Our fall and early winter workshops, hikes and educational events are in full swing. On Sept. 21, 2013, PRLC's land steward/educator, Krista Munger, led a group of twenty hikers on a search for mushrooms at the Halle Ravine Preserve. After introducing the group to a the wide range of fungi that might be observed, everyone fanned out from the trail and began to use their collecting skills after learning that the living part of the mushroom is undisturbed by picking what is called the “fruiting body”. With more than 500 mushrooms found in Northern Westchester, some identification is better done indoors. Everyone was surprised to locate more than 34 species mostly thanks to the enthusiastic kids who found the likes of Dead Man’s Fingers, Eyelash Fungus and False Turkey Tail. The photo is of some of the species discovered and displayed at the Armstrong Education Center after the hike. PRLC will be designing its own mushroom growing exhibit in the near future using on-site and re-used materials. Stay–tuned!
The start of Autumn brings a chance to reflect on PRLC’s busy summer volunteer and student intern program, this year, supported in part by Rusticus Garden Club and several private donations. Our programs of land protection and education depend on the hard work of many helping hands, all of whom are engaged in hands-on learning in the field. On August 20th, interns and volunteers presented their summer projects to a group of community leaders, parents and friends. Several student volunteers supplemented the activities of PRLC’s 2013 summer student interns. Tuddy David came to us from Columbia University Graduate School and completed a 16- week internship in Native Landscape Design at the Armstrong Education Center where she analyzed site conditions and researched local ecology with the goal of establishing intimate, native plant gardens beneficial to wildlife. Nick Athanasidy, a plant ecology major at College of the Holy Cross in Worchester MA. conducted a base-line assessment of the vegetation community within PRLC’s proposed deer-exclosure at the Armstrong Preserve and documented seasonal change in the 5-acre meadow community at the Clark Preserve. Alizah Simon, a rising senior at Fox Lane High School, was PRLC’s summer garden intern. Alizah’s interactive garden map will be used to plan next year’s rotation of spring, summer and fall crops.
Each intern created maps, charts, graphs and photo documented their work. Many of their projects, research results and graphic tools will be highlighted on these pages in the upcoming months.
After 14 months of programming lead by PRLC’s first staff and land steward/educator, Tate Bushell, PRLC said good-bye the first week of May as Tate departed for a seasonal guiding position at a private preserve in Denali National Park in Alaska. We wish him and his partner Sarah the best in their endeavors and know they will remain fast friends of PRLC. Tate brought extensive scientific background, resource management and wonderful teaching skills to PRLC and our community. We know Krista will continue this tradition and bring her special skills and insights to our local conservation and education work.
Our first Neighborhood Get-Together held on May 5th was a resounding success with over 40 Ward Pound Ridge neighbors meeting each other and learning about PRLC’s local education, outreach and research programming. Another Neighborhood Gathering is planned for the fall of Halle Ravine neighbors.
Early spring, Tate and now Krista have been busy hiring 2013 summer student interns. Supported in part by a grant from Rusticus Garden Club of Bedford, two summer interns have been hired: one as a plant ecology intern and the other as a permaculture landscape design intern for the Armstrong Education Center’s gardens. Several high school students including an organic gardening intern have begun their work in the field.