Get Outdoors Day!

Get Outdoors on National Outdoors Day, June 8th! Columbia County, New York offers a wide variety of unique and exciting outdoor activities this time of year. Not only does CLC offer 10 Public Conservation Areas for you to visit, there are also many other fantastic places to see in our community! Whether you’re looking to hike, bike, visit a farmer’s market or take a stroll at a historic site – Columbia County is the place to be! Here are 10 places you can visit to enjoy this National Outdoors Day!

Located in Chatham, New York off Rock City Road. Ooms Conservation Area offers 2.9 miles of trails to walk on a breathtaking 180 acre piece of land that has a little something for everyone!

This spectacular property includes rolling grasslands, pond, pastoral landscape, Catskill mountain views, and mixed forest habitats.  There are benches and a gazebo for relaxing and birdwatching, and excellent fishing (by permit only – contact CLC to get one) at the 35-acre Sutherland Pond.

Located in Ghent, New York, Art Omi offers 300 acres of beautiful, rolling fields of extraordinary art work and architecture. Explore large scale, outdoor pieces while you walk through open fields, woods and pond areas. New pieces of artwork are added each year, which means you’ll have to come back! 

Not only can you visit the Martin Van Buren home and explore the inside of his Kinderhook home. You can also explore the land it’s situated on! Learn about Van Buren’s family farm by walking one of the parks trails. Enjoy the magnificent scenery and history of Kinderhook, New York while you stretch your legs and get some fresh air!

The High Falls Conservation Area is home to Columbia County’s highest waterfall. The wooded trails bring visitors to a dramatic overlook with views of the falls and provide access to the Agawamuck Creek. The Agawamuck Creek flows northwest until eventually joining the Claverack Creek on its way to the Hudson River.  You can enjoy several hiking trails at High Falls, as well as fishing.

High Falls is exceptionally rich in cultural history. The Agawamuck Creek and these falls have been an important part of Philmont’s history and development. 

Hike, paddle, camp or fish this multipurpose, recreation area! Explore over 2000 acres of the Beebe Hill and Harvey Mountain State Forest, located in Austerlitz, New York!

Harvey Mountain has the highest elevation in Columbia County at 2,065 feet! Hike to the fire tower for endless views of this place we call home. 

Lake Taghkanic State Park, nestled next to Lake Taghkanic in the rolling hills and lush forests of Columbia County, offers a wonderful variety of recreational activities. Lay on the beaches, swim, bike, hike, fish, or cross country ski during winter months! This park has a lot to offer and if you don’t want to leave, you can even camp or stay in one of their cottages!

Located in Copake Falls, New York, hike your way from Columbia County, New York right into Massachusetts and Connecticut on 16 miles of beautiful wooded trails. Hike to the waterfalls and take in the views or stay a while and take in the full experience by camping! Walk or bike the Harlem Valley Rail Trail then take a dip in Ore Pit Pond (while lifeguards are on duty, of course).

This site offers spectacular views of the Harlem Valley, Hudson Valley, and Taconics. The Overmountain Conservation Area is the largest Public Conservation Area in the Columbia Land Conservancy’s portfolio, at 1,700 acres in size.

The site includes more than ten miles of trails. Some follow the ridgeline above the Harlem Valley, offering spectacular views of the Taconic Range to the east and Catskill Mountains to the west, with the entire Hudson Valley in between.

Nestled in between the woodlands of Hillsdale, New York and the Berkshire Mountains explore the area by air! Catamount Aerial Adventure Park offers 12 separate courses with over 170 elements and 50 zip lines! Perfect for summer or fall!

Located in Stockport, New York a short distance from Hudson. Explore, hike or walk your dog on 6 acres of scenic views. Sit under the gazebo and admire the views or the Catskill Mountains and walk what was once a dairy farm. Enjoy the wild life and watch the birds in the grasslands and listen to their sweet songs during your stroll! 

Help the Earth, Everyday!

“Nature is not a place to visit,
it’s home” 

 – Gary Snyder

Here are some ways to get started helping!

There are many simple things we can do every day to help our environment and our planet! Not sure how to get started? We’ve listed some ways to help below and you can also volunteer at the Columbia Land Conservancy to help locally! Click below to read more information about volunteering with us!

Recycle

Good news is most American's are recycling more than they used to - about a third of their waste! But we still need to do more! Visit your local waste station to learn what all you can recycle!

Reuse

Think twice before throwing something out! The plastic bag that your produce came in can now bag your lunch or store crayons for the kids.

compost

Return organic waste where it belongs - the soil! When you recycle your organic kitchen scraps, you are significantly decreasing your amount of waste. Have a garden? Compost also helps make your plants stronger and healthier, and reduces the needs for fertilizers and chemical pesticides.

Line dry

Line dry your clothes rather than running an electric or gas dryer. It will save energy and save you money! Plus, your clothes will smell clean and fresh from the outside breeze!

Reusable bags

The Earth is littered with plastic bags all over that cause harm to animals and the environment. Keep a few bags handy in your car!


turn off the tap

The average faucet uses about three gallons of water per minute! Turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth.

plant trees

Plant a tree in your yard or local community! Trees trap CO2 emiossions and lower the effects of global warming. Along with many other benifical effects, like collecting dust particles in the are and reducing noise pollution!

Native Plants

Use native plants in your garden! These are better adapted to your area and will require less maintenance and less water. They will also provide a favorite snack for our pollinator friends!

National Pet Day!

Save the Date for National Pet Day!

Do you have a Good Dog? Of course you do! April 11th is National Pet Day! Take this day to pamper man’s (and women’s) best friend with some local treats! 

From Thursday through the end of April the Columbia Land Conservancy and Samascott Orchards are partnering up to provide some special treats for your favorite pup! Stop by the CLC Store and sign up for our Good Dog Program during this limited time and receive a free CLC dog bandana and a coupon for Samascott’s signature Pup Sundaes! 

Can’t make it in the store this time? No worries! You can sign your pup up for the Good Dog Program any time, year round! Participants in this program will receive a special CLC gift each year as well as other exclusive promotions and dog-themed events!

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!

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.