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.

Watch Fireflies. Do Science!

Stepping outside to watch fireflies light up the night sky—an annual summer ritual that can now give scientists important insight into whether firefly populations are shrinking or growing, their geographic distribution, and what environmental factors are affecting them. Mass Audubon joined with scientists from Tufts University to create Firefly Watch, a citizen science project that you can be a part of! It’s easy to participate, all you must do is pick a location (it can be your backyard or favorite park) that you will visit once a week, spend 10 minutes observing the night sky for fireflies (or lack thereof), and then report your observations here.  It’s that simple! However, it’s recommended that you print out and familiarize yourself with the firefly watch observation form before heading outside so you know exactly what to look for. In fact, fireflies have three different flashing patterns that Mass Audubon wants you to watch for. (See visual chart here.)

Visit the Mass Audubon website for different resources related to fireflies or if you have any other questions about the Firefly Watch project.

Volunteer for Water Chestnut Pulling!

We’ll be working hard to remove invasive water chestnut from the Alan Devoe Bird Club and Hand Hollow Conservation Area during the hot summer months. It’s a great way to get out on the water and do good at the same time! Water chestnut poses a big problem for wildlife and boaters, as it forms dense mats of vegetation and has incredibly unpleasant spiky fruits.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation:

“Prevention is the most effective method for dealing with invasive species. If they are never introduced, they never become established.

  • Clean, drain, and dry your watercraft, trailer, and equipment before and after each use. Regulation 6 NYCRR Part 576 requires everyone who uses watercraft on public waters to, when possible, use the following methods to fully decontaminate your equipment:
    • Clean the outside of the watercraft and trailer with high pressure (2500 psi) hot water (140°F) for 10 seconds.
    • Flush the inside of the motor and all compartments (bilge, live well, bait buckets, ballast, etc.) with hot water (140°F) for two minutes.
    • Soak fishing gear and equipment in hot water (140°F) for two minutes.
  • Dump bait bucket water where it came from or on land.
  • View more information on how to clean your boat.

Early detection of infestations helps to reduce removal costs and ecological impacts

  • If you think you’ve found water chestnut please take several photos and submit a report to iMapInvasives.
  • Become a Chestnut Chaser! We know that water chestnut is underreported in New York State. Each summer we encourage folks to survey their favorite swimming holes, lakes, ponds, and nearby waterbodies for water chestnut and submit reports to iMapInvasives.
  • Share the water chestnut fact sheet (PDF, 300 KB) with others.”

Please bring your own boat if you have one, as CLC has a limited number of kayaks and canoes.

Email John Horton to join the volunteer list-serve and get more details on when and where these water chestnut pulls will be taking place!

Celebrate Summer on a Columbia County Hike

So, you’ve visited CLC’s Public Conservation Areas and are wondering where else you can hike in Columbia County? You’ve come to the right place! On the blog this week we’re rounding up the best hikes/walks in the area, so you can hit the trail for the first official day of Summer.

Taconic State Park/Copake Falls Area (Copake Falls)

After grabbing goodies from the Copake-Hillsdale Farmer’s Market, make the short drive to Copake Falls where you will find a well-developed area to park and set off for the day. From the parking lot you have the choice to stroll down the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, a picturesque paved trail with interpretive signs, hike to Bash Bish Falls via the NY Trailhead, or hop on the South Taconic Trail if you’re in the mood for a more challenging hike.

Lake Taghkanic State Park (Ancram)

With around 10.5 miles of trails extending throughout the Park, you’re sure to stay busy between the swimming, boating, and fishing that’s also available in the summer months. If you’re looking for a short, gentle loop trail hit the Fitness Trail (FT) which takes about 30 minutes and will give you a great view of the lake and the Catskills off to the west. If you’re looking for a longer hike featuring a large variety of flora and fauna check out the Lake View Trail (LT), which loops around the entire lake and takes approximately 2.5 hours.

Beebe Hill & Harvey Mountain State Forests (Austerlitz and Canaan)

Combined, these two State Forests boast over 30 miles of multi-use trails. Hike up Beebe Hill—1.7 miles out and back—and then climb the fire tower and you will be rewarded with expansive views of the surrounding Castkill and Taconic mountain ranges. While Harvey Mountain is the highest peak in Columbia County, the trek up is moderate and family-friendly. Climb the 1.5 miles to the top in late July and you may find the field covered in delicious wild blueberries.

Farmers’ Markets in Full Swing!

A Guide to Columbia County’s Farmers’ Markets

It’s not hard to find fresh, beautiful produce here in the Hudson Valley—there are a countless number of farms in Columbia County alone! So, next time you need to stock up, skip the grocery store and head outside to your nearest farmers’ market to support your local farmers.

