Monday, March 23, 2015

Celebrating Spring with your Local Land Trust

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 9:00 AM

click to enlarge A Sunday Hike on the Kingston Greenline - HILLARY HARVEY
  • Hillary Harvey
  • A Sunday Hike on the Kingston Greenline

All over the Hudson Valley, there are public lands that amble by the river, or through the cities, or in protected areas. They safeguard our area’s history and natural resources, and exist for people and animals to enjoy. And in their quest to offer unique recreation to the community, most offer something special, too: programming for families. Here’s a look at some fun coming up to help you greet the spring.

The Kingston Greenline wanders through the city in sometimes secret ways. You kind of have to know where to look to find it in spots. But on the third Sunday morning of every month, from April through October, you can explore it with a knowledgeable and family-friendly tour guide. The still-developing trails, being transformed by the Kingston Land Trust and the City of Kingston from abandoned railroad corridors, hope to one day be a system of linear parks. Depending on the stretch of route being traversed, strollers aren’t always ideal because of the ongoing construction but, overall, the Greenline is great for hiking with kids. It’s mostly flat trails and complete streets, with lots of spots where you can abandon ship and head for home, if your family’s mood changes. If you persevere, though, you’ll be rewarded with a treasure trove of beautiful, new places to revisit that you didn’t even know existed (maybe even a lofty wide-angle vista here and there), a behind-the-scenes look at Kingston’s unfolding chronicle from people who put their heart into helping the city thrive, a lot of lovely community connection among hikers, and a taste of wine when you get back to the starting gates. Learn more at Kingston Land Trust. Sunday Hikes on the Greenline meet up and end at Kingston Wine Co., 65 Broadway on the Rondout in Kingston, 9:30-11:30a, on the third Sunday of the month, April-October. Free. Boots, long pants, and backpack/baby carriers suggested.

Got a little naturalist in your midst? Maybe there’s a collection of fossils and leaves somewhere in her room? Make her a Citizen Scientist at the Woodstock Land Conservancy’s BioBlitz. It’s a collaboration to find as many species as possible within a set location and a set period of time. The WLC’s will span 32 hours in April at the Thorn Preserve on John Joy Road when naturalists, students, and members of the public will come together to record the local flora and fauna. They can share a sense of purpose within the larger scientific community, and a love of nature, plus witness the immense diversity all around them. It goes hand-in-hand with the WLC’s mission to promote sustainable economic development. For more like this, check out the WLC’s First Saturdays on the Trail. Coming up soon are Vernal Pools and Signs of Spring at Sloan Gorge on April 10th, which promises to be a great family walk, and Nature Photography with Dan Goldman on May 3rd, for the budding photographer. BioBlitz at Thorn Preserve, April 24th and 25th, contact virginia.wlc@gmail.com to register. Free. Dress for mud!

click to enlarge The Country Barbecue fundraiser for Columbia Land Conservancy - PETER BLANDORI
  • Peter Blandori
  • The Country Barbecue fundraiser for Columbia Land Conservancy

You may think environmentalism is all about getting dirty, but they also often get down. Like every year at the Columbia Land Conservancy’s Country Barbecue. It’s their big annual fundraiser held every Memorial Day weekend, which boasts delicious locally-sourced food, lots of meet-and-greet opportunities with baby animals, and tours of the real working jersey cow dairy, Dutch Hollow Farm, which sells to local distributors like Hudson Valley Fresh. Advance, all-inclusive tickets gets you traditional bbq fare from Carlucci-Simons Catering in Chatham, featuring pulled pork from Lover's Leap Farm, plus dairy farm samples from several local farms. Kids can visit the petting zoo, the calf barn, the milking parlor, and ride the horse-drawn hayride. Proceeds from the fundraiser go to support the CLC’s work with the community to conserve the farmland, forests, wildlife habitat and rural character of Columbia County. Visit them online to learn more about other family-friendly programming like the Fishing Derby on May 2nd, the Habitat Exploration on May 16th, and the National Trails Day Hike on June 6th. Country Barbecue, Sunday, May 24th, 4:30p, at Dutch Hollow Farm in Schodack Landing, buy tickets online, $75 per adult, $15 per child (ages 6-20), children 5 and under are free.

There’s plenty more where that came from, so look for educational program offerings at a local land trust or conservancy near you. Check out Scenic Hudson, Palisades Parks Conservancy (home to Minnewaska State Preserve and Bear Mountain, among others), Mohonk Preserve and Hudson Highlands Land Trust to start!
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