Berkshire Natural Resources Council Blog

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Family Self-Guided StoryWalk on the Old Mill Trail, Hinsdale

Enjoy the 1.4-mile accessible trail and learn how patient persistence, an inquiring mind, and creative experimentation drive scientific discovery!

Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington will be on display for a self-guided adventure from Saturday, September 4 – Sunday, September 12 (dawn to dusk) at the Old Mill Trail.

Can spiders learn? How do ants find their way home? Can bugs see color? All of these questions buzzed endlessly in Charles Henry Turner’s mind. As the first Black entomologist, he was fascinated by plants and animals, and bugs. And even when he faced racial prejudice, Turner did not stop wondering. He constantly read, researched, and experimented. Author Janice Harrington and artist Theodore Taylor III capture the life of this scientist and educator in this nonfiction picture book, highlighting Turner’s unstoppable curiosity and his passion for science. This book is recognized as A National Science Teachers Association and Children’s Book Council Best STEM Book.

While the audience of the book is 7-10-year-olds, the content is great for all ages- even adults!


From the center of Dalton: take Route 8 south to the Hinsdale line. From the town line, continue 4/10 miles to a left on Old Dalton Road. The trailhead parking is the first, immediate left.

GPS: 42.4480, -73.1305 (trailhead parking)

Hollow Fields Hours

Hollow Fields is open from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and otherwise closed to the public until further notice, by order of the Massachusetts Land Court. We hope to restore full operating hours, including access for hunters, once the Court renders a final judgment in BNRC v. Richmond ZBA, et al, 21 MISC 000356 (RBF). Until then, BNRC invites the public to hike, birdwatch, and otherwise enjoy conserved open space during the restricted hours.

If you have questions call (413) 499-0596 or email


2021 Volunteer Appreciation Event

When: Friday, October 15, 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm (Drop in or stay for the whole time)

Where: Wild Acres Conservation Area, S Mountain Rd, Pittsfield, MA 01201

Join us in celebrating the great work of BNRC volunteers! Whether you are brand new or have been volunteering for many years- we could not do it without you.

During the Appreciation Event, we will enjoy pictures from workdays, games, drinks, and light eats under the pavilion. We will also lead a couple of strolls throughout the event to the observation tower overlooking a beautiful wetland and Mahanna Cobble.

Please RSVP to Mariah at

A Self-Guided Mindfulness Hike at the Charcoal Trail

BNRC and Shire Quests Present: A Self-Guided Mindfulness Hike at the Charcoal Trail

 Friday, August 13 – Sunday, September 26 (extended) at the Yokun Ridge South Reserve, Stockbridge 

Begin with an audio meditation to ground in your breath and body, then turn off your phone and walk the 1.6-mile loop in serenity and awareness with periodic invitations to practice presence, gratitude, and forest bathing. Take your time! 

The Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC) and Micah Mortali – the founder of the Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership and Shire Quests – will be presenting a self-guided mindfulness hike at the Charcoal Trail from Olivia’s Overlook in Stockbridge from August 13 through September 26. 

This installation will feature two opening audio meditations you can download and listen to before your hike (either at home or from a QR code at the trailhead) to remember the original history of the land and cultivate a practice of present-moment awareness and gratitude while out in the woods. Along the trail, there will be a series of four signs serving as invitations to breathe, relax, and center yourself in a mindful outdoor experience. Give yourself a reset and take some time to connect to the land. 

Click here for the audio meditations to listen to before your hike.


Directions to Olivia’s Overlook:

Google Maps Link 

From Lenox: Take Route 183 west for 1.5 miles, passing Tanglewood. When Route 183 curves left, bear right onto Richmond Mountain Road (sign says to Rt. 41/Richmond). Drive 1.5 miles and the parking lot will be on your left. 

From West Stockbridge: Head north on Swamp Road and make an immediate right onto Lenox Road. At 2.0 miles, turn right and continue another 0.1 mile to Olivia’s Overlook on the right. 

From Pittsfield: Take Rt. 20 west 0.8 miles. Make a left onto Barker Road and drive 6.6 miles. Make a left onto Lenox Road and drive 1.8 miles to Olivia’s Overlook, on the right. 