Here’s a list of farmers’ markets in Columbia County that are worth a visit:

Copake Hillsdale Farmers’ Market

Saturdays 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. May 26 – October 27, 2018

From baked goods to fresh flowers and live music, this market won’t disappoint. It’s situated right next to the Roeliff Jansen Park so bring along your dog and take a hike after you buy some goodies.

Hudson Farmers’ Market

Saturdays 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  April 28 to November 17, 2018

Start by hitting up the Destino tent for some delicious breakfast tacos before visiting the different vendors at Columbia County’s largest farmers market.

Chatham Farmers’ Market

Fridays 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. June – October

Before heading home after work, make a quick detour to the Chatham Farmers’ Market located near the gazebo in the center of town and pick up some fresh ingredients for a delicious Friday night dinner!

Kinderhook Farmers’ Market

Saturdays 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. May – October

Join local farmers and food producers at the Village Green in Kinderhook for a wonderful market featuring different specialty vendors—from coffee roasters to creameries—every week.

Valatie Farmers’ Market

Sundays 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. May – September

End your weekend in Valatie picking out handmade soaps and fresh herbs at the market located just outside the Valatie Medical Arts Building. Make sure to stick around for the live music and occasional raffle drawings!

Best Spring Walks at Public Conservation Areas

Spring is finally here and it’s time to hit the trail! Lucky for you, CLC has miles of stunning trails open to the public at our Public Conservation Areas scattered throughout the county. To make it even easier, we have compiled a list of the can’t-miss walks and hikes of the season. What’d we miss? Let us know in the comments!

Blue/Stockport-Greenport Trail (Greenport Conservation Area)
After grabbing lunch in Hudson, take a walk near the Hudson River along the Stockport-Greenport Trail. Once you pass through fields of wildflowers, cross streams, and traverse forested slopes, you will be rewarded with breath-taking views of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains. To access this trail, follow the Access for All Trail until you reach the Blue Trail. This is a moderate out-and-back route around 2.6 miles.

 

Yellow to Blue Trails (Harris Conservation Area)
A great walk for families—follow the blue trail from the parking lot and find yourself walking upland into a beautiful hemlock forest. After connecting with the yellow trail, which will eventually loop you back around to the parking lot, you will pass a tranquil woodland pond, multiple active vernal pools, and an old stone wall. This site is rich in biodiversity, so while this walk is only one mile, you could spend hours here admiring the cool habitats and even cooler creatures.

Blue Trail to Green Trail (Drowned Lands Swamp)
Start on the relatively flat blue trail and skirt along the edge of the swamp. Your proximity to the wetland will be perfect for wildlife viewing, as well as catching sight of spring ephemeral wildlflowers. On your way back, you can take the Cross Trail to get to the Green Trail, which will lead you to the summit of Old Crocken where you will take in beautiful views of the Taconic and Catskill Mountains. This shorter walk is suited for visitors of all ages.

Green Loop Trail (Ooms Conservation Area)
This trail is beautiful at any time of the year, offering an almost two-mile walk around Sutherland Pond. Be sure to bring your binoculars because the rolling grasslands around the pond provides habitat for grassland birds, including the bobolink and several different sparrows. We’ve also seen eagles at the site, and heard rumors of osprey! If you get tired along the way, take a seat at one of the benches you pass or at the gazebo, which offers Catskill Mountain views to your west.

Foraging at Public Conservation Areas

It’s ramp season, and the allium lovers among us are ecstatic! We’d like to remind everyone that while some of our Public Conservation Areas may play host to the tasty treats, we do not allow foraging for ramps (or other edibles) at any of our sites.

Why not?

  • First and foremost, many ramps are overharvested to the point where their populations are threatened. CLC does not have the organizational capacity to closely monitor foragers and ensure that ramps are harvested sustainably.
  • Many ramps are also located off-trail. Going off the trails at our sites is highly discouraged, as there’s potential for foragers to damage fragile flora and fauna, like ephemeral spring wildflowers that are often growing at the same time ramps are. Pick closer to the trails, of course, and you risk noshing on a ramp that’s been previously doused by our trails’ many dog patrons!
  • And of course, there’s the potential that you could pick something poisonous, and harm yourself. For example, false hellebore looks a lot like ramps, and sends people to the emergency room each year.

Thanks for understanding and complying with this policy! You can also check out these tips to be a sustainable harvester if you find ramps on non-CLC lands that permit foraging.

Painting credit: Frans Ykens – Still Life with Shrimps, Ramps, Flowers and a Glass Vase