A Message from the Director

  • Jake, his daughter Harper and dog Molly visit the MacFarlane Trail at Zenda Farms Preserve
  • Jake, his daughter Harper and dog Molly visit the MacFarlane Trail at Zenda Farms Preserve

Dear Friends, Supporters & Community Members,

While I sit here writing this, there is no doubt in my mind that life has changed dramatically for each of us in a very short time.  If you are like me, you are searching for ways to help (and to keep your sanity). I have been trying to stay on top of every changing regulation to keep our amazing staff safe and working, juggling working remotely, taking care of my family at home, and checking in on distant (and not so distant) friends and family.  It is not an easy task.

So much is beyond our control as schools, workplaces and businesses shut their doors.  Even fitness centers and yoga studios are closed.  While our world seems to be filled with so much uncertainty, there continues to be a constant -- the human need to connect with nature. When it comes to clearing my head, what I have found works best is simply getting outside.  Whether it is a walk in the woods or down the sidewalk, getting outside always seems to be the perfect remedy.

At TILT, our staff has made a seamless transition to working remotely.  And even though our 2020 Action Plan will experience some adjustments, I am confident that we will collectively maintain momentum, staying focused on advancing our important conservation mission.  Recently, Governor Cuomo designated New York's land trust stewardship staff essential, allowing our team to work independently in the field each day to ensure our preserves and trails stay safe and clean, so you can focus on enjoying spring's emerging beauty.

That being said, I am pleased to inform all of our community members that TILT's Preserves and nature trails are open and waiting for you. With incredible views and miles of trails, people are able to watch birds, look for the first wildflowers of spring, listen to rippling streams, and breathe the fresh air. If you are not familiar with our various outdoor recreational opportunities, click here to discover 10 fantastic Signature Preserves to explore. Click the links for each preserve to see descriptions, photos and trail maps.

Last Saturday, Alicia, Harper, Molly (our youngest golden) and I made time first thing in the morning to walk the MacFarlane Trail at Zenda Farms Preserve.  It was an absolutely perfect morning.  Harper learned all about the critters that call Zenda home -- stopping and asking questions at each of the interpretive signs and searching the trail for hidden birds and insects.  It was a win for the parents currently homeschooling!  This weekend, we plan to hike the Otter Creek Nature Trail and see what new things Harper learns on this nature walk. Alicia and Harper learn about grassland birds along the trail.

We encourage you to try a scavenger hunt with the kids, take a solo walk and listen to the relaxing sounds of nature or visit a preserve that you know and love or one that you have never experienced.  It is a wonderful, inexpensive and safe way to de-stress, get some sunshine and fresh air and to connect with nature. Check out our list of outdoor activity ideas for some inspiration.

While we are encouraging everyone to be outdoors and to experience our trails and preserves, our top priority remains the health of the visitors, our nearby communities and our staff. To help keep our most vulnerable community members safe, please remember to follow the CDC's guidelines including maintaining social distancing.

TILT and our River community have been through varying crises in the past.  While this one is unique in its own right, it too shall pass.  Rest assured, we will get through this together.

As always, thank you for your continued dedication to TILT and everything our organization stands for. It means a great deal to everyone here at the Land Trust.

Warm regards,

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