Albany Pine Bush News

ALBANY, NY – The Karner Kids Film Festival will take place on Wednesday August 29, 2018 at 6:30pm at the Albany Pine Bush Discover Center. “Join us to see some amazingly creative Pine Bush films made by young people,” said Education Program Manager, Sara Poggi-Decker. The Karner Kids Film Festival features Pine Bush-themed films made by kids ages 10-17. The films are original creations of 5 minutes or less and all feature the Pine Bush.

“It is always exciting to see how people express their Pine Bush experiences through art,” continued Poggi-Decker. The film makers, their families and friends, as well as the general public are invited to walk the red carpet into the Discovery Center to view the accepted films, explore film festival activities and enjoy light refreshments.

This is a free event. While reservations are not required for special events, knowing how many people are coming helps us to plan, so please let us know if you plan to attend! Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Make reservations by calling 518-456-0655 or visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org/events. The Discovery Center is located at 195 New Karner Road in Albany.

The 3,300+ – 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 ecosystem provides habitat for many plants and animals and supports 76 New York State-designated wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the endangered Karner blue butterfly. The APBP is a National Natural Landmark, Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area Site, 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 APBP 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 fee for some 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 @ 2:14 pm

ALBANY, NY – The Albany Pine Bush Preserve will host a series of programs as part of New York State’s Invasive Species Awareness Week, July 8 – 14, 2018. Invasive Species Awareness Week is an annual educational campaign coordinated by the Invasive Species Council, the Invasive Species Advisory Committee, the eight PRISMs (Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management), and their partner organizations. “As a member of the Capital-Mohawk PRISM, we are pleased to provide opportunities to raise awareness on the need to manage invasive species”, said Neil Gifford, Conservation Director with the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission. PRISMs were created by the New York State Invasive Species Task Force to coordinate invasive species management and education with public and private landowners throughout the state.

A wide variety of invasive species are a threat to the health of this National Natural Landmark as well as many other places throughout New York State. According to Gifford, “invasive species pose one of the most serious threats to the preserve’s globally-rare inland pitch pine-scrub oak barrens and the 76 wildlife species of greatest conservation need that live there.” The Commission will kick off the week with the Pine Bush Invasive Species Awareness hike on Sunday July 8, 2018 1:00pm at the Discovery Center. This program will be a chance to learn about some of the invasive species here in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve and how to report them. On Wednesday July 11, 2018 there will be two programs. The first is a morning workday focused on removing invasive honeysuckle shrubs. This program will meet at the Discovery Center at 9:00am before caravanning to another part of the preserve. Participants must provide their own transportation and be dressed to work off trail. Join us at 6:30pm for Protecting Biodiversity in our Backyard, a program focusing on helping the future survival of native species through landscaping choices. For more information and to make reservations for a program visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org/events or call 518-456-0655. Reservations are required.

The 3,300+ – 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 ecosystem provides habitat for many plants and animals and supports 76 New York State-designated wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the endangered Karner blue butterfly. The APBP is a National Natural Landmark, Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area Site, 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 APBP 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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May
22
2018

Lupine Fest 2018

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Click here for event schedule and highlights

ALBANY NY – The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission rejoices in the arrival of spring with their 14th annual Lupine Fest for the local community, held at the site of the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center at 195 New Karner Road in the City of Albany on Saturday, June 2, 2018 from 10AM to 4PM.

Wild blue lupine is a beautiful native wildflower that blooms in May and June, and is the only food source for the caterpillar of the state and federally endangered Karner blue butterfly.

Through interactive programs that showcase the globally rare, nationally significant and locally distinct Albany Pine Bush, the festival celebrates the wild blue lupine and the inland pitch pine- scrub oak barrens. Visitors can also enjoy nature walks, hands-on activities with community partners, music with the Whipper Snappers and B95.5, games, crafts, food, vendors and more.

APB Lupine Fest 2017 by Krishna Hill (69) (Large)Christopher Hawver, Executive Director of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission said, “The Albany Pine Bush is a National Natural Landmark and the best remaining example of an inland pitch pine – scrub oak pine barrens in the world. The Preserve’s 3,300 acres are also a unique part of a neighborhood we share with nearly 1 million people in the Capital District. We manage the preserve to restore and protect its plants and animals and provide our neighbors with opportunities to enjoy nature. It’s important to celebrate how it helps to bring people closer to nature and why it’s worthy of protection.”

APB Lupine Fest 2017 by Krishna Hill (220) (Large)“This free event offers visitors a chance to connect with us and enjoy many different activities,” said Erin Kinal, Education Program Director. “The day will feature something for all ages, including a fun day of music, games, craft vendors, face painting, a make your own tie-dye shirt, live local wildlife programs, nature walks, food and much more!” Kinal continues, “We’re celebrating spring again this year with the Lupine Lady. Come hear a reading of the book Miss Rumphius and join her in scattering some lupine seeds.”

