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Memorial Gift Equips Cayuga CC Nature Trail

DATE: 06-03-2009

For the late Ruth Sara Goldman, a long-time Auburn resident, the nature trail on the north side of the Cayuga Community College campus was a favorite place - so much so that her son, Jay Goldman, of Silver Spring, Md., felt it was the ideal choice for a lasting tribute to her. Following Ruth's death from pancreatic cancer in April 2007 at the age of 79, Jay worked with the Cayuga Community College Foundation to create a memorial gift that would "enhance the nature trail and enable the next generation of Auburnians to enjoy this natural resource she clearly treasured."

Ruth, who lived a few blocks from the College, used to walk the trail several times a week, usually with a friend or two. The cinder path with footbridges and side trails meanders along woods and ponds, making a loop of just over a mile. It's popular with hikers, joggers, birdwatchers and cross-country skiers in the Auburn campus neighborhood, as well as with College staff and students on lunch and study breaks.

In Ruth's memory, her three children - Mimi of Ithaca, Marty of Auburn, and Jay - donated funds for several new amenities for the nature trail. Working with Jeff Hoffman, executive director of the Foundation, the family funded the installation of a covered wooden glider swing, two new park benches, and a three-component outdoor fitness station, all near the trail head and a nearby pond. On Sunday afternoon, May 31, Jay, his wife and two children, and other family members gathered at the nature trail to dedicate the new features. Many local friends were on hand, too, as were Hoffman and College president Daniel Larson.

Speaking to the group, Jay recalled that his mother took a keen interest in the trail's upkeep. "Anytime she found a fallen limb or trash along the path, Mom would call the maintenance office at the College. If she felt the matter didn't get sufficiently quick attention, she'd go right to the top and call the president." Ruth gave credit when due, he noted. "I found a letter to the editor that she wrote in 1997, complimenting the College administration on recent improvements and additions."

The sign dedicating the installation honors Ruth Sara Goldman as "the unofficial caretaker of the CCC Nature Trail." Noting that the next day would have been his mother's birthday, Jay said that the equipment made a timely gift, adding, "We'd like her to be remembered not only for her love of this spot, but also for the sense of shared enjoyment she brought to it."