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Ashokan Field Trip Memories

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Saddle Rock Elementary School

I visited Ashokan with my 6th-grade class in Elementary School (before 6th-grade was moved up to the Middle School, several years later). Both 6th-grade classes from Saddle Rock Elementary School (Great Neck, NY) visited in November of 1977. I had never been away from home for so long and, before the trip, my feelings were a mix of excitement with a tinge of anxiety. I remember it being an absolutely wonderful experience. The staff was fantastic and, as a nature/wildlife enthusiast, I was thrilled with the educational programs. As it was the late fall, and quite cool outside, we didn't do any activities on the water but we did get in some very enjoyable nature hikes. While there, we crafted iron plant holders, tin candlestick holders, brooms, and wax candles. In the evening, after meals, we had some terrific educational sessions. I especially remember the reptile/snake show. I tried to get a closeup of a rattlesnake (which seemed very exciting, at the time) but my flash bar failed on my 110 cartridge camera so the photo never came out. I loved the animals there and I recall being very happy when I had the opportunity to feed Sybil the Pig with the slop concocted from the leftover food from our previous meal. The scenery at Ashokan was beautiful and I enjoyed exploring the various places with our guides/counselors. I have lots of "snapshot" memories that I could go on and on about, even though the trip was over 45 years ago. Clearly, it made an impression. I'm so happy to know that future generations of students are getting to experience the wonderful programs at Ashokan and I'd definitely be interested to know what has changed and what may have remained the same. I have a handful of photos in my album from Ashokan but none of the people since, especially back then, I was more interested in animals and scenery than I was in taking pictures of people. I can't help but be pulled back in time whenever I look at these old photos. I'm grateful for the wonderful experience!

David Lange

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