The Buzz: A CLC Blog

Full Circus Farm Annual Tree Sale!

In 2014, the CLC’s Farmer Landowner Match Program helped Mark and Miriam find landowners in Pine Plains to start their vegetable farm and fruit tree nursery, Full Circus Farm.  The farm, still happily on that same piece of land growing organic produce and have many animals including a family dairy cow, horses and chickens! Last but certainly not least, these fantastic folks also grow a variety of fruit trees!

Full Circus Farm is now taking orders for their fruit trees which will be available for pick up mid-April!  Their apple, pear and Asian pear trees saplings and are certified organic and are both grafted and grown right on the farm.  Mark and Miriam will donate 15% of their sales to CLC if you tell them you found them through us! To order you may give them a call at 518-789-0025 or email them at fullcircusfarm@gmail.com! To see all varieties and pricing, click here!

They carry a large range of apple trees including McIntosh, Esopus Spitzenburg, Northern Spy and more! They also grow apples perfect for pressing hard ciders such as Kingston Black, Golden Russet and Ellis Bitter. Perfect for easy-access fall apple picking right in your own back yard!

Mark and Miriam use a team of draft horses to plow, spread compost and cultivate the soil.  The horses are lighter on the land than a tractor, add fertility to the farm system, but most of all, they are just a joy to work with!  Sandy and Sunshine, their pair of Haflinger ponies and are excited to get back to work after a long, chilly winter!

Join us for Farm Film Fest 11!

Farm Film Fest is back Saturday, March 24 at the Crandell Theatre, 48 Main Street in Chatham, beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The festival will screen films that focus on farms and farming issues with special consideration for those that have a regional connection. The program includes films made by professional and amateur filmmakers. After the event, Executive Director Peter Paden will moderate a discussion. We hope to see you there!

The event is sponsored by the Columbia Land Conservancy, Chatham Keep Farming, and the Crandell Theatre.

Referrals for a Good Cause

CLC is proud to participate in Metzwood Insurance’s Referrals for a Good Cause program!

For every person who calls to review their insurance and says you referred them, they will give $10 to CLC! Don’t worry, they ask on every call!

Additionally, for every referral you give, you are entered into a monthly drawing for a $100 Visa Cash Card, and a quarterly drawing for a 4K HD TV.

Lastly, they will also give CLC $1 for every “Like” they receive on Metzwood’s Facebook Page during the semi-annual period.

Thanks, Metzwood!

Land Matters

Columbia County is a wonderful place to live and work. For most of us, one of the major attractions is the land we inhabit. We are blessed with the most significant concentrations of valuable farmland in the Hudson Valley, a vast expanse of unbroken forests, and hundreds of rich wetlands, woodland pools, streams, ponds, and lakes. All of these, in turn, give rise to exceptionally rich and diverse wildlife habitats and ecosystems.

Columbia County is a place of tremendous beauty. Ask anyone what they love about the county — whether they have been here for generations or just closed on their first weekend home — and the reply will be the same: the working farmland, forests and streams, the hamlets and villages that provide the focus of human community. These are the qualities that distinguish Columbia County from the crowded cities, suburbs, and still heavily developed areas that surround us.

Our proximity to New York City, Boston, and Albany makes Columbia County a uniquely attractive place for people looking to live and work in a rural setting. A central question is whether the county will be able to retain its unique characteristics and valuable natural resources while creating jobs and an economy to support future generations. The answer will be determined by those of us here today, by our understanding of the land, our commitment to it, our vision for the future and our willingness to work together to ensure that the vision is realized.

We have the opportunity to guide growth in a manner that respects the extraordinary natural features and human resources that make Columbia County such a special place.

With high-quality farmland in abundance, Columbia County is well positioned to take advantage of the explosion of demand for food and fiber products grown close to the point of consumption. We may be able to sustain and build upon what is already a resurgent agricultural sector, and once again become a major source of farm products for our region. This would be a win-win scenario: great for the local economy; and great for the working landscapes and for conservation, as well. Many people are working in many different ways to see that this comes about.

Similarly, our countryside compares favorably with any number of beautiful spots around the world that attract and thrive upon large numbers of visitors each year. There is every reason to work to bolster our own tourism industry to provide for the county’s needed job creation and economic growth.

