Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Stargazing at the Kellogg Conservation Center

We hosted our first Stargazing program at the Kellogg Conservation Center.  The event was a week after the Lunar Eclipse, which was stellar in it's own right.  The lunar eclipse was coined a, "Super Blood Moon", and it won't happen again until 2033.

The evening of our stargazing program was hazy, and resulted in low turnout, despite doing local outreach and outreach to local a Trail to Every Classroom teachers, local schools, and libraries.  I have submitted a Cultural Council grant to assist with building and advertising for this program next year. Thank to those that came, and to those that helped spread the word.  A big Thank You to Sarah!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

2nd Annual Yoga Hike to Jug End Vista

This past Sunday we held our second successful yoga hike to the Jug End vista on the Appalachian Trail. We had 10 hikers and yogis, down from the original RVSP, however, it was the perfect size and we had stellar weather.  We started and ended the hike at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's Kellogg Conservation Center.  

The restorative yoga session was led by Tracy Remelius on the lawn of the Kellogg Conservation Center (KCC) in the area where a pool once existed.  In this spot, it allows for peaceful views of the west side of Jug End and the flank of Mt. Everett. The sun was warming, and the yoga was perfect for tired muscles.  Tracy also teaches yoga at a Trustees property in Tyringham, Ashintully if you are interested in taking a class with her.  She is thoughtful, has excellent cues, and makes all her participants feel comfortable.  If we did this event in summer, the pool gardens would be in full bloom.  Maybe next year!

A bit of history:
The other side of where the AT runs along Jug End is a property managed by Mass Parks and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife called, Jug End State Reservation and Wildlife Management Area.  It is within the Mount Washington State Forest management unit. It is comprised of 1,158 acres of land allowed to return to its natural state.  There is a loop trail system (MAP link), old foundations, and a recent local resident has been working with other volunteers to remove invasive Oriental bittersweet vine from the apple orchard there.  Look for volunteer dates advertised in the Shoppers' Guide, on the GB Trails.org website.

During the 1930s-1985, the area on the other side of the Jug End ridge which the AT lies on, where the Jug End State Reservation is, was the Jug End Resort.  The unique history is in the link below.  At the bankruptcy of the Jug End Resort, residents of Egremont joined together to fight development in where the resort was in disrepair.  The Egremont Environmental Action group eventually become what is now the Egremont Land Trust.  Their efforts led to the success of the State purchasing this land.  

When we look toward the Housatonic Valley and across to East Mountain (where the AT ascends) what we don't see is the conservation corridor that lies behind us. What is out of our sight is this important parcel of land that expands the conservation corridor of the AT, and keeps a larger tract of land connected for wildlife habitat.  What a great asset we have here in the Egremont area.

Further Reading and Hiking Information for the Southern Taconics & Jug End:
Hiking Jug End State Reservation by Berkshire Hiking.com
AT Mapset and Guide for CT/MA   & just the mapset
Mt. Washington State Forest Trail Map
NY/NJ Trail Conference South Taconic Trails Map

Thanks to Tracy Remelius Yoga  for being our restorative yoga teacher again this year.  Her love for stewarding the outdoors and using nature to heal is a perfect fit for our programming here.