Becoming a Rover: Not your Average Volunteer Experience

Two Saturdays ago, at around 8:30 am, the quiet spring air was filled with the sounds of closing car doors, crunching footsteps and sips of coffee. Interjections of small talk and nervous laughter would occasionally break the silence as we starred at our feet tracing shapes in the gravel. Indeed, we arrived at the Mohonk Preserve as 12 complete strangers, but we left 12 good friends. As we gathered near the worksite, the anticipation of the work translated into shared excitement, and our energy rose with the sun peaking over the Shawangunk ridge. Our acquaintances became more comfortable, and our laughter more genuine. As we circled up around a carefully dressed display of tools, we smiled a

Calling All Donors! AED Pack Needed for the Jolly Rovers!

At the beginning of every Rover Trip, the team gathers in a circle for a brief safety talk. We remind each other of hazards on the trail, and to always wear the necessary PPE. Indeed, Safety is always a number one priority for the Jolly Rovers Trail Crew. We have outfitted a First Aide Pack which accompanies us on every trip, but it is missing one very important element... An AED, or automative external defibrillator, is a medical device that analyzes the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, it delivers an electrical shock (known as defibrillation) which helps the heart re-establish an effective rhythm. It is our hope that we will never need to use it on our crew, but we need to consider the fa

Success at the Mohonk Preserve

The Rovers kicked off the season by completing a 26-step staircase at Mohonk Preserve. As part of our Rover Service Award, a program designed to provide selected qualifying organizations trail work at zero costs, about 30 Rovers arrived at the preserve on April 23rd to create a beautiful passage between their visitor’s center and newly established campgrounds. The completion of this large project in just two days was impressive, but as a bonus, this trip marked the first Full-Crew commitment of the season. In addition to building stone structures, the Jolly Rovers are adept and building camaraderie – and this trip was no different. Tall tales and stories from prior years will dominated at t

New Recruits Take the Black

On April 16-17 and April 23-24 at the Mohonk Preserve, a total of 10 new volunteer recruits began their journey to becoming a Jolly Rover Trail Crew member. As with all Rovers before them, they will begin this journey by attending 4 separate workshops over the course of the next two weekends. Here they will learn basic rock moving, stone splitting and shaping, rigging, and stone setting. This year’s workshops will be held in conjunction with the Monhonk Preserve of Gardiner, NY on their Campground Connector Trail - a new trail that connects the preserve’s visitor center to the brand new, Shawangunk Gateway Campground. By the end of these two weekends a 20-step stone staircase will be constru

Manitoga: A Short History

I wish this shelter to blend with the landscape… I will make it of the rock to be found there, of the lumber to be found there, and I will cover it with the vines that are native. – Russel Wright Originally the location of an abandoned quarry and logging site, the property at Manitoga in Garrison, NY was purchased by American modernist and industrial designer Russel Wright and his wife, Mary, in 1942 with the aim of transforming the place not only into a home, but into a revelatory experience intergrating modern design with nature. Wright is best known for his work in the 1930’s through 1950’s as a designer of artistically innovative yet practical housewares and furnishings that revolutioni

Discovering Manitoga

If you live in southern New York or New Jersey, the chances are you’ve heard of Bear Mountain, Breakneak Ridge and Cold Spring. These popular destination spots are ideal for pent-up city dwellers wanting to get a taste of the outdoors, but a lesser known gem exists right at their doorstep. Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center is home to three miles of trails that will change the way you view a traditional hike. When walking the trails of the property, one immediately gets the sense that this is a hike unlike any other. The contour of the land bends and pulls you into discovering one mystery after another. The blankets of moss and ferns lure you to suggested themes and natural dramas, and

Rovers Launch New Program

Exciting News! This year we have partnered with Manitoga/ The Russel Wright Design Center to revive the historic woodland paths built by famed American industrial designer, Russel Wright. The "Stewards of Stonework" program will aim to restore historic stone pathways and create sustainable access to historic sites. To launch this program, the Rovers will be restoring Wright's Killalemy trail at the National Historic Landmark of Manitoga by reviving all stone stairways and tread surfaces so that it compliments and adheres to the overall aesthetic vision left by Wright. The scope of this project at a distance seems simple, yet upon delving into the work our crew has discovered challenges not y

NASA Announces Partnership with Jolly Rovers

You may have heard of the Rovers on mars, but have you heard of the Jolly Rovers on Mars? Throughout the past five years, NASA has been collecting evidence on the planet’s ability to support life, as well as studying its waterways, terrain and climate. The Curiosity Rover Mission, launched in 2011 to explore the Gale Crater, has gained a tremendous amount of insight in the planet’s history and, most notably, hard evidence that the planet can indeed sustain life. An ancient stream bed, estimated to hold water at knee-level thousands of years ago, was discovered in just the first few weeks of landing. Although water is a key factor in bio retention, NASA tipped the scale of reasonable doubt wh

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