Viewing the pond

Bruderhof members began clearing the land and laying the framework for the viewing platform at Woodland Pond. (Photo Courtesy of Woodland Pond)

Bruderhof members began clearing the land and laying the framework for the viewing platform at Woodland Pond. (Photo Courtesy of Woodland Pond)

A group of residents at Woodland Pond, the senior living community in New Paltz, are now enjoying a scenic viewing platform at the end of a natural trail that extends from the back of the community down to a small pond. The committee of residents that executed the project hosted a dedication ceremony this Tuesday, Sept. 24 during National Active Aging Week. Douglas McBride, Trina Greene, Ray Smith and Anne Smith, all leaders of the project, are encouraging everyone to check out the new platform.

“I was in the wooded area where the viewing platform would eventually be built, walking alongside the conservation stewardship officer from Wallkill Valley Land Trust, when the idea of building a viewing platform came to mind,” explained Doug McBride. “I really enjoy spending time outdoors, and I feel it is important to explore the world around us. I like to go down there by the pond and observe the wildlife, insects, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, migrating water fowl and the beavers that call the pond home. I initiated the project, as I wanted to share my experiences with others so they too could enjoy what I have come to love.”


The Woodland Pond residents’ council started the Mill Brook Preserve Committee in February 2011. That May the committee decided to initiate the viewing platform project. The whole process took two years to complete. The Bruderhof, a community that performs pro-bono public service, provided the labor for the project. Trina Greene, a resident at Woodland Pond and current chair of the committee, led the fundraising efforts and was able to collect $5000 from 50 residents in three weeks for the project. The money went toward the materials to build the platform.

“We have a gorgeous pond behind the community that is deep down in the woods,” said resident Ray Smith. “The trail existed before we built the platform and the actual building of the platform did not take very long at all. There were a lot of approvals, applications, fundraising, building permits and other forms of red tape that extended the length of the project. We are all delighted that the project is finally finished. I’ve taken many residents down there to see the platform and the scenic view already.”

The committee purchased two benches in order to offer places to stop and rest on the way to the platform. One bench is placed at the trailhead, and the other is halfway between the trailhead and the platform. The platform itself has two built-in benches. The platform will have a plaque honoring the Bruderhof. One of the benches will have a plaque honoring the residents who made the platform possible.

“It is beautiful and well-constructed,” said Anne Smith. “Everyone worked really hard on the project and it shows. We wanted to give people a place to go that is beautiful, peaceful and quiet. Birdwatchers will appreciate it, as well as those who are fond of nature. We also wanted to encourage people to exercise and enjoy the outdoors.”

“We are all very impressed by the committee’s work and devotion to the project,” said Robert Seidman, executive director at Woodland Pond. “Their motivation made this idea a reality.”