Signs Sprout in Nelsonville Woods

A sign in the Nelsonville woods (Photo by L.S. Armstrong)   

By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong

Wanderers glancing up in the Nelsonville woods might spot a piece of Hudson River driftwood in a most unlikely location — mounted high on a tree trunk and turned into a rustic sign.

About two dozen signs began appearing around May 7 along the footpaths between the Haldane campus and Main Street. They are the work of the Nelsonville Woods Stewardship Team, a group of students, teachers, parents and neighbors led by Haldane parent Lyn Berkley.

Sixth-graders from Mark Wick’s ecology class painted the messages, the EcoKids and Explorer’s clubs got the signs hung, and others from the school and community assisted with design and manufacture. A Yorktown Heights firm, Signs Ink, donated stencils.

One sign shares a reminder from Shel Silverstein to be respectful: “Enter this deserted house, but please walk softly as you do. Frogs dwell here and crickets, too.” Others pose questions: “When did it last rain?” “What did this place look like 100 years ago?” Others call attention to forest creatures: “I forage here” and “I hunt here.”

Berkley hopes the signs help “strengthen connections between people and place” and promote stewardship of the woods. She said the signs are not expected to last forever in the elements, although two had already disappeared by the time she and Wick gave a tour on May 12 to Nelsonville Mayor Bill O’Neill, his wife and granddaughter. In any case, Berkley advised, “think of it as an installation.”


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3 thoughts on “Signs Sprout in Nelsonville Woods

  1. What a beautiful way to enhance awareness of the interconnected nature of all living things.

  2. Unfortunately, the “I Hunt Here” sign was vandalized (I found it smashed — probably saw who did it, too) and there are now a handful missing, but the good news is that there are still 17 signs total hanging (including the six poem signs, which have not been touched). I consider the project a success!

  3. I walk through these woods daily and these signs have both turned the path into a more magical place and have given all of us who share the woods some points to ponder. Thank you Lyn, Mark, students, and community members who worked on the installation. I’m saddened to know that it’s already been vandalized, but I’ve seen the outdoor classroom by the pond destroyed twice, too. I do hope that the hard work of so many people is not going to be so quickly undone by a few.