Mohonk Preserve

Mohonk Preserve

Ridgelines #182

Spring 2016  #182

At Mohonk Preserve, we’re “thinking spring” and preparing for another great season of preservation, outdoor education, and recreation. In this issue of Ridgelines e-NEWS, you’ll learn about an exciting recent land acquisition made possible by partnerships; preview an evening of fun and remembrance at the Annual Benefit Auction on June 11th; and meet a Brooklyn-based Ridge Rocker preparing for his first endurance challenge on April 30th.

With the warmer weather, we look forward to welcoming many of you back to the Preserve’s cliffs, trails and carriage roads. We’re committed to helping you enjoy exceptional experiences in nature, and in order to enhance those experiences, we’d like to know more about you and your activities at the Preserve. After your visit, please participate in our brief Visitor Experience Survey.

This Bid's For Jane

Now in its 19th year, Mohonk Preserve’s Annual Benefit Auction is always one of the most anticipated events of the season. This year, our auction takes on a special meaning as we dedicate the evening to the memory of Jane Keating Taylor, a longtime Mohonk Preserve Board member and founder of the auction, who died on Feb. 5, 2016.

Jane and her husband Bob have had a home in New Paltz for over fifty years. Before joining the Mohonk Preserve Board, she had a long and successful career as a copywriter and creative director in advertising, and she was responsible for some of the most memorable ad campaigns of the 1960s and 70s. In 1976, Jane and Bob bought Ardsheal House in the Scottish Highlands, which they ran as a country house hotel for almost twenty years.

After they returned to live in New Paltz full time, Jane embarked on a new chapter and joined Mohonk Preserve’s Board in 1998, helping to guide the Preserve through an extraordinary period of growth and development. During her long tenure, Jane chaired the Communications and Governance Committees, and served on the Development, Executive, Human Resources, Land Stewardship, and Volunteer Committees.

Jane also dedicated her talents and energy to conceiving and organizing the Annual Benefit Auction, serving as its Chair from 1997 to 2012, and Chair Emerita from 2013 to 2015. During that time, the auction became one of the area’s most enjoyable events and raised more than $2.3 million to support all aspects of the Preserve’s mission. Jane’s signature catalog copy, which reflected her experience in advertising, became one of the auction’s distinctive features.

We look forward to celebrating Jane’s generous spirit this year as we raise our paddles to salute this remarkable woman and make this event the most successful yet in her honor.

As always, guests at the auction on Saturday, June 11th 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 bidding on extraordinary adventure trips, admiring the spectacular views from the Spring Farm Trailhead’s Slingerland Pavilion, and enjoying a festive evening of great food, drink and friends.

Guests at the event will also 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 from travel experts such as Iceland Multisport Adventure Tour courtesy of Backroads; Yellowstone & Grand Teton Explorer courtesy of O.A.R.S.; Tuscany & Umbria Walking Tour courtesy of Country Walkers; Highlands & Jungle of Ecuador courtesy of Metropolitan Touring; and Classic Galapagos courtesy of Natural Habitat Adventures. Bidders will also have a chance to vie for the hottest tickets on Broadway to see the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Hamilton courtesy of Ted Snowdon!

Attendees will also have the opportunity to support exciting Preserve initiatives including expanding of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) outdoor education programs to the Rondout Valley Central School District and Nora Cronin Presentation Academy in Newburgh, and providing Mountain Rescue Association training and accreditation for our Preserve Rangers. 

We invite you to join us at this year’s auction on June 11th as we continue Jane Taylor’s legacy of conviviality and support for Mohonk Preserve. For more information or to order tickets, visit our auction webpage.

Protecting with Purpose

At Mohonk Preserve, one of our top priorities is permanently protecting significant natural assets, while also helping to create a connected, whole landscape where nature can thrive.

After the death of longtime Preserve neighbor and supporter Carrie Ramey, the Preserve was presented with an opportunity to do just that in support of a critically threatened parcel of land bordering the Preserve along Clove Road.

Located in the upper part of the Coxing Kill watershed, the 49.7-acre Ramey Parcel is an area of high conservation significance that includes an important 45-acre Hemlock-northern hardwood forest and 4.4-acre Chestnut Oak forest, along with a spring, seeps, the Coxing Kill stream and a tributary. 

Due to its diversity of habitats, seeps, springs, streams, and forests, the Ramey Parcel supports a significant number of conservation target species, including several New York State Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN). Among these are the Arrowhead Spiketail dragonfly, Louisiana Waterthrush, Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush, Black-throated Blue Warbler, American Eel, and Brook Trout. The Wood Turtle, a New York State Rare Species, is also found on the parcel. 

With Carrie’s death, these and other species were threatened by the real and pressing prospect of private development and logging of the majestic Hemlock and Chestnut Oak forests on the tract, which is surrounded by other Preserve lands. The Preserve was able to partner with donors to fundraise and purchase this land and continue her legacy of good stewardship.  

