Mohonk Preserve

Mohonk Preserve

Ridgelines #178

Spring 2015  #178

Spring has sprung at Mohonk Preserve and our 2015 season is already in full bloom!  In this issue of Ridgelines we’ll share exciting news about our Annual Auction, which is filled with once-in-a-lifetime bidding opportunities, our first-ever outdoor art exhibit, and national recognition for the Mohonk Preserve Foothills Phenology Project!

After a tough winter, this is a great time of year to get out on the land on one of our many guided hikes for nature lovers of all ages. There’s nothing like the sight of a blooming marsh marigold or the song of a returning meadowlark to raise your spirit and warm your heart! Thanks for helping to protect these and other species of plants and animals through your support of Mohonk Preserve.


Bidding For Good

Guests at the Mohonk Preserve Annual Benefit Auction on Saturday, June 13th will have the opportunity to support the Preserve’s expanding programs aimed at inspiring people to care for, enjoy and explore their natural world, while also bidding on extraordinary adventure trips and enjoying a festive evening of great food, drink and friends.The event will raise funds to provide critical support for land protection and stewardship, and outdoor education efforts that yield long-term environmental and public benefits.

At the event, held at the Spring Farm Trailhead’s Slingerland Pavilion, guests will enjoy a silent auction full of fantastic finds for home and garden, special items just for kids, goods and services for beauty and wellness, works of art, adornments, activities and outings, and delicious food and drink.

Featured live auction items include amazing vacations such as “Art & Architecture of Cuba.” This curator-led, small-group program with the Museum Travel Alliance includes private, behind-the-scenes access to Cuba’s vibrant arts community, visits to the studios and homes of emerging artists, hosted tours of museums and art schools, walks through Old Havana, and specially arranged performances of music and dance.

Closer to home, bidders may also raise their paddles for a family-friendly campout on Preserve land, a summer BBQ with local, grass-fed beef, and a relaxing two-night stay at Mohonk Mountain House.

Bidders will also have the opportunity to support exciting Preserve initiatives, including a place-based education partnership with the San Miguel Academy of Newburgh, a school focused on underserved children in an area with one of the nation’s worst gang violence problems — and the Junior Rangers program, which extends the Preserve’s educational programming to older teens, helping them to develop critical stewardship and leadership skills.

“With tasty food, excellent wines, good company, and exciting auction items, enjoyed in a pristine location with a ‘million dollar view,’ the Mohonk Preserve Annual Benefit Auction epitomizes so much of what we love about our region,” said Serena Marrero, Preserve Director of Development. “But the best part of attending this major fundraising event for the Preserve is the goodwill felt knowing that we are contributing to protecting this beautiful piece of nature for all to enjoy now and in the future.”

The Preserve’s auction sells to capacity each year with over 250 patrons. For more information or to order tickets, visit our auction webpage.



Field Studies

Robert Lobe’s Field Studies, the first exhibition of sculpture to be presented at Mohonk Preserve, is on view through Oct. 18, 2015. Curated by Charlotta Kotik, curator emerita of the Brooklyn Museum, the exhibition includes six large-scale works installed in a variety of outdoor locations in the Preserve and in its Visitor Center.

Robert Lobe, who is currently known for his large-scale aluminum sculptures that connect man-made materials with nature-derived subjects and explore man’s relationship to the environment, began creating works inspired by nature in the 1970s. In the late 1960s, he created pieces using pliable and disposable materials that brought him recognition and inclusion in several major museum exhibitions. An inspiration for Field Studies, the Hudson Valley is considered by the artist to be one of the most magnificent areas in the East.

Among the works on view are Antique Jenny, an 11 by 13.5-foot work based on a strong horizontal tree element that reminded the artist of spokes on early industrial wheels when the steam engine was called a “jenny,” and refers to the destruction to the natural environment that took place during the industrial revolution; the 8 by 8.5-foot Good Morning America, a sculpture based on a boulder and tree he observed precariously situated on a mountain ridge and whose title is derived from the lyrics of Steve Goodman’s song, The City of New Orleans; Invisible Earth, a 9 by 13.5-foot sculpture inspired by a tree observed leaning against a boulder with an exposed root structure; Kindred Spirits, a collaborative work created with his wife, painter Kathleen Gilje, that alludes to the renowned 1849 painting of the same name by Asher B. Durand that depicts Durand and his close friend, fellow painter Thomas Cole, overlooking a scene in the Catskill Mountains; and Bearly, a 69 by 37 by 26-inch work that includes shapes that remind Lobe of the likeness of bears and their presence in the forests of the Northeast.

