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.

The Nature of Kent

The Town of Kent is rich in natural wonders, and at 7pm on Tuesday, April 12, attendees will have a chance to learn about them at a presentation at the Kent Public Library in the downstairs program room.

Our town has thousands of acres of protected open space that provide habitats and corridors for a variety of animals and plants, some rare. Miles of hiking trails offer residents the opportunity to explore the woods and enjoy a variety natural treasures that are within our very own borders. But for many residents, these natural wonders are as yet undiscovered.

Join Beth Herr, chair of the Kent Conservation Advisory Council (KCAC), and Dave Ehnebuske, president of the newly-formed Kent Conservation Foundation (KCF) on an armchair tour of the many places people can enjoy hiking, fishing, kayaking, hunting, photography, mountain-biking, bird-watching, and sketching–all within the 43 square miles that comprise Kent. The program will feature local favorites such as the Mount Nimham Fire Tower and Hawk Rock, as well as the wildlife found there. But lesser known treasures will be highlighted as well.

The KCF carries out necessary projects as identified by the KCAC. State law prohibits the Town of Kent from funding many of them, so the KCF is charged with raising the necessary funds. All of the projects help protect, preserve and promote Kent’s natural areas.

The Kent Public Library is located at 17 Sybil’s Crossing in the Kent Town Square complex.

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 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.

The Great Stone Chamber Debate

A late 1980s (we’re still trying to track down the exact date) video from Jeff Hodges of Martin Brecht and Jim Baker discussing the origin and meaning of the corbeled stone chamber at Mead Farm as moderated by Ray Singer. As you’ll see from the video, the alternative views on these marvelous structures from a quarter century ago are just the same as those offered up today.

Many thanks, Jeff, for sharing this with all of us.

Mount Nimham Fire Tower Work Day Postponed

As you’ve no doubt heard, the CAC has been planning a work day for October 3 at the Mount Nimham Fire Tower to prepare the tower and the grounds for the upcoming festival on October 11. Given the stormy weather predicted for tonight and tomorrow, we will postpone the work day to this Sunday, October 4, 10am–2pm.

The weather forecast for Sunday looks good so we hope you’ll come give us a hand. To volunteer, or for more information, please call Beth at 845-228-5635 or Bill at 914-671-2764.

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 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!