Such scenarios are well within our reach, but they are not inevitable. There is plenty of opportunity for haphazard, poorly planned, or uncontrolled development to damage our natural resources, our agricultural land base, and our extraordinary scenic landscapes beyond recognition. It will require commitment and concerted effort to ensure that this does not happen. Knowledge and understanding of the land, appreciation for what it is and does, how it “works,” and a commitment to use and care for it wisely are essential.

The Columbia Land Conservancy envisions a future in which the county enjoys a strong economy structured in a manner respectful of the exceptional conservation qualities of the area. I’m looking forward to discussing these and related topics in the months ahead. I hope these pieces will promote thought, discussion, and understanding about the extraordinary land we all inhabit, and about the Columbia Land Conservancy — who we are, how we work, and how we don’t work. And I hope that, together, we’ll all learn a little bit more each month about why, in Columbia County, land matters so very much.

Peter Paden is Executive Director of the Columbia Land Conservancy, a community-based land trust dedicated to land conservation in Columbia County. He may be reached at peter.paden@clctrust.org.

We Backyard Bird Counted!

Thanks to everyone who joined us at Ooms Conservation Area February 16 for the Great Backyard Bird Count!

To date, over 175,000 bird checklists have been submitted, counting over 28 million birds! You can keep up to date as birdwatchers submit their findings on the Great Backyard Bird Count website – click here for more details.

Together, we counted 20 species of birds. What did we find?

Mourning Dove  4
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
Downy Woodpecker  1
Blue Jay  8
American Crow  3
Black-capped Chickadee  10
Tufted Titmouse  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Eastern Bluebird  7
American Robin  40
European Starling  35
American Goldfinch  15
American Tree Sparrow  1
Dark-eyed Junco  8
White-throated Sparrow  1
Red-winged Blackbird  1
Northern Cardinal  2

We’re hiring!

Development Coordinator – Apply by February 28

CLC seeks a Development Coordinator who will play an integral role in CLC’s development efforts; managing all aspects of the Conservancy’s donor program; developing, organizing, and implementing the Conservancy’s annual and special events; as well as initiating new fundraising and outreach efforts. This position requires strong interpersonal skills and initiative. Preferred candidate will have bachelor’s degree and 1 – 3 years relevant experience in a non-profit setting. Strong donor database skills a plus. CLC offers a competitive salary and benefits package. Email cover letter, resume, and writing sample as a single pdf document to jobs@clctrust.org with “Development Coordinator” in the subject line.

Applications will be reviewed on rolling basis; deadline to apply is 2/28/2019. The link to the full job description can be found here.  No phone calls. EOE employer.

Operations & Outreach Associate – Apply by February 28

The Operations & Outreach Associate (OOA) helps sets the tone for the entire organization as this position is the first point of contact for visitors to the office. This position serves as front desk staff, retail store support and provides outreach and communications support. The OOA is a key member of the CLC team and will work most frequently with the Operations, Development, and Communications staff providing a full range of administrative support. Responsibilities include but are not limited to: assisting store & office visitors; store management; outreach and donor database support (including social media); supporting on-going office operations; assisting with event logistics, and other duties as assigned. The job includes significant interaction with CLC’s donors and members of the Columbia County community. The preferred candidate will be comfortable with public outreach, social media, data entry, and retail.  Requires strong interpersonal skills and computer proficiency.

A full job description is available here.

Competitive salary and full benefits. Please email cover letter and resume as a single pdf document to jobs@clctrust.org with “OOA position” in the subject line. No phone calls.

What do wildlife do when it’s cold?

We know how the cold impacts us as humans – the insides of our noses freeze, our cars are slow to start, and the air inside feels dry and unpleasant. We bring our pets inside, suit up our dogs with booties and vests, and smear Vaseline on our roosters.

But what if you’re a critter that lives outdoors? Many animals enter a state of torpor. They slow down their metabolism and appear to be sleeping. Species have adapted to cold climates in other ways through the ages, through storing fat, growing additional fur or feathers, and developing arteries and veins in close proximity to each other – warm blood from the heart passes cold blood from extremities, and heats it up.

