Photo: Nigel Kent

A Finger Lakes Winter Journal by Henry Scholl

In 2015, the Finger Lakes Land Trust named 11-year-old Henry SchollConservationist of the Year” for his efforts to support the organization using his personal savings. Now in high school, Henry remains committed to conservation and exploration of the natural world near his home in Cayuga County. This winter, Henry will reflect on his observations at FLLT nature preserves in a series of journal entries.

Bishop Nature Preserve – 2/21/21

In elementary school, I did an assignment on cinquain poems, a unique form of writing. It captures the pure feelings of an experience due to the minimal amount of words it uses. I decided to use it for this entry because it was a beautiful sunny day at the preserve and I was just enjoying the walk.


white, pillowy
sitting, smoothing, laying
rolling over endless ground


brown, slim
bending, curving, tipping
off balance from the rest of its kind


bright, tall
growing, moving, expanding
reaching towards the expansive sky


tan, dry
swaying, sleeping, maturing
preparing to explore new lands


short, quiet
sprouting, blooming, bursting
exploding outwards like a star


stiff, tough
cracking, breaking, protecting
keeping out the cold


High Vista Preserve – 2/15/21

One thing to consider before hiking is to make sure you can get into the trail! Last weekend, I tried to access two preserves, but they were snowed in and there was no place to safely park on the road. This time I was prepared with snowshoes and a different entrance to High Vista than I normally would have taken from my house.

As I moved towards the trail, the unbroken snow showed that no one had hiked for a while. The trees stood still, there was little wind to move them. Snow fell off of high branches as they gave way to the weight, luckily none made its way down the back of my neck. Along the way, there was an opening among the trees, presumably an old logging path. Eventually, I came across a log and I decided to sit down for a little bit. I listened for birds moving above me and heard two: one is a mystery, while the other was a Downy Woodpecker. The rest must have been tucked into the trees on such a cold day. The woodpecker’s call resonated through the forest, hoping to grab the attention of any mates or competitors nearby.

Even with the difficulty of being able to get to the Land Trust spaces, it’s worth the while to go to them to have a calm space in your life after being cooped up inside. Being able to listen to nature and let its energy flow through you is essential when you go out. It gives you a chance to clear your mind of your grievances, and let your mind wander wherever the path leads.

Bahar Preserve – 1/31/2021



As I started, the snow was laid down gently, ready to walk on. The sun reflected off of it, creating lights all around the ground. To the sides of the trail, there were animal tracks of various shapes and sizes, revealing the many creatures that had been roaming around. Some tracks had a deliberate path, while others meandered, with an occasional area that had been scruffed and uprooted—evidence that they had been looking for something. Who knows what they found?

After walking for a while, I stopped for a few moments and heard the creeks, still running with water despite the temperature. Towards the end of the Red Trail, Skaneateles Lake came into view through the trees. Moving down to the beach front, I was able to watch the waves splash up against the small walls of ice that had formed along the rocks. It was now time to make my way back up, marching through the snow once more.

Photo: Henry Scholl


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