According to Hawver, “Rain or shine – Lupine Fest 2018 will offer fantastic family fun for everyone. Guests can meet many of the preserve’s friends and partners like representatives from Friends of the Pine Bush Community, L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Discovery School, US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Boy Scouts, the Guilderland Public Library, Guilderland Chamber of Commerce and others.” The festival will be held at the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center at 195 New Karner Road in Albany. Like Albany Pine Bush on Facebook or visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org/events for the full program schedule and more details. Parking for Lupine Fest is at 302 Washington Avenue Ext. with shuttle rides to and from the parking area. Follow the PARKING signs. On-site handicap parking available. No pets allowed at this event.

The 3,300+ – 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 ecosystem provides habitat for many plants and animals and supports 75 New York State-designated wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the endangered Karner blue butterfly. The APBP is a National Natural Landmark, Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area Site, 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 APBP 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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DEC CONFIRMS SOUTHERN PINE BEETLE IN ALBANY PINE BUSH

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in cooperation with the United States Forest Service and the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission (APBPC), has confirmed the presence of southern pine beetle (SPB) in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. A single beetle was caught in a trap near Rapp Road in Albany. This is the farthest north SPB has ever been confirmed in the Northeastern United States.

“The southern pine beetle poses a significant threat to New York’s pine forests,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “DEC is actively fighting the infestations of this invasive pest and continues searching for signs of the beetle in Upstate New York, to help stay ahead of these destructive pests. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s leadership in increasing New York’s Environmental Protection Fund, DEC will be able to strengthen our work to slow the spread of the southern pine beetle and increase the long-term health and sustainability of our pine forests.”

SPB, a bark beetle native to the southern United States, has steadily expanded its range north and west, most likely in response to climate change. Considered one of the most destructive forest pests in the United States, SPB attacks several species of pine including pitch pine, an iconic species of the Pine Bush and other pine barrens throughout the state. Trees can die quickly from repeated beetle attacks, often succumbing within two to four months.
DEC’s Division of Lands and Forests and the APBPC began placing early detection traps in the preserve in 2015. Additional traps set in the Hudson Valley by DEC and partners confirmed the presence of SPB in Minnewaska State Park, Bear Mountain State Park, Schunnemunk State Park, and Roosa Gap State Forest in 2016 and 2017. Despite these detections, infested trees have not yet been found north of Long Island. The beetles are likely persisting at low levels upstate and therefore not causing the widespread tree mortality like that observed on Long Island. The Albany Pine Bush Preserve will be added to the locations identified for continued aerial and ground monitoring to search for infested trees.

“We’re pleased to be partnering with the forest health experts at DEC to monitor invasive forest pests in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve,” said Christopher Hawver, APBPC Executive Director. “It’s important in aiding our understanding of the dynamics of the Pine Barrens here in Albany.”

The APBPC does extensive forest thinning and prescribed burning to restore the globally-rare inland pine barrens and in the process, have created young forest habitat, increased populations of the endangered Karner blue butterfly, and improved ecosystem health. This habitat management has the added effect of reducing the likelihood of an outbreak of SPB because healthier pines are better equipped to withstand attack by the beetles. A more open forest structure also disrupts the beetle’s chemical communication, preventing them from attacking in large groups and overwhelming a tree’s defenses.
“Healthy ecosystems better tolerate potentially invasive species,” said APBPC Conservation Director, Neil Gifford. “Based on what we know about the management of this insect in its native range to the south, thinning and burning to restore the barrens should also help us make sure SPB does not decimate pitch pine in the preserve.”

In 2017, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo targeted $3 million from the Environmental Protection Fund to help manage the spread of SPB. The additional funds bolstered DEC’s ongoing efforts to manage the invasive pest, which has killed thousands of pine trees on Long Island since it was first discovered in 2014. The 2018-19 budget proposes an additional $250,000 for prescribed burns, which will help increase forest health and resistance to SPB on Long Island.

DEC is asking the public to report any recently dead or dying pitch pine and red pine they encounter outside of Long Island, especially if there are several trees grouped together and they are dying quickly. Sightings may be reported to the Forest Health Diagnostic Lab through the toll-free information line, 1-866-640-0652 or by email, foresthealth@dec.ny.gov. If possible, accompany any email reports with photos of the trees and close-ups of any damage. Please include something in the photos for scale, such as a penny, to help with identification. For additional information, please visit https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/99331.html.

Wendy @ 1:39 pm

IMG_0074ALBANY NY – The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission will host its 7th annual Earth Day celebration at the Discovery Center on Saturday, April 21, 2018 from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. “This is a wonderful day to meet many of our neighbors dedicated to helping the preserve” said Lead Educator, Jackie Citriniti. The event will consist of many different projects such as trash collection, tree planting and invasive species removal. There will be something for all ages. “It’s always amazing to see how much we get done in just a few hours! If you’re looking for a great way to contribute to helping a rare ecosystem right here in your backyard, join us on April 21st to celebrate Earth Day” continued Citriniti. As a thank you to all the volunteers for their hard work, lunch will be provided at noon.

