Saturday’s April Hill Transect yielded a nice assortment of tracks and sign. We were blessed with spring-like rays of sunshine and a quality tracking substrate of packing snow.
Starting across fields grazed by goats during the warmer months, we encountered red fox tracks, sometimes breaking through the top layer of snow, sometimes staying on top of it, great long cottontail leaps, and several vintages of coyote tracks. Along the Appalachain Trail we came across a red fox that had leaped over an electric fence about two and half to three feet tall as well as some bird tracks that we struggled to identify in the field. The bird tracks were two inches long which is about half the length of a crow track and still smaller than the track of a mourning dove (2.6 in via google images). I’m thinking a groundfeeding Junco is a good bet, despite the fact the tracks indicated it was walking rather than hopping. I’m interested to hear theories or at least get pointed in the direction of a good bird tracking resource!
Entering into the woods we encountered several sets of deer and coyote tracks moving north to south, parallel with a brook. At one point, while traveling parallel to the brook, we literally scared the scat out of a turkey–it flew away leaving wing imprints and a spray of reddish scat across the snow.
We inched along the outer bounds of a manmade pond–now colonized phragmites and cattail–finding raccoon, weasel, deer and turkey tracks as well as several curiously lemony-sweet smelling bushes that we later realized were spicebushes.
Doubling back, due south across the Appalachian Trail, and again paralleling the brook, we discovered porcupine nip twigs beneath a grove of hemlocks, more turkey, raccoon, and deer tracks as well as bear marks on an ancient sugar maple and a younger birch.
Running out of time, we weren’t able to circle around the larger wetland, we’ll have to return for that!
Have you heard about our “Close the Gap” Campaign to support our acquisition and stewardship of April Hill Conservation and Education Center (formerly Kellogg Conservation Center)?
Our new 100-acre house and farm will provide a permanent home and wider reach for Greenagers’ regional jobs and conservation education programs for teens and young adults
With more than $1.1 million quietly raised last year, Greenagers is now aiming to raise a final $350,000 to support the stewardship – now and forever – of this incredible place.
Our $1.5 million fundraising target secures the purchase and capital improvements at the property, establishes reserve funds, and provides for program expansion.
“We are so surprised and so very grateful, that this project has struck such a chord with our community well before any public announcement was made,” said Will Conklin, executive director of Greenagers. “Apparently, our friends agree with us that this could be the most important project underway on behalf of our region’s young people. Our Egremont neighbors especially have shown spectacular support.”
“The impact Greenagers has on our young people can’t be overstated, and when teens benefit, so does the entire community,” said David Sheehan, chair of the Greenagers board. “April Hill will give us room to grow and to serve more kids in a setting that mirrors our mission perfectly.”
The Kellogg property was transferred to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy by the estate of the late Mary Margaret Kellogg; the Appalachian Trail runs just south of the property. In late 2017, ATC moved to transfer its stewardship role and selected Greenagers as the organization most suited to the property.
We’re really looking forward to being a part of the crew again at the next Berkshire Grown Winter Market on Saturday, February 16th. Aretha and Leslie, our Climate Action instructors, will be holding down the Greenagers fort there with some of our awesome Climate Action kids. Please drop by and say hi and find out what they’re up to!
Thank you to all the brave souls who came out to celebrate with us on a cold and blustery night! We loved seeing you all at The Barn and sharing our vision for the new April Hill Conservation and Education Center with you. We especially loved hearing your thoughts and suggestions and feedback! For those of you who couldn’t make it, please check out our video and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.
“It’s the size of a mini-bus, there’s no way we’re moving it” asserted Elia Del Molino, Trails Coordinator at Greenagers. “I’ll take that bet” countered Mike Leavitt, Trails and Outreach Coordinator from Berkshire Natural Rources Council (BNRC). The friendly bet, which Elia ultimately lost, was in reference to a 10-ton boulder—a sizable piece of gneiss that would be moved by one person wielding but one grip hoist. The situation was one of the many impressive and daunting challenges poised at last week’s Greenager Grip Hoist Training.