Thursday, May 26, 2016

Painted Turtle Hatchlings

Painted Turtle Hatchlings 2016

During the Summer of 2015, Westmoreland's College Interns and I worked on enhancing and expanding an area known for turtle nesting.  This location has been used for many years by Eastern Box Turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) and Eastern Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta picta).  We opened the area up for more sunlight, turned over areas to loosen soil and patrolled the area regularly for signs of turtles nesting.  

While finding a turtle laying eggs is rare, we were able to see a female Painted Turtle laying and we protected the nest with fencing. Predation by raccoon, fox, and even Coyote is very common and each year, we find signs of nest predation.  

All summer, the eggs incubate underground. Painted turtles eggs incubate for roughly 72 days and will hatch in late August into early September. Early hatchlings will head straight to water.  If they are a late hatch, they will stay in the nest and overwinter until Spring.  That is exactly what our little guys did and in late March 2016, two quarter size turtles dug themselves out of the nest and into the predation protection cage.  This gave us a great opportunity to take some photos and reap the rewards of all the hard work.

We do a lot of turtle monitoring and conservation work each year and if you are interested in learning how you can help or have turtle questions, please leave a comment or email me at

I hope you will come out to one of our conservation days, public programs or just take a walk out on our trails soon.  Upcoming conservation dates and programming information can be found on our website

Until next time, Happy Hiking!

Steve Ricker
Director of Conservation

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Brown Creepers are here!

Caught this little guy/gal bird banding today.  One of my goals in life is to find one of their nests.  They nest behind loose pieces of bark with a hammock like nest.  There is even a type of bird house you can build to try and help them.  Basically it is a piece of wood nailed against a tree with a spacer.   Amazing little birds, that burn 4-10 calories per day!  They eat mainly insects, but will sometimes eat suet and peanut butter in winter.

Monday, June 1, 2015


Westmoreland's Theater in the Sanctuary presents:
Into the Woods, Jr.

Directed by Denise Simon at at our Nature Center and Wildlife Preserve in Mount Kisco, NY on July 24th-26th, 2015. This sixty minute family-friendly adaptation is set in the natural setting of the preserve.  Actors and audience move through the woods and meadows following the narrative action.  Grounds open 90 minutes prior for picnicking and the day ends with a marshmallow roast round the campfire.

There will be four performances:

- Friday, July 24 - 6:30 p.m. (Evening)
- Saturday, July 25 - 2:00 p.m. (Matinee) and 6:30 p.m. (Evening)
- Sunday, July 26 - 2:00 p.m. (Matinee)


Westmoreland Nature Sanctuary
260 Chestnut Ridge Road
Mount Kisco, NY 10549

For more information go to


Denise Simon at


Westmoreland Sanctuary was nominated for 
KidsOutAndABout's Top 20 Places to Take Kids!!

Please Support Westmoreland!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

This Is A 'Children's Hike', But Adults You'll Also Like!

Children's Hike

Saturday, May 23rd from 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Follow our Director of Conservation through the trails of the wildlife preserve as we explore the forest ecosystem and search for signs of animal life and the return of the spring season. Families should be prepared for spring trail conditions, including a little mud. 

Cole's Kettle Trail Photo Credit: Michel Miller, Executive Director

$5 per person for non-members and free for members

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Even Turtles Encounter Hurdles!!

Turtle Monitoring

Saturday, May 23rd at 10:00 a.m.

During the spring and summer, Westmoreland conducts turtle monitoring as part of our conservation efforts allowing us to access the health and wellbeing of our turtle population. Everyone has seen turtles crossing the road during the spring and early summer, or perhaps you have had a nesting turtle in your yard. This programs will give participants a glance at the lives of our local turtles, turtle identification, creating a backyard habitat suitable for turtles, and learning what to do should you come across a turtle crossing the road. 

Steve Putting In Turtle Net Photo Credit: Lisa Ricker

$5 per person for non-members and free for members

These Cameras are the Name of The "Game"!


Cameras for Conservation

The use of game cameras as a tool in conservation has gained quickly in the last few years.  No longer must biologists try to trap animals in order to study them.  Westmoreland is 640 acres of pristine forest, wetlands, and fields.  Game cameras will allow staff, students, and interns to track the wildlife that uses Westmoreland as a home and as a greenway on their travels.

Join us in our campaign to get game cameras for
Westmoreland Sanctuary!

A Curious Whitetail Deer Photo Credit:Game Camera