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Wildflower is no wallflower

Pine Bush Preserve to hold annual Lupine Fest, with recreation opportunities

At the May 17 Lupine Fest at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, visitors will have a chance to explore the unique ecosystem and learn why the humble lupine is so important to it.

At the May 17 Lupine Fest at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, visitors will have a chance to explore the unique ecosystem and learn why the humble lupine is so important to it.

— There are 3,200 acres of gently rolling sand dunes in Albany County providing a thriving home for a globally rare ecosystem. The recreational opportunities are rather extensive, too.

This year’s Lupine Fest, hosted by the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission, is aiming to connect people to the unique landscape by highlighting active ways to enjoy the preserve. The theme for the eighth annual event is “‘Dune’ It All — Recreation In The Pine Bush.” A wide variety of programming is planned to include presentations, demonstrations, guided hikes, pony rides, crafts, live music, snacks and other activities.

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Submitted photo

The Albany Pine Bush Preserve allows people to view a unique ecosystem.

The event will be held rain or shine on Saturday, May 17, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center located at 195 New Karner Road in Albany. There will also be a pre-event dog walk at 9 a.m.

“Visitors will get the chance to explore many of the different types of recreation that are possible in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve,” Education Program Director Erin Kinal said in a statement. “The day will feature something for all ages, including music by the Whippersnappers, a ‘Storywalk,’ kayaking lessons with L.L.Bean, fishing, nature photography, orienteering lessons, a native plant gardening workshop and more.”

Discovery Center Director Jeffrey Folmer said “hundreds of people” come to the annual event featuring the “rich and truly amazing natural and cultural history” of the preserve.

Wendy Craney, spokeswoman for the preserve commission, said each year the event takes on a different theme, with last year focusing on the preserve’s history. Craney said the commission wanted to let the community know the preserve, while protecting an important habit, offers many recreational opportunities.

“I have people all the time saying ‘I didn’t even know there are trails,’” Craney said. “It is important to show that we are a community resource and to help build public awareness about the Pine Bush. … It is someplace they can get outside and enjoy the outdoors.”

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