Night of the Fireflies

Saturday June 23, 8:00 – 9:30 PM
Kent Town Center

Join members of the Kent Conservation Advisory Committee for a mid-summer’s eve stroll around the grounds of our own Town Center in search of fireflies and other seasonal wonders. After sunset fades and evening bird songs silence, citizen scientists will look for some of eight possible species of lightning bugs that can be found in Kent and discover how to read their signals. Learn how fireflies make light, their unusual life history, and where to find glow worms, while KCAC members add to their Natural Resource Inventory.

Firefly composite

Participants will meet in the parking lot, families, but not pets, are welcome. Wear long pants and bring a jar to closely examine summer insects. Cloudy humid weather is okay for fireflies, but heavy rain cancels. Call 845-228-5635 for more details.

Woodcocks at Moonrise

Saturday, March 31, 7:30 PM
Great Swamp Wildlife Management Area
Cornwall Hill Road in Patterson

Drawing of an American woodcock sitting on an oak leaf

For a natural history enthusiast, nothing beats the thrill of witnessing the bizarre, intricate and impressive mating flight of the American woodcock. Join Kent Conservation Advisory Committee naturalists for a gentle walk to the singing grounds of this small game bird while the full Grass (and Blue) Moon rise over the meadows.

Come learn about the woodcocks’ extraordinary behavior, how to identify the sounds of this amazing bird, and to help map its locations in the town of Kent. Spend twilight on a spring evening overlooking Pine Island and the Great Swamp at the Great Swamp Wildlife Management Area on Cornwall Hill Road in Patterson. (See map.) Call Beth at (845) 228-5635 to register.

Wear warm clothes and good hiking shoes. Very cold weather or snow would postpone the walk because the woodcock don’t fly when it’s too cold. If this happens, we’ll post a message to the CAC website and an email alert to CAC hikes subscribers (click here to subscribe) by 4 PM the day of the hike. Or, if in doubt, call (845) 228-5635.

Hike to Hawk Rock and
the Mead Farm Ruins

On Sunday, May 21, 2017, 11am join members of the Kent CAC for the annual hike to one of the town’s most interesting landmarks. We’ll meet at the DEP parking area at the end of Whangtown Road. (See map.)

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

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 huge 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.

Horsepound Brook skirts the trail, drains the wooded valley, and adds to New York City’s water supply. Along the way wildflowers and bird life are abundant.

This is a moderate hike that takes three hours or so round trip, including a stop for lunch at the rock. For further information call 228-5635.

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!

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.

Kent Recycling at the Firehouse

The Kent Recycling Center started out as a weekly event that was set up and torn down each week in the parking lot of the Kent Firehouse. In this video by Jeff Hodges, footage from 1991 shows us just how much work it was – and how much fun people had – as some of the folks who got this wonderful community institution up and running explain what we’re seeing.

Thanks, Jeff, for putting this video together and for sharing it with us!

Citizen Scientists Test Local Waters

Join members of the Kent Conservation Advisory Committee to collect water quality data from a local stream on Saturday, August 13, at 11am. As part of the NYSDEC’s WAVE program – Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators – we’ll collect samples with a drift net and prescribed protocol. After collection, we’ll send the samples to the NYSDEC who will evaluate them and return the results to us.

Meet at the corner of Route 301 and East Boyd’s Road to sample water draining from Seven Hills Lake into the West Branch of the Croton River. Be prepared to get wet feet and find some interesting creatures with amazing adaptations. Learn about how stream assessments are done and how organisms indicate differences in water quality. If bad weather forces us to postpone this event, we’ll post a notice on our home page and send an email to people who subscribe to the CAC programs list.

If you’re interested in testing other stream sites training is available and equipment is available for loan. For more about WAVE click here.

Star Party Postponed

Well, it’s happened again. The astronomer’s curse. The weather is forcing us to postpone Kent’s first Star Party for a second time.

After consulting with our friends and cosponsors the Westchester Amateur Astronomers, we’ve reluctantly concluded that the likelihood of substantial cloud cover and lots of humidity in the air will make for poor viewing conditions tonight. But we’re not giving up! We’ll be working with the WAA folks looking for a weekend when the weather is predicted to be good, the phase of the moon is right and there are interesting things to see in the early night sky. When we hit on a winning combination, we’ll let you know.

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.