In 2016, Friends of Taconic State Park sponsored or promoted ever greater offerings of natural history programs for families and children. Below is a summary of these programs:
April 23. Phenology Talk/Walk, with Victoria Kelly, Environmental Monitoring Program Manager of Cary Institute. Vicky gave an introductory talk on telling time by nature’s clock, followed by a guided walk to explore the interconnected lifecycles of plants and animals along the newly established Iron Works Phenology Trail.
May 7. Wildflower Walk. Carol Gracie, renowned naturalist and author of Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast, led a fascinating walk along the Iron Works Trail, where we observed many wildflower species.
June 25, July 23 and August 18. Wildlife Events. A naturalist from Robinson Wildlife offered a series of free wildlife presentations at Taconic State Park, featuring birds of prey and reptiles. These programs were arranged by Park Manager Chris Rickard, but were promoted by the Friends group.
July 23. Moth Night. Our third annual Moth Night, part of National Moth Week, featured two UConn-Storrs entomologists, Brigette Zacharczenko and Ben Gagliardi, and a field technician from the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program, Dylan Cipkowski. This citizen-science event started with a “Moth 101” talk at the Copake Iron Works, and then the large group headed into the woods where we set up special black light stations to view the night’s flying visitors.
October 29. Tree Tour. Friends’ Vice President Jim Mackin led The Magnificent 7 Tree Tour, featuring seven trees in the Park that are special in some interesting way.
November 12. Lichen Talk and Walk. The Friends’ annual Furnace Fest event was preceded by a talk on lichens by lichenologist Dr. James Lendemer of The New York Botanical Garden, and a walk on Sunset Rock Trail to observe lichens first-hand. One of the participants, John Franklin, took pictures of a number of the lichens encountered along the trail, and shared images of 20 common lichens that should require visual identification only. Their identification was confirmed by Dr. Lendemer. These beautiful images can be viewed here (pdf file), and we send deep gratitude to John Franklin for his generosity and thoughtfulness.