by Josh Pulito
Spring is in the air and it’s time to get back outside! If you are looking for ideas of some things to do here are a few of our favorite things to do at the Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center. These activities are ranked in no particular order. We love them all and were unable to choose favorites!
1. Attend an educational program on numerous nature topics. Our programs are for all age groups and can be found on our website under Events. We have a programs on many different topics during the summer including bats, mammals, plants, fish, amphibians and insects. We also offer full moon programs!
2. Paddling on Dyken Pond is quite the experience! Dyken Pond is actually the largest lake on the Rensselaer Plateau at 180 acres. This 1.5-mile-long lake is full of nature and beautiful scenery! Kayaks can be rented at the center from 8:30am – 2:30pm during boating season for anyone over the age of 12 for $10/1.5hours. We also have canoes available for families with younger youth. Please contact the Center for more information. Reservations are recommended.
3. Hiking all 6 miles of trails of Dyken Pond through a multitude of different ecosystems. With a unique Northern Hardwood Forest structure and numerous boardwalks through special wetland habitats, Dyken Pond Center has some of the best hiking in the area. The Friday Family Forest Foray gives people the chance to see all of the Center’s trails with a guide while exploring with other families.
4. Geocaching Use your phone or GPS to hunt for hidden treasure! Learn more and get everything you will need at www.geocaching.com. There are several different caches just a short walk from the Center! Check in often for our fun seasonal themed geocaches!
5. Kid Friendly Programs. With a summer camp for ages 6-13, self-guiding activities and trails, storybook trail, pollinator garden, scavenger hunts and variety of citizen science projects there is always something for kids to do at Dyken Pond!
6. Volunteering. With over 600 acres of forested land volunteers are always welcome! Did you know that our entire trail system is maintained by volunteers? Clubs/families can adopt a trail, complete trail work as needed or join us on one of our larger volunteer days like National Trails Day, Earth Day or our annual Firewood Day to help the Center prepare for winter.
7. Snowshoe/Cross Country Skiing. Looking for something to do in the winter? Snowshoes can be rented at the Center and we offer wildlife tracking courses in the winter that are best done on snowshoes.
8. Nature Photography. Dyken Pond Center has incredible wildlife and scenery perfect for photography lovers. Our wetlands are among the best in the region.
9. Fishing Fish from shore or a boat. This giant lake on the Rensselaer Plateau is home to many different species of fish. Fishermen report that Dyken Pond has some of the area’s best fishing in every season!
10. Birding With a large variety of available bird habitats Dyken Pond is a birder’s dream come true. With lakes, ponds, wetlands and forests most seasonal migrants make a stop at the Center. Many other year rounds residents call the Center their home.