Pound Ridge Land Conservancy
Take a tour back in time at the PRLC’s Bye Preserve on Sunday, June 10th from 2 to 4pm (link to map). This short hike over moderately difficult terrain features impressive rock formations and abundant ferns and mosses. Participants will learn how to read evidence of our vast geologic history in the outcrops and boulders along our route and will receive tips on how to identify the plants that we see. Bye Preserve contains deciduous, riparian, and hemlock forests and harbors locally rare plants like Red elderberry and bladdernut. The Preserve is adjacent to the spectacular Mill River Gorge and a large privately-owned forested area that has been proposed for development. Hike leader Krista Munger will explain why protection and management are necessary to maintain habitat for wildlife in our region, and what you can do to help. Please register with Krista at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-205-3533.
Our June 2 volunteer work session will be held at the Armstrong Preserve on June 2 at 10am-noon (link to map). Participants will receive tips on how to identify invasive plants that negatively affect forest and watershed health. Learn to protect native ecology in your own backyard by removing or controlling the spread of these undesirable plants, including Asiatic bittersweet vines, Japanese barberry, wineberry, and burningbush. Join our Garlic Mustard Challenge and pull this tasty but environmentally noxious weed by the pound to make your own pesto! We will meet at the kiosk and work nearby. Please wear long pants and sleeves to protect your skin from ticks and thorns, and bring thick leather gloves and a shovel if you have them. We will have some gloves and tools to share. For more information or to register, please contact Krista at email@example.com or 914-205-3533.
Please register ahead for this popular hike in one of Pound Ridge Land Conservancy’s best-loved preserves, the Halle Ravine. This year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Halle Ravine’s preservation as a cultural and natural history landmark in Pound Ridge. Learn what steps we have taken to protect this rare, old-growth forest grove for future generations and how you can support those efforts. Bring your children or grandchildren – all ages are welcome and will find joy and inspiration on our hike. Expect to see frogs, turtles, birds, and very large trees. RSVP with Krista at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-205-3533.
The Pound Ridge Land Conservancy will host our annual Arbor Day Tree Planting and Celebration, in conjunction with the Town of Pound Ridge Conservation Board, on Friday April 27 at Carolin’s Grove. Volunteers are welcome to arrive between 10am and 4 pm to plant one tree or as many as they like. Our friends at Bartlett Tree Experts have donated 100 native tree saplings and will be on hand to provide instruction and answer questions. We will provide gloves and tools and plan to work just a short distance from the parking area at 220 Stone Hill Road.
Expect to receive expert guidance on planting techniques that you can use at home, as well as advice on what native plants to choose for home landscaping and restoration projects. This project is supported by the Arbor Day Foundation, Bartlett Tree Experts, The Winfield Family Foundation, and the Conservation Partnership Program of the Land Trust Alliance. We are grateful for their assistance in fostering the growth of healthy new forest in Carolin’s Grove and for the opportunity to involve people like you in maintaining our healthy environment.
If you are interested in obtaining two free trees for your own use, please see the flyer here or go to www.arborday.org/poundridge. Make sure to apply before April 15th, and remember to pick up your trees on April 27 or 28 at the Pound Ridge Townhouse. This program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, DEC, NYSEG, and Pound Ridge Conservation Board.
Nature lovers of all ages are invited to the Pound Ridge Land Conservancy’s Earth Day guided hike at the Armstrong Preserve and Education Center, Sunday April 22nd at 2pm. We will tour the outdoor classrooms of this 43 acre nature preserve including woodland wildflower gardens with spring ephemeral plants in bloom, a small meadow, and a vernal pool that will be hopping with frogs for our visit. Enjoy viewing their activity from our new bridge that extends over the deepest reaches of this temporary seasonal wetland and learn why habitats like this are essential to amphibian life. Bring your binoculars for possible migratory bird sightings or a camera for early flowers. The Armstrong house backyard will be open for a guided or self-guided look at our native plant nursery and off-the-grid solar system, as well as our Land Steward’s small vegetable garden, chickens, and rabbits. Your questions are welcome. Please visit our website, prlc.net, to learn more about what to expect at the Armstrong, and register to join us with Krista at 914-205-3533 or email@example.com. We will begin the tour at 2pm at the preserve kiosk on the right as you enter and will end at the top of the driveway. Parking is available at either location. (Link to directions).
