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.

Great Song Farm is Looking for Its Next Farmers!

Great Song Farm is a successful CSA based on leased land in Milan, NY.  Longtime Farmer-Landowner Match Program participants, Anthony Mecca and Sarah Ahearn, began this operation in 2011 in close partnership with landowners Betti and Larry Steele.  Over the years, Great Song Farm has developed a strong community through their CSA membership and by hosting on-farm community events.  While Anthony and Sarah have decided to move on with their careers away from the farm, both they and Betti and Larry hope that Great Song Farm continues on its mission to foster, “diverse community farm managed using organic and biodynamic practices” and are actively seeking its next farmers.

Please  follow the instructions found here if you would like to be considered for this opportunity.

Hunting Season Begins at Several Public Conservation Areas

Hunting Season Begins October 1

Hunting season at several of CLC’s Public Conservation Areas begins October 1. 

The Columbia Land Conservancy issues permits every year to a small number of individuals to hunt deer at six of our sites. When visiting these sites during hunting season – October through December – particularly during early morning and evening hours, please wear orange or other bright colors. Hunting is allowed at select sites by permit only. 

If you’d rather not hike at a site where hunting is taking place, visit Borden’s PondSiegel-Kline KillOoms, or High Falls.

Click here to learn more about why hunting is an important part of managing CLC’s Public Conservation Areas.

U-Pick Farms in Columbia County

One of the quintessential summer activities in Columbia County is spending the morning or afternoon hand-picking delicious fruits and veggies from one of the many farms offering a pick-your-own produce option. It’s a perfect activity for families or a day out with friends. Here is a list of “U-Pick” farms throughout Columbia County for your picking pleasure:

Thompson-Finch Farm (750 Wiltsie Bridge Road, Ancram, NY 12503)
Hours: Wed & Sat 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Thompson-Finch Farm is a family run fruit farm that specializes in strawberries, blueberries, and apples. Currently, they offer blueberry picking through August. Before heading out to the farm, make sure to check their website or Facebook page for up-to-date picking conditions.

Samascott Orchards (5 Sunset Ave, Kinderhook, NY 12106)
Hours: Wed – Mon 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  

At Samascott’s, an old dairy farm turned fruit farm, the possibilities are endless—pick some sweet cherries to make a pie or summer squash to add to a summer salad. They are also currently offering blueberries, blackberries, and swiss chard. However, the produce available for picking changes almost weekly so check out their website for updated offerings.

Fix Bros. Fruit Farm (215 White Birch Road, Hudson, NY 12534)
Hours: Mon-Sun 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Black Sour Cherry season has just begun at the family-run Fix. Bros Farm and peach season is just around the corner. To stay current on their offerings, sign up for their “fruit blasts” via their website. While you’re there, make sure to check out their “Recipe” section for some delicious inspiration.

Love Apple Farm (1421 State Route 9H, Ghent, NY 12075)
Hours: Mon-Sun 9pm-5pm

While Love Apple Farm is most well-known for their delicious apple varieties (and those to-die-for apple cider donuts), they also offer a variety of other fruits like peaches, cherries, and berries for your picking pleasure!

The Chatham Berry Farm (2309 Route 203, Chatham, NY 12037)
Hours: Mon – Sun 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Venture into the Chatham Berry Farm’s fields for a delightful day of picking. You will find blueberries, blackberries, and four different types of raspberries. Stop in the store for some yogurt, ice cream, or whipped cream, and have a tasty dessert!

 

What is a harmful algae bloom, anyway?

You may have seen quite a few notifications about harmful algae blooms lately and wondered just what they are, why they happen, and what you should do if you think you’ve seen one.

What’s a harmful algae bloom and why do they happen?

From DEC: “Blooms of algal species that can produce toxins are referred to as harmful algal blooms (HABs). HABs usually occur in nutrient-rich waters, particularly during hot, calm weather.” Often, HABs are at the whims of the weather – when it’s very warm outside and hasn’t rained much, still bodies of water like lakes and ponds can experience algae blooms. The blooms may look like someone’s spilled green paint on the surface of the water.

These blooms are dangerous to swimmers, boaters, and pets, and can cause symptoms like vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and skin and throat irritation. You should never drink water from a source that’s suspected to contain harmful algae. If you have been in contact with a HAB, you should contact your healthcare provider.

What should I do if I think I’ve seen one?

Take a closeup photo, fill out this form, and send it to the DEC at HABsInfo@dec.ny.gov. If you think you’re experiencing symptoms after contact with a suspected algal bloom, contact the Health Department at harmfulalgae@health.ny.gov.

How can I find out where blooms have been spotted?

DEC maintains a website with information here. You can see past blooms here.

Om at Ooms!

Join us every Tuesday between June 5 and September 4 for all-levels yoga at Ooms. Classes are for practitioners of all levels. They are donation-based, run from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., and your contributions support CLC and Supersoul Yoga.

