When Friends of Taconic State Park was founded in 2008, our programmatic focus was on preserving and interpreting the historic Copake Iron Works. While protecting the Blast Furnace and other structures associated with the cultural history of this core section of Taconic State Park remain at the heart of Friends’ mission, increasingly we are offering programs to highlight the diverse and fascinating natural history of the park.
This year, at least half a dozen events–including a moth night, bird walk, native-plant lecture and more–will inform and inspire appreciation of some of the many and varied life forms that call 7,000-plus-acre Taconic State Park their home.
The 2015 season began March 21 with a focus on mushrooms, with special reference to edible ones. Michael Judd, principal designer/founder of Ecologia Design, and author of “Edible Landscaping (With a Permaculture Twist),” lectured and gave a workshop on backyard mushroom-growing.
On April 25, ecologists Conrad and Claudia Vispo from the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program led a hike to explore the spring flora and associated insect life along a new trail in the Park.
Then, on May 9, naturalist Michael Wojtech of Know Your Trees lectured and led a workshop and tree identification hike in the park around the theme of his latest book, an innovative field guide: “Bark: A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast.”
On June 6, we will have a natural history doubleheader: That morning, naturalist Andy Brand of Broken Arrow Nursery will present a slide lecture on native plants, “America the Beautiful: Why We Should Celebrate Native Plants in Our Landscapes,” and then he will offer for sale rare and unusual plants. If birds are more to your liking, join us for a bird walk with Will Yandik, on which participants will learn to identify bird species by sounds, behavior, and sight. Links for more information: Lecture tickets, and bird walk tickets.
Friends of TSP’s annual meeting on July 23 will culminate after dark with a moth walk in the Park led by Brigette Zacharczenko, an entomology graduate student at the University of Connecticut, who will show us what moths are attracted to bait and blacklight traps–all part of a global citizen science effort known as National Moth Week: Exploring Nighttime Nature.
On August 15, as one of many events on Copake Falls Day, renowned garden writer Ken Druse will discuss shade gardening from a very timely vantage point and offer highlights from his new book, “The New Shade Garden: Creating a Lush Oasis in the Age of Climate Change.”
Friends of TSP’s 2015 natural-history programming for 2015 concludes on November 7 with a geology lecture and walk by led by Robert and Johanna Titus, authors of “Ice Age in the Hudson Valley: A Geological History & Tour.”
We hope to see you for some or all of these natural history events! Please check our calendar for current information and on times, locations, and registration.