Holiday Crafting brings Joy

A wonderful time was had by many families. Please read the article below published by The Saratogian.

MOREAU, N.Y. — Moreau State Park Naturalist Gary Hill is young at heart. He retired in June 1995 from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and, as he puts it, “I’ve been playing ever since.”

Hill and his wife Jean, who heads up the volunteer corps called The Friends of Moreau Lake will celebrate their fifty-eighth year of marriage this month.  The pair is devoted to passing on their love of nature to future generations by organizing educational programs all year within the park and at the Nature Center. “It was just a little boathouse when we started,” said Hill. “I retired in April 1995 and we began making it into a nature center in June. That’s how long I was retired.” He and others began the effort by adding a few posters and pictures, fish and animal mounts, additions were added, and the Nature Center grew from there. 

Today it is a beautiful knotty pine, Adirondack-style educational edifice complete with several large aquariums, rock and mineral collections, and many fish and animal mounts throughout. On Saturday, a Kid’s Craft Program was held by the Friends of Moreau Lake at the Nature Center, one of many activities open to the public that are either free or at minimal cost to individuals and families all year. Jean Hill and the volunteers showed young children how to create winter gardens, fresh green centerpieces, felt poinsettia ornaments, and pine cone animals. Visitors were welcomed by a festively decorated refreshment table with a view of migrating birds covering the sandy beach outside. The volunteers had baked holiday cookies and had sliced carrots and celery sticks for healthy options. 

Programs are designed for all ages, starting with the three to six- year-old Knee High Naturalists. A forty-five-minute nature program is offered then followed by a beaver adventure hike. Guides help hikers identify trees and leaves and protected plant species.  Future events include a First Day Hike on January 1 and a Chili Dinner, with a featured speaker. Donations of food received at the event organized by the Friends of Moreau Lake will benefit the Moreau Community Center Food Pantry. “This is a great place to come fishing. Every year, Moreau Lake is stocked with three thousand rainbow trout around April or May. People need to obtain a fishing license and come on over. Migrating birds stop until it ices over before heading south for the winters” said Hill.   He adds that the limited snowmelt runoff over the past several winters and development in surrounding communities has factored into a drop in the lake’s water level.

For more information on how to join the Friends of Moreau Lake and a calendar of events at Moreau Lake State Park, call the office at 518-793-0511 or visit the website at


cover photo by Mary Knutson