This spring our guided walks include birding, hiking, and mushrooming opportunities, though there are always the spring ephemerals to enjoy.  Not all walks are on Tuesday, though all start at 10 a.m. (except earlier gathering for the arboretum), and last around 2 hours.  There is no pre-registration.  For information email [email protected].  Cancellations or changes may be found at or


Cottage Park Trail, Moreau Lake State Park:  A relatively easy one-mile loop through mixed forest to a stream-crossed vale at the foot of the Palmertown Mountains.  Thousands of Spring Beauty flowers pave the forest floor here, along with other lovely spring wildflowers including Canada Violets and Dutchman’s Breeches.  Leader: Jackie Donnelly.  Directions: From exit 16 of the Northway/I-87, head west on Ballard Rd. to Rt. 9., cross Rt. 9 directly onto Corinth Mountain Rd., and proceed about 3 miles over Mt. McGregor.  When you reach the stop sign at Spier Falls Rd., turn right onto Spier Falls Rd.  Proceed along Spier Falls Rd. about 3.5 miles, and park at the Sherman Island Boat Launch on the left.  (605 Old Saratoga Rd., Gansevoort, NY 12831)


Reist Sanctuary:  A special birding opportunity in the H.G. Bird Sanctuary, a Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club sanctuary.  Its woods, dunes, and wetlands also include a variety of flowers as well as ferns, mosses, and giant trees.  The trail crosses swampy areas and is often very muddy, so wear boots; we’ll meet at the west end of the Sanctuary, which has better parking.  And bring binoculars!  Leader: Kathleen LoGiudice.  Directions: From the intersection of Balltown and Consaul, go east past the Hannaford Plaza.  Take the first left onto Oakmont.  Pass all the town houses.  When you’ve passed the last one, parking for the Sanctuary is on the right.  (Just north of 35 Oakmont St., Niskayuna, NY 12309)


Joralemon Memorial Park:  One of the best spring habitats for wildflowers, with fern-filled dells as well as a historic lime kiln dating back to the Civil War.  Leader: Ruth Brooks.  Directions: Take Rt. 890 east to the Thruway; take the Thruway east to exit 22 (Selkirk), then take Rt. 144 south to meet Rt. 143.  Follow Rt. 143 about 2.5 miles to Starr Rd. (Rt. 102).  Turn right on Rt. 102, and go about ½ mile north to Joralemon Park.  (CR-102, Coeymans, NY 12143; Joralemon Park Disk Golf Course)


Pine Hollow Arboretum:  If we’ve timed this right we’ll be able to wander through magnolias in bloom, as well as exploring various plant regions from Europe to Asia to America.  Easy hiking, mostly level, though it might be muddy.  Leader: TBA.  Directions: Take Rt. 890 east to the NY Thruway; get off at its exit 24 and follow onto Rt. 90, taking its exit 4 to Rt. 85 and continuing until the left turn onto Maple Ave.  The arboretum is on the left.  Please note: Due to parking limitations, we need to meet at the Market 32 (junction of Rt. 85 and New Scotland Ave.), near the southern entrance to its parking lot, off Rt. 85, to the left/west of the Citizens Bank, at 9:45 a.m..  (1395 New Scotland Ave., Slingerlands, NY 12159) 


Vale Park and Cemetery:  This walk will focus on mushrooms as well as trees and wild flowers.  Mushroom identification will be for beginners!  Vale Cemetery is an historic “rural” cemetery that opened in 1857 with the planting of over 1,000 trees.  Today, Vale Cemetery is a Level 1 Accredited Arboretum, with trees in the cemetery proper as well as a wilder section in wooded areas.  Co-leaders: Betsy Henry and Steve Jones.  Directions:  Use the entrance off Nott Terrace; from Schenectady’s .State St. turn north on Nott Terrace and then left through the entrance; from Union St. turn south on Nott Terrace.  The address of the park refers to the State St. entrance and is not applicable.


Hudson Crossing:  This is a nature and historic park just north of Schuylerville on the Hudson River.  Located on an island of Champlain Canal Lock 5, it offers panoramic river vistas as well as canal overlooks along a fairly easy route.  Leader: Chuck Kieweg.  Directions:  From Rt. 87’s exit 14, take Gilbert Rd. to Rt. 29 (Lake Ave.) and go east to Schuylerville for just under 11 miles, then turn left (north) onto US 4 and continue for half a mile.  Turn right to Lock 5 and you’ll see a parking area 0.3 miles ahead on your right.  (CR-42, Schuylerville, NY 12871)


Woodlawn Preserve:  A beautiful selection of woodland, lacustrine, and pine barrens, with some of the largest dunes in the Albany Pine Bush and “one of the most biologically diverse parcels in Schenectady County” (Wikipedia).  Relatively flat though sometimes muddy.  Co-leaders: Nancy Papish and Steve Jones.  Directions: Next door to Woodlawn Elementary School in the extreme southeast of the county, easily approached by following Gifford Road past the school to its end.  (441 Gifford Rd., Schenectady, NY 12304)


Lawson Lake:   This beautiful lake is surrounded by dense second-growth forest, wet meadows, and heavily vegetated swamps, with tributary streams that support reptiles and amphibians.  There is much woods and water bird life.  The gently rolling loop has a picturesque terrain.  Leader: Susan Toohey.  Directions:  From Clarksville take Tarrytown Rd. south to a T; turn left  onto Rt. 109, and continue on Rt. 109 at next bend, which takes you into the park. From Feura Bush take Rt. 32 and turn at Tarrytown Rd.; at bend go straight onto Rt. 109 and continue as above.  (293 Lawson Lake Rd., Feura Bush, NY 12067)