Huyck Preserve trails typically close at dusk but a few times a year we lead special night hikes! To attend this event, you MUST RSVP using the RSVP form below. For safety and organization, this hike is limited to 40 people on a first come first serve basis!
Please wear sturdy hiking shoes, dress in layers for a chilly night, and bring a headlamp or flashlight (red color preferred!). Hiking poles recommended if you need them. If sufficient snow is on the horizon, it is recommended that you bring snow shoes. We have a limited number of snowshoes available for rent at $5/pair. Please indicate on the RSVP form if you will need snowshoes.
General hike policies
Please arrive 5-10 minutes before the hike to sign in! Hikes begin promptly at the listed start time. A suggested donation of $5/person is greatly appreciated for public programs. All guests must sign a waiver at time of the hike; guests under 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Hikes are rain or shine and weather at the Preserve can be unpredictable – please dress appropriately and wear comfortable, sturdy hiking shoes or warm snow boots. Layers are highly recommended!
Large groups (more than 8 people) are welcome but must contact the Preserve in advance by calling 518-797-3440 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can work to accommodate them
Please watch our Facebook page for the most up to date information on guided hike cancellations. The decision to cancel an event due to predicted severe weather is generally made by close of business 2 days before an event, but last minute cancellations can occur and are posted to Facebook as soon as possible.
It's that time of year again where the warm season has settled and we start to feel the first hints of the cooler season ahead. Just as nature begins it's decent into the shorter cooler days, the Huyck Preserve also experiences a time of transition in which to rest and reflect upon our accomplishments from the past several months. As our final hurrah before winter sets in, we invite all our members, donors and supporters to join us for our 3rd Annual Membership Appreciation Dinner on Saturday, October 29th to celebrate another successful season! This annual dinner is our way at saying thank you to our wonderful donors and supporters who help give the Preserve the resources it needs to thrive and survive. As always, we will provide a delicious buffet dinner from Jake Moon Cafe, seasonal libation and an overview of all our recent accomplishments. As an extra special way of showing our appreciation and to honor Halloween, we encourage our guests to come dressed in their favorite costume! Additionally, we're excited to have the Dudley Observatory join us to take us on a tour of the night sky!
We hope you join us for what promises to be a spook-tacular evening!
This event is free to all current members and supporters.
Guests must RSVP by October 21st if they wish to partake in dinner.
If you are unsure of your membership status, or wish to become a member and join this event, please contact email@example.com.
A dedicated teacher, Agnes Zellin has played a huge role in assisting the Preserve in integrating our research and science facets into our education programs to make accessible programs for K-12 students. We are thrilled to honor her as part of our 85th anniversary celebration. Below she shares her story of connecting to the Preserve.
When I grew up in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, I played “outside” every summer day, and most days during the school year, as soon as I got home and could drop my school bag.
All the kids “on the block” played outdoors. It was a typical city street…row houses, “stoops,” concrete sidewalks, with each house having one 4-foot square patch of soil for a tree to grow. Yes, not only did a tree grow in Brooklyn, but on our block if you stood on one end and looked down the street you would see a long row of trees all leaning in the same direction toward the path of the sun.
“I’m going outside,” was a common early-morning refrain of all the kids. Door slamming behind us, my brothers and I would not be seen again by my mom until lunch time. The same scenario followed the gulping down of our lunch. We were gone, back “outside” until the call to come in for dinner. Sometimes, depending on where we were, on or “around the block,” her high-pitched voice would have to travel over a relay of other moms or other children before it reached our ears.
While we utilized the asphalt street and concrete sidewalks for stick ball, kick ball, tag, giant step, red light/green light, we also made time to find nature. We would dig in the dirt around the base of the trees, finding treasures or hiding them. An occasional worm that surfaced was our fascination; caterpillars by the hundreds would appear at the height of the heated summer days, hang from the trees, and crawl upon every surface imaginable. Birds loved the trees and working dads cursed the morning display of bird droppings on their car windshields as they set out to work.
I spent a lot of time playing in the dirt. Not only in that 4x4 square foot of soil, but using popsicle sticks to dig in between the cracks in the sidewalk. I would be amazed at how the ants would canal their way through those cracks and under the concrete, leaving piles of loosened soil in their wake.
I would be equally amazed at how the most stubborn and sturdy “weeds” (often dandelion) would grow up through every tiny crack available. Sometimes even new trees would make their appearance.
When we tired of street play, we’d head down to the corner, cross the street, and enter Winthrop Park, a one-block square park that became our adventure land for hours.
We had the freedom to play — play on our own terms, with our own imaginations and curiosity leading us, time to explore and wonder.
Fast forward to a classroom in Berne, New York. I was teaching about ecosystems. I had a science text book, a science kit to construct out of liter soda bottles a model of a terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem, and some carefully chosen library books. As I planned the lessons, guided the reading, and constructed the eco-columns with my students, I had this nagging feeling of something missing. Then there was a moment when, while students were attaching the terrarium with the aquarium, I glanced outside.
Berne Elementary is surrounded by land, rolling hills, streams, trees, fields, and wildlife. There it all was, outside my window, and here I was with my students, inside a classroom. Something wasn’t right. I wanted to inspire a deeper sense of curiosity. If I had found that at my students’ age, in the 4x4 patch of soil and sidewalk cracks, and the postage-stamp sized park of my childhood, what could we find in those square miles of watershed outside our school windows? I realized we needed to get “outside.”
