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Wednesday Mornings at Pond Mountain

Marvelwood has been sending a crew to Pond Mountain each week for Community Service Wednesday for over eight years.

Pond Mountain Natural Area is a private land trust just down the road from the Marvelwood campus. It's 800 acres includes Fuller Pond, one of Connecticut’s deepest glacial lakes, and Pond Mountain (elevation 1,332’) with views into Macedonia State Park and the Catskill Mountains in the distance, as well as a network of well-marked trails. The land has been acquired at the turn of the 20th century by John Hopson, who worked for the Kent Iron Company before co-founding the Hopson and Chapin Manufacturing Company, which made, among other things cast iron radiators. Of the five Hopson daughters who grew up in the farmhouse on the property, Myra had an especially deep appreciation for the nature. the outdoors, and animals. She inherited the property in 1916 and established the Pond Mountain Trust in 1966:

It is my interest and wish that all the property which I own and have owned in Kent be preserved in its natural state in perpetuity, that all land, woods and water be kept inviolate from exploitation as free as possible from all human interference:  but that this property be enjoyed for its scientific, educational, and cultural values as I and my family, my friends and appreciative people have enjoyed…


Steve Pener is currently Executive Director of the Trust, having taken over from his step-father, the late Paul Dooley, who served as Executive Director for over 35 years. Steve lives in the farmhouse with his wife and young children, and works with the Marvelwood crew each Wednesday morning. Former faculty member and Director of Community Service Mike August P'14 established the Pond Mountain crew in the early 2000s. Chris Becker took over in 2013. On a recent Wednesday morning, Chris and three students, James Erichetti '20, Trevor Spencer '19, and Adam Norris '22, cut back invasive species, got a first-hand look at damage caused by the Emerald Ash Borer to ash trees in the preserve, and cut and moved downed trees from the trails. Trail maintenance is a major and ongoing effort at Pond Mountain. Other projects that Marvelwood crews have helped with include the annual clearing of the lookout area at the top on Pond Mountain, and installing duck and bluebird boxes. The duck boxes were funded with a grant from the Sharon Audubon, and installed when Fuller Pond was covered with a think layer of ice. For his Eagle Scout project, Nathan Winter '19 worked with Steve to build and install bluebird boxes, new trail signs, and an information pagoda. Nathan's brother Simon '17 was a four year member of Marvelwood's Pond Mountain crew. See more photos of Pond Mountain and other community service placements on Flickr.