ESF 562: Ecology & Conservation in Taconic Upland
Synonym:84398 (for web registration)
Competency Area: ASJS, CB, CERT, EE, SDCC, SDS-Methods Restricted to ES students from April 10 – 17. Open to all students on April 18. Course fees may apply.
Please note: Attendance at pre-trip meetings is mandatory. Enrolled students who fail to drop the course by noon, 2 weeks before the first pre-trip meeting will be held financially responsible for the cost of the trip and will forfeit their seat in the class. Students on the waitlist are strongly encouraged to attend the pre-trip meetings.
This course would take place in the tri-state region of CT, MA and NY with a focus on the Taconic Upland and adjacent Housatonic watershed. This area has been designated by TNC as one of their top ten world priority sites for land conservation due to its extensive, unfragmented forest within 60 miles of NYC that hosts not only numerous old-growth stands – one being the second largest in New England at over 1,000 acres – but also the species rich lowlands of the Housatonic River Valley. Numerous state agencies, regional land trusts, and private land holding associations have and continue to work with TNC in the protection of this unique regional landscape. The course will focus on both these collaborative land conservation efforts and visits to some of the exemplary ecosystems within the region. Visits will include meetings with staff of the TNC, Sweetwater Trust, Sheffield Land Trust, Trustees of Reservations, MA and NY state agencies and members of the Mount Riga Protection Association. Field explorations will include the dwarf, summit, pitch pine old-growth on Mount Everett, oak/hemlock/white pine old-growth and adjacent charcoaling sites on the eastern flanks of the Taconic Upland, the species rich Shenob Brook, clay-plain forest and swamp, exploration of two pioneer homestead sites that date to the late 1600s, canoe exploration of a species rich swamp with 6 state-listed rare and endangered plants, and Bartholemules Cobble – which hosts the highest species richness of ferns found anywhere in the northeastern US within just 60 acres!