Category Archives: News

Join Us to Save Thompson-Finch Farm!

May 23, 2017Rebecca

If the strawberry is the unofficial mascot of summer, then the organic berries grown at Thompson-Finch Farm are Columbia County summer at its finest. Unfortunately, in what has become a common story in the Hudson Valley, rising real estate prices could force this iconic farm to shutter its business unless immediate action is taken to protect the land and secure its future as a farm.  Farmers Don and Marnie MacLean have joined forces with the Columbia Land Conservancy and Equity Trust to raise community support to save the farm for future generations. Thompson-Finch Farm has been growing organic vegetables in Ancram for the past 35 years. It is one of the largest and oldest you-pick strawberry operations in the Northeast. It also grows blueberries, apples, and a variety of vegetables. Even some of their most loyal customers are surprised to learn that the MacLeans built this business while leasing the 200-acre property. Click here to read a brochure about the project. Click here to read Frequently Asked Questions.   In 2016, as ownership was transferring from one generation to the next, the MacLeans understood that they would have to come up with a creative solution to protect the land they… Read More

Land Matters: There is No Planet B

May 3, 2017Rebecca

There Is No Planet B “There is no Planet B.” So read the signs at the March for Science on Washington D.C. a week ago and again just last weekend at the Peoples Climate March in D.C., right here in Hudson and in cities all over the country. It is a memorable line because it is a catchy play on words, and because it rings searingly true. The planet we inhabit is undergoing rapid and profound changes due to alterations to the atmosphere caused by the effluent of the industrial age. The changes are many, and they are complex. Much about them we understand; much we still don’t know. One thing we do know is that it is probably too late to prevent significant long-term impacts from a warming climate and a rise in sea level, which have the potential to cause massive disruption, geopolitical turmoil and profound damage to the economy and to ecosystems. The only remaining question is how bad will it be? In the best case, there will be an even more significant increase in severe storm damage and flooding and attendant displacement of people and communities, dramatic changes in regional climate zones (In the Hudson Valley… Read More

Share Your Photos!

April 26, 2017Rebecca

Help show off the County’s best water, land, and wildlife resources by submitting photos for the Columbia County Natural Resources Inventory!   The Natural Resources Inventory will inform planning for the future in ways that support the County’s natural assets and the benefits they provide. To bring it to life, we need your help. Submit your nature photos for inclusion in the document. A selection of the photos we receive will be included in the document or posted to the project website. What kind of photos are desired?  Plants and animals, fungi, streams, lakes, waterfalls, ponds, wetlands, forests, hills, valleys, mountains, geologic features. Photos with people and nature are very welcome, too! Subjects that are not usually captured on film will be especially prized. Please, remember to exercise care for yourself and be protective of wildlife when photographing subjects in nature. Instructions on submitting photos: Submit photos as image files electronically to Theresa Mayhew, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia & Greene Counties, at tcm5@cornell.edu; (518) 828-3346 x204. Desired resolution is at least 100 dpi; 300 is preferred. Please include the following information in your message: ·         the name of the photographer, ·        … Read More

Land Matters: Invasion of the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid

April 10, 2017Rebecca

Invasion of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid If you have ever walked in a hemlock forest, or fished a stream in a hemlock ravine, you know that these are magnificent trees. Growing tall and stately, this evergreen species creates a shady forest canopy that can feel absolutely magical. They are an important and much loved constituent of our Columbia County forests. Today, thanks to a tiny little insect that traveled here all the way from Asia, they are in grave danger. On Thursday April 20, the Columbia Land Conservancy, together with Cornell Cooperative Extension and a number of other organizations, is co-sponsoring a workshop at Columbia Greene Community College to provide information about this urgent threat and what might be done to head it off, or at least to lessen the potentially devastating impact.  People who own or manage forest land, farmers, hunters and fishermen, natural resource educators – and anyone who shares an interest in the natural world or concern about invasive species – are encouraged to attend. Why Should We Care About Hemlock Trees? The hemlocks found in Columbia County are called Eastern Hemlocks. They are one of ten hemlock species found throughout the world. Hemlocks are widely valued… Read More

