Stony Acres: A Place for Students to Get Away

By Zachary Gotthardt
SC Staff Writer

Tucked away in the woods of Monroe County is ESU’s secret escape: Stony Acres. This recreation site has given ESU students a convenient way to experience the outdoors for the past 50 years.

Stony Acres provides many services to the campus community and its students. What many students may not realize is how important the site is to the scientific community.

Stony Acres was founded upon the idea of conservation of land. The site was set aside and given to the students so that it may remain a recreation site indefinitely.

In general, conservation is supported at the site; recycling is heavily encouraged, and the caretakers Chuck and Madeline Constantine take every action possible to minimize the carbon footprint of the site.

The remote location makes it ideal for wildlife. Even one minute on the site will give anyone a good indication that it is a haven for birdwatchers.

To encourage nesting, birdhouses are scattered throughout the property.

A bird observation area was constructed last year, where birdwatchers can observe wild birds up close without being noticed.

Patient observers may find a pileated woodpecker or great blue heron during their stay.

One of the most notable features of Stony Acres is the pond, centric to most of the site. A stable population of fish is maintained within this pond. The pond is a popular fishing site among many students, and fishing tournaments are held throughout the semester.

Students interested in fishing can contact the caretakers Chuck and Madeline, who will happily provide all the necessary equipment.

The biology department utilizes the property extensively. Its remote location makes Stony Acres an ideal site for gathering data on wildlife.

Dr. Master and his Ornithology class observe birds at the multitude of microhabitats on site.

Dr. LaDuke and the Herpetology class monitor the local snapping turtle population within the pond, as well as search for frogs and salamanders throughout the property.

Dr. Whidden and his graduate students perform research on the local bat population, using bat boxes throughout the property to learn more about the destructiveness of white nose syndrome.

The extent of the wildlife at Stony Acres is not entirely known. The Biology Club, with the leadership of Dr. LaDuke, plans to create a comprehensive species list of the site. They will accomplish this through documenting all species of wildlife that can be found.

Many students do not realize the enjoyment that Stony Acres can provide.

Most of the services that Stony Acres provides, such as hiking, fishing, and camping, are free to students.

Anyone interested in taking advantage of Stony Acres can contact or visit University Center room 211.

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