At Mohonk Preserve, we’re “thinking spring” and preparing for another great season of conservation, education, stewardship, and recreation! In this issue of Ridgelines, we’ll share news about a successful land protection project, celebrate the return of our Summer Camps, and preview our upcoming Plein Air Art Walk.

With the warmer weather, we look forward to welcoming many of you back to the Preserve’s cliffs, trails and carriage roads to enjoy healthy outdoor activities and the beauty of our shared natural world!

Banner photo by Tom Weiner

Protected Land
Protected Land by Julia Solomon

Rock Solid Conservation

Mohonk Preserve is happy to announce the acquisition of a 71-acre parcel to add to its over 8,000 acres of permanently protected lands. The property was purchased in March from The Shawangunk Conglomerate, a homeowners’ association that wished to see the land permanently protected. The parcel is an inholding, meaning that it is mostly surrounded by land already owned and protected by the Preserve, and is ecologically connected with the Preserve’s surrounding lands.

As one of the largest remaining inholdings within the Preserve, this parcel has been on our high-priority list for protection for many years. When the property became available, we collaborated with The Shawangunk Conservancy, a local conservation group, to fundraise for its acquisition.

The purchase was made possible by generous donations from members of Mohonk Preserve, The Shawangunk Conservancy, and Friends of the Shawangunks, with leadership gifts from Preserve supporters, including Sam and Joy Grafton, along with a substantial grant from the Clovehitch Fund and funding from the Fields Pond Foundation.

“We are honored to continue the stewardship legacy of this property,” said Mohonk Preserve President and CEO Kevin Case. “Special thanks to the Shawangunk Conglomerate homeowners’ association for their foresight in wanting to see this land protected forever and to our generous Preserve members whose support was vital in helping us save this land for life.”

The parcel includes large blocks of intact forest, headwater streams, wetlands, and boulder fields that provide many microhabitats that are important for biodiversity and species’ resilience to climate change.

“This acquisition protects an irreplaceable forest in an ecologically important area of the Preserve,” said Mohonk Preserve Director of Conservation Programs Julia Solomon. “The wide variety of habitats on this property support many species of plants and animals. We look forward to learning more about the flora and fauna in this area as we complete initial natural history surveys of the property this spring.”

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Campers out on a hike
Summer Camp kids enjoying the view by Mohonk Preserve Education Staff

Sunny Days Ahead at Preserve Summer Camps

It may still be spring but we’re already gearing up for a summer of sun, fun and learning at Mohonk Preserve’s summer camps! Our slate of programs for children ages 7-13 provides opportunities for kids to spend their summer outside enjoying the natural wonders the Shawangunk Ridge has to offer. Under the careful supervision of our dedicated and professional educators, campers will laugh, play, and learn together, exploring interests, making friends and expanding their understanding of themselves, each other and their natural world.

“After a two-year hiatus due to COVID, we are excited to get campers back on the land this summer exploring the unique habitats of the ridge,” said Mohonk Preserve Education Coordinator for Public and Youth Programs Lauren Borer. “The health and safety of our campers is of the utmost importance and our staff has been working hard to create a safe and fun outdoor experience for all our campers.”

Campers in Camp Peregrine (ages 7-10) and Mountainside Adventures (ages 10-13) will have a blast whether exploring the cool rock crevices, scrambling up the boulders of Bonticou Crag, investigating the life cycle of a Red-spotted newt at Kleinekill Pool, or crafting turtles or salamanders with Model Magic clay.

As Peregrine falcons are known to travel widely, so will campers in Camp Peregrine – wandering the forests, fields and streams of Mohonk Preserve. Through daily hiking excursions, stream play, sketching, pond studies, storytelling, land art, and habitat explorations, campers are encouraged to find their own unique expression and voice using nature as a medium. Creature searches, nature games, songs, and rambles in the outdoors will introduce campers to the wonders of the Shawangunk Ridge. Each day will be an adventure of exploration and discovery. New to Camp Peregrine this year are natural history-themed weeks, when campers will explore everything from fungus and mammals to water exploration and birds.

As one Camp Peregrine parent noted, “The Mohonk Preserve camps are truly amazing! My son has tried several camps in the area, and this is by far the most fun he’s had. Thank you for putting together such a wonderful, engaging program!”

