Thursday, April 23, 2015

8th Annual Workday and Michael L. Marziale Dedication

Spring is a wonderful time to celebrate new beginnings and to get everyone excited about the upcoming trail season. Earth Day and Arbor Day also fall in April, which makes it a great month for The Appalachian Trail Conservancy's Kellogg Conservation Center Annual Volunteer Work Day.

The 8th Annual Volunteer Work Day at the Kellogg Conservation Center (KCC) on Saturday, April 18.  It was sunny and moderate temperatures made the work go by, while the wind held off most of the day. We had 30 volunteers helping for the whole day and 5 ATC staff members, making it a total of 35 busy bees working on our projects around the KCC.  We welcomed many regional Appalachian Trail partners (Mass DCR, AMC, the Berkshire AMC, CT AMC, the ATC Stewardship Council, KCC Working Group members), Berkshire School students and staff,  and some ATC staff even traveled up in their free time with their family for a mini-vacation in the Berkshires. We also welcomed those who knew Michael L. Marziale, a well-respected former member of the ATC Board of Directors. The sun was shining and everyone was eager to pitch in.

We had some big garden projects to tackle on the south side of the barn as well as the western garden along the stone wall and lawn where the pool used to be. There the ground had to be completely turned up and sod removed.  Compost was added to the soil to support the new native plants that were planted. There were many other gardening and mulching projects.  Volunteers helped chip all the limbs fallen from storms or left after the tree pruning workshop. Many Berkshire School students and staff raked the northern lawn-a big feat. Native winterberry shrubs were planted to provide extra food sources for birds. Paint was scraped off the south side of the historic house in preparation for painting and storm windows were removed. Picnic tables were painted, as well as the interior of an old outbuilding. Bed frames for AMC seasonal staff. Reconfiguring the tent platforms will have to wait until another day. Lastly, the patio furniture was brought out of the barn out so we could enjoy the catered meal at the end of the work day.

Thankfully, the many hands accomplished much work before more ATC friends, board members, and affiliates shared the afternoon with us in memory of Michael L. Marziale.  Michael was an ATC board member who passed in 2011 and was important in orchestrating the Tree As A Crop™ project at the KCC. Read about this project here or read the former press release if you are unfamiliar. Michael’s enthusiasm toward the mission of the ATC and the Trail shone through as members of the ATC board and Michael’s family spoke during the dedication of a handmade bench and memorial stone.  We even had the pleasure of enjoying something else Michael loved, chocolate chip cookies.  As his son Michael said, his father believed they were “the food of the gods”.  


 Thank you to everyone for your hard work and time! We truly could not have got all that work done in one day without you.  Volunteers make it happen!

Special Thanks to: Ward’s Nursery in Great Barrington
Food by: Nagi’s Mediterranean Cuisine in Great Barrington

Monday, April 13, 2015

3rd Annual Pruning Workshop a Success!

Our 3rd annual pruning workshop, held April 4th, was a success.  Eleven hardy souls showed up on a cold and blustery day to be inundated with useful information on how they can improve their orchard, shade and ornamental trees.  Our instructors, Tom Ingersoll and Melissa LeVangie, were in fine form despite Tom having forgotten to wear his long underwear.  These guys are experts in their field and are excellent educators to boot - a great combination!  This workshop also kicked off the 2015 season here at the Kellogg Center and we are looking forward to a great year of educational workshops, volunteer workdays, community events, and other trail-related activities.  Come join us!