Land Matters: Taking Stock of Our County’s Natural Resources

February 28, 2017Rebecca

Taking Stock of What We Have If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: Columbia County is exceptionally rich in natural resources.  And those natural resources are a very large reason why it’s such an exceptionally wonderful place to live and work. As discussed in last month’s column, a broad commitment to conservation of the expansive forests, healthy water bodies, productive farmland and highly scenic working landscape that surrounds us would be an important part of any smart economic development strategy.  But to ensure that growth and change don’t take place in a manner that destroys the qualities that make the county such a special place, it would be important for the community to have a broad common understanding just what those qualities are.   A project is getting underway that will help Columbia County communities exercise forethought and care in conserving the natural resources we so value.  A partnership of organizations is creating a county-wide Natural Resource Inventory. What Is a Natural Resource Inventory? An inventory?  Sounds pretty prosaic. “Inventory” conjures up visions of working after closing time to tally up the store merchandise.  The natural resource inventory will be a matter of taking stock, but… Read More

Land Matters: Conservation – A Solid Strategy for Economic Development

January 31, 2017Rebecca

Conservation: A Solid Strategy for Economic Development  I have a great idea to bolster economic development in Columbia County: we should as an entire community renew and redouble our commitment to conservation.  We should collaborate to create as many publicly accessible parks, forests and nature preserves as possible; we should aggressively work to construct a system of interconnecting trail corridors; we should conserve as much good farm and forest land as quickly as we can. Seriously?  Yes, seriously. Think about it.  An important part of working to strengthen our economic base involves creating conditions that will attract people and businesses to come to the area.  Why would someone want to move a business to Columbia County?  Why would anybody want to live here?  Because it’s a great place to live, a place with genuine rural character, a beautiful working landscape, lots of open spaces, historic hamlets and villages and many wonderful ways to enjoy the outdoors. Not everyone, of course, aspires to the same style of life. But for anyone who values being within an easy drive to the New York, Boston or Albany Metropolitan Areas, and appreciates beautiful countryside, robust agriculture, easy access to fresh healthy food and a… Read More

Land Matters: Happy New Year

January 3, 2017Rebecca

Thirty Years, And Counting New Year’s Day is a milestone that inspires reflection and anticipation.  Arguably, there isn’t any reason why the dawning of every new day shouldn’t excite the same emotions, but somehow, when the new day brings with it the inexorable advance of another digit in the calendar year, it carries a weight that is hard to ignore. As organizations and as individuals, we are moved to ask: what do we have to show for our efforts of late?  Where are we going?  What is our plan for the coming year?  These questions have added weight for the Columbia Land Conservancy as we are wrapping up a year-long celebration of our 30th Anniversary and thinking, not just about the next twelve months, but about the 30 years that lie ahead. 2016 In Review We closed on three new conservation easements – two farms and a heavily forested property, bringing to 187 the number of privately owned properties in the county that we have permanently protected – 26,147 acres in all.  In addition, working with our partners at the Scenic Hudson Land Trust we obtained commitments for almost $10 million to purchase the development rights on a dozen of… Read More

Join us for Spontaneous Snowshoeing and Sledding!

November 30, 2016Rebecca

Have you always wanted to try out snowshoeing? Maybe you just want to meet new people and hit the sledding hills? Join us! Throughout the winter months, when conditions are right, we’ll host spontaneous sledding and snowshoeing events at our Public Conservation Areas. Rent snowshoes for $5 per adult or $10 per family; if you have fun you’ll have the opportunity to purchase children’s shoes for $15, or adult shoes for $30. Join the list by calling John Horton at 518.392.5252, ext. 210 or emailing him at john.horton@clctrust.org.

Land Matters: A Day in the Life

November 7, 2016Rebecca

LAND MATTERS Peter Paden* October 25, 2016 Another “Day in the Life” Each fall, thousands of students from New York City, Albany, and everywhere in between gather at various locations along the Hudson River for DEC’s annual “Day in the Life of the Hudson River Estuary,” now in its thirteenth year. Together with educators and volunteers, students become citizen scientists for the day, collecting important data on aquatic ecology, water conditions, and sediment composition, effectively creating a snapshot in time of life along the Hudson River. For over a decade now, the Columbia Land Conservancy has partnered with young people of all ages from schools across the county to participate in “Day in the Life.” This year, 42 students from Hudson High School joined CLC staff at Lasher Memorial Park in Germantown to take part in the largest “Day in the Life” yet, with over 4,500 other students at 80 different locations collecting data that will contribute to ongoing research projects led by the Hudson River Estuary Program. The following piece was written by John Horton, CLC’s Membership & Events Coordinator, who organized and led our Day in the Life project this year. What Did We Find? Lasher Memorial Park… Read More

Fall Newsletter Now Available

November 3, 2016Rebecca

Check out the latest issue of the CLC newsletter! Read about recent farmland projects, upcoming events, and the Over the Moon Gala held October 8. Access a digital copy of this and all our other CLC publications on our Publications page.