It’s almost September and our summer has zoomed by. The Gateway Museum has kicked into high gear in the last month and has delivered entertainment, benefit dinners, speakers, yoga classes, and outdoor adventures at the Red Barn Preserve that drew many friends and out-of-town tourists to the area. “Wow” is the expression we use to describe all this activity.
Starting with the Summer Concert Series- we have been entertained by 9 Bands this year including the Chipman Jazz All-Stars, Atkinson Family Band, Mockingbirds, Bob Sauter and the Non Committals, Steeling Country, Jack Kelley’s Little Big Band, Northbound, and the Ft Drum Band. Attendance has been high and the Museum is inspired by support from our crowds
We managed to put together two benefit dinners in August including our annual Spaghetti Dinner and our bi-annual Shore Dinner. Don Ceresoli takes great pride in having his family sponsor the Spaghetti Dinner and provide the labor and food to deliver the wonderful meals and good will to our community. The Museum is deeply appreciative Don’s efforts and pleased that we drew over 185 people this year to the event. And similarly- the shore dinner put on by Gary Alford, Jeff and Dot Swift and Carolyn and Rick Johnson exceeded expectations. I continue to be amazed that someone can go out into the St Lawrence River and find as many walleye as they found. Delicious! Thank you to the 60 people that ponied up the money to make this such a success.
Our Guest speakers included Rich Henderson – President of the Black Lake Association and retired scientist. His presentation included a history of Black Lake and information about the ecological issues that are being managed by the Association. Dr. Jessica Rogers from SUNY Potsdam spoke to us about her Grant project at the Red Barn Preserve which included cataloging all the plant species at that site as well as studying the invasive species that have gained a foot hold and her plans to help eliminate these invaders.
The Red Barn Preserve continues to deliver amazing reviews from hundreds of tourists and locals over the summer months. The sign in sheets are filled with up beat comments about the Preserve. Sadly our Blue Herons have fledged from our Rookery and are gone from the area. It has been exciting to watch these birds occupy the Rookery, lay their eggs, and raise the young. Early this month we were thrilled to receive pictures of River Otters visiting one of the ponds While we have a long list of species that have shown up in the ponds- this was the first time we have otters stop by.
The farm house renovation project continues to dominate our volunteer’s time this summer. Our progress has been huge as we rewired the house, replaced all the plumbing, and added a new kitchen. We are soon to get a new roof installed and shortly after that will replace sheet rock in many of the rooms. The furnace contractor has started to replace all the old ductwork. We hope to have most of the work completed by the end of September.
The farm house garden project turned out to be a weak spot for us. A couple of volunteers (including this writer) attempted to grow a giant pumpkin exceeding 500 pounds. While our energy and enthusiasm remained high- we were not successful in getting the seeds to germinate and had to settle for two plants and two small pumpkins. Lots of lessons were learned and we will be back out in that garden next year !
We have been very fortunate to pick up new volunteers this year. We know there are many more that want to join us. If you are one of those that want to join a fun team of people that are trying to make a difference in Morristown-please reach out to us.
Our donations to the museum have been generous. Thank you to everyone that contributed their time and money to support the many activities that we get involved with. We look forward to everyone’s continuing support.
Dean Shelato- Trustee