Albany Pine Bush News

Worker ants of the species commonly called the Odorous House Ant tend a Karner Larvae at the Albany Pine Bus Preserve.

Worker ants of the species commonly called the Odorous House Ant tend a Karner Larvae at the Albany Pine Bus Preserve.

ALBANY NY – The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission and Friends of the Pine Bush Community will cohost a lecture on January 21st as a part of their monthly Science Lecture Series at the Discovery Center. The lecture, which starts at 7:00pm, will be conducted by recent UMass Amherst graduate and Albany Pine Bush Outreach Coordinator Grace Barber on Ants of the Albany Pine Bush.

“The Albany Pine Bush Preserve appears to host an unusually high density of ant species for the region. During a summertime walk through the Preserve, a visitor could stumble upon a virtual river of slave-maker ants, unwittingly walk past species that have never been found anywhere else in the state, or open an acorn to reveal an entire colony of tiny ants” says Barber.

In 2014, Grace Barber earned an M.S. from UMass Amherst after studying ants at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve and other inland pine barrens in NYS for two years. At this lecture, Ms. Barber will share her findings about the impressive diversity of ants at the Albany Pine Bush, their biology, and how they are influenced by differences in habitat. “Ants are not only fascinating, but they are important to our local ecosystems. They are major players in processes like soil aeration and seed dispersal, and there is still so much to learn about them!”, continued Barber.

This program is free and is recommended for ages 15+. 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 64 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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