Greystone is an Experiential Environmental Education Teaching facility and so much more. Established by Diane Clark and Bill Moran. The beautiful 75-acre property is located right outside of Fredonia, only a few minutes from Bear Lake.
Greystone offers a wide variety of experiences with many trails, fields, overlook spots that can view of Lake Erie and Canada, ponds, woods and so many more natural wonders. We love to educate the public and just give people the much needed time in nature they lack. We explore and learn with all people of all ages and ability levels.
Origin Story of Greystone
In the beginning, there was only a tractor path leading into the acreage that would become Greystone Nature Preserve. In this path part of a grey stone about the size of a football was visible. On the many trips in and out while securing the land, this stone seemed to beckon me with a wish, “Take me out”. The land, which is on the crest of the Lake Erie escarpment, has one area which offers a spectacular view. It would be a fantastic space for a home, with hills rolling down to the lake plane and the shores of Canada within view. From the very first day we viewed the property, we affirmed that we would not build our home on this spot. It seemed arrogant to claim it for ourselves. We would place our home, as much earth-sheltered as possible, in a lateral moraine and allow the special spot to be accessible to all who might be inspired by the view. The grey stone’s insistent calls firmed our wills about honoring nature. I dug her out, using only a common gardening hand-held trowel and never touching the stone with metal. This was following a Japanese tradition of honoring guardian stones. It was a long and laborious task and as the stone emerged from the soil, I realized this was a worthy stone indeed. Grey marbled and intricate in her design, she was about half the size of a VW. Once all but a fourth of her structure was excavated, a neighbor farmer, using a strap and tractor, dragged the stone to the viewing area. She rests there today, a beautiful visitor from the far north now in light of day. The stone symbolizes that on this preserved land, nature will take precedence over human egos and wants.
Bill and I decided to have a celebration of our marriage in 2000. On the invitation, we asked that our friends bring a stone if they wished to honor our marriage in a physical way. Our “war on stuff” was well underway by then and we wanted no commercial gifts of extraction to honor our union. Our guests caught on in fine style. Stones came from all over the planet; from beaches and childhood camps, from backyards and mountain journeys, each with a story and a very personal connection. Each stone beautifully connects human lives without the need for money or wrappings. They were each placed around the Grey Stone as a living testimony that we were part of a larger community.
And so it is today, The Grey Stone predominates with her message of Nature First and echoes individuality and community over Greystone’s lands and visitors.
When it came down to naming the organization that was to follow, nothing else seemed to fit! There could be no better representative then the Grey Stone.
Diane Clark is the founder and director of Greystone Nature Preserve. Her 33 years of teaching have included all levels from Penn State University to the Chautauqua Institution’s Nursery School. Recently she has been an Outdoor Adventure Educator at the Cassadaga Job Corps. She has been a speaker and an adamant environmental awareness organizer throughout the US, Europe and Asia. In 1986 Diane joined the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament and walked across the US from LA to DC. She is an active member of the Wolf Clan Teaching Lodge of the Seneca Nation. She currently is a special studies instructor at the Chautauqua Institution.
Bill Moran is the operational manager and music director of Greystone Nature Preserve. His love of the outdoors was nurtured over two decades, through family camping and the Boy Scout Program. He was an Outdoor Adventure Educator at the Cassadaga Job Corps for eight years. Bill worked as a processing technician and safety committee member for Welch’s for 35 years. He has been a leader in environmental efforts including the Great Lakes Beach Sweep and Adopt-a-Highway programs. He is a US Army veteran, studied Earth Sciences at SUNY Fredonia, and is certified in CPR, Wilderness and Standard First Aid
Sandra Emke is the assistant director of Greystone Nature Preserve. Sandra's education includes an associates in environmental studies form JCC and a Bachelors' degree from SUNY Fredonia in Environmental science with a minor in Biology.
Through her education she has had the opportunity to work with organic farms in this area, The Buffalo Zoo, The Audubon Community Nature Center, and other main organizations. Her work has ranged from three years of invasive species work to over 4-5 years of experiences with domestic and exotic species. Greystone has allowed Sandra to teach many nature related classes to people from 3 years of age to 100 years of age and with every ability range.
Beannie is the living epitome of Greystone’s mission. She is a vital connector between visitors and Nature. Developing this connection is easily done with her joyful acceptance of community members whatever their age or ability level. She is more than a greeter, she is a lively example of loving life and enjoying Nature. Beannie is there to greet all visitors with enthusiasm. Born on Nov. 3, 2017, she came to live at Greystone on Jan. 15, 2018 and has been a cherished family member ever since. She is a full blooded Australian Shepherd with both AKC and Stock Dog registered parents. Beannie was born and lovingly cared for in a home in the Arkwright Hills of Chautauqua County. From her very beginning she had an affinity for two leggeds and an acute awareness of her surrounds. We are proud to have her on our staff.
Hope is a senior journalism major with an English minor at SUNY Fredonia. She inspires to work for the news one day and she is working hard to get there. She's the Public Relations Director of Fredonia's tv-station, WNYF, Producer of News 11, Public Relations Chair of Fredonia's PRSSA, and the treasure of Fredonia's Democracy Initiative. Hope will use her social media skills to help Greystone with all social media outlets and our website, as well as tackle any Public Relations project's Greystone has to endure. She is working on two articles about Greystone's Memorial Trees and The Friends of the College Lodge.
Asha Deharder is the Educational Director at Greystone Nature Preserve this fall. She is very passionate about the environment and has also interned at Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History and Audubon Community Nature Center. This spring, Asha is planning on joining an Americorps NCCC program. Through this, she hopes to help communities, learn new skills, and meet new people. With Greystone, Asha has designed a 6-week educational program called “Autumnal Adventures”. Although the program was ill-suited for the Coronavirus era, Greystone hopes to utilize the plan at a later date. Asha is very excited to be working at Greystone and learns something new each week!
Environmental Education & Trail and Tree Maintenance
Invasive Species Research
Content Marketing Manager