Albany Pine Bush News

Snow Pack Research in the Albany Pine BushALBANY NY – The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is looking for neighbors that live within half a mile of the Preserve to help track changing weather patterns by measuring the depth of snow in their own backyard. On Sunday, January 10 from 2:00-3:00pm come to the Discovery Center to learn how to collect and submit measurements.

Regionally, climate change is altering seasonal weather patterns, especially temperature and precipitation, but little is known about specific changes in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is therefore asking Preserve neighbors to help fill this knowledge gap by inviting them to participate in a citizen-science project to document snow depth around the Preserve.

“Many plants and animals have evolved to require cold, snowy winter weather”, said Neil Gifford, Conservation Director for the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission. “For example, such conditions appear essential to the success of the endangered Karner blue butterfly’s eggs, which overwinter under the snow. Prolonged cold temperatures also provide the refrigeration critical to the germination of many native plant seeds, and snow can affect how much water is in vernal ponds for frog and salamander breeding in spring.”

According to Gifford, understanding how weather patterns in the Preserve are changing is the first step to understanding what the Commission can do to improve the long-term survival of the Karner blue butterfly as well as 63 other rare wildlife listed as Species of Greatest Conservation Need in New York State.

This program is free and recommended for ages 15+. Snow monitoring materials will be provided. Participants must live within one half mile of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. Pre-registration is required for all programs. The Discovery Center is located at 195 New Karner Road in Albany. To sign up please visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org and click on “Events Calendar” at the top of the page or call 518-456-0655.

The 3,200 – acre Albany Pine Bush Preserve (APBP), located in New York’s Capital District, protects one of the best remaining inland pitch-pine scrub oak barrens in the world. This extraordinary fire-dependent habitat provides homes for many plants and animals and contains 55 New York State-designated wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. The Preserve is a National Natural Landmark, a New York State Unique Area, Bird Conservation Area and a National Audubon Society Important Bird Area. Characterized by rolling sand dunes and miles of trails, the Preserve offers visitors many recreational opportunities including hiking, bird watching, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, fishing and canoeing. The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is a public-private partnership created by the NYS Legislature in 1988 to protect and manage the APBP and provide the public with educational and recreational opportunities.

As the gateway to the Pine Bush, the Discovery Center is a state-of-the-art “green” certified interpretive center where visitors come to understand why the Pine Bush is rare and special. A visit to this unique destination is an exciting exploration where learning comes naturally through interactive exhibits, an outdoor Discovery Trail, and numerous programs on the ecology, natural history, cultural history and management of the Pine Bush. Admission to the Discovery Center is free (there is a small fee for programs). The Center is open daily weekdays 9am-4pm, weekends and most holidays 10am-4pm. For more information, visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org or call 518-456-0655.

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Wildlife in Winter at the Albany Pine Bush

APB Boy Scout Snowshoe Photos by Krishna Hill (42)ALBANY NY – The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission will be offering programs at the Discovery Center during the upcoming school break December 27- January 2. “If you’re looking to get out of the house during school vacation week, come check out one of our exceptional programs,” said Sara Poggi-Decker Education Program Manager. “The theme for the week is Wildlife in Winter.”

“Each program includes a unique opportunity to learn about the globally rare, nationally significant, and locally distinct Albany Pine Bush while looking more closely at animals that live in the Pine Bush,” said Education Program Director Erin Kinal. Program highlights include a Critter Scene Investigation on Tuesday December 29th and a free New Year Bird Count for kids on Saturday January 2nd. “Whether it’s your first time visiting us or your one hundredth, our winter break programs offer a great chance to come to the Pine Bush Discovery Center and learn something new.” continued Kinal.

Programs are $3 per person/$5 per family (children under 5 years free) unless otherwise noted. Pre-registration is required for all programs. The Discovery Center is located at 195 New Karner Road in Albany. For more information and to sign up for any of these programs, please visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org and click on “Events Calendar” at the top of the page or call 518-456-0655.

The 3,200 – acre Albany Pine Bush Preserve (APBP), located in New York’s Capital District, protects one of the best remaining inland pitch-pine scrub oak barrens in the world. This extraordinary fire-dependent habitat provides homes for many plants and animals and contains 55 New York State-designated wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. The Preserve is a National Natural Landmark, a New York State Unique Area, Bird Conservation Area and a National Audubon Society Important Bird Area. Characterized by rolling sand dunes and miles of trails, the Preserve offers visitors many recreational opportunities including hiking, bird watching, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, fishing and canoeing. The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is a public-private partnership created by the NYS Legislature in 1988 to protect and manage the APBP and provide the public with educational and recreational opportunities.

As the gateway to the Pine Bush, the Discovery Center is a state-of-the-art “green” certified interpretive center where visitors come to understand why the Pine Bush is rare and special. A visit to this unique destination is an exciting exploration where learning comes naturally through interactive exhibits, an outdoor Discovery Trail, and numerous programs on the ecology, natural history, cultural history and management of the Pine Bush. Admission to the Discovery Center is free (there is a small fee for programs). The Center is open daily weekdays 9am-4pm, weekends and most holidays 10am-4pm. For more information, visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org or call 518-456-0655.
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Wendy @ 9:53 am
Nov
25
2015

Almost There!

