The Master of Religious Education (MRE) program at the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) is a prime example of how religious studies are pioneering new roads in the implementation and practice of both teaching and learning and also interfaith peace building.

I was born in the Netherlands, stereotypically known as the land of windmills, tulips, bicycles and cheese. Among intellectual types, the Netherlands is also known as the land of Rembrandt and Van Gogh, of Erasmus and Spinoza.

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UTS, together with the Town of Red Hook and Winakee Land Trust, is preparing to link its "Father's Trail" with the Hudson River Valley Greenway.

The UTS campus, a 250 acre assemblage of rolling hills, forests, ravines, streams, springs and a pond, has long been treasured as a place of physical beauty and spiritual inspiration. UTS is now opening this beautiful campus to the public through the development of its nature trails.

Its most dramatic trail is called "Father's Trail" after the Seminary Founder, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who originally traced its path through the woods. It proceeds into the Sawkill Creek ravine at the northwest corner of the campus, and from there follows the southern boundary of Lower Tivoli Bay, known commonly as "the lagoon." Reaching the edge of the Bay, it then moves south parallel to the Hudson River, all the way to the southwest corner of the campus.

Equally impressive, though not as well known, is "Mother's Trail," dedicated to Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, the Founder's wife, and created by seminarian Susan Schacter in the early 1980s. It winds a circuitous path from the east side of the pond up the stream bed to the east field, near the water tower, and from there back to the pond. Walkers are moved by the beautiful stream, rock formations and quiet shade of the forest.

Both Father's and Mother's Trails feature plaques set upon large boulders by the first seminary President, Dr. David S. C. Kim. These plaques commemorate significant events that took place in the trail environments, including a late night potato roast and the fishing expeditions in the Bay that took place in the late 70s and early 80s.

The campus now boasts three new trails, the "Theodore Roosevelt Trails." These are an interlocking set that go from the dam of the pond both north and east. The north trail takes one up the Sawkill Creek ravine, through a lovely glade of large trees. The east trail heads up the hillside, great for sledding, to the east field. The two trails meet at what has become our "kite flying field." Where they meet, the third trail cuts west, bisecting the circle created by the north and east trails.

The trails are named after our American President who summered on the property as a 9 - 10 year old boy in the late 19th century. Little known, even among local circles, Roosevelt began his lifelong diary here and developed his passion for natural history by starting his insect collection here. Henry Christopher, UTS Admission Director, has obtained copies of letters that young "Teedy" wrote from Barrytown, complete with his sketched maps of Tivoli Bay and his adventures there.

The trails development is creating a great interest in the property and its history in the local community, as well as on the county and state levels.

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