The exhibit’s namesake piece, Field Study, aheat-treated hammered aluminum work with variable dimensions, is based on a tree found by the artist at Mohonk Preserve.When sketching pen and ink drawings along Preserve trails, Lobe encountered a tree fallen over boulders and a narrow stream. After taking the impression he decided to create a work that did not follow the horizontality of the original find, but to create the ideal situation – the sculpture shows the tree growing vertically and reaching for the sky.

An opening reception was held at the Preserve Visitor Center on Saturday, April 18, and featured an artist-led tour of the sculptures, along with a performance by noted jazz saxophonist Ray Blue, generously donated by Preserve member Tom Carano.

A plaque commemorating the donors to the Preserve’s successful $5.5 million capital campaign, Conservation for the Next Century,” was also unveiled. It will join a companion plaque from the former capital campaign in the Preserve Visitor Center as a permanent reminder of the generosity of supporters of these critical efforts.

“Thanks to our donors who supported the capital campaign, the Visitor Center has been reimagined as a destination that can offer new, immersive outdoor experiences for people of all ages and abilities,” said Preserve Deputy Executive Director for Strategic Advancement Joe Alfano. “This has allowed us to bring Field Studies – the Preserve’s first large-scale art exhibit – to the community. Since humans first began painting on cave walls, our artistic expression has been inspired by nature. It was only natural that Robert Lobe’s work would be an excellent fit as our first exhibit.”

For information on the Field Studies exhibit, visit the events page.


Phenomenal Phenology

The Mohonk Preserve Foothills Phenology Project was recognized in the USA-National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) 2014 Annual Report for its detailed records of some 200 species, “comprising one of the best available records documenting how plants and animals are responding to changing climate conditions,” according to the report, which may be viewed here.

As a part of Mohonk Preserve’s Citizen Naturalist Program, volunteer phenology observers document distinct stages in select trees, shrubs and flowers, like bud burst, leaf emergence, flowering, fall color change and fruit production, at the Preserve’s Foothills Phenology Trail throughout the year. Among the dedicated participants are volunteers from Ulster-Greene ARC, who in 2014 successfully logged nearly 400 hours of weekly observations.

 “We’re thrilled to be able to engage volunteers in long-term ecological monitoring that enhances our understanding of local flora and fauna while contributing to a national dataset that facilitates the study of changes at the landscape level,” said Mohonk Preserve Citizen Science Coordinator Hallie Schwab.

The Foothills Phenology Project uses protocols developed by the USA-NPN for their program, Nature’s Notebook. The data collected at Mohonk Preserve is entered into a USA-NPN database where it is available to scientists, land managers, educators and citizens everywhere. Mohonk Preserve’s Foothills Phenology Trail is also a participating member of the New York Phenology Project, a regional network of preserves, nature centers and educational institutions working together to study climate and urbanization impacts on plants and pollinators.

New in 2015, Preserve phenology volunteers will follow the activity and development of the monarch butterfly, the first wildlife species to be added to the list. Volunteers of all ages and experience levels are able to participate in the Preserve’s Foothills Phenology Project. To learn more about the Mohonk Preserve Citizen Naturalist Program, click here.


Seasonal Updates

PHOTO GALLERY. View seasonal photographs by our volunteer photographers.

GET INTO NATURE. See a full list of upcoming programs including Birds, Butterflies, and Biscuits on Sunday, May 17th, Evening Yoga at the Pavillion Tuesdays in June, July, August, and September, and Dave Johnson's Wildlife Photography on June 7th.

IN APPRECIATION. Go to our listing of Memorial and Honorary Gifts, Premium Members, and Business Members received January 1 through March 31, 2015.

Bringing your dog for an outing? Dogs must be on a leash and under your control at all times. Please see information on dog etiquette while visiting the Preserve.

Come camping! We still have a few spots available for our 2015 Summer Camps providing fun, outdoor learning adventures for children ages 7-13. Reserve your child's spot today.