Summer Nature Week

June 12-16, 2016

Discover all that Mother Nature has to offer during Summer Nature Week at Mohonk Mountain House. Learn about and explore the diversity of local plants, animals, and natural communities through exciting outdoor and indoor programs about every aspect of nature—from the Shawangunk Ridge, to amphibians, to native plants, and much more. There is no better way to celebrate the longest days of the year than to share your love of nature at our House.

For reservations, please call .

Mohonk Mountain House is a National Historic Landmark resort located just 90 miles north of New York City. Overnight rates include breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea and cookies, and most activities, including hiking, boating, tennis, midweek golf, and use of the indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center in our Spa wing.

Summer Nature Week Activities

Sunday | Monday Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Program Leaders

Sunday, June 12

9:00 p.m.  Lecture from Dr. Dan Bogan,
Followed by a Meet and Greet

Kick off Summer Nature Week with an introductory lecture on the natural world around us, why we love it, and why we need to protect it. A meet and greet with fellow nature lovers will follow.

Monday, June 13

10:30 a.m.  Amphibian and Reptile Walk
with Laura Heady

What cold-blooded, charismatic species share the woods and waters around the Mountain House? Come explore the fascinating world of amphibians and reptiles of the Shawangunk Ridge. We’ll discuss their interesting lives and search their habitats to get a close-up look at these elusive animals.

2:00 p.m.  Conserving Nature:
A Guided Discussion
with Dr. Amielle DeWan

Join Amielle DeWan, the Senior Research and Monitoring Scientist for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, in a conversation on local and international wildlife conservation, from frogs to elephants.

9:00 p.m.  Butterflies—a Presentation
by Elizabeth Long

Beautiful and delicate, butterflies can be found everywhere from peaceful woodland glades to city parks. Join Elizabeth Long, Director of Research at the Daniel Smiley Research Center, and learn about the natural history of butterflies, tips on observing them, and butterfly gardening. 

Tuesday, June 14

10:30 a.m.  Wildflower Walk
with Plant Ecologist Dr. Jackie Schnurr

Join Dr. Schnurr as she discusses the factors that determine why plants grow where they do. This nature walk will observe patterns in the plant community and look to discover the processes that cause them.

2:00 p.m.  Geology Walk
with Dr. Brian Hough

The Shawangunks formed as a result of several tectonic collisions followed by periods of erosion that lasted a billion years. Come take a walk through time as we observe some of the key evidence that reveals the geologic history (both rock and fossil) of the region, including the source of the famous conglomerates, the fossil record, and the influence of mile-thick glaciers.

9:00 p.m.  The Past, Present, and Future of Northeastern Forests
with Dr. Charlie Canham

The regrowth of forests in the northeastern U.S. over the past century is one of the country’s conservation success stories. Join Dr. Canham as he illustrates the changes from pre-settlement forests, and how today’s forests continue to evolve due to a wide range of both deliberate and inadvertent human impacts. 

Wednesday, June 15

7:30 a.m.  Summer Birding Hike
with Naturalist Michael Ridolfo

Observe a variety of bird species, behaviors, and vocalizations on this morning jaunt to the Home Farm fields.

10:30 a.m.   Forest Walk
with Forest Ecologist Dr. Charlie Canham

Come see the forest for the trees. Join Dr. Canham for a morning walk through the forests of the Shawangunks, where you will learn about trees and their ecology.  

2:00 p.m.  Hike Mohonk Lake
with Naturalist Michael Ridolfo

Join Michael Ridolfo on a hike along the lake to learn about some of the plants and animals you may see as part of Summer Nature week.

9:00 p.m.   Hummingbird Lecture
with Pam Golben,
Director of the Wildlife Education Center

Learn about the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, nature's feisty flying jewel. This lecture will cover the Ruby-throat's natural history including anatomy, nest-building, range, and migration, and how to attract them with nectar feeders and their favorite flowering plants.

Thursday, June 16

7:30 a.m.  Mammal Search
with Dr. Dan Bogan

Mammals live all around us, yet often go unseen. Join Dr. Bogan for a hands-on search for these animals. Learn about the natural history and ecology of mammals inhabiting the Shawangunk Ridge.

10:30 a.m.  Photo Hunt
with Dr. Dan Bogan

Join us as we see what animals showed up to get their pictures taken this week on the Shawangunk Ridge. You never know what we’re going to find.

