Mohonk Preserve

Mohonk Preserve

Ridgelines #187

Summer 2017  #187

It’s high summer at Mohonk Preserve and a great time to take a stroll on our shady J&S Grafton Sensory Trail or splash in the Coxing Kill at Split Rock, our small but mighty waterfall! In this issue of Ridgelines, we’ll introduce you to our new Vice President and Chief Development Officer MJ Martin, share news about StreamWatch, our latest conservation science program, and report on the long-awaited Trapps Bridge Grand Opening. 

We encourage you to enjoy the rest of the fleeting summer season by getting into nature at Mohonk Preserve and hope to see you soon on the land! 

 
 

Grand Opening of the Trapps Bridge

Over 100 Mohonk Preserve supporters gathered on Tuesday morning, July 25, 2017 to celebrate the grand opening of the Trapps Bridge over Route 44/55 in Gardiner.  
 
The newly completed Trapps Bridge replaces a former 1930 repurposed railroad bridge with an American-made steel pedestrian bridge with wooden decking, providing a critical link from Mohonk Preserve to Minnewaska State Park Preserve and the rest of the Shawangunk Ridge. The new bridge yields greatly improved visibility for cars traveling on Route 44/55 from the east and west approaches, as well as more accessibility to the trail system on the Preserve. 
 
The new span, which was manufactured by Cameron Bridge Works in Elmira, NY, is more perpendicular to the road and is 20 feet longer and 18 inches taller than its predecessor. Merritt Construction of Saugerties, NY was the lead contractor and completed the project in just 69 days. In total, 33 direct construction-phase jobs were created by the project.
 
As part of the Preserve’s ongoing commitment to accessibility, fully handicap-accessible parking is located on the south side of the road, and access on the north side features a visitor-friendly ramped, multi-use path so that people of all ages and abilities can safely access and experience the natural wonders of the Gunks.
 
Speakers at the grand opening including New York State Senator John Bonacic; New York State Assemblymember Kevin Cahill; Mid-Hudson Valley Regional Representative for Governor Andrew Cuomo Dylan Miyoshi; New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Deputy Commissioner for Natural Resources Tom Alworth; Town of Gardiner Supervisor Marybeth Majestic; and Open Space Institute Senior Vice President Eric Kulleseid congratulated the Preserve on completing this critical pathway to nature.  Mohonk Preserve President and CEO Glenn Hoagland acknowledged the over 400 individuals and organizations that supported the project over almost two decades. “It takes a region,” Hoagland noted.
 
Hoagland and several other speakers also recognized the vision and contribution of Dr. Lucy R. Waletzky, who was an early and ardent supporter of the bridge project and the entire historic carriage road network.
 
Critical grant funding for the project was provided by the New York State Department of Transportation; the Environmental Protection Fund administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; and the Open Space Institute with support from the Gilbert Butler Special Projects Fund. 
 
In addition to the distinguished featured speakers, festivities included nature-themed songs performed by Woodcrest School 3rd and 4th graders, including a version of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” with a special Gunks verse, and a ribbon-cutting and ceremonial bridge crossing featuring hikers, climbers and boulderers, cyclists, runners, dog walkers, and equestrians.
 
For more information on the Trapps Bridge Project, including photos and video, click here.
 

Protecting the Hudson's Headwaters

Did you know that some of the headwaters of the Hudson River are located on Mohonk Preserve? Both the Kleine Kill and Coxing Kill watersheds are within the Hudson River Drainage Basin and flow into the Hudson via the Wallkill River and Rondout Creek.

This summer, with support from a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Estuary Grant, the Preserve is launching StreamWatch, a research and citizen science-driven planning and data collection process which will evaluate water quality, identify vulnerable species, assess invasive threats, determine the need for riparian buffers or changes to existing agricultural practices, and inform future Preserve projects as part of an overall conservation plan for these watersheds.

As part of this project, Mohonk Preserve’s Conservation Science staff and volunteers will partner with other conservation organizations, including The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, SUNY New Paltz Biology Department, Glynwood, and Shawangunk Ridge Biodiversity Partnership.

The Preserve’s watershed areas are both important and interrelated. Humpo Marsh, Humpo Kill and Kleine Kill include habitat designated by the Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area, and critical to New York State protected species. The Preserve also protects an important portion of the Coxing Kill watershed which flows into the Rondout Creek, a Hudson tributary that also receives the Kleine Kill via the Wallkill River. The Rondout is among the Hudson’s largest tidal estuaries, and is a crucial link in the New York City water supply system. As a result, the StreamWatch project will have regional impact and conservation value far beyond the Preserve’s protected lands.

Volunteer citizen scientists are being trained in specific data collection and naturalist observation protocols and will conduct regular monitoring in these two watershed areas. Data will be input into a variety of research databases and will be used to help the Preserve’s Conservation Science team develop a conservation plan for the Kleine Kill and Coxing Kill watersheds.

