Strawberry Fields Forever

— Photo by Jeff Nadler

Fringed gentian at Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve: The rare native wild flowers open on sunny days, but remain closed when the sky is cloudy.

The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy invites the public to explore Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve in Montgomery County at a grand opening event on May 20.

“We are incredibly excited to open this easement to the public,” said Mark King, executive director, in a release from the Conservancy. “This 118-acre property will be an excellent hiking destination for botanists and bird lovers, as over 300 species of vascular plants and 100 bird species have been identified on the site.”

The celebration begins at 10 a.m. with a light breakfast, followed by a grand opening ceremony at 10:30. After the ceremony, guided tours will head out on the trails, introducing visitors to the vistas, geologic formations, fields, and forests of Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve. To register for this free event, visit www.mohawkhudson.org.

The 118 acres of Strawberry Fields include the nature preserve, a family homestead, and a working farm. The property was protected in 2013 under a conservation easement with the conservancy. This year, Jeff Leon, owner and steward of the preserve, has partnered with the conservancy to officially open the preserve to the public.

Strawberry Fields is situated on a thick layer of limestone and dolomite formed from deposits in an ancient warm water sea that existed about 490 million years ago. This geologic history has created several unique features on and around the property, including a sinkhole.

Favorite flowers in spring are bloodroot, marsh marigold, trillium, wild ginger, trout lily, and mayapple. In summer, the fields are full of Joe-pye weed, boneset, and rudbeckia. In autumn, visitors are treated to eight species of asters, eight goldenrods, and most special of all, the fringed gentian: a rare native wildflower which prefers moist habitats. The purple-blue flowers of the fringed gentian open on sunny days, but remain closed when the sky is cloudy.

If you would like to join MHLC at the grand opening of Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve, visit www.mohawkhudson.org or call (518) 436-6346.

 

More Out & About

  • RENSSELAERVILLE — The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy is partnering with the Albany Symphony to bring an afternoon of music and nature to Capital Region residents and visitors on Saturday, June 24.

  • The historic Mynderse-Frederick House at 451 Route 146 in Guilderland Center will hold an open house on Saturday, June 17. The event, from 1 to 4 p.m., will include tours of the award-winning gardens and the building’s interior, which will be decorated with flower arrangements.

  • GUILDERLAND —  The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is hosting its first-ever Pine Bush Big Birding Day from Friday, June 30, at 6 p.m. to Saturday, July 1, at 8:30 p.m.