Albany Pine Bush News

All last week I was in Ithaca, NY attending an invasive species conference!  The conference was really great with excellent, intelligent, well-spoken presenters with lots of on the ground knowledge and experience.  Topics covered included early detection and rapid response; emerald ash borers and how to prepare for their arrival; deer and their impact on invasive plants; the status of feral hogs in NY; new invasive plants, insects and pathogens on the horizon; climate change and invasive species;  pathways of invasion; using The Nature Conservancy’s decision tree to prioritize treatment; conducting surveys and inventories; invasive species prevention zones; using logic models for strategic PRISM (Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management) planning; citizen science and volunteer recruitment; iMapInvasives training; and several case studies.  In addition to all of the formal training, there was lots of time for informal discussion and to meet with colleagues.  I met a lot of people who will become good resources to bounce ideas off of in the future, and feel much better connected to the NY invasive species community.  All of this will help big time as we begin to implement an invasive species management program in the preserve that extends beyond black locust.

While I was away, seasonal employees, Dave and Tyler, continued to hold down the fort here focusing on seed collection,  finishing up clip and drip of black locust re-sprouts, cutting new black locust posts for use as trail marker post next year, and general clean-up of our field facilities at 1219 Kings Rd.   A bit of good news to share regarding Dave and Tyler – they are both being kept on as seasonal employees through the end of March!  We have not had seasonal staff here through the winter months before and it will be a great help to have them.  One of their main winter tasks will be to begin tackling our GIS data files in order to organize and restructure them, a long neglected task!

Hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

~Jesse Hoffman, Preserve Steward


Jesse @ 11:31 am

It is November but we are already planning for next year’s Lupine Festival. In preparation for many fun activities and crafts made from recycled materials we are asking YOU to help us collect the following:

  • Newspaper (Black and White only)
  • Soups Cans
  • Paper Bags (Medium and large sizes, no lunch bags please)
  • Metal Coffee Cans (The bigger the better)

Bring your cleaned items to the Discovery Center and we will gladly take them off your hands and put them to good use. Thank you for your help and continued support of our programs.

~Sara, Environmental Educator



Sara @ 6:41 pm

Another lovely day in the pine bush and what a week last week – it seems like the nice weather is making up for lost time!  The new trails out at Blueberry Hill are officially open.  Yay!  Everything is marked and most of the split rail fences (to close off the old trail system) are in place.  We ran out of split rail fencing before we could close everything off that we need to, but I will order more fencing tomorrow and hopefully we’ll be able to finish off the closures soon.  In the meanwhile though, the new trails are open, so go and check them out!  There are still a few swampy wet areas, but they are shrinking each day, and once it gets dry enough to get vehicles in there we will be attempting to fill in some of the low spots to prevent trail puddles in the future!  Seed collection is wrapping up…we have tons of bush clover collected (thanks to Farnsworth Middle School, and the Albany Academies!) and we just need to finish up with the big grasses and horsemint over the next few weeks.  Seasonal Staff members, Dave and Tyler, have been continuing along with “clip and drip” herbiciding the black locust re-sprouts, and they recently attended a training course on running pumps for prescribed fire use.  For the next few weeks we will be putting the finishing touches on the  Blueberry Hill trail system, finishing seed collection, continuing with clip and drip, stockpiling new trail marker posts, and cleaning up the field facilities at 1219 Kings Rd. for winter.  Lots to do!  Hope that you all are having a great time out there in the preserve, and do go and check out Blueberry Hill!

~Jesse Hoffman, Preserve Steward


Jesse @ 6:40 pm

Prairie warblers

A Species of Greatest Conservation Need in New York State and an excellent indicator of high quality pitch pine scrub oak barrens, the prairie warbler is a colorful but declining migratory bird of dry shrubland habitats. In an effort to understand how Preserve management influences habitat quality Conservation Director Neil Gifford, and seasonal science staff have marked 91 prairie warblers in the Preserve with unique color-coded leg bands since 2009: 42 birds in 2009, 24 birds in 2010, and 25 birds in 2011. This summer staff re-sighted 24 of the 61 male birds previously marked; including 29% of the males marked in 2009 and 57% of the male birds marked in 2010. Many of these birds returned to the same spots where they were initially banded. Adult survival and strong fidelity to breeding sites are positive indicators that Preserve management is maintaining high quality habitat for this species.

Category: Conservation
admin @ 3:16 pm