Kent.

Children are welcome and encouraged, if they can keep up. Appropriate footwear, a trail lunch and adequate water is necessary.

Hike Leader: James Shearwood, in partnership with naturalist Beth Herr, the Kent Conservation Advisory Committee and the Mohican Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club.

Registration: Register in advance at theatre@artsonthelake.org or (845) 228-2685. Participation is limited to what the woods can respectfully handle.

Meeting Place: DEC Parking Lot on Gypsy Trail Road, 2 miles north of the intersection with Route 301, on the right after passing the 4-H and County Parks.

Rain Date: Sunday, June 14, announced on the Arts on the Lake website by 9 am, if necessary.

Annual Hike to Hawk Rock and the Mead Farm Ruins

On Sunday, May 3, 2015 join members of the CAC from 11am to 2pm for our annual hike to two of the Town of Kent’s most interesting landmarks. We’ll meet at the DEP parking area at the end of Whangtown Road.

If you haven’t been to Hawk Rock, you’re in for a treat. When the glaciers retreated northward at the end of the last ice age, they were carrying some really big rocks that sometimes ended up in odd positions when the ice melted. One of these so called “erratics” is Hawk Rock. Local lore has it that long ago the Native Americans named it and used the site as a meeting place. It is certainly a believable story; the setting is beautiful and it’s one impressive rock. You can see a picture of it here.

The Mead Farm, like the rest of this hike, is on land that was originally part of the hunting grounds for the Nochpeem tribe of native Americans, a part of the Wappinger Confederacy. After passing through various people’s hands, sometime in the 1860s Moses F. Mead purchased the eastern part of the farm where the ruins are today. The site includes a number of interesting features, including the foundations of the house, the stone portions of a cow barn and one of the most beautiful corbelled stone chambers anywhere.

This is a moderate hike that takes three hours or so round trip including stops for lunch at Hawk Rock (don’t forget to pack yours!) and to look around the farm site. If weather forces us to cancel or postpone the hike, we’ll let everyone who subscribes to our hikes list know by e-mail and post the news here on the website. Call Beth at 228-5635 for more information.

Dave Ehnebuske