Hike and learn with CRISP!

The Catskill Conservation Corps not only holds events and creates volunteer opportunities – we also support and promote other organizations in their efforts to work with volunteers in the Catskills. We’re delighted to share with you a fun and informative volunteer opportunity happening in Ulster County on May 5, 2015.

iMap Invasives – A CRISP event

Curious if emerald ash borer has made its way to your town? Want to know where the closest patch of black swallowwort is? Come explore the Ashokan Center’s gorgeous campus while you learn how to use the database, meet other volunteers, and learn how to identify the Catskills’ most common invaders. The Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) is co-hosting an imap invasives training on Tuesday, May 5th. Imap invasives is a state wide database that gives users access to shared data about the distribution of invasive species. After the event we’ll take a hike around the Ashokan Center’s beautiful trails and map some of their invasives like stilt grass and barberry.

The event takes place at 447 Beaverkill Road in Olivebridge, NY, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Please bring a bagged lunch.

For more information, please contact Molly Marquand at the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development. 845-586-2611 or mmarquand@catskillcenter.org

Mountain Top Historical Society Campus Clean-Up on May 2 in Haines Falls

MTHSVolunteers are needed to help the Mountain Top Historical Society get their campus in Haines Falls ready for the spring and summer months!

On Saturday, May 2, 2015 the Mountain Top Historical Society will emerge from the long cold winter into the sunlight of another exciting season of hikes, programs, and special events. Beginning at 9:00 a.m. they will be staging groups of willing workers around the campus to clear the cobwebs and clutter of winter. They can use your help.

A thorough cleaning needs to be done in the Visitors’ Center, in the Train Station, and around the grounds. The more volunteers we have there, the quicker the jobs will be completed. Check out 2015 schedule of events on our website: www.mths.org and come out to help us prepare on May 2. Looking forward to seeing you then and throughout the summer.

No need to pre-register for this event, just stop by the MTHS campus on Saturday, May 2nd.

For more information and questions:

The Mountain Top Historical Society
5132 Rt. 23A
P.O. Box 263
Haines Falls, NY 12436
Contact: Alisa Alvarez

From Pest to Pesto! A Culinary Approach to Managing Invasive Plant Species Workshop on Sunday, May 10 in Fleischmanns

nik20110724DSC4802The Second Sundays Trail U series from the Catskill Region – New York-New Jersey Trail Conference and Spillian continues with a free workshop to turn garlic mustard from pest to pesto!

Wander on the trails at Spillian to forage for the invasive plant garlic mustard. This early maturing plant competes with some of the most special early spring natives in the Catskills and spreads like wildfire. But, it has two redeeming features! It tastes good. And it’s very good for you — it’s loaded with anti-oxidants.

You’ll forage garlic mustard in the woods and then gather in the Spillian kitchen to make garlic mustard pesto that you can take home with you. Learn how invasive species can be battled with knife and fork!

Bring your mom for Mother’s Day or make pesto for her. Glow with self righteousness as you hand her a healthy, sustainable, home made dinner! No guilt. Serious brownie points. Mama Earth will love you, too…

Be prepared to spend a few hours on the trails around Spillian as part of this workshop. Make sure to wear your hiking boots; dress appropriately for the outdoor conditions and trail work; pack plenty of water; and bring work gloves.

The even will be led by Will Soter, the Trail Conference’s Southern Catskills Co-Chair and a NYS Outdoor Guide and avid Catskills hiker. Trail Conference Catskills Program Coordinator Heather Rolland, and Spillian CEO and founder, Leigh Melander.

Refreshments will be served and you’ll have enough pesto for dinner when you leave.

This event is free and open to the public. Please register on the Trail Conference website so they know how many folks to prepare for!


About the Presenters:

Molly-Marquand-225x300Molly Marquand joined the Catskill Center in 2012 and as the coordinator of the CRISP program, oversees and organizes efforts to manage invasive species throughout the Catskill region. Molly has also worked with the New York City Natural Resources Group conducting vegetation surveys, the Greenbelt Native Plant Center on Staten Island, collecting locally sourced native seed to be used in restoration projects, and the New England Wildflower Society, conducting and coordinating rare plant surveys all over New England. When not at work Molly enjoys hiking with her dogs, riding her horses, and finding interesting plants to identify. Molly holds a B.A in Ecology from Bates college and a Msc in Botany from the University of Reading, England.