Mountainside Adventures engages campers in enjoyable hiking expeditions each day where they explore and have fun experiencing new and exciting destinations. Campers will focus on developing their problem-solving skills through exciting team challenges and spend their days creating their own adventures along the trail, with quiet time for reflection, be it journaling in the forest or sketching within the recess of a rock crevice. Campers develop outdoor skills and get the chance to sleep out under the stars for one night (weather permitting).

A Mountainside Adventures parent shared that, “My kids really had a great time focusing on building friendships and being outside all day! I thought the educators were top notch and my son is excited about doing it again next year!”

Registration for Preserve summer camps is open now and limited spaces are available, so register online soon to save your child’s preferred weeks. We seek a balanced gender ratio for our camps. As one of many great Mohonk Preserve membership benefits, Preserve members receive a discount on summer camp tuition – if you aren’t yet a member, click here to join.

2022 marks the 30th season of Mohonk Preserve summer camps, which are an integral part of the Preserve’s award-winning outdoor education programming. “Our camps have inspired a lifetime of respect for and stewardship of nature for thousands of campers,” said Mohonk Preserve Director of Education Kathy Ambrosini. “Many have gone on to careers in conservation, with some even returning to work at the Preserve. We look forward to welcoming the next great group of kids – and possible future rangers or naturalists – this summer!”

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Artist posing with their painting at the Plein Air Artwalk
Artist from the Plein Air Art Walk at the Testimonial Gateway Trailhead by Andrea MacScott

Be Inspired by Art and Nature

Mohonk Preserve will once again host local artists during the third Plein Air Art Walk and Auction on Saturday, June 11, 2022, from 10 am to 3 pm (rain date Sunday, June 12).

“At last year’s event in May we welcomed more than 20 Hudson Valley artists to the land,” said Mohonk Preserve Special Events Manager Tom Leader. “We’re working together with Roost Studios on selecting this year’s expanded group of 24 artists, which will include some returnees from last year’s event, along with first-time participants.”

The Testimonial Gateway Trailhead landscape in which the artists will work features the historic Testimonial Gateway Tower and magnificent views of the Shawangunk Ridge and surrounding Mohonk Preserve Foothills’ fields and historic farms.

The artists will be stationed along the tree-lined Pin Oak Allée on the Lenape Lane and Ridgeview Road, part of the Mohonk Preserve Foothills Loop of the River-to-Ridge Trail. Each artist will create art in the form of a painting or drawing, onsite in plein air based on the theme of nature and the outdoors. New this year additional artists will also be painting on other areas of the Preserve in the weeks leading up to the main event.

Following the event will be a reception at the Mohonk Preserve Visitor Center where guests may speak with the artists and view the art before bidding begins online. The auction will be open to the public, with proceeds benefitting participating artists, Mohonk Preserve and Roost Studios.

The event is open to Mohonk Preserve members at no charge and to visitors with the purchase of a day pass for $15 per adult and children 15 and older.

For more information on the event and auction, visit Plein Air Art Walk – Mohonk Preserve.

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View seasonal photographs by our volunteer photographers below!

See more photos by the Mohonk Preserve Volunteer Photographers on their Facebook page.

Seasonal Updates

GET INTO NATURE. See a full list of upcoming programs including Nature Connections & Journaling and Star Gazing.

IN APPRECIATION. Go to our listing of Memorial and Honorary Gifts, Premium Members, and Business Members received January 1 through March 31, 2022.

CHECK THIS OUT. Sip for a cause with a special Red-Tailed Reserve from City Winery benefitting the Preserve’s conservation mission! Click here for more info.

Volunteers needed for Rock The Ridge on May 14! Support runners at an aid station, give directions to participants as a course marshal, help at race check-in, and more. Please view the Rock The Ridge Volunteer Schedule to sign up for a shift or contact volunteers@mohonkpreserve.org for more info.

Image From The Gunks, a photography exhibition by the Mohonk Preserve Volunteer Photographers, will be on display at the Gardiner Library during the month of May. Click here for more info.

Summer camps are back at Mohonk Preserve! Registration is open for Camp Peregrine and Mountainside Adventures for children age 7-13.

MOHONK PRESERVE BUSINESS MEMBERS. Thank you to all our Business Members. See the full list of Mohonk Preserve Business Members in our area guide.

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