42.3519, -73.3377 (Olivia’s Overlook – Charcoal trailhead parking) 





MassTrails Grant Helps Connect Town and City Centers to the Outdoors

August 2021

Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC) has received a $28,000 grant from MassTrails, an inter-agency initiative of the Commonwealth led by the Governor’s Office, in collaboration with the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

The grant will be used to expand trail options at BNRC’s Thomas & Palmer Brook conservation reserve, and to advance plans to connect Great Barrington’s downtown center by footpath to Thomas & Palmer Brook and other conserved lands heading north toward Stockbridge. The work proposed for this next phase will include the construction of a new woodland hiking trail connecting the popular accessible loop at Thomas & Palmer to the upland forest, and natural features within it.

BNRC President Jenny Hansell travelled to Cape Cod in July to participate in the MassTrails award ceremony. At the ceremony, Governor Charlie Baker announced nearly $4 million in grant funding to support 52 trail projects across the Commonwealth.

Also in attendance were Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, Department of Transportation Secretary Jamey Tesler, and Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Jim Montgomery.

“This is all about access for everyone to the Berkshire outdoors,” said Jenny Hansell, President of BNRC. “Making it easy for everyone to stay well outside is a top priority for BNRC. This means accessible trail design, and providing opportunities to walk out onto trail systems from downtown centers as part of BNRC’s High Road network. The MassTrails support of this vision is a wonderful gift to all who love the special character and natural beauty of the Berkshires.”

On its website, MassTrails states, “Trails are the intersection of conservation, community, transportation, and recreation. They connect Massachusetts residents and visitors to the places in which we live, learn, work, shop, and play.”

Work made possible by the MassTrails grant to BNRC will begin immediately.

Previous MassTrails grants to BNRC have funded work at the accessible-design Old Mill Trail in Hinsdale and Dalton, construction of the Parsons Marsh boardwalk in Lenox, and the initial accessible-design trail at Thomas & Palmer Brook.

Family Hike to Monks Pond, Lenox

Tuesday, August 24th  (Rain date: Wednesday, August 25th)
10:00 am – 11:30 am

What lives below the surface of Monks Pond? Maybe a water boatman or even a frog! Join BNRC and Berkshire Family Hikes for a morning of exploration. We’ll enjoy a child-led walk to Monks Pond and spend some time dipping nets to carefully catch and release some of the pond creatures.

For questions or to RSVP, email Taylor at  

Directions to Brothers trailhead:

Google Map Link

From Olivia’s Overlook, head east down the road. Parking is less than a mile down the road on the left.

GPS:42.3543, -73.3292 (Brothers Trailhead parking)

Family Self-guided StoryWalk at Berkshire South Community Center, Great Barrington

Take a stroll and learn about animals!

The StoryWalk® will be on display for a self-guided adventure from Saturday, June 26th – Monday, July 5th (dawn to dusk) at Berkshire South Community Center. 

What are some things we can learn about animals from the shape of their mouths, beaks, or bills? What can we infer about animals with sharp teeth compared to large, flat teeth? Are there any animals that don’t have mouths? In Animal Mouths, award-winning nature photographer and environmental educator Mary Holland shares fascinating animal mouths with readers of all ages.

While the audience of the book is 1st to 3rd grade, the content is great for all ages- even adults!

Be sure to also check out the author’s incredible Naturally Curious blog.


Crissey Rd, Great Barrington, MA 01230

Look for signs in the field next to the parking area.


Berkshire Natural Resources Council 2021 Summer Volunteer Workdays


To RSVP email Mariah at or Christopher at

Safety Protocols 

  • BNRC volunteer workdays will be limited to 3-10 participants that must RSVP.  Staff members will not count toward the total participants.
  • Self-screen your health and don’t come to a workday if:
  • You or somebody in your household experiences COVID-19 symptoms or has traveled within the past 2 weeks to a location where COVID cases are high.
  • Anyone in your household has been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Fully vaccinated participants may attend volunteer workdays without a face mask if comfortable doing so or are welcome to bring a mask and work masked as desired. BNRC will have extra masks in case someone forgets theirs.
  • Participants who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear masks for workdays when social distancing is not possible Again, BNRC will provide masks as needed.
  • All participants must practice social distancing by remaining 6 feet away from others on the trail. This includes stepping off the trail to let other visitors pass.
  • Participants must bring their own water, snacks, and work gloves. BNRC will have work gloves to provide you to keep if necessary.

