header image

In Case You Missed It…

Posted by: karosemond | December 14, 2016 Comments Off on In Case You Missed It… |

It’s been a busy Fall season here at the Environmental Cooperative. While August feels like a distant dream as we prepare for winter and the temperature drops, it is nice to have the opportunity to reflect on the hectic pace of the past few months. If you haven’t been out to visit the barn on the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve, be sure to stop by! The preserve has a number of excellent walking trails, perfect for exploring even in cold weather, and what better way to warm up afterwards than with a short tour of the renovated dairy barn?

Here are some highlights of what we’ve been up to this Fall:

Urban Wilderness Festival
This year’s Urban Wilderness Festival was held in the Vassar Barns and courtyard next to the barns. Guided walks to explore the preserve also left from the courtyard–we had a walk to the Beaver Dam and separate nature walk for children and parents. Inside the barns, over twenty local organizations had tables set up for attendees to learn about their efforts.

Walks on the Preserve
September activities began with a walk to the Beaver Dam We have had several plant identification walks and activities, where attendees followed the phenology trail and were able to learn about plants native to the preserve, and a group of Girl Scouts were even able to receive a ‘Tree Identification’ badge! Janet Gray led workshops on bird identification, focusing on birds commonly spotted at the preserve. We had a few general tours of the preserve and full moon walks, as well as numerous walks to the Beaver Dam.

Local Parks and Pollinator Gardens
Together with the Eco-leader program through the Office of Sustainability at Vassar College, the Environmental Cooperative brought student volunteers to help clear out weeds and dead annuals from a native flower garden at College Hill park. Along with the Cornell Cooperative Dutchess County extension’s No Child Left Inside program, we continued weeding in the pollinator garden at College Hill. There was a cleanup of the Malcolm X Park located on Mansion Street in Poughkeepsie, and we worked to clean a section of the Fall kill near the park. We also participated in several cleanups of the Waryas Skatepark with the group ‘Save the Poughkeepsie Skatepark.’

Workshops, Talks, and Presentations
Russ Cohen, Vassar alumnus and expert forager, hosted a workshop at the Vassar Barns. His talk featured a 90-minute slide show showing two-dozen species of native edible wild plants suitable for adding to the landscape, or nibbling on as you encounter them in other locales. Russ provided samples of foraged foods like chestnuts and wild grape sorbet. Dr. Glenn Proudfoot spoke about his work with Northern Saw-whet Owls, covering topics such as bird banding, blood parasites and the migration patterns of owls. He brought a live owl for everyone to see, and took attendees on a walk on the VFEP to attempt to spot owls!

Eco-leader Projects
There have been several volunteer events with Vassar Sustainability’s Eco-leaders, including a removal of invasive vine species from the back of the Rugby Field at the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve, and seed collecting! Through the vine removal effort, we were able to target invasive vine species such as oriental bittersweet, porcelain berry, and wild grape. The NCLI group came out the Vassar Barns and joined us for seed collection on the Preserve, where we collected seed from native pollinator-friendly species such as Bergamot, Joe-Pye weed, and milkweed. We walked along the farm road to the beaver dam and saw exciting evidence of beaver impact in the area–mostly gnawed trees.

We are looking forward to a full Spring season! Check out our website and facebook page to stay in the loop about our activities and events.

under: Events

Comments are closed.