Summer 2016 #183
It’s time for summer fun at Mohonk Preserve!
We have a full schedule of programs and events that will help you and your family get into nature. Experience outdoor yoga and tango at the Slingerland Pavilion, and gaze at the stars at Spring Farm. You can also explore the Preserve on our year-round guided weekend hikes and Bob Babb Wednesday Walks.
In this issue of Ridgelines, we’ll introduce you to our new Director of Land Protection & Stewardship, fill you in on our expanding outdoor education programs, and preview our upcoming New York City Benefit Gala. We wish you a happy, healthy summer and hope to see you soon!
Land Planning and Conservation Expert Joins Preserve Team
Experienced land conservation professional Emily Hague has joined Mohonk Preserve as Director of Land Protection and Stewardship. Emily was formerly Stewardship Director of the Monadnock Conservancy in Keene, New Hampshire for 10 years, where she oversaw staff and volunteer monitoring of over 200 conservation lands totaling 18,000 acres. She also led the organization through the Land Trust Accreditation process, including renewal.
Along with her tenure at Monadnock, Emily also served as Conservation Assistant at Picataquog Land Conservancy and Preserve Steward at Horatio Colony Nature Preserve in New Hampshire where she worked on natural resource inventory, GIS mapping of wildlife corridors, trail design and maintenance, public programs, and curriculum design.
Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Oberlin College in Ohio and a Master of Science in Resource Management and Administration from Antioch University New England.
In addition to her land trust background, Emily served on the Keene City Council, Planning Board and Conservation Commission, which will provide valuable experience as we move through the planning process for the Mohonk Preserve Foothills. She also worked for an auction house and we’re anxious to incorporate her suggestions for next year’s Annual Benefit Auction!
While Emily spent most of her life living and working in New England, she’s also tied to the Hudson Valley through her maternal ancestors who hailed from Middletown and Goshen. Her hobbies include trail running, trail work with the Jolly Rovers (she’s a new recruit), and playing music.
Emily’s near-term goals for Land Protection and Stewardship at the Preserve include collaborating with other departments to update our Land Management Plan to the best possible current standards, balancing the multiple uses of the Preserve. She and her team are also incorporating new technologies and efficiencies into their regular monitoring of the Preserve, and continuing to reach out to our adjoining landowners to be a good neighbor.
Some long-range Land Protection and Stewardship plans include bringing ongoing capital projects to fruition, including the Trapps Bridge replacement and restoration of the Testimonial Gateway Tower. Upgrades are also planned for trail marking and signage, along with increased support for the Trailkeepers program. Emily and her team will also continue to work with willing landowners to advance key land protection projects, augmenting trail and habitat connectivity along the ridge.
Since joining the Preserve full time in January, Emily’s enthusiasm and dedication have been exemplary. “I’m excited to be working for an organization that connects a vast spectrum of people to the natural world and encourages and demonstrates ethics of true sustainability and stewardship,” Emily said. And we’re lucky to have such a great steward at the helm!
Rising to the Challenge of STEM Education
For over 30 years, Mohonk Preserve has provided innovative outdoor education programs that have helped over 100,000 children get into nature. Today, the Preserve’s STEM Rising program is providing outdoor science, technology, engineering and math-based education to area middle and high school students, including at-risk youth from the city of Newburgh, NY and high school students from the Rondout Valley Central School District.
STEM Rising builds on a recent pilot project with the San Miguel Academy of Newburgh to expand educational offerings to additional schools and grade levels. This project engages students in actively caring for the environment and empowering them to address environmental issues and their impacts through hands-on, inquiry-driven outdoor experiences which foster an appreciation of the interconnectedness of humans and nature.
Students in the Preserve’s STEM Rising program participate in heavily active outings where they learn a variety of outdoor skills, including backpacking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, land navigation, Wilderness First Aid, trail maintenance, and Leave No Trace principles. The students also receive instruction in conservation ethics and wildlife and habitat protection, helping them to become responsible recreationists and passionate stewards of nature.
Through a grant from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation, Inc., a supporting organization of The Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, 6th-8th grade male students from the San Miguel Academy of Newburgh and 5th-8th grade female students from the Nora Cronin Presentation Academy, also in Newburgh, will participate in STEM Rising programs at Mohonk Preserve. Newburgh is ranked among the top 20 most violent cities in America, with 35 percent of children living in poverty and the state’s highest teen pregnancy rate. According to San Miguel Academy of Newburgh President Mark Cornell, “these students learn at a young age that the streets are not safe. STEM Rising will take these kids to the top of a mountain to learn important skills that will help them succeed in school and in life.”