Help us reach our $5,000 goal.
A recent tally of new memberships and donations shows the Friends of the Pine Bush Community is only $673 from meeting the challenge goal amount. The pitch pine tree below shows it best.

match progress 11-17-15

 

Please CLICK HERE help the Friends reach the top of the tree by making a year-in contribution and inviting a friend to become a member. Friends memberships are perfect holiday gifts. Contributions of any size will be doubled!

saw-whet owl banding (4)Pine Bush science staff and volunteers have been working late hours this fall trying to catch Northern Saw-whet Owls in the preserve. The Northern Saw-whet is a species that breeds in the dense forests of northern New York into Canada. Although scientists have a good handle on habitat preferences during the breeding season, not much is know about what this enigmatic little owl does during the winter season. In an effort to find out if they utilize the Pine Bush habitat during migration, Commission scientists are piloting a study that involves catching and banding them. On cold autumn nights, we use the sound of a Northern Saw-whet owl song to lure curious owls in for study. The Saw-whet was actually named for its song, a series of high pitch toots, which sounds like a whetstone being worked over the teeth of a saw blade. After being captured, a small aluminum band with a unique number is placed on their leg. This allows us, and other scientists who may catch our banded owls, to identify individuals and follow their movements helping us to learn more about their winter habits. This pilot project is part of a bigger continent-wide study called Project Owlnet. More information can be found at www.projectowlnet.org

Wendy @ 12:44 pm

Fecon Mower in the APBALBANY, NY- The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is protecting and managing the globally rare inland pitch pine – scrub oak barrens known locally as the “Albany Pine Bush.”

For the fifteenth consecutive year, during the months of October and November, the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission will continue improving the overall health of Pine Bush habitat by mowing selected areas of the Preserve with large, heavy duty equipment. The 80 acres scheduled to be mowed this fall are located in the region of the Preserve east of Old State Road between Siver Road and East Lydius Street.

By mowing areas of high priority for restoration, the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission continues to expand the number of acres it can manage and restore annually. Stewardship Director, Joel Hecht said that “mowing these areas is designed specifically to expedite restoration efforts. By mowing areas of dense pine barrens vegetation, the wildlife habitat is enhanced while it is also preparing these areas for future prescribed burns. Areas mowed are then easier to safely manage with fire since the vegetation size is significantly reduced.”

Mowing is expected to take about a month to complete. Due to the large size of the equipment used and its ability to throw debris, a portion of the Preserve’s purple trail between Madison Avenue Extension and Old State Road will be closed while the mowing is taking place. Hecht continued, “Visitors are encouraged to explore other areas of the Preserve during this time such as trailhead #11 located in DiCaprio Park off of East Lydius Street.” Several large signs will be temporarily placed along Old State Road to alert motorists that this mowing benefits wildlife and is helping to keep the Pine Bush healthy.

For more information on all Preserve management activities please visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org, the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center located at 195 New Karner Road in Albany or call (518) 456-0655 x1213.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE PINE BUSH:
The 3,200 – acre Albany Pine Bush Preserve (APBP), located in New York’s Capital District, protects one of the best remaining inland pitch-pine scrub oak barrens in the world. This extraordinary fire-dependent habitat provides homes for many plants and animals and contains 55 New York State-designated wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. The Preserve is a National Natural Landmark, a New York State Unique Area, Bird Conservation Area and a National Audubon Society Important Bird Area. Characterized by rolling sand dunes and miles of trails, the Preserve offers visitors many recreational opportunities including hiking, bird watching, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, fishing and canoeing. The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is a public-private partnership created by the NYS Legislature in 1988 to protect and manage the APBP and provide the public with educational and recreational opportunities.

As the gateway to the Pine Bush, the Discovery Center is a state-of-the-art “green” certified interpretive center where visitors come to understand why the Pine Bush is rare and special. A visit to this unique destination is an exciting exploration where learning comes naturally through interactive exhibits, an outdoor Discovery Trail, and numerous programs on the ecology, natural history, cultural history and management of the Pine Bush. Admission to the Discovery Center is free (there is a small fee for programs). The Center is open daily weekdays 9am-4pm, weekends and most holidays 10am-4pm. For more information, visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org or call 518-456-0655.

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Wendy @ 2:01 pm

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe season for hot apple cider, cozy scarves, and innumerable pumpkin-flavored foods is upon us!

Here in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, fall also signals the return of migrating birds and school groups to the Discovery Center and, importantly, opportunities for controlled burns.

Fire is an essential part of the globally-rare, pitch pine-scrub oak barrens that defines the Albany Pine Bush Preserve and supports 64 rare species of wildlife. Without fire, leaves, sticks, and other organic material would gradually accumulate and cover the sandy soils of the Pine Bush. As a result, sand-loving plants like pitch pines, scrub oaks, and wild blue lupine – and the animals that depend on them – would no longer be able to survive here. Accumulating organic matter also increases the risk of dangerous, unplanned wildfires.

