In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Friend’s were able to support and sponsor several events and initiatives while being responsible in social distancing and mask wearing. We worked with the park to help provide respite as well as events structured to entertain and educate families and young minds. We are working on plans for 2021 and hope to see you there.
Here is a highlight summary from our Friend’s President – Mary Knutson:
Friends of Moreau Lake State Park Accomplishments in 2020
- The annual First day Hike 2020 saw 170 people on the trails. Following the hike the Friends provided appetizers, desserts and beverages in the Warming Hut.
- The Friends were fortunate to be awarded 2 grants in 2020,
- A 2019 Stewarts Holiday Match Grant provided money to help support craft days for kids during school vacations, the purchase of plants and tools for the Friends garden group and the purchase of hats and gloves for a fishing club from Schenectady High School.
- Our current award from Parks and Trails New York is a Capacity Building grant facilitated by NY Council of Nonprofits who will assist the Friends with strategic planning, membership development and project branding.
- An earlier PTNY Grant for the upgrade of the bridge connecting the camping loops and the beach that had been put on hold because of COVID was completed this October.
- On the school breaks Friends volunteers and the park educators organized crafts, hikes, Ice Fishing, scavenger hunts and programs in the Nature Center for children and their families.
- Friends Chili Dinner held on February 28th had 90 people attend and over $500 raised for the Friends group.
- Park Advocacy Day on March 2nd in Albany was attended by 4 Friends members who met with local representatives asking for their continued support of funding for all NYS parks. This years Park Advocacy Day will be different asking the public to tell our representatives what parks mean to them by sharing their stories. I refer you to the Friends website for a link to letters and a list of representatives and other Advocacy information.
- NatureFest 2020 was held virtually this year running from September to the end of December. Many presenters from previous NatureFest and park staff provided content for the event.
- Friends and committee meetings have joined the Zoom Meeting contingency. A surprising outcome was attendance has increased due to access by people who normally could not attend for various reasons. Future meeting may include both live and virtual to encourage more involvement of our members near and far.
- Our garden group also known as the Green Team started in 2018, has grown with more volunteers and new Master Gardeners in direct proportion to the new gardens that were created this year. Over 200 volunteer hours were spent in our gardens this year attracting various butterflies bees and birds.
- In spite of COVID restrictions several special and unique events happened in the park with assistance from Friends volunteers; a release in the park of rehabilitated Barred Owl, Autumn Discovery Walk was provided in place of the Haunted Halloween Walk, Full Moon Hike followed by a viewing of the Moon on a screen that was projected from the observatory, a member recruitment contest offered by the Membership committee handed out to winners gift cards to local businesses and our “Craft on the Go” was created to meet the COVID restrictions of no contact craft days.
Thank you all that came to Moreau Lake State Park during this challenging year. We hope you found peace, solace and fun as you walked our trails, took a dip in the lake and camped among the trees. You are essential to the Friends, we are grateful for your continued support.