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Woodstock Walk & Rock: A Family Gathering To Save Our Forest: A half-mile awareness walk followed by a performance by Arm of the Sea Theater

Updated: Jun 3


May 6, 2024

An all-ages benefit sponsored by the Stop Zena Development Coalition will bring awareness to grassroots efforts to protect Woodstock’s natural habitats, on June 15 at 11 a.m.

CONTACT: Susan M. Paynter Ed.D, co-chair of the Stop Zena Development Coalition EMAIL: WEB:

WOODSTOCK, NY — Protecting the planet for future generations starts with the current generation—and starts at home, which is why the Stop Zena Development Coalition is organizing a family friendly event to bring awareness to the importance of protecting the wild spaces surrounding Woodstock that are being proposed for development.

Woodstock Walk & Rock: A Benefit to Save Our Forest will take place in the heart of the village on June 15 starting at11 a.m. The event is a peaceful walk from the Woodstock Playhouse to the Colony’s outdoor event space, culminating with an eco-conscious puppetry performance by Arm-of-the-Sea Theater at 1 p.m.

“We designed Walk & Rock to encourage families to join our effort to save the Zena Woods,” says Susan Paynter, environmental activist and co-chair of the coalition. “Habitat loss can give children a feeling of despair and helplessness. Being a part of a walk-a-thon to save a local forest gives children a voice in what happens to their future. By proactively engaging in a local issue, helplessness is replaced with empowerment.”

Attendees will kick off the half-mile walk at the Woodstock Playhouse (103 Mill Hill Road). The group will walk up Mill Hill Road ending at the Colony (22 Rock City Road). Those who are unable to participate in the walk can still join the group at its ending place. There, guests will enjoy a puppet show by the acclaimed Arm-of-the-Sea Theater, a mask and puppet theater company based in Saugerties that combines art, ecology, and social action in its performances.

Advance tickets are available for $15 starting May 10 (free for children 12 and under) and can be purchased at There will be full-price tickets for sale at the Playhouse for $20 on the morning of the walk. Commemorative T-shirts will also be available for purchase.

The event is positive-weather only; in the event of inclement weather, updates will be announced by 6 a.m. day-of on the website and social media, with a rain date TBD.

The pristine natural splendor of the Catskills is so much more than a draw for visitors; it’s home to hundreds of flora and fauna, long-established within their habitat. Stop Zena Development is a grassroots effort organized by the Woodstock Land Conservancy, nonprofit partners, and concerned citizens who are devoting their time to protecting these natural spaces, while educating others on the importance of doing so.

Walk & Rock is a follow up to the coalition’s sold-out benefit last October, a concert featuring local resident and nationally acclaimed musician Marco Benevento & Friends, which applied pressure to the Zena Development Group (formerly Woodstock National). This, along with other grassroots activism campaigns, put a halt to previously proposed development by the firm, such as an 18-hole golf course with a helipad.

Susan Paynter is available for interviews. Photos of the event flier and of the Arm of the Sea Theater are available here.

About Stop Zena Development:

Stop Zena Development is a partnership between the Woodstock Land Conservancy, environmental activists in the community and nonprofit entities. The coalition believes the proposed development by Zena Development LLC (formerly Woodstock National LLC) will have a serious negative impact on habitat in the eastern Catskills region. The project includes land that has been designated a “Critical Environmental Area (CEA)” by the Town of Woodstock because of its importance to protection of water resources and to habitat protection and diversity. Adjacent to the Sawkill and Esopus Creeks, Bluestone Wild Forest, Israel Wittman Sanctuary, and the City of Kingston Reservoir, its 625 acres constitute the largest remaining unprotected parcel in Woodstock.

About Woodstock Land Conservancy:

The Woodstock Land Conservancy is a nonprofit organization committed to the protection and preservation of the open lands, forests, water resources, scenic areas and historic sites in Woodstock and the surrounding area. WLC works with landowners who want to determine the future use of their land in support of its mission. Rather than selling land for development, WLC can offer alternatives that respect private property rights, may provide substantial financial benefits and, if owners wish, allow them to share with their community lands they have tended and loved. WLC often collaborates with other conservation groups, businesses, and local and state agencies to achieve these goals.


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