At the Pine Bush Preserve, a team of trained fire managers use careful planning and special equipment to set controlled or prescribed fires. These fires expose the sandy soils, prevent dangerous fuel accumulation, release nutrients that stimulate new growth of fire-tolerant plants, and even cause seeds of certain plants to germinate. Since 1991 nearly 2,000 acres have been managed with prescribed fire; safely consuming wildland fuels, reducing wildfire risk and benefiting the conservation of this fire-dependent ecosystem.

Alley cat July 20 2006 009With wildfires devastating western parts of the country, and National Fire Prevention Week less than two weeks away, it’s an important time to reflect not only on the dangers out-of-control fires, but also on the role that fires can play in keeping us healthy and safe.

Come enjoy Smokey Bear Day at the Discovery Center on October 12th to participate in fire-themed activities and learn about fire safety with Smokey himself!

 

To learn more about controlled burns at the Preserve, follow the link below.

https://www.albanypinebush.org/conservation/ecosystem-restoration-and-management/fire-management

Grace Barber @ 12:54 pm

2014 APB Photo exhibit winnersALBANY NY – The Albany Pine Bush Preserve is now accepting submissions for the second Pine Bush Perspectives juried photo exhibit.

Environmental Educator Sara Poggi-Decker, the project coordinator said, “So many visitors to the preserve capture amazing moments on camera and this is the perfect opportunity to share those with the Albany Pine Bush community.” Entrants may be any age or skill level. Minors must have parental permission in order to submit photos. She continued, “Photos can range from a butterfly, a perfectly framed landscape or hikers on the trail. Share your perspective of the Pine Bush and help us to display this globally rare ecosystem.” Photos must be submitted by the original photographer and must have been taken in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. Each photographer can submit up to three photos. Entries can be submitted online at www.AlbanyPineBush.org/Photo-exhibit.

The deadline to submit photos is September 15, 2015. Entries will be judged by jurors selected by the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission Juried Photo Exhibit Committee. Submission does not guarantee entry. Entrants will be notified by October 5, 2015 of their entry status. All accepted photographs will require final preparation by the artist and must be framed and have wire for hanging. Some accepted photographs may be used in magnets to be sold in our gift shop and other locations. The exhibit will open on November 1, 2015, with an awards presentation and small reception in the Discovery Center. For more details, visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org/Photo-exhibit or call 518-456-0655.

The 3,200 – acre Albany Pine Bush Preserve (APBP), located in New York’s Capital District, protects one of the best remaining inland pitch-pine scrub oak barrens in the world. This extraordinary fire-dependent habitat provides homes for many plants and animals and contains 55 New York State-designated wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. The Preserve is a National Natural Landmark, a New York State Unique Area, Bird Conservation Area and a National Audubon Society Important Bird Area. Characterized by rolling sand dunes and miles of trails, the Preserve offers visitors many recreational opportunities including hiking, bird watching, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, fishing and canoeing. The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is a public-private partnership created by the NYS Legislature in 1988 to protect and manage the APBP and provide the public with educational and recreational opportunities.

As the gateway to the Pine Bush, the Discovery Center is a state-of-the-art “green” certified interpretive center where visitors come to understand why the Pine Bush is rare and special. A visit to this unique destination is an exciting exploration where learning comes naturally through interactive exhibits, an outdoor Discovery Trail, and numerous programs on the ecology, natural history, cultural history and management of the Pine Bush. Admission to the Discovery Center is free (there is a small fee for programs). The Center is open daily weekdays 9am-4pm, weekends and most holidays 10am-4pm. For more information, visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org or call 518-456-0655.
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The Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center will be closed to the public for one day on Thursday, August 6, 2015. All Preserve trails will remain open and the Discovery Center will re-open on August 7, 2015.

Wendy @ 11:00 am

Dragonfly Exuvia

07/13/2015
The weather was nice today and unfortunately we couldn’t hike out due to the high temperatures, but nonetheless, we had a great time. Our newest addition to the Pond Monitoring Crew, Intern Cece, added great insight to our adventure. This week we honed in on the data part of the trip. We have seen a lot of fluctuations this year, and the pond has really changed since we began monitoring it in 2012.
We noticed that the number of dragonflies was much higher than last time, with all sorts of large and small dragonflies zooming around our heads. Along the pond edge, there were lots of exuvia on cattails. The larvae crawl out of the water, break out of their shell and emerge as an adult dragonfly.
Signing off,
Jeremy, Unnas, Shreyas, Harun, Leland

Blake @ 1:28 pm

07/6/2015—Day 2 of our Pond Monitoring Program! The sun was shining as we began our hike out to the pond. We had a full team of returning Jr Docents. “On the Animal Survey, we saw a [meadow] hawk dragonfly. It had glittery wings and a light brown body” (Harun). “There were many more frogs this week than in the past, likely due to the recent rain. On our journey around the band we saw many animal including chipmunk, butterfly, turtle.” (Sam).

-Jeremy, Unnas, Sam, Harun, and Pranav

Painted Turtle

Blake @ 4:08 pm
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