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Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center

STONY KILL FARM RESPONSE TO COVID-19

At Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center, our primary concern is the safety and health of our visitors, volunteers, and staff.

To limit the potential spread of COVID-19, all visitors, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask while inside all buildings, including the barn and restrooms. Check the Stony Kill Foundation website (leaves DEC website) for program updates, such as Family Farm Days, family programing. If you need to contact us, please leave a message at 845-831-3800 or email foundation@stonykill.org.

Our grounds and trails will remain open daily from sunrise to sunset, and we invite you to enjoy being outside as you watch spring unfold. With 8.5 miles of trails and 1,000 acres, we offer the perfect location to PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL (stay 6′ apart) as you enjoy nature. Don't forget about the downloadable scavenger hunts (leaves DEC website) for each of the Farm's trails!

Thank you for your understanding and patience.
Stony Kill Farm Staff

no pets allowed

Reminder: No pets (including animals on or off leashes, or horses) allowed on the property or trails, except trained service dogs and miniature horses helping their companion.

New York and federal law require service dogs to be allowed in public places, but this does not include emotional support animals. A service dog is trained to do tasks for a person with a disability and the tasks must be directly related to the person's disability. Emotional support animals provide comfort, companionship, and a sense of safety for their owners, but are not trained to perform specific tasks for their owners and are not considered service animals. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and New York State law, public places are not required to allow emotional support animals. DEC regulations concerning the use of environmental education centers prohibit pets on center grounds except by written permission.

Stony Kill Foundation (SKF), a not-for-profit group affiliated with DEC's Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center, has an agreement with the DEC to operate the Stony Kill Farm Education Center in Wappingers Falls. Under the agreement, Stony Kill Foundation offers agricultural programs, educational activities, and public programs at the Center. Please contact the Foundation via email foundation@stonykill.org, call 845-831-3800, or visit Stony Kill Foundation's website for information on programs and events.

educationhikinginterpretiveno pets allowedskiingsnowshoeingaccessiblewatchableparkingrestroomsicon key

Stony Kill Farm EEC is a place to slow down, explore, and connect with hands-on experiences in nature and sustainable agriculture. Located in Dutchess County in southeastern New York State, the historic property includes over 1000 acres of farm and forest land and is host to a wide range of self-guided and directed outdoor education experiences for all ages.

Featured Activities

Education Programs

education

Stony Kill Foundation offers a wide range of programs throughout the year for children and adults including classes, field trips, events, workshops, and outings. Program information can be found at Stony Kill Education and Workshops (leaves DEC website). Programs are free of charge unless otherwise noted. And don't forget to dress for the weather!

Organized groups (e.g. scouts, schools, hiking groups) wishing to schedule a group program may contact foundation@stonykill.org.

Hiking

hikinginterpretive

General Information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations. Interpretive trails are open from sunrise to sunset. Don't forget about the downloadable scavenger hunts (leaves DEC website) for each of the Farm's trails!

Woodland Trail (easy 1 mile loop) ADA improvements under way
Surface type: crushed stone
This easy crushed stone and clay mixture trail circles through a wooded swamp that was once a farm field. Now forested by hardwoods, it has become home to an abundance of wildlife like the barred owl, red-tailed hawk, garter snake, the eastern gray squirrel, and many songbirds. There is also a wildflower loop for you to explore.

Farm Trail (0.75 mile loop)
Surface type: mowed grass, pavement
This level, loop trail includes sections of mowed grass and pavement. Begin near the livestock barn and walk past the greenhouse and along the gravel, community garden road. When the gravel road ends, follow the mown grass trail that traces the tree line along the meadow to the Manor house. Return along the paved farm road, along the pasture fence line. Wildlife sightings may include red-tailed hawks, kestrels, and northern harriers hunting in the fields. Woodchucks, wild turkeys, and tree swallows are often seen along the trail. Bluebird boxes line the trail.

Verplanck Ridge Trail (approximately 1.5 miles)
Surface type: dirt, mowed grass
This moderate climb leads you through mixed hardwood forest, open meadow, and up to a uniquely wooded ridge top, where thickets and dense vines provide an excellent habitat for various songbirds and other wildlife like the bobcat. The round-trip is about 1.5 miles on this hard dirt and mowed grass trail.

Sierra Trail (inner loop- 1 mile; outer loop- 2 miles)
Surface type: dirt, mowed grass
This double-looped trail takes you through hardwood forest, evergreen forest, wetland, and open meadow habitats, where you are bound to experience a remarkable array of flora and fauna. The footing of the trail is mostly hard dirt with stretches of mowed grass. Great blue herons, green herons, osprey and other birds call the Sierra Pond home as well as many frogs, turtles, and song birds.

Other Trails

Freedom Trail (2.5 miles)
Surface type: 2 wooden bridges, dirt
One of our more secluded trails wanders across diverse terrain. Rock walls, hills, wetland, fields, and forest lie in wait on this sojourn where you may hear the calls of a Great Horned Owl. This trail comes alive with spring peepers, red-backed salamanders wood frogs during the spring and summer months.

Muller Pond Trail (approximately 0.5 mile)
Surface type: mowed grass, dirt
This trail takes you through hardwood forest, wetland, and open meadow habitats as you encircle the beautiful Muller Pond. Just over 0.5 mile hike on mowed grass and hard dirt. Just across the road from the Sierra Trail, the Muller Pond is especially attractive to heron, hawks, owls and many reptiles and amphibians.

Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

skiingsnowshoeing

General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing is allowed. Snowshoes and skis are only allowed when there is at least 6 inches of snow on the ground.

An accessible path at Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center
An accessible path at Stony Kill Farm
Environmental Education Center

Accessible Features

accessible

General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.

Accessible parking and a wheelchair accessible trail is located near the Visitor Center. Other accessible features include raised garden beds, a barn with farm animals, a classroom, fishing access, picnic tables and restrooms.

Watchable Wildlife

watchable

General information on watchable wildlife includes tips for viewing wildlife and links to other watchable wildlife locations.

Come, leave the parking lot behind and enter a different world. Listen for the plaintive notes of the Eastern bluebird, sneak a glimpse of deer browsing in the fields and let the gentle rustle of the wind inform you.

Wildlife to Watch:

Events

Stony Kill Foundation hosts seasonal events (leaves DEC website) throughout the year.

Naturalist Intern Program

The Naturalist Intern Program is a training internship available to those seeking professional experience in environmental education. Each intern will receive training in the mission and role of the DEC environmental education bureau, a wide variety of center programs, the operations and activities of a center, principles of environmental interpretation, and natural history of New York.

Facilities

Farmstead/Barn

photo of historical barn at Stony Kill Farm
Historical Barn

The farmstead includes a 19th Century barn and farmhouse, an 18th Century Dutch stone house, a greenhouse, workshop, comfort station, pond, picnic area, and community and raised bed garden plots. The community garden plots are leased seasonally through the Stony Kill Foundation, Inc., and the raised bed gardens are for people with disabilities and obtained through the Verplanck Garden Club, Inc.

The classroom inside the barn was added in the 1980's and is used today for education programs, events as well as meeting space for other organizations. Today the barn houses beef cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens, and turkeys. The animals are important teaching tools for the education programs offered to thousands of people who visit Stony Kill Farm throughout the year.

Tenant Farm House

Historical Tenant Farm House at Stony Kill Farm EEC
Verplanck Tenant Farm House

On the National Register for Historical Buildings, the Tenant Farm House was built in four sections. The south-east portion is original and dates back to the late 1600s-1700s. The north-east corner (second section) was probably added in the 1700s, while the south-western portion was constructed in the early 1800s as well as the wood ell on the northwest corner.

Until 1836, most of the Verplanck property was leased to tenant farmers. Through these leases, the Verplanck ensured their land would be properly managed.

Verplanck Garden

The Verplack Memorial Perennial Garden at Stony Kill Farm originated in 1997, when the descendants of Elizabeth, Suzanne, and Wilhelmina Andrews, who were sisters, provided funds for the creation of the Garden.

Plantings in the Garden were chosen to attract butterflies and birds. Bees and other insects can also be seen enjoying the lovely scented flowers. Each spring, bluebirds and wrens move into the next boxes within the Garden borders. The Garden is a place to enjoy the wonder of our natural world, as well as being a constant source of inspiration and education.

Directions

Stony Kill Environmental Education Center is located Wappingers Falls, NY at 79 Farmstead Lane.

See Google Maps and enter your address for step by step directions to Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center. (leaves DEC website).

A pleasant drive through New York State's Hudson River Valley brings you to the rolling countryside of Stony Kill (Interstate 84, Exit 11). Approximately 1 1/2 hour north of Manhattan and 2 hours south of Albany.

From NYS Thruway Interstate 87

Take NYS Thruway to Exit 17 (Newburgh) and follow signs and take I-84 East which takes you across the Newburgh/Beacon Bridge. Keeping to the right, take Exit 11 (Wappingers Falls/Beacon) and make a left onto Rt 9D going north. Proceed approximately 2 ½ miles north and Stony Kill is on the left.

From the Taconic State Parkway (TSP)

Take I-84 West to Exit 11 (Wappingers Falls/Beacon) and make a right onto Rt 9D going north. Proceed approximately 2 ½ miles north and Stony Kill is on the left.

From the Metro-North in New York City

Take Metro-North to the Beacon stop and Stony Kill Farm is approximately four (4) miles north from the railroad station.
Metro-North RR: 1-800-638-7646 & Beacon Taxi: (845) 838-3605

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace Principles (leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Stony Kill Environmental Education Center should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Special Regulations

Visitors to DEC's environmental education centers should become familiar with the regulations governing the use of the centers as found in the New York State Register and Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York (NYCRR). Go to the Use of Environmental Education Centers page (leaves DEC website) to see the regulations concerning the education centers.

Please remember that the following are prohibited:

  • Bikes, skateboards, and motorized vehicles on the trails
  • Taking or releasing plants or animals
  • Hunting, trapping, and fishing without a permit
  • Pets and horses
  • Alcoholic beverages and glass containers
  • Camping and campfires

Please dispose trash and recyclables in appropriate containers and stay on designated trails to protect the environment.

Portion of Stony Kill Lands Reclassified to Baxtertown Woods WMA

The Department of Environmental Conservation has reclassified the Baxtertown portion of the Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center property to a Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The purpose of the reclassification is to make the Baxtertown property accessible to hunters, anglers, trappers, and other recreational users, while keeping in mind its proximity to residential areas and the presence of wetlands. Visit Baxtertown Woods WMA for more information, including a map of the property.