On a warm July day in Westhampton, the clouds covered the sky, but on this special piece of forest, the rain held off almost magically. It was Kestrel’s first Community Trail Day & Nature Walk on our new 65-acre nature retreat: the Greenberg Family Conservation Area. This lovely forest, along which runs the cool, picturesque Sodom Brook, is rich with wildlife, as well as quirky yellow birch “fairy trees” and shady mountain laurel groves.
This land–donated to Kestrel by Rebecca and Carolyn Greenberg in memory of their parents, Stanley and Bernice Greenberg–has long been enjoyed by its neighbors, and over time an informal trail system was created. As a public conservation area, our goal is to improve that trail system so that others may enjoy this magical woodland and stream.
With that in mind, 39 community volunteers joined Kestrel staff, Board & Advisors, to transform nearly 1,000 feet of trail in a single morning. They constructed three re-routes of existing trails to improve safety and reduce soil erosion, and built a new trail connection to create a large trail loop in the northern portion of the property. With their energetic labor, our volunteers not only achieved four of the major trail priorities that day, but also finished an hour earlier than expected!
After their hard work, volunteers gathered for lunch at a shady clearing in the forest that the neighbors call the “Sacred Circle.” Later that afternoon, volunteers and members of the Westhampton community joined in a nature walk led by Laurie Sanders. Rebecca Greenberg was there to share her knowledge and memories of the forest, and was offered warm gratitude for her family’s gift to the community.
We are so grateful for the time and effort our volunteers and Westhampton community members gave to this effort. Check out the map of the trail work they accomplished below.
MORE TO BE DONE!
While we made much progress on our first Community Trail Day, there is still more we plan to do improve the experience before the area is officially open to the public. Three new footbridges need to be constructed, several existing trails need to be refined or connected to others, and the entire trail system needs to be blazed for easier navigation. We also hope to build a bridge to connect to the Westhampton High School’s running trails in the future. Finally, because only limited parking along the road is currently available, we are working toward acquiring additional land and building a small parking area on an adjacent property. Donations are welcome to help us with this effort!
If you would like to volunteer to help with future trail days at the Greenberg Forest, visit our Volunteer page. And, if you’d like to help form a Friends Group dedicated to care and maintenance of this property, please email Chris Volonte at firstname.lastname@example.org.