IMG_0104John McConnell, a peace activist, first proposed Earth Day at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco to be celebrated on March 21, 1970, the first day of spring, to honor the earth and the concept of peace. A month later on April 22, 1970 Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin organized a second Earth Day as a national teach-in on the environment. Earth Day is now an annual occasion, a day on which events are held around the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection.

The Albany Pine Bush Earth Day celebration is a free event. Registration is required. The Discovery Center is located at 195 New Karner Road in Albany. To sign up, visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org/events or call 518-456-0655.

IMG_0053The 3,300+ – 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 ecosystem provides habitat for many plants and animals and supports 75 New York State-designated wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the endangered Karner blue butterfly. The APBP is a National Natural Landmark, Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area Site, 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 APBP 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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Night at the DC flyer2ALBANY, NY – The Albany Pine Bush Preserve will host its first Night at the Discovery Center on Tuesday November 21, 2017, 4pm – 7pm at 195 New Karner Road in Albany. Visitors are invited to stop by the Discovery Center after normal business hours to play games, go on a guided hike and discover on this night, the exhibits come to life.

Christopher Hawver, Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission Executive Director said, “We invite the community to come out and enjoy this free event. This is an opportunity for us to say thank you for your support of this globally-rare ecosystem.”

Erin Kinal, Education Program Director said, “Visitors will meet Pine Bush characters from the past and present and enjoy interactive exhibits, games, moonlit walks, storytelling and more!” Event highlights include historical exhibits that come to life with 18th century re-enactors in period clothing and Michael Clough from the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum who will make the animal exhibits awaken with live local wildlife.

All ages are welcome. The event will be held rain or shine at the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center at 195 New Karner Road, Albany. Light refreshments will be served. For more details and to register, visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org/events or call 518-456-0655.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE PINE BUSH:
The 3,300+ – 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 ecosystem provides habitat for many plants and animals and supports 76 New York State-designated wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the endangered Karner blue butterfly. The APBP is a National Natural Landmark, Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area Site, 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 APBP 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.

Oct
04
2017

Smokey Bear Day

ALBANY NY – The Albany Pine Bush Preserve will host its annual Smokey Bear Day on Monday October 9, 2017, 10am – 2pm at the Discovery Center.

APB Smokey Bear Day 2016 by Krishna Hill (122)Christopher Hawver, Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission Executive Director said, “We invite the community to come out and enjoy this free annual event. Smokey Bear Day provides a family-friendly opportunity to learn why fire is an important natural component of this globally-rare ecosystem.”

Visitors will learn how the Commission uses prescribed fire to keep the Pine Bush Preserve, listed as a National Natural Landmark, a healthy habitat for the unusual species of plants and animals that thrive there. Smokey Bear and a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Ranger will make appearances throughout the day, and Commission Fire Management and Education staff will be on hand.

Erin Kinal, Education Program Director said, “There will be interactive exhibits on prescribed fire, refreshments and Smokey goody bags for visitors to take home. Visitors will have opportunities throughout the event to meet Smokey Bear.”

All ages are welcome. The event will be held rain or shine at the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center at 195 New Karner Road, Albany. For more details and to pre-register, visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org/events or call 518-456-0655.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE PINE BUSH:
The 3,300+ – 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 ecosystem provides habitat for many plants and animals and supports 76 New York State-designated wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the endangered Karner blue butterfly. The APBP is a National Natural Landmark, Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area Site, 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 APBP 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.

ALBANY 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 Wednesday, October 4 from 7:00-8:00pm come to the Discovery Center to learn how to collect and submit measurements.

Snow Pack Research in the Albany Pine BushRegionally, 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 76 other rare wildlife listed as Species of Greatest Conservation Need in New York State.

This program is free and recommended for ages 10+. 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/events or call 518-456-0655.

The 3,300 – 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 ecosystem provides habitat for many plants and animals and supports 76 New York State-designated wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the endangered Karner blue butterfly. The APBP is a National Natural Landmark, Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area Site, 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 APBP 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 @ 11:46 am

ALBANY PINE BUSH PRESERVE COMMISSION, U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE AND NEW YORK STATE DEC ANNOUNCE ENDANGERED KARNER BLUE BUTTERFLY EXCEEDS FEDERAL RECOVERY THRESHOLD
Collaborative Conservation Efforts Drive Recovery of Endangered Butterfly

Karner blue butterfly

Male Karner blue butterfly in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve

ALBANY, NY- Twenty-five years after being federally listed as endangered, the Albany Pine Bush population of the Karner blue butterfly, an icon of the Capital District’s inland pine barrens, has exceeded recovery goals for the local population, the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission (Commission) announced today. Bringing the butterfly one step closer to recovery in New York, the milestone is the result of collaboration by the Commission, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to protect the best remaining global example of an inland pitch pine-scrub oak barrens. Driven by science, the Commission’s programs of controlled burning, forest thinning, restoration seeding and environmental education have also helped many other rare animals and advanced state and federal efforts to protect pollinators and young forest wildlife.

