Fall is here! It’s time for sipping cider, crunching leaves underfoot, and bundling up against chilly nights.
You are an essential part of a community of supporters working together to ensure the best parts of Columbia County endure through all seasons. Thank you.
Ooms Master Planning and Boardwalk Restoration
A committee of CLC staff, trustees, and community members are excited to share updates on improvements at Ooms Conservation Area. Earlier this year, CLC received a $100,000 grant from the Land Trust Alliance to replace the aging boardwalk at the property. This grant has catalyzed creating a master plan to make better use of the entire site.
What is being proposed in the plan?
- A serpentine boardwalk circling the pond that will allow visitors to access the water safely while not disturbing the ecosystem.
- Plantings that support biodiversity, while providing shade (for visitors), seasonal color, and habitat for local species
- Pathways that are welcoming to all regardless of ability and supportive of different levels of stamina
- Additional fishing structures and piers that will increase access to the water
- Rock block stepping stones into the water with water level markers showcasing the impact of climate change on our water ecosystems
- New picnic areas, play equipment for children and families, and rest spaces along the walkways
- Educational signage highlighting the site’s special features
Personalized giving opportunities are available for those interested in supporting one or more aspects of the plan. Contact CLC Director of Philanthropy Craig Westcott at [email protected] or 518.392.5252, ext. 222 to learn more about opportunities to support the project, and how to increase both your impact and tax deduction by making a gift of appreciated stock, your IRA Required Minimum Distribution, or from your Donor Advised Fund.
Greenport Conservation Area: Art and Accessibility
Big changes are coming to Greenport Conservation Area, and you’ll notice them as soon as you pull into the parking lot! Though Greenport is one of the largest and most frequently visited Public Conservation Areas, the parking lot is undersized, and visitors have sometimes had to resort to parking on the road, which is dangerous and narrow. Once expanded, the lot, which will be nearly doubled in size, will not only allow for additional parking, but also make it possible for busses to make use of the property, increasing access for school groups and organizations.
This winter, CLC expects to select a team of artists to transform other parts of the Conservation Area as well. A Request for Proposals has been issued for three projects at the property: replacing the gazebo at the terminus of the Access for All Trail, installing an art trail, and replacing a kiosk at the former parking lot. A ribbon-cutting event is expected next June – be on the lookout for an invitation!
Columbia County’s First Climate Carnival
When we work together, our efforts go further. CLC partnered with the Columbia County Climate Smart Communities Task Force to host the County’s first-ever Climate Carnival in July. The event included a Repair Café where volunteers fixed tools, toys, and appliances that were otherwise destined for a landfill, a free store where community members could help themselves to clothing, live music, food, and exhibits from sustainable vendors and service providers. More than 1,000 attendees attended, making this inaugural event a great success. Stay tuned for more information about next year’s Climate Carnival!
Third Round of Municipal Mini Grants Kicks Off
Partnering with communities on education and natural resources projects benefits all of us. To date, CLC has distributed $5,000 of municipal mini grants to communities for projects like installing interpretive signage, water quality monitoring, and developing fact sheets about conservation-minded home siting. The program is about to embark on its third year, and has been streamlined to make the application process more efficient and reward projects that spark collaboration among municipalities. Click here to learn more.
Nature At Home Workshop Series
CLC has coordinated the Berkshire-Taconic Regional Conservation Partnership (BTRCP), a coalition of more than a dozen partners from New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut, for nearly a decade. This fall, the partners are collaborating to offer a three-part workshop series, Nature at Home, aimed at building community through increasing habitat for wildlife.The first workshop kicked off September 6 with a virtual discussion from Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home and facilitator of the Homegrown National Parks initiative, a grassroots initiative with the goal of improving biodiversity and ecosystems through planting native trees, shrubs, and flowers. If you missed the workshop, a recording is available online. The second workshop will be held October 1 at the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center in Albany, a center that teaches ecological literacy and promotes equity. Participants can learn about the role they play in promoting environmental justice, the revitalization of degraded soils, and the intensive agro-ecological cultivation of small land parcels. Click here to learn more and register.
Support for Agriculture
In May 2022, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets awarded CLC three Farmland Protection Implementation grants to protect two important farms in our county: Samascott Orchards and Grazin’ Angus Acres.
Samascott Orchards is a multi-generation family-run fruit orchard totaling more than 1,000 acres in the Towns of Kinderhook and Stuyvesant. The Samascotts produce a wide variety of agricultural products including fruit, vegetables, hay, eggs, and beef cattle – and their ice cream stand offers some of Columbia County’s tastiest desserts! With support from Scenic Hudson, these funds will support the farm as it transitions to the next generation of the Samascott family by protecting 516 acres of the farm under two conservation easements including a portion of Stuyvesant Brook.
Grazin’ Angus Acres is a diversified livestock operation located in the Town of Ghent. Dan and Susan Gibson began their operation with two cows in 2002 and grew the farm to include chickens, pork, and vegetables. Much of their farm products end up at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City or in the kitchen of the family-owned Grazin’ Diner in the City of Hudson. These grant funds will make it possible for son Keith, who has been working on the farm since it started, to take over the farm. Keith has helped diversify the operation, overseeing the creation of the small-batch whiskey production and installing a 40-acre mushroom site, since he returned from active duty as an Army combat medic serving in Iraq in 2010. This easement, one of New York State’s first-ever agroforestry awards, will protect the Gibson’s 366-acre home farm.
Will we see you in December?
Your support is essential in helping these, and all efforts to care for this land we love, to grow and thrive. Thank you for all you do to make this possible.
CLC hopes to have the opportunity to meet with you in person to celebrate the impact we’ve made together this year. Mark your calendar now for the Conservation Celebration December 10 from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Roe Jan Brewing Company in Hillsdale. A printed invitation will follow shortly. Please be in touch with any questions about the projects shared here, or anything else happening at CLC or in Columbia County. You can reach me at [email protected] or 518.392.5252, ext. 209.