We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, but borrow it from our children. —Native American saying
LEARN YOUR LAND
In June 2020 Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County organized a series by regional experts about the environmental stewardship of properties and natural areas. Called “Learn Your Land,” this excellent series of three two-hour sessions is intensive and well worth it. Its presentation slides are available for download.
The series will help understand how to:
- Inventory the natural resources on your property or community
- Learn proven management and conservation strategies
- Develop plans to implement best management practices
Speakers in the program included:
- Sean Carroll—CCEDC Environment & Energy Program, GIS/Environmental Resource Educator & Local IT
- Michelle Gluck—CCEDC Environment & Energy Program, Environmental Resource Educator
- Julie Hart—Dutchess Land Conservancy, Senior Manager of Stewardship and Education
- Nate Nardi-Cyrus—NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program, Conservation & Land Use Specialist
- Beth Roessler—NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program
- Mike Fargione—Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Manager of Field Research & Outdoor Programs
- Joyce Tomaselli—CCEDC Agriculture & Horticulture Program, Community Resource Horticulture Educator
The first session covers:
- Land Stewardship & Ecological Principles—Julie Hart
- Hudson Valley Natural Resource Mapper & Mapping Your Property—Nate Nardi-Cyrus
TAKE AN ECOLOGICAL APPROACH TO WILDLIFE STEWARDSHIP
Over the course of these three webinars, you’ll explore New York State wildlife, their ecological roles, and the threats they face. Sessions are appropriate for anyone interested in learning about wildlife stewardship, whether your urge to care for nature concerns a backyard or a large landholding.
CONSIDER AN EASEMENT
Landowners who want to retain some or all of their acreage intact, perhaps preserve open spaces for future generations, will a find sympathetic ear at these three resources, and advice you can take to the bank if you want to explore tax implications, government subsidies, and nonprofit partnerships to get the full picture of 21st century land conservation.
- Farmland Information Center – Protect Your Land
- Columbia Land Conservancy– Easements
- American Farmland Trust – Protecting Farmland
WHEN PLANTING, STAY NATIVE
We need to preserve healthy ecosystems. They exist because their numerous species have evolved to coexist. If we are to add plants to this biological community, the responsible thing is to use plants likely to fit in and contribute. This site, sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, offers native-plant suggestions from Doug Tallamy, entomologist and wildlife ecologist: nwf.org/NativePlantFinder. Tallamy’s latest book is Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard, Timber Press, 2020.
If you have significant native plantings, join a nationwide grassroots effort to foster more. Called Homegrown National Park, a name Doug Tallamy coined, its first step is to register land devoted to native species. Register yours today, here.
TAKE ADVICE FROM AN EXPERT LOCAL GARDENER
From vegetables to annuals and perennials, grasses to shrubs and trees, local expert gardener Margaret Roach offers a blog, books, podcasts, and occasional garden open days to inspire and inform gardeners of all levels of experience. She pulls it all together on her website.
Ms. Roach recommends the New York Flora Atlas, from the New York Flora Association. You search by county and restrict the list to natives. Most entries have several photos of the full plant and seasonal details.