These adaptations even include fish. According to the Smithsonian, “Luckily, ice floats because water is most dense as a liquid, allowing fish to swim freely in not-quite-freezing temperatures below the solidified surface. Additionally, fish may lack the cold-sensing receptor shared by other vertebrates. They do, however, have unique enzymes that allow physiologic functions to continue at colder temperatures. In polar regions, fish even have special “antifreeze proteins” that bind to ice crystals in their blood to prevent widespread crystallization.”

If you want to help chilly wildlife this winter, there are a few things you can do! Click here to check out this post from Discover Wildlife for more information.

It’s almost time for the Great Backyard Bird Count!

Every February, thousands of volunteers across the planet participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count. CLC is hosting an event at Ooms Conservation Area February 16. 

What’s the Great Backyard Bird Count? Here’s what Audubon has to say:

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a free, fun, and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at birdcount.org. Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from beginning bird watchers to experts, and you can participate from your backyard, or anywhere in the world.

Each checklist submitted during the GBBC helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them and the environment we share. Last year, more than 160,000 participants submitted their bird observations online, creating the largest instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations ever recorded.

The 21st annual GBBC will be held Friday, February 16, through Monday, February 19, 2018. Please visit the official website at birdcount.org for more information and be sure to check out the latest educational and promotional resources.

Kathy Schneider Signs “Birding the Hudson Valley” at the Chatham Bookstore

Kathryn J. Schneider brings her book “Birding the Hudson Valley” to the Chatham Bookstore on Saturday, December 8. The author signs books at 4:00 p.m. as part of Chatham Winterfest. At 5:00 p.m., a conversation with Thomas Chulak from the bookstore and Q & A follow a presentation by the author. A portion of the proceeds from book sales will be donated to the Columbia Land Conservancy.

Published by University Press of New England in October, “Birding the Hudson Valley” is a guide to birds and birdwatching in the Hudson Valley. Designed for birders of all levels of skill and interest, the book contains explicit directions to more than eighty locations, as well as useful species accounts and hints for finding the valley’s most sought-after birds. But beyond providing tips about topics like learning bird calls, buying binoculars, and using apps, Schneider also explores Hudson Valley history, ecology, bird biology, and tourism.

According to Jeremy Kirchman, curator of birds, New York State Museum, “This book is an excellent guide to the best birding sites in the Hudson Valley that will lead me to plenty of places I have not yet explored.”

Kathryn Schneider grew up in Claverack, went to Hudson High School, and then attended  Cornell and Princeton Universities, where she completed her PhD. She taught college courses in general biology and ornithology at the University of Richmond and later at Hudson Valley Community College. In 1986, she returned to Columbia County and for 14 years directed the New York Natural Heritage Program, a biodiversity inventory program run jointly by The Nature Conservancy and then the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). In the 1990s she became a member of the NYS Ornithological Association (NYSOA), later serving as president and vice president.

Currently, Schneider is a Master Gardener for Cornell Cooperative Extension and an active volunteer for the Columbia Land Conservancy. As a consultant, she has conducted bird surveys for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. She lives in Stuyvesant Falls.

The Chatham Bookstore, located at 27 Main Street in Chatham, NY, features a large selection of books for adults and children, as well as an array of art supplies. For more information, call 518.392.3005. https://chathambookstore.com/

We’re hiring!

CLC seeks a Public Lands Manager to serve as our lead Public Conservation Area steward and to manage and supervise the Public Conservation Area team.  As the team leader, this position will work to ensure that the PCA team is maintaining conservation areas to provide a safe and positive user experience. This position will also work closely with senior management to plan, develop, and manage CLC’s fee lands and public conservation areas and to evaluate properties for their natural resources and advise on best management practices.

Bachelor’s degree in forestry, resource management, biology, environmental sciences, or related subject is required.  Minimum of five years of experience in property maintenance and management (residential and/or park/conservation areas) and three years supervisory experience. Competitive salary with full benefits. Please email cover letter and resume as a single pdf document to jobs@clctrust.org with “Public Lands Mgr” in the subject line. A full description of the position is available here. Deadline to apply is December 3.