Closer to home, the Preserve will also be expanding the STEM Rising program to include the nearby Rondout Valley Central School District, thanks to a second grant from AT&T through its Aspire program, which seeks “to empower students everywhere to reach their highest potential.” AT&T previously supported the launch of STEM Rising and is now helping the Preserve expand the program to over 100 teens in the Rondout Valley Central School District, which covers a 152 square-mile rural area between the Shawangunk and Catskill Mountains with 38 percent of students qualifying for a reduced or free school lunch program. While these students may live in close proximity to nature, many lack the transportation and economic resources to take advantage of outdoor recreation opportunities. Through the STEM Rising program, they will learn valuable outdoor skills and certifications that could lead to careers in conservation or outdoor education.
The STEM Rising program is also supported with funding from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP) and New York's Environmental Protection Fund. The NYSCPP is administered by the Land Trust Alliance, in coordination with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Through the generous support of the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation, Inc., AT&T Aspire, NYSCPP, as well as IBM and donors to the Preserve’s education programs at the Annual Benefit Auction, the Preserve’s STEM Rising program will continue to provide teens with instruction in STEM principles and techniques, college readiness and workforce skills, wilderness navigation and safety, conservation science, and land stewardship, helping to create the next generation of conservationists.
Live from New York — It's Jimmy Chin!
Mohonk Preserve is proud to honor legendary climber, photographer and filmmaker Jimmy Chin with the organization’s Long View Conservation Award at our Third Annual New York City Benefit Gala on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at The Ritz Carlton New York, Battery Park.
Some of Jimmy’s career highlights include trekking unsupported across 300 miles of the largely unexplored 17,000-foot-high Chang Tang Plateau in Tibet while filming for National Geographic, documenting first ascents of the tallest freestanding sandstone towers in the world in Mali, putting up new routes on highly technical ascents in the Himalayas, and most recently, summiting the World Trade Center on assignment for The New York Times. Jimmy has summited Everest twice, and in 2011, Jimmy and his team summited the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru on a second-try expedition, documented in his critically acclaimed film Meru, which won the Audience Choice Award at the Sundance 2015 Film Festival. Mohonk Preserve was proud to welcome Jimmy, Conrad Anker and the crew of ABC’s Nightline for a feature segment on the film and climbing in the Gunks.
Jimmy is the recipient of the Rowell Art of Adventure award for his philanthropic work and excellence and breadth in adventure photography, as well as the Lowell Thomas Journalism Award for his excellence in photo journalism. Jimmy’s photography work has assisted in the protection of the rare chiru antelope in Tibet. He is a member of the Outdoor Industry’s Conservation Alliance and the Advisory Board for the Rowell Fund for Tibet, overseen by the International Campaign for Tibet. Jimmy has also been involved with the Khumbu Climbing Center in Nepal. The National Geographic Society has awarded Jimmy three expedition grants and named him one of their inaugural Emerging Explorers.
As part of his adventurous spirit, Jimmy is committed to sharing his love of nature with others. “It’s about sharing stories that inspire people, highlight the infinite human spirit, and open people’s eyes to a different world,” Jimmy said. “Creating films and photographs through situations that few others could experience is my life’s inspiration.”
In that same spirit of sharing, we invite you to celebrate Jimmy and Mohonk Preserve at the Gala. Whether you have enjoyed the Preserve for many years or are just discovering its benefits and beauty, your table or ticket purchase will allow the Preserve to take significant steps to better steward this special place we all love.
We're always happy to welcome Jimmy back to Mohonk Preserve and look forward to honoring him in New York City. "The climbing in the Gunks is not only some of the best in North America, but is also steeped in a deep history of American climbing legends and lore," Jimmy said. "It’s the perfect getaway for me and so many others from the chaos of the city."
Proceeds from the Gala will support critical Stewardship needs enabling the Preserve to meet the ever growing demands of the land and visitors, including conservation, visitor safety, restoration, and maintenance.
The Gala Committee has planned an exceptional evening of cocktails, fine dining, and conviviality.
Our last two New York City Benefit Galas have filled to capacity, so reserve your spot today to ensure that you’ll be a part of this festive and meaningful event.
For more information on ticket prices and reservations, please click here.
IN APPRECIATION. Go to our listing of Memorial and Honorary Gifts, Premium Members, and Business Members received April 1 through June 30, 2016.
Click here to see how the Preserve is exploring ways to continually grow greener.
Read about Mohonk Preserve's commitment to stewardship in our 2015 Year in Review.
Coming soon - our new, large format 2017 calendar will be available for purchase from our Visitor Center Nature Shop.
MOHONK PRESERVE MEMBER REWARDS PROGRAM. Show your valid Mohonk Preserve annual or life membership card at nearly 40 local businesses listed here, and receive a discount or special offer. We welcome our new business members who joined between April 1 and June 30, 2016:
- Brookfield Farm B&B
- Courtyard Marriot Poughkeepsie
- High Falls Cafe
- Hudson Valley Kayaks, LLC
- Philadelphia Rock Gym
- Poughkeepsie Residence Inn Marriott
- Station Design Inc.
- Vitti Mountain Guides
- Yenni Digital, Inc.