OLC Blog

Friday, November 27, 2009

Annual Appeal For Giving

Dear Friends,

In reflecting on your charitable giving this season, please remember the important work of the Oblong Land Conservancy in preserving the quality of life you enjoy in Pawling and Dover. We ask for your support to continue our mission.

The Oblong Land Conservancy (OLC) is the only group whose charter is to preserve and provide stewardship for high conservation value open spaces in and around Pawling and Dover. Founded in 1990 by local residents who volunteer their time, the OLC has been responsible for putting conservation easements on over 1,100 acres of land in our midst.

Land conservation is a costly proposition. OLC both owns land and holds conservation easements, enabling us to see that this open space is protected in perpetuity. Every dollar that we have received from our supporters has been put to work and leveraged to obtain grants (which require matching funds). Nothing is wasted.

This year we have had some notable achievements. We announced the establishment of the 100-acre Slocum-Mostachetti Preserve on an environmentally valuable site in Wingdale, the culmination of countless hours working with local government, the land owners and other environmental groups. In 2009 we also previewed a number of potential conservation easements and we have several projects in the pipeline. Finally, as part of our position in the community to be vigilant about planning issues that affect our future, OLC representatives provided considerable input to the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee for the updated Pawling Master Plan and submitted Public Comments on the Dover Knolls project in Wingdale.

2010 will be OLC’s 20th anniversary year, and we have an exciting year planned. Among other initiatives we will implement visitor-friendly improvements at our new Slocum-Mostachetti Preserve; pursue a paid part time professional stewardship position to direct our growing inventory of conserved lands; and continue with our efforts to develop an environmental curriculum at Pawling and Dover schools.

It is for assistance in meeting these goals that I am writing to you. Please be as generous as you can in helping us conserve all that is best in our beloved place. Click here to download a form to send in with a check or click here to donate online.

We invite you to visit our recently redesigned website at www.oblongland.org and become a “Fan” of OLC at www.facebook.com/oblongland.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Wood

Friday, September 25, 2009

Check out the video below from NPR's Science Friday featuring Michael Musnick and Oblong Land Conservancy board member Jim Utter and the Great Swamp Wood Turtle Project:

Michael Musnick is a citizen scientist who studies wood turtles in the Great Swamp -- a stretch of wetland about 60 miles north of New York City. He found turtles dying in the railroad tracks and proposed a solution to New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority: tiny turtle bridges.

See page on NPR's site here

Monday, July 27, 2009

Slocum-Mostachetti Preserve Has Grand Opening

On Sunday afternoon, June 14th, a ribbon cutting and dedication took place at the new Slocum-Mostachetti Preserve, a 106-acre parcel of land set aside for public trails and the protection of a unique upland with many rare species and wetlands of The Great Swamp in Wingdale, New York, about 1 mile west of Route 22.

The sun shone as people gathered for an afternoon event that included guided walks through the grassy trails that wind through the new Preserve. Before the walks began, Chris Wood, head of the Oblong Land Conservancy, the local organization that acquired the land in collaboration with Friends of the Great Swamp (FrOGS), spoke to the crowd about the importance of maintaining open land for the good of the community. At one point he asked the group assembled to stop and listen to the sounds of nature around them. He paused for a minute and suddenly the sounds of birds and insects came alive and it was a dramatic illustration of the natural life teeming in special places such as the new Preserve.

Dr. Jim Utter, head of the popular FrOGS organization, also spoke about the process by which the land came into the public trust, a process which began in 2007 and culminated with the ribbon cutting which was carried out by Leo Mostachetti yesterday. Leo’s wife, the former Helen Slocum, grew up on this land (Leo and Helen continue to live in their home surrounded by the 4 acres that were carved out for them) which was the Slocum Family Farm for many generations. Dr. Utter pointed out that this particular piece of land was prioritized for protection by environmentalists because of its unique characteristics and its critical location in The Great Swamp.

The three Walks through the Preserve were guided by experts in three different areas of interest, and guests could choose which walk they wanted to join. Angela Dimmitt of the Audubon Society, a friend from Sherman CT, led the Birding walk. Billy Wallace, who has identified 47 species of butterflies on this preserve (and has lovely photos of most, photos that he took) led a walk that focused on butterflies of the Preserve; and Chris Mangels, botanist and ecologist, led a walk focused on the flora of the Preserve. He pointed out some of the many rare plants that he has discovered there, during the past year, working as a consultant for The Oblong Land Conservancy.

Following the walks guests enjoyed fresh baked cookies, apples and bottled water, courtesy of Backlajava, McKinney & Doyle and Hannaford’s, local businesses that support the efforts of the Oblong Land Conservancy and FrOGS. Steve Ewing, an Oblong Board Member, donated mowing services and assisted with clean up to prepare the site. Oblong thanks Pete Muroski of Native Landscaping for his donation of the mowing of the trails and the mowing of the area where the group congregated.

The OLC will announce other events at the Slocum-Mostachetti Preserve later in the year to which the public will be invited. For the time being, the trails will be open on a restricted basis. Oblong is an all volunteer organization, and it welcomes public feedback and volunteerism.

Funding for this acquisition came from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) and private funds (Iroquois) administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Additional funds to cover the costs of engineering, surveys and legal costs came from FrOGS NAWCA funds, private funds from FrOGS and from the Oblong Land Conservancy. Funds were also contributed by the New York State Conservation Partnership Program. The Partnership also funded a natural resource study and the production of a professionally drafted management plan. The management plan is in the process of being implemented.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

White Sand Beach Discovered in Dover Plains

Stancy DuHamel, one of our board members, just came across a very cool site in Dover Plains. The 117 acre Roger Perry Preserve contains a white sand ridge! who needs to go to the coast to go to the beach? The report from Stancy: "Incredible - eroding limestone, with fens and vernal pools along the valleys. Found the tiniest, fully formed frogs ever." We have added the info to our hiking page...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Welcome to our blog!

We will be using the blog to post news, articles, events, rants and raves related to the Oblong Land Conservancy.

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thanks and please join us on June 16th at 1pm for the Grand Opening of the Slocum-Mostachetti Preserve in Wingdale. For more info click here