NEWFIELD, N.Y. — “The Forest Talks” hike is kicking off its last monthly hike of the year, after spending the fair weathered months teaching people about nearby environmental treasures.
Last month, a group of wilderness enthusiasts trekked through the Bock-Harvey Forest Preserve in Newfield.
The nine-person trip, which was organized by series director Steve Gabriel, was led by local forester Mike DeMunn and showcased the natural beauty of the 300-year-old forests that lay tucked away in the 50 acre preserve. It consisted of a two-hour hike through the preserve, which is part of the Finger Lakes Land Trust.
The Bock-Harvey preserve is home to an amazing abundance of old trees, and is a sight to behold according to DeMunn, who seemed to thrive off of the very life of the forest.
“Those trees are the rarest of the rare,” he told the group at one point.
Dave Bock, a sixth generation member of the Bock-Harvey family, spoke about the history of the preserve, which had been in his family since the Revolutionary war. He recounted times playing in the woods as a boy, and said that he only realized the magnificence of the trees when a forester friend visited him.
“‘My forester friends have never seen trees like this,’” Bock said as he recalled what the forester had spoken to him that day.
As he is the last generation of the Bock-Harvey family, Bock and his wife decided to give the land to the Finger Lakes Land Trust, which in turn allowed the preserve to be used by Steve Gabriel and “The Forest Talks” series.
The series hosts a trip every fourth Tuesday of the month, with its final trip coming in October.
Gabriel started the program as a way to educate more people about the forests and natural beauty around Tompkins County. He also described the importance of teaching people how to preserve the forests.
“The difference is taking the best things, versus leaving the best things,” Gabriel said when asked about the preservation of the woodland versus the use of the forest for resources. Gabriel with host the trip next month with a different forester leading the expedition and talk.
He is also and Agroforestry Extension Specialist for Cornell University, and is in charge of the Cornell Small Farms Program.