Yes, there were some!
From March 2020 on, the Keeper’s House was closed. No happy faces enjoying our exhibits.
But the trail is different.
There are more walkers than ever before. We were stunned to do a count of map orders in 2020 compared to 2019. Orders were up an astonishing 93%!! The trail tells the tale. It is looking very well used. And well cared for, too.
In March the State stopped our guided tours. Happily, these walks have been reinstated. It is as if walkers were just waiting for the word “go”; the new tour sign-ups came in with a bang. Two groups for our First Day Walks (January 1st and 2nd) of 30 walkers each were oversubscribed. Sara Kelsey, Carl Grimm and Tom Tarnowsky did the guiding and talking. The joy for the walkers is not only the beauty of the outdoors, it’s the companionship of others. All were well masked and distanced, of course.
The work of the Friends on the trail was surprisingly productive in 2020.
Mercy College kicked in with two organized trail clean ups. Mercy college professor Mary Allison Murphy organized them. Mavis Cain and Joe Kozlowski helped.
Members may have read Diane Alden’s report on “Managing Garlic Mustard” here. Another infestation of invasive viburnum was tackled before it destroyed native species in the area.
Our members have been inspired - these playful displays cheered us all.
Photo credit left: Yana Marchenko. Photo credit right: Mark Liflander (@liflanderphotography)
As for the faithfulness of our members. Renewals in 2020 were up 7% from 2019 and donations increased generously. Some donations for 2020 are still coming in and have not yet been tabulated. We say thank you to everyone for their generosity.
Westchester County officials recognized the importance of our community work. President Mavis Cain was given the Special Recognition Award for contribution to community life for her more than two decades of work with the Friends.
And now for 2021....
New York Architect Dionisio Cortes Ortega built this accurately sized cross-section of the Aqueduct for an exhibit at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens. We have engaged him to construct a similar and permanent structure on the grounds of the Keeper’s House. It will be a companion piece to the actuator, an original piece of water-regulating hardware from the Croton Dam, which is being cleaned and restored and will be installed at the Keeper’s House in 2021.
To all: Keep up your enthusiasm and keep on loving and supporting the Aqueduct.