Hoosac Range Corridor and Vista Clearing
Friday, July 30th, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm (8-10 Volunteers — 2 Open Slots)

This workday will focus on defining the corridor along the 6-mile (total out-and-back) Hoosac Range Trail. BNRC will provide all tools. If you have loppers and/or pruners, please feel free to bring. Please wear sturdy shoes, and bring gloves, 32oz of water, and lunch. The outlined safety protocols must be followed.

  1. Susan LeBourdais 
  2. Rosemary O’Brien 
  3. John Kidd  
  4. Mary Spina 
  5. Ken Kelly
  6. Eva Schuster
  7. Barbara Petersen
  8. David Ellis
  9. (Open)
  10. (Open)

Email Mariah at or Christopher at with any questions or to RSVP.

Other volunteer opportunities:

Invasive Hardy Kiwi Cut & Pull Volunteers with the Berkshire Environmental Action Team
Year-round, Fridays – 10:00 to 11:30 am
Location: Meet at Burbank Park on Onota Lake, off Valentine Road, Pittsfield
Please email for more information, or call Jane Winn at 413-230-7321 if you are planning to attend.


BNRC y Berkshire Language Management trabajan conjuntamente para ampliar el acceso al aire libre.

10 de junio de 2021

Los mapas de los senderos, se encuentran ahora disponibles de forma gratuita en formato digital y/o impreso para los senderos del Berkshire Natural Resources Council (Consejo de Recursos Naturales de Berkshire). Silvana Kirby, intérprete certificada a nivel nacional y traductora fundadora de Berkshire Language Management, fue parte fundamental en la creación de estos nuevos mapas para los residentes y visitantes del condado Berkshire.

Después de varias conversaciones con organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro, empresas y miembros de la comunidad de los Berkshires, BNRC llegó a comprender que la accesibilidad lingüística estaba creando una barrera para que los hispanohablantes se sintieran cómodos y bienvenidos en las rutas de senderismo de la región. Posteriormente, la Sra. Kirby colaboró con BNRC para traducir todos los folletos de los mapas de los senderos del inglés al español.

Berkshire Language Management, fundada por la Sra. Kirby en 2004, es una empresa de servicios integral en la gestión lingüística, la conciencia cultural y la educación. Ofrece servicios de traducción, interpretación y competencia cultural.

BNRC participa activamente en la búsqueda de maneras de garantizar que sus reservas sean acogedoras para todos los que las visitan y para aquellos que llaman a los Berkshires su hogar. BNRC identificó como una prioridad inmediata la traducción de los mapas de senderos debido a su importante capacidad para ayudar a las personas a comprender cómo navegar en un sendero, qué esperar en términos de dificultad y la información que estos folletos brindan sobre el mundo natural.

Todos los folletos de los mapas de los senderos de BNRC en inglés, disponibles en más de las 56 reservas populares de conservación de BNRC, se han traducido al español. Estos mapas de los senderos se encuentran disponibles en el sitio web de BNRC y al escanear el código QR en los quioscos de inicio de los senderos de BNRC. Además, se proporcionan los mapas de los senderos en papel de forma gratuita en cinco de los senderos más populares de BNRC. Estos incluyen cordilleras, llanuras, riachuelos como los de Hoosac Range, los Boulders, Housatonic Flats, Thomas & Palmer Brook y Yokun Ridge South.

BNRC continuará ampliando estos esfuerzos, eventualmente imprimiendo todas las rutas de sus mapas en español y traduciendo otros materiales existentes y futuros de BNRC.

Sra. Kirby compartió que “Acepté la oportunidad de traducir los mapas y trabajar junto con BNRC. Nuestro equipo de traductores proporcionó un marco de conciencia cultural para llegar a la comunidad
hispanohablante en Berkshires y para educar a nuestra comunidad sobre los beneficios de caminar de manera segura por los senderos de este”.

“Todas las reservas de BNRC son gratuitas y se encuentran abiertas al público. Sin embargo, esto por sí solo no es suficiente para que sean verdaderamente acogedoras y cuidadosamente inclusivas”, dijo Jenny Hansell, presidenta de BNRC. “Al expandir las ofertas de idiomas de BNRC, buscamos eliminar un obstáculo de comodidad significativo en el terreno que BNRC pone a disposición para uso público. Y esperamos que el aumento del acceso a idiomas en las reservas de BNRC cultive un entorno más inclusivo para todos los habitantes de Berkshires que buscan explorar, disfrutar y mantenerse bien al aire libre”.