USFWS Northeast Regional Director Wendi Weber said, “The Albany Pine Bush partners have shown that recovery is possible for the endangered Karner blue butterfly. By managing the barrens for the endangered butterfly, the Commission is bringing along many other types of rare wildlife, including the at-risk spotted turtle, wood turtle and frosted elfin butterfly.”

Albany Pine Bush

Pitch Pine Scrub Oak Barrens of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “New York is committed to protecting the State’s natural resources and environmental treasures for future generations, including endangered species like the Karner blue butterfly. Collaborative efforts that include science-based habitat management like New York’s Young Forest Initiative and partnerships with the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are critical to our work restoring endangered species.”

“The Commission is proud of the incredible team of staff, volunteers, and public and private partners that have over many years made it possible for us to advance this species’ recovery and pine barrens restoration in the Albany Pine Bush”, said Commission Executive Director Christopher Hawver.

Commission Conservation Director, Neil Gifford, said “The preserve’s population of Karner blues has grown from less than a thousand in 2007 to more than 15,000 in 2016.” According to Gifford, “2016 was the 4th consecutive year that the preserve’s Karner population exceeded the 3,000 butterfly minimum established in the 2003 federal Karner blue butterfly Recovery Plan.” “Our wildlife data also show that Karner conservation has helped dozens of other pollinating insects, birds, reptiles and amphibians; it is the best indicator that our ecosystem restoration program is making a healthier Pine Bush.”

The quarter-sized Karner blue butterfly was identified in the 1940s by novelist Vladimir Nabokov in the New York hamlet Karner. The USFWS estimates that when the species was protected as endangered 25 years ago, the rangewide population had declined by up to 99 percent. The butterfly depends on the wild lupine plant, which cannot tolerate shade.

To help ensure that Karner blue butterflies persist into the future, the USFWS established 13 federal recovery units across the species’ range, which also includes Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Ohio. Within each unit, the USFWS described the number and size of populations thought to be necessary for recovery. The Albany Pine Bush is one of three recovery areas in New York referred to as the Glacial Lake Albany Recovery Unit.
Recovery goals must be met in multiple areas in New York and in other states in order to delist the Karner blue butterfly. Conservation efforts continue in other areas in Saratoga and Warren counties.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE PINE BUSH:
The 3,300+ – 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 ecosystem provides habitat for many plants and animals and supports 76 New York State-designated wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the endangered Karner blue butterfly. Since 1991, the acreage of suitable habitat has increased from 13 acres at 9 sites to more than 600 acres at 35 sites. The APBP is a National Natural Landmark, Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area Site, 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 APBP 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.

Citizen Science: Pine Bush Big Birding Day

ALBANY, NY- Join the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission for their first ever Pine Bush Big Birding Day from Friday June 30, 2017, 6:00pm–Saturday July 1, 2017, 8:30pm. Teams can register and participate together in the preserve for 24 hours from 7:00pm Friday to 7:00pm Saturday, trying to observe as many bird species as possible. Each team will be self-guided and participants must provide their own transportation. Teams can work at their own pace for as much or as little of the 24-hour time period as they want. The event will kick off with light refreshments on Friday evening at 6:00pm and then participants will get back together for dinner and a closing ceremony on Saturday evening at 7:00pm. All ages are welcome to participate but all teams must have at least one member who can identify birds with them at all times. Teams can sign up by calling 518-456-0655 or visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org/eventsPine Bush Hikers W Craney (12)

“A big birding day allows the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission to learn what species of birds are in the preserve. Detecting birds this time of year also suggests that those birds may be breeding here,” says Amanda Dillon, Field Ecologist and Entomologist. “Commission staff regularly conduct surveys during the summer months where we record every bird we hear and see at points located around the preserve. This event will help us get more eyes and ears on the ground and expand our coverage area. Birds are very sensitive to changes in their habitat and some can only be found in particular types of habitats like the inland pitch pine-scrub oak barrens found the in the Albany Pine Bush. Knowing which species are present in the preserve tells us a lot about how effective our efforts are in restoring this globally rare landscape.”

BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE PINE BUSH:
The 3,300+ – 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 ecosystem provides habitat for many plants and animals and supports 75 New York State-designated wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the endangered Karner blue butterfly. The APBP is a National Natural Landmark, Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area Site, 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 APBP 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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