PLAN Partners with Kawing Crow Awareness Center
On January 27, 2017, Saratoga PLAN sponsored a workshop focused on the fundamentals of animal tracking and winter ecology led by expert naturalist, Vince Walsh. A pack of 16 winter wildlife enthusiasts explored the woods and wetlands of Greenfield’s Kawing Crow Awareness Center (KCAC). Vince encouraged the group to see differently, and observe the wind, sun, and snow pack to better interpret track evidence. This was the third in a series of events that aim to bring the public and experts together to explore the ecosystems of the Palmertown Conservation Area, a natural landscape bordered to the North by the Hudson River, with Routes 9 and 9N to the East and West.
PLAN’s first event focused on active forest management to address beech bark disease and deer overbrowse in Lincoln Mountain State Forest led by DEC Forester Rich McDermott, and included a visit to ancient Black Gum trees. The second event toured winter evergreens around Mud Pond in Moreau Lake State Park under the guidance of expert naturalist, Jackie Donnelly. Future events are planned for salamander surveys and bird walks as the weather warms up in the spring. These events offer opportunities for the public to learn about areas within the Palmertown Conservation Area and to engage with expert naturalists.
Vince Walsh taught the group to shift perspectives and think like the animals, and interpret the direction and speed of the animal based on the evidence left behind. KCAC teaches from experience and aims to reunite humans with nature through programs on primitive and wilderness skills, as well as cultural and natural history. Vince said that sustainable environmental change “starts with knowing what’s in your backyard, putting names to things” and hopes his center can provide opportunities that facilitate this change.
Saratoga PLAN is focusing attention on the Palmertown Conservation Area as a conservation priority. The area includes unfragmented forests which provide important wildlife habitat and timber, and protect the headwaters of the Snook Kill and Kayaderosseras Creek. A detailed landscape analysis identified the landscape’s high potential for groundwater recharge and resiliency, two important ecosystem functions. The Palmertown Conservation Area also contains existing public lands and trail systems, which can be linked together to create a long distance trail network connecting communities and providing recreation opportunities that span the landscape.
The Palmertown exploratory events are supported by funding from New York State’s Conservation Partnership Program for land trusts helping to accomplish New York’s Open Space goals.
Saratoga PLAN is a nonprofit land trust that works to preserve the rural character, natural habitats and scenic beauty of Saratoga County so that these irreplaceable assets are accessible to all and survive for future generations. PLAN helps landowners conserve farmland, woodlands and natural habitats. PLAN connects people to nature through an extensive trail network, including 10 public nature preserves open for hiking, biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and kayaking. Saratoga PLAN helps communities create plans that balance growth with conservation to sustain the Saratoga Region as a great place to live, work, visit, play and farm. PLAN facilitates community-based conservation by partnering with municipalities to help them accomplish their community’s conservation goals.