StreamWatch volunteers are required to attend orientation meetings and trainings, hike to stream sampling locations with required equipment, and collect and enter data one to two times a month.

“We had a great bunch of engaged volunteers at the past two orientation sessions and we are currently working to assign sampling locations and schedule on-site trainings,” said Mohonk Preserve Research Collection and Citizen Science Coordinator Natalie Feldsine. “We are still accepting interested volunteers as we work to get this program up and running.”

To get involved in the StreamWatch program, contact Natalie at 845-255-1019, ext. 1271 or nfeldsine@mohonkpreserve.org.

StreamWatch is part of the Preserve’s existing citizen science program which includes Bird Programs, Climate Trackers and the Phenology Project. For more information on these volunteer opportunities, click here.

 

 

Preserve Welcomes New Vice President and Chief Development Officer

Experienced development and marketing professional MJ Martin has joined Mohonk Preserve as Vice President and Chief Development Officer. MJ was formerly Director of Outreach and Development at the Hudson Highlands Land Trust in Garrison, New York for 10 years. During her tenure, MJ managed all aspects of the organization’s development strategy, including annual fundraising, major donor cultivation, and grant seeking for general operations, special programs and capital projects support. She also established HHLT’s Legacy Circle planned giving program and organized and implemented the Highlands Steward Fund, a multimillion-dollar endowment campaign.

In addition to her development role, MJ directed a wide array of outreach programs and projects and designed the successful Hudson Highlands Regional River of Words environmental education program which is active in five area school districts.

Prior to her position at HHLT, MJ founded and managed a full-service web marketing and development firm, and was marketing director for two New York City law firms. She also handled promotion for AARP’s Modern Maturity magazine and was a senior advertising account executive and copywriter.

MJ holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Ithaca College. She and her husband Fred live in Garrison, where she serves on the Philipstown Conservation Board and as Co-Chair of the Philipstown Depot Theatre Board of Directors Marketing and Development Committee. She is also a member of the Garrison Union Free School District’s Environmental Education Committee and the Environmental Leaders Learning Alliance.

Even before her official start date, MJ attended the Preserve’s 20th Annual Benefit Auction and was able to experience one of our largest special events in action. Since joining the Preserve on June 19, MJ has immersed herself in the history and culture of the Preserve, meeting with staff from all areas of the organization.

 ”I’ve only been on board for a few weeks, but the staff, board, supporters and volunteers here have already made me feel right at home,” MJ said. I look forward to working with this talented group of people and getting to know the dedicated supporters who make our work to protect the Shawangunk Mountains region possible.”  

MJ’s initial goals include leading the efforts to secure financial support for creation of the Preserve’s new Testimonial Gateway Trailhead and related trail restorations in the Mohonk Preserve Foothills, while continuing to expand the Preserve’s supporter and member base.

“We’re delighted to have someone with MJ’s impressive breadth and depth of land trust experience in the region join the Preserve’s leadership team,”said Mohonk Preserve President and CEO Glenn Hoagland.  “We’re excited to work with her to advance the Preserve’s mission of inspiring people to care for, enjoy and explore their natural world.”

 

Seasonal Updates

PHOTO GALLERYView seasonal photographs by our volunteer photographers. See more photos by the Mohonk Preserve Volunteer Photographers on their Facebook page.

American Yellow Fly Agaric by George J. Dagis

 

GET INTO NATURE. See a full list of upcoming programs including Stargazing and Sitar Music at Spring Farm,  Tango at the Pavilion, and Early Morning Bird Walks.

IN APPRECIATIONGo to our listing of Memorial and Honorary Gifts, Premium Members, and Business Members received April 1 through June 30, 2017.

CHECK THIS OUT. As part of the ongoing campaign to make Ulster the healthiest county in New York, Mohonk Preserve is offering a free, one-month membership for residents of Ulster County. Visitors with proof of Ulster County residency may obtain their passes at the Preserve Visitor Center from 10am to 4pm Thursday, August 17th through Sunday, August 20th and at the Spring Farm Trailhead from 10am to 4pm Saturday, August 19th and Sunday, August 20th. The membership passes will be valid through September 17, 2017.

Lace up your running shoes and race through fall at Mohonk Preserve! Register now for the Pfalz Point Trail Challenge, a ten-mile benefit run on Sunday, September 24th.

Help Keep Bears Wild! We have recently seen an increase in bear sightings around the Preserve. If you have seen a bear around Mohonk Preserve, please click here to submit a sighting report to help our Conservation Science and Stewardship departments better understand bear activity on the Preserve.

MOHONK PRESERVE MEMBER REWARDS PROGRAM. Show your valid Mohonk Preserve annual or life membership card at over 30 local businesses listed here, and receive a discount or special offer. We welcome our new Member Rewards business who joined between April 1 and June 30, 2017:

We also welcome our business members who joined between April 1 and June 30, 2017: