Author Archives: lygold

The Trevor Zoo


Entrance to the zoo

The only zoo in the country to be found on a high school campus, the Trevor Zoo, is located at the private Millbrook School in Millbrook, NY. About a 40-minute drive from Vassar, the zoo and school is nestled into rolling wooded hills. I made the trip up there this Sunday with a couple friends.


The sign for the zoo

Walking into the zoo, we paid the $5 admission, and I asked the girl behind the table about the zoo. She told me that in 1936, a biology teacher (Frank Trevor) envisioned it as a means to inspire students to care about animals and wildlife. Almost a century later, the students are still the main caretakers at the zoo. The zoo only has 3-4 full-time professional staff members and the students do all the rest. Underclassmen are assigned animals to feed and monitor, while older students act as curators of the exhibits.

The zoo itself contains 80 different species of animals, 9 of which are labeled as endangered species. The zoo takes part in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) that was developed by the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums to encourage breeding of endangered species in captivity and ensure healthy and genetically diverse captive populations. The 9 endangered species at the zoo are: Lake Victoria Cichlids, Black and White Ruffed Lemurs, Ring-Tailed Lemurs, White Naped Cranes, Kaiser’s Spotted Newt, Red Panda, Blanding’s Turtle, Red Wolf, and the Golden Lion Tamarin.


River otter

The zoo has animals from six continents, but the most represented is North America, specifically the Northeast. It is fitting that the Northeast be so heavily represented considering the original mission of the zoo. By providing students and visitors with close encounters with local species, the zoo helps to increase awareness and empathy for the animals. Some of the animals represented are come across quite often in the Hudson Valley, like the wild turkey and the red tailed hawk, but others are harder to spot like the Bobcat and the Barred Owl. Each animal exhibit has its own key card that provides vital statistics on each species represented. Information that can be found on the cards includes behavioral habits, human impact on the species, and whether or not the animal is endangered. Sprinkled throughout the trails are also informational signs about the continent represented in that particular section. These signs explain to the visitor more about biomes of the continent and the consequences of human impact and climate change on the region.





Wild Turkeys in captivity



One of the exhibit key cards

Our meandering stroll through the exhibits ended up at the Jonathan and Jane Meigs Education Center, which is really just two large open rooms. Here can be found a few more small exhibits with lizards, snakes, and fish. The main purpose of the center seems to be to educate visitors on the effects of climate change on species and ecosystems both close to home in the Hudson Valley and beyond. It is the perfect end to a walk through the zoo. The center engages the visitor to think critically about their visit and the fate of the species they saw in their time spent here. It helps to stress the Trevor Zoo as an active environmental advocate and urges the visitor to also take part in the environmental movement.




Climate change info boards at the education center


By: Lydia Gold


ENST 291Goes To Woodstock

We met Lori Majewski at Bearsville Theatre. Lori is a freelance writer and has co-written a book with Jonathan Bernstein titled Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980s.

Lori is one of the many people who have spent their lives in the New York metropolitan area but have decided to purchase a getaway home in the Hudson Valley. While she loves the hustle and bustle of New York City and all it has to offer for her career and social life, she savors her peaceful weekends in Woodstock, New York. The tranquility, she says, is something that still surprises her. To wake up and not hear police sirens or people shouting is a luxury for city dwellers like Lori who are accustomed to a more hectic lifestyle. “They say your most creative moments are when you first wake up,” Lori tells us. Her ideal morning consists of waking up, enjoying the scenery, and writing. She warned us, “Don’t use your cell phone!” when we first get out of bed.

For Lori, Woodstock has truly become her home. After a few years of living here, she says that she feels like a local. She participates in community events, meets new people, and keeps a finger on the pulse of Woodstock’s art and music scene. One of her favorite aspects of Woodstock is the affordable concerts. At Woodstock, she says, one can expect to hear quality music without breaking the bank. That allows for her to explore more, and find new artists. During our conversation, Lori reflects on her adolescent music taste and admits that she was once quite snooty about different genres. But now she is at a different stage in her life – one in which she can enjoy the folksiness of Woodstock and get away from New York City and its distractions.


Lori Majewski speaking to our class outside the historic Bearsville Theater

Our class began to stumble along to a grassy lawn boarded by stream. The water was clear and cool and immediately diverted all attention away from the theatre. There we began to climb about and wander what we would later learn was a small priced of the Sawkill. Our next insight into Woodstock, Joshua Colow found us there, climbing and fiddling it the stream bed. He grew up by the Sawkill and the town of Woodstock during its beginnings as a haven for music and creativity. Colow went to a local cooperative school in the area after living on a small farm his parents had renovated into an art studio. The home was by the Sawkill and after his introductions, he lead us on a hike up the road to an old mill who used to function under the pressure of the stream. His home and the mill have turned into second homes and airbnb destinations in support of the growing tourist industry of Woodstock. But back to the creative aspect of Woodstock…

A portion of the Sawkill that runs by Colow’s childhood home


The old Sawkill mill

The old Sawkill mill

“Yeah the migration of artists to Woodstock has been going on since the early 20th century,” Colow told us (remarking on the general cultural atmosphere of the area), “it grew up as an art community before any industry came to town.” The influence of artistic and creative minds is hard to miss in this town. Whether it’s the numerous not-so-subtle allusions to the Woodstock Music Festival on the flyers stapled to every lamppost and corkboard or the multitude of galleries lining the streets, the influence of Woodstock’s artistic heritage is hard to miss. Maybe it’s the rolling hills, verdant open fields, and crystalline streams that attract artists like a magnet, it certainly couldn’t be prettier around here. Colow mentioned the Byrdcliffe Art Colony while conversing with our class, and although we never visited there on our field trip, I just had to look it up. The first sentence of its mission statement pretty much fit perfectly with what I expected: “The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild provides a vibrant center for excellence in the arts and crafts in the beautiful and unique rural community of Woodstock, New York, while preserving the historic and natural environment of one of the earliest utopian art colonies in America”( So, to all you artists of the world, if you’re looking for a new muse, I highly suggest Woodstock, New York.

A collection of Woodstock characters

A collection of Woodstock characters


Hi ENSTers!

I’m Lydia, a junior environmental studies major from Massachusetts. I’m super excited to get out and about in the Hudson Valley area. I love food, farming, nature, and getting to spend time with all of you people.

How do you like them apples?

How do you like them apples?