SLINGERLANDS — Since the COVID-19 pandemic began its crippling sweep through the Capital District, residents are looking for ways to enjoy life while maintaining social distancing. The Pine Hollow Arboretum, a free nature preserve in the heart of Slingerlands, is stepping up to the task.
“Lately we’ve seen a lot of business people doing what we call ‘netwalking’,” executive director Gabrielle Sant’Angelo said. “People are no longer able to meet in coffee shops, so they walk some of the trails and have meetings there.”
The arboretum is home to 22 acres of land, with 11 ponds and a network of trails. In 1966, founder John W. Abbuhl, M.D., began planting trees around his residence to create an attractive setting. His affinity for the land, interest in horticulture and love of trees combined to inspire the creation of Pine Hollow. Abbuhl, a pediatrician, used the guiding philosophy of “trees in a natural environment” to establish the arboretum as a unique entity within the community of nationally accredited arboreta.
Pine Hollow is also home to birthday parties, one of the most memorable to a woman celebrating her 93rd birthday. Sant’Angelo said the woman thought she was just coming for a walk, but rounded the corner and found a small tent set up with her family and friends. Everyone was able to maintain a six-foot distance because there is so much room.
“People realize this is a great place to meet family and also see some beautiful nature,” she said.
As restrictions continue to loosen, Pine Hollow is working hard to open a house on the property. It’s also working on some smaller tasks to bring some more beauty to the area and solidify its part as a beloved nature reserve right in the heart of Bethlehem.
“We are here for you,” Sant’Angelo concluded. “We want to be that peaceful place in the heart of the Bethlehem area for both residents and visitors. While you’re here, we want you to feel comfortable.”