Calling all volunteers to Isaacson Preserve on Saturday, April 14th, from 10am to noon. We need extra hands to clip Asiatic bittersweet vines that are beginning to overtake young forest on this rare marble ridge. It’s fairly easy and very satisfying work that anyone can do at home. We should be in full swing of amphibian breeding and songbird migration by then, with spring ephemeral wildflowers in bloom too. This trail-less preserve is not generally open to the public and has only one dedicated parking space. Volunteers should park at nearby Halle Ravine and walk north along Donbrook Road onto Dogwood Hills Road (link to map). PRLC staff will meet you at the preserve entrance near 15 Dogwood Hills Road and will have gloves and tools to share. Please bring long-handled loppers or a handsaw if you have them. To register for notice of weather-related cancellation and be added to our volunteer email list, please contact Krista at 914-205-3533 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pound Ridge Land Conservancy invites nature lovers of all ages to our Citizen Science and Volunteer Forum, Let’s Talk Turtle, on February 25, 6pm, at the Armstrong Preserve and Education Center in Pound Ridge (map). Participants will meet two ambassador turtles and learn what to do when they find a turtle, why turtles are declining regionally, and how to monitor and protect them, including how to become a trained wildlife rehabilitator. High School and College students are encouraged to attend to learn about internships, training, and volunteer positions available with the PRLC and guest organizations. Light refreshments will be served.
Featured guest speakers for this program include Patricia Johnson, Wildlife Rehabilitator and Turtle Advocate; Steve Ricker, Director of Conservation and Wildlife Management at Westmoreland Sanctuary; and Krista Munger, PRLC’s Land Steward and Educator and longtime turtle biologist. They will be joined by Kendall O’Connell, Naturalist at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation (WPRR) and Morgan Tunnell, a student researcher at Fox Lane High School (FLHS).
Patricia Johnson will address the common question of what to do when a turtle is encountered on the road, including when it is injured, and how to support wildlife rehabilitators or become one. She trains new rehabbers and networks with organizations specializing in turtle conservation through Citizen Science programs. Mr. Ricker will present on Westmoreland Sanctuary’s 20 year project to mark and release program for box turtles as well as painted turtles on its property. The main objectives of this program are to recognize how many individuals the habitat supports and identify nesting and hibernating areas in hopes of protecting and enhancing these areas. Ms. O’Connell will recruit high-school aged Conservationists-in-Training to survey for turtles on WPPR. Krista Munger will describe highlights of her work engaging young scientists in a long-term research project on Blanding’s turtle, including FLHS senior Morgan Tunnell, and will promote this season’s internships and volunteer opportunities at PRLC. Information on how to apply is available on their website. www.prlc.net, and applicants are encouraged to attend. Please register for this free event by contacting Krista at email@example.com or 914-205-3533.
Link to Feb 25 2018 flyer
An odd little bird flushed up from the ground in late November at the Armstrong Preserve, startling me with its distinctive shape and erratic flight pattern. It landed again on the ground and disappeared, camouflaged against the brown leaves of Autumn. It was an American woodcock, rarely seen in southern New York except during migration.
The Breeding Bird Atlas of New York has documented a decline in this sandpiper species over the last thirty years, especially on Long Island and in the lower Hudson Valley. Habitat loss and the prevalence of predators in suburban areas are a threat to ground-dwelling birds like the woodcock. They are still hunted as game however, with open season in New York from October 1 to November 14.
The woodcock’s preferred habitat is old field in transition to forest. This increasingly uncommon ecotype is also home to the now-rare New England cottontail rabbit. In Pound Ridge, woodcock have been known to breed in the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation and are likely to at PRLC’s Clark Preserve.
A recommended resource for identifying and learning more about winged wildlife is All About Birds, by the famous Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
A list of the Birds of Westchester County, compiled by Hudson River Audubon, is a good place to fact-check when confirming the identity of a questionable bird. They list the Woodcock as being common in spring (probably migrating birds) and uncommon in summer and fall. Winter sightings have been made, meriting an “occasional.” Their year-round range should expand north with a warming climate.
Author’s note on field guides: I am forever grateful to Roger Tory Peterson for his system of identifying field marks and also to David Sibley for his comprehensive descriptions. I still prefer them to apps in the field.