Questing is a sort of combination treasure hunt-education game that lets you learn about the natural and human history of a community or place while wandering about the countryside.
Anybody can participate. At the preserve, you can pick up a guide to the Quest or you can download one here. It will lead you to 15 places worth knowing about - old farm roads and foundations, stone walls, fences, the remains of a chestnut tree killed by the blight.
At each stop there will be a box with a letter of the alphabet. Jot the letter down on your guide. Here, for example, is a description of one of the stops on the Quest:
Go to the next clue box and look around you. You are surrounded by red cedars that are dying off. This is because the forest has changed (this is called “succession”). The red cedars like to be out in the open so they can get a lot of sunlight. But now these red cedars have been shaded out or over-topped by the canopy of the other trees that have grown up around them. Write down the letter you see on the clue box corresponding to #13. And take the stamp & ink pad out of the clue box and stamp it on the tic-tac-toe card on the back cover. (Please return stamp and pad to box.)
When you complete the Quest, the letters will spell a sentence that sums up all the information from each stop.
The whole thing shouldn't take more than an hour. It's purpose is to get you to look at elements of the landscape that you might otherwise overlook, and to see how they cohere to tell a story, in the case about the natural history of the land.
If you like the Westchester Wilderness Walk Quest, you might want to try our other Quest, at the Frederick P. Rose Preserve, in Lewisboro.
The Westchester Wilderness Walk Quest was funded in part by a grant from the Land Trust Alliance and the New York State Conservation Partnership Program.