Creada en 1967, la misión del Consejo de Recursos Naturales de Berkshire ha sido proteger y preservar la belleza natural y la integridad ecológica de los Berkshires para el beneficio y deleite del público. Existen 56 reservas de conservación de BNRC repartidas por todo el condado de Berkshire, gratuitas para el público, abiertas para la recreación de todos, todos los días, gracias principalmente a los donantes. Con sus partidarios, BNRC conserva el terreno, construye y mantiene los senderos y, por lo general, ofrece salidas grupales gratuitas durante todo el año. Puede encontrar en línea en el sitio web más información acerca de todas las propiedades y senderos de BNRC, y sobre la aplicación gratuita de BNRC: Berkshire Trails.

Berkshire Language Management fue fundada el 2004. Nuestra misión como traductores es sobresalir en la teoría de la lingüística extranjera aplicando nuestro conocimiento de la competencia lingüística y cultural para brindar un excelente servicio al cliente y satisfacer las necesidades más actuales de nuestra industria. Visítenos en

Para obtener más información, comuníquese con Mariah Auman al 413-496-0596 o a
Consejo de Recursos Naturales de Berkshire | 20 Bank Row, Pittsfield, MA 01201


BNRC and Berkshire Language Management collaborate to expand access to the outdoors

June 10, 20121

Mapas de senderos—Spanish language trail maps—are now available for free in digital and/or print for Berkshire Natural Resources Council hiking trails. Silvana Kirby, a nationally certified interpreter and founding translator of Berkshire Language Management, was instrumental in creating these new maps for Berkshire residents and visitors.

After conversations with Berkshire non-profits, businesses, and community members, BNRC came to understand language accessibility was creating a barrier for Spanish speakers to feel comfortable and welcome on the region’s hiking trails. Subsequently, Mrs. Kirby collaborated with BNRC to translate all its English trail map brochures into Spanish.

Berkshire Language Management, founded by Mrs. Kirby in 2004, is a full-service language management, culture awareness, and education company. It offers translation, interpretation, and cultural competency services.

BNRC is actively engaged in finding ways to ensure its reserves are welcoming for all who visit and who call the Berkshires home. BNRC identified trail map translation as an immediate priority because of its important ability to help people understand how to navigate on a trail, what to expect in terms of difficulty, and for the information, trail map brochures provide about the natural world.

All of the English BNRC trail map brochures—available at the most popular of BNRC’s 56 conservation reserves—have been translated into Spanish. These mapas de senderos are available on the BNRC website, and by snapping the QR code at BNRC trailhead kiosks. Additionally, paper mapas de senderos are provided free at five of BNRC’s most popular trails. These include the Hoosac Range, The Boulders, Housatonic Flats, Thomas & Palmer Brook, and Yokun Ridge South.

BNRC will continue to expand on these efforts, eventually printing all trails of its maps in Spanish, and translating other existing and future BNRC materials.

Mrs. Kirby shared, “I embraced the opportunity to translate the maps and to work together with BNRC. Our team of translators provided a cultural awareness framework to reach the Spanish speaking community in the Berkshires and to educate our community with the benefits of safely hiking the trails in the Berkshires.”

“All BNRC reserves are free and open to the public. However, that alone is not enough to make them truly welcoming and thoughtfully inclusive,” said Jenny Hansell, president of BNRC. “By expanding BNRC’s language offerings, we seek to remove one significant comfort obstacle on the lands that BNRC makes available for public use. And we hope that increasing language access on BNRC reserves will cultivate a more inclusive environment for everyone in the Berkshires who seeks to explore, enjoy, and stay well in the outdoors.”

Established in 1967, the Berkshire Natural Resources Council mission is to protect and preserve the natural beauty and ecological integrity of the Berkshires for public benefit and enjoyment. There are 56 BNRC conservation reserves spread across Berkshire County, free to the public, open to everyone for recreation, every day, all thanks to donors. With its supporters, BNRC conserves land, builds and maintains trails, and typically offers free year-round group outings. More about all BNRC properties and trails, and BNRC’s free Berkshire Trails app, can be found online at

Berkshire Language Management was established in 2004. Our mission as translators is to excel in the theory of foreign linguistics by applying our knowledge of language and cultural competence in order to provide excellent customer service and meet our industry’s most current needs. Visit us at

For more information contact Mariah Auman at 413-496-0596 or
Berkshire Natural Resources Council | 20 Bank Row, Pittsfield, MA 01201