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Central & Western New York

Hikes, Events and Work Days

Connect with Nature in Central & Western New York

Pick from three great ways to connect with nature — sign up now for a bird walk, hike or volunteer activity. 

Space is limited and registration is first come, first served. Please wear weather-appropriate clothing and footwear and bring your own drinking water, snacks, binoculars and/or camera. Depending on the weather, don't forget sunscreen, hat and insect repellent. No pets, please. For work days, please bring work gloves and loppers or hand saws if you have them. Most activities are rain or shine but please check your e-mail the morning of the event in case there are any last minute messages.

Questions? Email


Hikes & Walks 

Paddle Canadice Lake
Sat., July 25, 9 am-1 pm 
Come join Nature Conservancy staff as we paddle the 7-mile perimeter of Canadice Lake’s beautifully forested and undeveloped shoreline. Along the way we will look for wildlife and discuss conservation – both past and present - in the Finger Lakes. Come prepared for a moderate to strenuous adventure circumnavigating the highest and smallest of the Finger Lakes! Attendees MUST provide their own canoe/kayak, paddles and personal flotation devices. 

Sounds of the Night, Penfield
Fri., July 31, 8 pm – 9:30 pm

Explore the sounds of the Swamp at twilight. Our bat biologists will bring special equipment allowing us to listen in on ultrasonic sounds created by bats, crickets, katydids and other creatures. Bring a flashlight and be prepared for mosquitoes. 

Rattlesnake Ramble, Elmira - For members only
Sat., Aug. 1, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm

This is a special opportunity for The Nature Conservancy's members to hike the woods and meadows to the cliffs of Frenchman's Bluff, where timber rattlesnakes reside. Tanglewood Nature Center's Polly Smith-Blackwell will lead us to summer basking and gestating areas to get a glimpse of this elusive reptile. The terrain is moderate and there's always the possibility of encountering a snake along the way, so hiking boots and long pants are required. 

Razing the Dam, Springwater
Sat., Aug. 8, 10 am – 11:30 am

Learn about how The Nature Conservancy and partners helped to project these important headwater forests and removed a dam to improve native fish habitat. This moderately difficult 2-mile hike will explore cool hemlock gullies, and discuss how healthy forests and healthy streams are connected.

Wild Edibles, Penfield
Sat., Sept. 5, 10 am – 12 pm

Join The Nature Conservancy and Friends of the Thousand Acre Swamp Sanctuary to learn about wild edibles! Does it taste good? Is it good for you? Find out what you can eat in the Swamp with leader Frank Crombe. This is an easy hike on mostly flat terrain and boardwalk.

Explore Salmon River Falls, Altmar
Sat, Sept. 19, 10 am – 12 pm

Explore a trail that begins near the top of the Salmon River waterfall and traverses to the lower gorge beneath the falls for breathtaking views, unique photo opportunities and interesting discoveries about the region's natural history and plant and animal communities. The lower gorge trail is relatively steep in sections and the overall hike will be moderately difficult.

Lake to Lake Foliage Hike, Springwater
Sat., Sept. 26, 10 am – 12:30 pm

Join us on a very challenging 2-mile hike as we descend from one of the highest elevations in Hemlock Lake watershed to the eastern shore of Hemlock Lake. Hikers will get a sneak peek of the Conservancy's upcoming newest trail system, learn about the history and ecology of the Finger Lakes Region and marvel at the local fall splendor. Please note: This will be a very challenging hike, traveling over very steep terrain, with little to no maintained trail.

Bog Wild, Freeville
Sat., Sept. 26, 1 pm – 3 pm

Join Bob Beck, volunteer preserve monitor and author of "The Journey at Malloryville Bog: Commitment, Teamwork and Tenacity in Defense of Land and Nature" (2013), for an exploration of woodlands, wetlands, wildflowers and glacial geology at the O.D. von Engeln preserve. Whether you are exploring this magical place for the first time--or it's one of your favorite spots--don't miss this special autumn tour. Difficulty: This is an easy hike and is over flat terrain and a boardwalk.

Fall Birding at the Swamp, Penfield
Thurs, Oct. 15, 8:30 am – 10:30 am

With the frenetic breeding season passed, we'll look for Thousand Acre Swamp year-round resident bird. Some will be venturing from their summer haunts to join mixed flocks for the winter; some will be starting to cache food for the leaner times to come; some offspring will be striking out to establish their own territories. We may even encounter a few arriving winter residents or lingering migrants on their southward journeys. This is an easy hike on mostly flat terrain and boardwalk.

Conservation Photography, Naples
Sat., Oct. 17, 9 am – 11:30 am

Join Conservation Lands Manager and Staff Photographer, Mathew Levine, for a nature photography workshop at our West Hill Preserve. This entry level field session will focus on taking advantage of natural lighting and standard composition techniques to enhance your photography skills. Bring a digital camera you are familiar operating, a tripod (if you have one), and your personal artistic expression as we explore the beautiful forested slopes of the West Hill Preserve in fall. This workshop will include a moderate 2-mile hike along the Bristol Hills Trail a branch of The Finger Lakes Trail. An opportunity to share your favorite workshop photos and to offer feedback to your peers in a private web gallery will be offered following the workshop. 

Work Days & Citizen Science

Counterfeiter’s Ledge Work Day, Akron
Fri., Aug. 7, 9:30 am – 12 pm

Help Nature Conservancy staff and volunteer stewards manage this botanically diverse preserve. We will be removing non-native and invasive autumn olive shrubs that are outcompeting native vegetation. As a bonus, our expert volunteer stewards will provide the group with a botanical history and tour of this ecologically significant preserve.

Build a Lake-to-Lake Trail, Springwater
Wed., Aug. 12, 9:30 am – 12 pm

Help us expand the trail system in the western Finger Lakes. The Nature Conservancy is building a new trail to connect Hemlock Lake to Canadice Lake the only two completely undeveloped Finger Lakes. Come join us in creating a flagship trail in this beautiful water-rich landscape.

El Dorado Beach Clean-up, Ellisburg
Wed., Sept. 16, 9:30 am – 12 pm

The waves and currents of Lake Ontario bring with them the debris of surrounding cities. Help us clean up El Dorado's beautiful beaches and shoreline, improving the visitor experience and habitat for amphibians and migrating birds.

Limerick Cedars Buckthorn Removal, Dexter
Wed., Sept. 23, 9:30 am – 12 pm

Many areas of Limerick Cedars are being inundated with buckthorn. Help us cut and pull this aggressive invasive out of some of our high priority alvar meadows to ensure the protection of the rare plant communities they contain.

West Hill Work Day, Naples
Thurs., Sept 24, 9:30 am - 12 pm

Join Nature Conservancy staff and our team of dedicated long-term volunteers as we conduct trail maintenance and preserve improvements at this beautiful preserve in the heart of the Bristol Hills landscape.

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