Thus began the creative and engaging learning experience of working in collaboration with the Huyck Preserve. The idea for a field-based science project, “Out of the Textbook, Into the Field,” was created under the trees, sitting at the base of the Rensselaerville Falls, with then Executive Director Chad Jemison. An invaluable academic partnership for me had begun. The Preserve’s hemlock forest, red pine plantation, and mixed deciduous forest became our classroom. When Dawn O’Neal assumed the education directorship, and then executive directorship of the Preserve, our collaboration deepened into a carefully constructed project — scientist meets 4th grade teacher and builds an understanding and a plan to bring over sixty 4th graders to the Preserve and discover, explore, learn,
question and make connections between themselves and the natural world around them.
I was lucky to find in Dawn the shared enthusiasm to build a field-based, project-based science program — where students could have the typical field trip experience with the enjoyment of being in the outdoors, AND also “do” science, learn the process of it, find the excitement of discovery it offers, and “practice as a scientist.”
My work with Dawn, Christina, and the Preserve educators during our field- trips has been a centerpiece of my teaching. It has enriched me, made me a better teacher, and given me the pleasure of collaborating with a highly dedicated environmental program to deepen an understanding of and appreciation for precious and sensitive ecosystems. When I was working with my students setting up transects, or capturing, marking and releasing crayfish, we were “doing” science. It has been a gift to work with Dawn and the Preserve educators, in such a special environment, while fulfilling the task of making learning an active process of discovery and constructed understanding. I look forward to remaining connected to the Preserve, being part of its work, and dedicated to its mission.
— Agnes Zellin
“For the betterment of human kind,” that is what Uncle Ted used to say.
These are the first words Shirley French says to me when we sit down to speak about her continued support of conservation initiatives at the Huyck Preserve. This forward thinking nature was further nurtured by Aunt Jesse who encouraged Shirley at a young age to stay connected to the village: a connection that culminated one summer with her racing a wheelchair down Pond Hill Rd. for the use of a village resident unable to get outside to her porch without assistance. Shirley’s current support of the village and the Huyck Preserve may not be as hair-raising, but it is still wholehearted and centered on making sure that the people are able to connect to the land.
Annually, Shirley contributes to the Huyck Preserve’s conservation efforts which has allowed us to assist nearby landowners in obtaining conservation easements, complete our recent capital campaign, and protect adjacent lands. Of late, Shirley has been our number one champion as the Preserve takes our first official steps towards being accredited by the Land Trust Alliance. An intense process, working towards accreditation means bringing all of our records into compliance and putting into place procedures and policies that will give us secure footing so that we may sustain current and embark on new endeavors. As Shirley sees it, of utmost importance is the Preserve keeping its promise to protect access to Lake Myosotis for community recreation, continue our storied research history, and of course safeguard the beauty of Rensselaerville Falls. The bar of accreditation will assist the Preserve in keeping that promise and instill more respect and confidence in our work.
With Shirley on our team, the Preserve is certain to achieve accreditation in 2017, and we are overjoyed to honor her as part of our 85th anniversary celebration.
Susan Beatty, Ph.D. has been assisting the Huyck Preserve in connecting to people to nature through research for over 40 years! We are delighted to honor her as part of our 85th anniversary celebration. Below, she shares her history and why she has remained connect to the Preserve over the years.
As a fresh new graduate student at Cornell University, I started looking for a place to do my doctoral research in plant ecology. There was a good Cornell-connection in the mid 70’s at the Preserve (Bob Dalgleish, Director of ENHP was a Cornell alum) and several faculty had done research there. So I applied for a Huyck Grant in 1976 and was excited to get it! My first field season was in 1977 and I lived in Mill House, which was a residence at the time. The Preserve office was in Conklin Hall, Bullfrog Camp was still privately owned, and there was a very old barn where our beautiful Eldridge Research Laboratory now stands. There was a great ambiance surrounding the research going on at the Preserve, and Bob got all the researchers together every week to discuss each other’s work. Then we played volleyball on the Conklin Hall lawn. There was no Palmer House or Hilltown Café, so we made our own entertainment. At the then-named Institute of Man and Science (Carey Institute for Global Good today) I remember meeting Isaac Asimov several summers when he drove up from NYC for the annual science fiction writers workshop held at the Institute. All of these science and social interactions built the foundation for what is now a life-long love affair with the Huyck Preserve.
After finishing my Ph.D. I was a professor at UCLA for a decade, then University of Colorado in Boulder for two decades, and finally Portland State University (Oregon) for a few years, before finally coming “home” to Rensselaerville in 2014 with a job as Provost at The Sage Colleges (Troy/Albany campuses). For all of those years I lived in the west, I faithfully travelled every summer back to the Huyck Preserve to continue my field research. This year is my 40th data collection year! Wow. Over the years I received a few more Huyck Grants, but I also brought in NSF grants to fund my research and that of many students (Ph.D., MS, Undergraduate Honors). I loved being able to introduce my students to the Huyck Preserve community that continued to celebrate research and education. One of the best things about a field station like the Huyck Preserve is that you get to meet a lot of people you would never otherwise get to know. I learned a great deal about insect behavior, limnology, duck mating rituals, spider web building, communication among water striders, amphibian defense mechanisms, and the detrital food web, just to mention a few. As a plant ecologist and geographer, I expanded my scientific horizons just by being a part of the research community at the Preserve every summer. I formed life-long friendships that have enriched my life both personally and professionally. The Huyck Preserve and Biological Research Station is a crossroads that brings together an incredible diversity of people and ideas.
The four primary missions of the Huyck Preserve are research, education, recreation and conservation/stewardship. Over the years I have seen these missions evolve and become integrated. Our educational programs are thriving, we have student interns every summer learning from the researchers, the research helps inform our policies and plans for conservation and stewardship, and the maintenance of the Huyck Preserve as a pristine watershed provides for all of the above! I am so thankful that I kept coming back every year, and was able to not only witness, but be a part of, the success of this incredible place.