Will SoterWill Soter is the Trail Conference’s Trails Chair for the southern Catskills, CEO and Lead Guide of Upstate Adventure Guides,  and a registered New York State Guide.  Will has years of experience exploring and hiking throughout the Catskills and as a guide, he strives to provide a superior level of wilderness guidance, while maximizing the visitor’s experience.

Heather RollandHeather Rolland is an avid Catskills hiker, on staff with the Trail Conference as the Catskills Program Coordinator, a member of the Board of Directors of the Catskill 3500 Club and is currently working on her Catskills All Trails Patch.

Learn, Hike, Give Back: Opportunities with the Catskills Conservation Corps

10620371_745724175495954_7927043099924632836_oBy Heather Rolland, Catskill Conservation Corps Coordinator

Does the staff of the Catskills Conservation Corps and Trail Conference hibernate? No way! Although the winter saw a dearth of snow here in the Catskills, the CCC has kept its crampons on and its collective nose to the grindstone! Winter means planning, organizing, and hiking for the CCC staff, and we’ve been doing plenty that.

Planning for a great work season

The CCC staff met with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) land managers and rangers in both Regions 3 and 4 to discuss trail work priorities and make preliminary plans for a number of work projects and workshops to be scheduled this coming work season. DSCN2178Rangers and forestry staff have also shared feedback about ongoing programs and issues–we’ve been grateful to get that important input so we can continue to streamline our efforts and work together even more effectively.

Some workshop ideas are still under construction, but we will be sure to offer a number of valuable volunteer training opportunities. A fun and interactive workshop on tool safety will be offered, as well as classes on trail layout and design, and basic trail maintenance. And we’ll continue to provide hiker education workshops such as map reading, basic navigation skills, seasonal hiking tips, and more.

All CCC Workshops are included in the Trail Conference’s Trail University calendar!

So what’s on deck for the work season?

We’re excited about working with Catskills Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) and the DEC on an invasive species project in the southern Catskills–our kick-off event at Russell Brook Falls on May 2 is shaping up to be a wonderful collaboration and a great opportunity for lots of volunteers to come out and have fun while making a difference. We’ll be hand-pulling knotweed from the banks of the stream to restore the view of the falls.

The Devil’s Acre lean-to rehabilitation project is also DSCF2747scheduled for June 13 and 14. Thanks to some great networking by Hunter Fire Tower Committee Chair Gordon Hoekstra, we will partner with a scout troop and other organizations to get that project banged out in one weekend. This project will include reroofing the lean-to and moving the privy. Once again, many hands will make light work of it all.

There are other lean-tos to be stained and privies to be moved. There are wet and muddy trails that will see stepping stones or split log bridges built, and many other possible trail projects that land managers are carefully evaluating. We are working closely with DEC staff, and eagerly anticipate receiving approvals for additional projects this spring.

Work days already being scheduled include at least two litter pick-ups during the summer targeting areas of the Catskills prone to this appalling behavior. We look forward to the day when we no longer have to plan for such tasks, but until that happens, we’re committed to doing regular cleanups.

We’re also committed to photo 2completing the hiking trail we started on the grounds of the soon-to-be-open Catskill Interpretive Center in Mount Tremper. Volunteer trail builders, start blocking out work days for swinging your mattocks–we’ll need plenty of strong backs to finish.

You can learn more about the opportunities to get involved by visiting the Trail Conference’s crew page, which lists all of the Catskill Conservation Corps activities!

Come Join Us

Care to lend a hand and make a difference? Connect with the CCC by filling out the interest form. Volunteering with the CCC is a great way to get out into the woods and experience an incredible sense of accomplishment and pride. Be a part of something wonderful. Volunteer with the CCC this work season and discover just how much fun hard work can be!



Long Path Trail Maintenance | Saturday, April 11, 2015

The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference‘s Catskills Trail Crew will be conducting spring trail maintenance activities on the Long Path where it travels through the Sundown Wild Forest in the southern Catskills.

The public is welcome to join and you do not need to be a member of the Trail Conference to join the Trail Crew.  No experience is necessary, the crew will provide the tools and the training on site before you get started.  Please make sure to wear your hiking boots; dress appropriately for the outdoor conditions and our trail building activities; pack plenty of water to stay hydrated; bring work gloves; and bring a bag lunch.