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, including critical support from our colleagues at Friends of the Shawangunks, Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy, and numerous neighbors in the Clove, Mohonk Preserve was able to diligently assemble the funds to purchase the Ramey Parcel on February 17, 2016.

“Friends of the Shawangunks and our Shawangunk Conservancy were pleased to support Mohonk Preserve on the acquisition of this important Clove parcel,” said Friends of the Shawangunks President H. Neil Zimmerman. “Our contribution, combined with others, helped realize Carrie’s wish to have this land permanently protected.”

The Ramey Parcel will be designated in the Preserve’s Land Management Plan as a “Group 1 Zone,” to be managed for scientific, educational, and deer management access only. To protect its fragile natural communities, there will be no new trails, facilities, or general public access.

The Ramey Parcel acquisition is a shining example of how the Preserve’s fundraising and Land Protection program staff work together with the conservation community and local neighbors to build relationships and resources to address urgent preservation situations. Now permanently in the Preserve’s care, the Ramey Parcel will safely continue to provide critical habitat and a magnificent viewshed for generations to come.

For more information about how Mohonk Preserve protects and stewards the lands in our care, click here. To find out how you can help these efforts, contact Deputy Executive Director and Chief Development Officer Joe Alfano at 845-255-0919, x1248.


First-Time Ridge Rocker — Jay Ballesteros

When Brooklynite Jay Ballesteros first took up running six years ago, he had no idea that he would eventually be getting ready to Rock The Ridge at Mohonk Preserve.

“I was at a turning point in my life,” Jay remembered. “I was a bit overweight with a family history of diabetes. My doctor said that I needed to make a change. At the same time, my company was starting a program to encourage healthy lifestyles. At first, it was a challenge to just run a mile. After training and finishing my first 5K race, I was hooked on running and wanted to learn more.”

Jay began researching different running techniques and styles of races, including ultramarathons.

“I was searching online for ultra events near New York City and came across Rock The Ridge,” Jay said. “I was interested in participating last year, but wasn’t quite ready. I wanted to get a marathon under my belt first.”

Jay and his fiancée went on to complete the Walt Disney World Marathon together, and afterward, with her support, he signed up for Rock The Ridge.

When asked what attracted him to Rock The Ridge, Jay noted both the location and the cause.

“Living and working in the city can sometimes be stressful. I’ve been up to the Hudson Valley on several trips and always enjoyed my time there, unplugged and away from the hectic pace,” Jay said. “I am also happy to be a part of a fundraiser to support conservation and preservation of the trails at Mohonk Preserve. I want to help pass on all the beauty of the area for the future.”

Jay has been training at Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn.  He also participated in the “Taste of Rock The Ridge” event on March 19, 2016 to get a better feel for the Preserve’s carriage roads.

When asked about his personal goals for Rock The Ridge, Jay said he hopes to finish in 12-13 hours, before sunset, using a walk/run strategy.

“My number one priority is to finish happy and healthy,” Jay shared. “I want to   enjoy the experience, get to meet other runners, and soak in the beauty of the trails!”

Jay's advice for others considering a first-time Rock The Ridge registration? “The 24-hour cutoff is very encouraging. You can choose to run or walk at your own pace with time to finish the course. The support has been amazing, the race organizers outstanding, and it’s all for a great cause!”

For more information about how you can get involved with Rock The Ridge as a participant, volunteer, or supporter, visit the Rock The Ridge section on the Preserve’s website and check out the Rock The Ridge Facebook page. So register, set your personal goal, and sign up today to Rock The Ridge on April 30, 2016!

Seasonal Updates

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

GET INTO NATURE. See a full list of upcoming programs including Early Spring Wildflowers, Toddlers on the Trail - Signs of Spring, and Qigong and Tai Chi at the Pavilion.

IN APPRECIATIONGo to our listing of Memorial and Honorary Gifts, Premium Members, and Business Members received January 1 through March 31, 2016.

CHECK THIS OUT. Let the adventure begin! A few spots are still available for Mohonk Preserve's 2016 Summer Camps for children ages 4 to 13.

Camping is open at the Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway Campground. Walk-in camping is currently available and reservations for the 2016 season are being accepted. To reserve your campsite, click here.

View a video on how planned giving helps preserve land for the future.

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 January 1 and March 31:

  • Broadhead House: $100 off 4-night midweek stays. (July and August excluded).
  • Best Western Plus Kingston: 20% off overnight accommodations, ask for Mohonk Preserve discount when making reservation. Must present valid Mohonk Preserve ID at check in.
  • Emerald Forest Bungalows15% off Sunday-Thursday plus 2 day passes to the Preserve (excluding holidays, July and August).
  • Eastern Mountain Sports: 10% discount on any scheduled group class.