Friday, October 28, 2016

Early snow and charismatic megafauna!

Yesterday the southern Berkshires received an early dose of winter, anywhere from 1-4" depending on elevation.  Here at the Kellogg Center, fairly low in elevation, the snow was enough to set off the remaining fall foliage.  It is rare that we get a nor'easter that brings snow in October, and of course it was short-lived as sleet, rain and slightly warmer temps came in behind and began to rapidly melt it away.

               

















This morning as I was coming in to work, a movement across the street caught my eye - it was a REALLY large bird soaring over the property.  It took me a minute to realize it was a bald eagle!  I watched it for a moment as it landed in the field and then was harassed by some crows and lit in a tree above the house.  After taking a few photos I looked across the street to find a road-killed deer which had attracted the majestic bird.  Interestingly, it looked like the deer had been dragged by coyotes from the edge of the road out into the field.  Passing motorists had no idea what was going on just outside their window!  Very cool!










Thursday, September 29, 2016

Mowing Project Surprises!

When most people think of the Appalachian Trail, they probably think of the famed "green tunnel" phenomenon. Once the leaves come in in the spring, the forested footpath can seem never ending, punctuated only occasionally by a wide-sweeping view. While the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the volunteer maintaining clubs do spend lots of time and energy maintaining the tread of the trail, in the late summer and early autumn, we also spend time maintaining those beautiful open views. From the Lion's Head lookout in Salisbury, CT, the rolling fields of Bunker Hill are a critical part of the view. Maintained as grassland bird habitat, these fields are mowed once a year in mid-September.

This year, we captured some surprising wildlife in the bucket of the tractor.....

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

September Events

As the trail crew season comes to an end here at the Kellogg Center, September events are taking it up a notch in the second half of the month!

Friday, September 16th is the next in the series of hikes we're offering with help from the Egremont COA. This month, the hike is also in conjunction with the Berkshire County Clean Air Challenge! Meet at the Kellogg Center at 10AM for a mile long hike through the beautiful surrounding forests and fields, after which we will do a walking tour of the historic outbuildings and barns!

On Saturday, September 17th, Hannah Chamberlain, the Trail Management Assistant at the Kellogg Center and Beth Critton, chair of ATC's Stewardship Council, will be leading a Housatonic Heritage hike from Bull's Bridge in Kent, CT to the 10-Mile River AT shelter. This hike is about 2.5 miles round trip and we will walk at a family pace and make lots of stops to enjoy nature. Meet at the Bull's Bridge parking area south of the town of Kent at 10AM.

On Friday the 23rd, Stargazing on the Appalachian Trail is taking place at the Kellogg Center. Thanks to a grant from the Alford-Egremont Cultural Council, we were able to involve two astrophysics students from Williams College who will lead us in a talk about the stars and an outdoor session of stargazing. We also have a telescope to use thanks to one of our very own South Egremont community members! The event will take place at the Kellogg Center from 7:30-9 PM.
Click to enlarge!

On Saturday the 24th, join Hannah Chamberlain and Christine Ward, from Gt. Barrington Land Trust at the Tyringham Cobble for a moderate, history hike to the top of one of New England’s major thrust faults, with a view of the beautiful Tyringham Valley below. Wear boots/sturdy footwear and bring drink/snacks. Limited to 12 hikers. 2.5 hours–3 miles. Meet at 10AM at the AT parking on Main Road in Tyringham. 

Please direct questions and RSVP to hchamberlain@appalachiantrail.org.

Happy trails!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Egremont Walks: the Series Continues!

Thanks to our former Trail Management Assistant, Silvia, we have a beautiful brochure detailing short hikes on the Appalachian Trail in Sheffield and Egremont. We are happy to have the schedule set for a few more of these hikes: they will occur on the 3rd Friday of August, September and October. Mark your calendars:
August 19th: 10AM Meet at the Shays' Rebellion Parking area on Sheffield-South Egremont Road. We will enjoy a leisurely stroll on the AT toward the lime kilns, then return to the parking area. Optional hike extension will take us out on the boardwalk for a look at the wetland area. Binoculars recommended! ~1.5-2 miles round trip.
September 16th: 10AM Meet at the Kellogg Conservation Center at 62 Undermountain Road. Another opportunity to get to know April Hill farm! We will do a 1 mile hike through the beautiful fields of the Kellogg Center "April Hill", which boast a pollinator garden, apple orchard and resident sheep. We will also take a look at historical outbuildings and discuss the farm's history.
October 21st: TBA!
If you can't make a hike, stop by our office on Undermountain Road to pick up a free copy of the brochure!
These hikers joined us for the first April Hill grounds tour. Won't you come along next time? 
And here's a bonus shot: The incredible weather we had for our Wildflower Walk at Tyringham Cobble!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Wildflower Walk with Ted Elliman

Don't forget - this Sunday is the Wildflower Walk with Ted Elliman! See the flyer for details - this is an event not to be missed!! (And it's free!)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

GB AT Community Celebration 2016

Another wonderful success for the Great Barrington Appalachian Trail Community Day!

Coolers ready to go!

Gathering at Beartown State Forest's Benedict Pond in the morning were a group of intrepid hikers preparing for a 7-mile guided hike from Fernside road in Tyringham back to Benedict Pond. While those folks were enjoying the forest, beaver pond, and view from the Ledges, there was much activity at the Pond. Tents went up, picnic tables were laden with potluck dishes, and the Berkshire Ukulele Band set up their music stands. What a surprise it must have been for the hikers (those who did 7 miles and those thru-hikers who had hiked hundreds of miles alike) to come out of the woods and find such a bustling event!

Thru Hikers write GB-themed postcards
Altogether, we were able to feed and entertain about 20 thru hikers and about 100 community members. The music from the Berkshire Ukulele Band was relaxing and many folks chose to take a dip in the Pond. Remarks from members of the organizing committee highlighted the hard work of AT volunteers and trail builders, the tenacity of the thru hikers, and the generosity and hospitality of the people of Great Barrington.













Family-friendly fun!
The GB AT Community Celebration is an annual event that happens on the third Saturday of July every year. The Great Barrington Land Conservancy, Appalachian Mountain Club, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, MA DCR, Greenagers, and Berkshire Magazine are all partners in making the event happen. Our thanks to the Berkshire Co-Op and Annie Bananie Ice Cream (Kent, CT). If you didn't make it this year, we hope to see you there next summer!






Adam Morris oversees the dessert table
AT Volunteers enjoying each others company



We even had folks from the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


AMC Leadership Trail Crew lent a hand

Partner remarks


The view from the bandstand

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Great Barrington AT Community Celebration

For anyone who hasn't heard, here's you're personal invitation to the Great Barrington AT Community Day, this Saturday at Benedict Pond in Beartown State Forest! It's going to be a fun and relaxing day filled with stories about the trail and the opportunity to meet people who are involved with the AT in all sorts of different capacities. See flyer below for details (click on it to enlarge).