Independent Projects: Exploring New Lands

Recently the college has been gifted several acres — Skidmore’s total acreage now reaching close to a thousand at this point. Some of these new swaths of land are considerably larger than our humble 155-acre North Woods. Jingling and I have had a lot of fun getting to see this new scenery and exploring it quite a bit.

Jingling and I have been walking through these new parcels identifying areas that need to be cleaned up, figuring out the most ideal spots for signage indicating the boundary lines, and understanding how to better encourage community members that visit this land to be more respectful of it. We have been taking apart some campsites, collecting litter, and enjoying the new landscape.

We have also been fortunate enough to go on several walks in these new lands with different people of varying aspects of expertise. On our walk with Drew Roginski, one of the lead members of Saratoga Mountain Bike Association (SMBA), we enjoyed getting to see and appreciate the impressive layout of their trails, some of best in the country, and very rigorous. They cross over onto our parcel from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) land which the mountain bike trails are largely on. We enjoyed the all-around beauty of this parcel. On our walk with Kurt Smemo from Skidmore’s environmental department we were able see other parcels to the Northeast of campus. We learned about the wetlands and the flora and fauna that exist there. This parcel includes areas of large wetlands and very few trails, all of which are unmarked. On one of our walks we were even lucky enough to spot a deer munching leaves in the distant. We’ve also seen at least 50 red efts, one of my favorite critters in the area.

On campus the Skidmore Lands and Grounds Committee are the ones who are working towards creating more cohesive plans for land use and management. The group consists of faculty, staff and students that get together to discuss the future of these parcels and seek to collaborate with the Saratoga community. It’s very exciting to have these new lands, and more exciting still to consider how this land might be used in subsequent years.

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