2:00 p.m.  Wolf Conservation Center Presentation:
Wolves of North America

Join Maggie Howell for a talk about the history of wolves in the U.S., the importance of wolves in a health ecosystem, and the efforts to save these keystone species for future generations.

9:00 p.m.  The Future of Our Climate
with Dr. Naomi Oreskes and Alexander Heffner

Join PBS host Alexander Heffner and Harvard historian of science Dr. Naomi Oreskes for a conversation on climate change.

Program Leaders

Dr. Dan Bogan is an Assistant Professor at Siena College and Adjunct Lecturer at Paul Smith’s College.  He earned his doctorate in Wildlife Science from the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University.  Dan’s research examines the ecology and behavior of wildlife, particularly carnivores, to understand how animals are responding to changing environments and interaction with humans.

Michael Ridolfo is the naturalist at Mohonk Mountain House. After 20 years of rock climbing, ice climbing, mountain biking, skiing, winter mountaineering, nature photography, writing, and music, he began practicing the art of tracking, wilderness survival, and the native mentoring model. This journey has evolved into teaching children and adults how to deepen their relationship with the natural world. In 1999, he founded Wilderness Mind, a school dedicated to preserving the ancient arts of tracking and nature awareness.

Laura Heady is the Conservation and Land Use Coordinator at the Hudson River Estuary Program, where she works with local communities to conserve habitat and natural areas in the estuary watershed. Laura has a Bachelors of Science from Rutgers University and Masters of Science in Biology from Idaho State University. She has worked on Hudson Valley conservation issues since 1999. She lives at the northern end of the Shawangunk Ridge, where she serves on her town’s Commission for Conservation of the Environment. She loves jaunting on local trails.

Dr. Brian Hough is currently a lecturer at Wells College (Aurora, New York) and a Scholar in Residence in the Department of Geosciences at Hamilton College (Clinton, New York). He specializes in Cenozoic stratigraphy and the interaction of tectonics and climate change. His work has taken him to the central Rockies, Alaska, and the Tibetan Plateau in search of evidence for paleoclimate and paleoelevation reconstructions.

The Wolf Conservation Center is an environmental education organization committed to conserving wolf populations in North America through science-based education programming and participation in the federal Species Survival Plans for the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf and red wolf. Through wolves, the WCC teaches the broader message of conservation, ecological balance, and personal responsibility for improved human stewardship of our world. For more information, visit, or follow WCC on Facebook and Twitter. Maggie Howell, WCC Executive Director, has been working in the field of large carnivores since 1998.

Dr. Jackie Schnurr is a Professor of Biology and Environmental Science at Wells College, a small liberal arts college located in the Finger Lakes region of New York. She has been working with plants for over 25 years, and her research mostly looks at the roles that biotic factors (such as small mammals) and abiotic factors (such as light and nutrients) have on dictating plant distributions.

Dr. Charles Canham (Ph.D. 1984, Cornell University) is a Senior Scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, in Millbrook, New York.  Dr. Canham has conducted research for 40 years on the ecology of temperate forests of eastern North America, tropical forests of Puerto Rico, and temperate rainforests of British Columbia and New Zealand. His current research explores the interacting effects of climate change, introduced pests and pathogens, and logging on forests of the eastern U.S. He grew up hiking in the Hudson Highlands and the Shawangunk Ridge, and lives in Dutchess County, New York.

Dr. Naomi Oreskes is professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences. She recently arrived at Harvard after spending 15 years as Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego, and as Adjunct Professor of Geosciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Professor Oreskes’s research focuses on the earth and environmental sciences, with a particular interest in understanding scientific consensus and dissent. Her 2010 book, Merchants of Doubt, received the 2011 Watson-Davis Prize from the History of Science Society. You can learn more at

Alexander Heffner is host of The Open Mind on PBS, a weekly excursion into the world of ideas, across science, technology, politics, the arts, and all realms of civic life. His work has been profiled by Variety, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, New Hampshire magazine, and on CNN, C-SPAN, NY1, HuffPost Live, and the BBC, among other media outlets. His essays, reviews, and op-eds have appeared in Reuters, RealClearPolitics, Fortune, The New York Times, Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, and The Root, among other publications. To learn more, visit

See you there!

For reservations, please call .