“We’re excited to partner with Supersoul Yoga to offer these classes as another way to connect people to our Public Conservation Areas,” says Peter Paden, CLC Executive Director. “They’re such special places, and this is just one way to enjoy them.”

“We’re enthusiastic about the opportunity to serve the community and take our practice outdoors – doing yoga at beautiful places like Ooms is inspiring, and we’re so happy that the donations collected will help to further the work of CLC to maintain these areas,” says Studio Manager Mike Andryszewski.

This is the 3rd consecutive year of Om at Ooms, and this effort supports our similar initiatives of connection with and through nature. These classes are offered at  Sutherland Pond at Ooms Conservation Area, with Proceeds support CLC and The Foundation for Inspired Living, a non-profit established by Supersoul Farm to fund education in meditation, yoga, and permaculture farming.

Dogs & Public Conservation Areas

With spring just around the corner (we hope!) many of us will soon be hitting the trails with our four-legged friends to enjoy the sites and sounds of CLC’s Public Conservation Areas. While we love our furry pals, and many CLC staff have spoiled dogs of their own, we ask that all visitors to our sites keep their dogs on leash, and pick up after them. Why?

  • Public Conservation Areas are for everyone, and not everyone is a fan of dogs. Unleashed dogs can knock over small children, frighten people who have had traumatic past experiences with dogs, or intimidate submissive dogs who are on-leash.
  • Being on leash keeps your pup safe. Public Conservation Areas are home to porcupines, skunks, and other creatures that may not get along with your dog.
  • Many sites are home to fragile wildlife that can be damaged by dogs off-leash. Several CLC sites include grassland habitat where ground-nesting birds make their homes. Dogs bounding through these open fields can destroy nests, stress birds, or injure baby birds.
  • Dog poop is much easier to find when it’s close to the trail. Dogs generate several billion pounds of poop per year that includes E. coli, parasites, and fecal coliform bacteria that can make people sick, contaminate water, and just generally make for an unpleasant hiking experience if you unwittingly step in it. Check out this article for more information.

Thanks so much for being a considerate site user, leashing your dogs, and picking up after them! CLC owns and manages over 4,000 acres of land with only four full-time staff, and we can’t constantly police our sites. If you notice someone habitually breaking the leash rules, please contact our office at 518.392.5252.

Planting for Pollinators

As winter finally starts to subside, our thoughts turn to gardening. But these thoughts can quickly become overwhelming – what should I plant? When? Where? Should I plant for birds? Butterflies? Wildlife? How do I make sure I’m not buying invasive species, and what are those, anyway?  We’ve compiled a few resources to help you make all of those decisions!

Let’s start with the last question first: invasive species are non-native species that have the potential to harm the economy, environment, or human health. Invasive plants, in particular, often have the ability to grow very quickly, taking over areas dominated by native plants that local wildlife may rely on for food. This is important to keep in mind while planting your garden – gardening and home improvement stores may sell invasive plants, like English ivy or mile-a-minute weed. Learn more about common invasive plants at this website.

Luckily, there are lots of great resources online to help you figure out what you should plant!

If you’ve got an affinity for birds, check out Audubon’s Plants for Birds site. All you do is enter in your zipcode, pick which types of plants you want (trees, shrubs, perennials, etc.), and you’ll be presented with a list of native plants that suit your needs. You can even indicate which species of birds you’d like to attract. The Audubon site also has a lot of great resources about why to plant natives, caring for your plants, and making your yard bird-friendly.

The Xerces Society has a great list of native plants for pollinators in our region, and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has a beautiful database you can search, as well. You can enter in your site’s light and moisture availability to buy plants that are more likely to survive! If you’re especially interested in milkweed for monarchs, the Xerces Society also has a native milkweed finder site.

Happy planting!

Volunteers Remove Invasive Honeysuckle

On a snowy April Saturday, thirteen volunteers gathered at Siegel-Kline Kill Conservation Area to begin year two of our habitat restoration project, led by Master Gardener volunteers Tim Kennelty and Glenda Berman. Our task was to remove as much invasive Japanese honeysuckle along the roadside as we could in two hours.

Why were we working so hard to get rid of this plant? This invasive plant is bad for a number of reasons. Honeysuckle spreads rapidly, crowding out other native species that birds, pollinators, and other wildlife depend on for food. It is also suspected that honeysuckle produces a chemical in its roots that can make it hard for nearby plants to grow. While birds do eat the small berries honeysuckle produces, they are not the fat-nutrient rich food that birds need. A bird’s diet is much better served from native plants!

Volunteers cleared about 100 feet of honeysuckle along the roadside – what a difference! Once the honeysuckle has been removed, we will plant native trees and shrubs in their place, as part of our process of restoring native habitat at Siegel-Kline Kill. Thank you to all of the volunteers who came to help out!

If you want to join our next volunteer outing, please contact John Horton at john.horton@clctrust.org

If you’re interested in volunteering in another capacity (assisting at events, taking photos, maintaining trails), check out our Volunteer page to sign up.