OLC Blog

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Annual Appeal for Giving

"Thank you Oblong for recognizing and holding on to what's most precious around us." —Pawling Resident and OLC supporter

Dear Friend,

Please consider including the Oblong Land Conservancy (OLC) in your year-end giving plans.

OLC is the only group whose charter is to preserve and maintain 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 into permanent conservation over 1,100 acres of land and water in our midst ... and each year the number grows. We seek your support to keep the momentum going.

Where do our supporters' dollars go to work?

Matching Grants: In 2010 OLC passed its previous record in obtaining matching grants from government and private sources. Our success depends on our ability to leverage funds we receive from supporters like you. With these funds we have several conservation easements which we plan to secure by the end of this year, and more in the pipeline.

Land/Water Management/Activism: OLC made the decision to step up to the challenge posed by a commercial entity that we believe threatens to contaminate our aquifer and adjacent preserve. OLC, along with neighboring environmental groups, is engaged in a battle in Dover to prevent this project from going forward. We expect this to continue into 2011.

Engaging the Community: In May we staged our most successful fund raising event to date. Our primary objective was to raise OLC's profile in the community on the occasion of our 20th anniversary. We welcomed over 250 guests at the Inn at Dover Furnace. One supporter summed it up when she said "Hope you had as much success as I had fun!"

Looking towards 2011: With your help we will seek additional matching grants to acquire important land in The Great Swamp's north flow in partnership with FrOGS. For more information on our work in The Great Swamp, visit our website at: www.oblongland.org/protected_lands.

In 2011 we will continue programs that engage and educate the community, including our popular "First Saturdays" program, a series of monthly ‘walks and talks' through conserved lands led by local naturalists. And with your help we will be hiring our first stewardship manager to help us manage OLC's conserved lands.

Please be as generous as you can in helping us achieve our important goals.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Wood

To donate online, click here or send a check to:

Oblong Land Conservancy
PO Box 601
Pawling, NY 12564

Oblong Land Conservancy is a 501(c)3 organization and all donations are tax-deductible.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

OLC's First Saturday 11/6 at SMP

Saturday, the 6th of November provided a brisk Fall day under an azure blue sky that provided ideal birding weather for the 20 or so hikers that gathered at Oblong’s Slocum-Mostachetti Preserve in Wingdale. This 100 acre preserve, Oblong’s latest acquisition, with its trail system covering both upland and wetland habitats provided the perfect venue to see a variety of resident and migratory birds. The walk was led by Barbara Butler of The Waterman Bird Club and ably assisted by Dr. Jim Utter of FrOGS. Both are extremely knowledgeable birders.

A total of 21 different species were identified and 144 individual birds were sighted as recorded by Ms. Butler; an extraordinary feat probably only possible by a dedicated birder. Black Scoters, American crows, American robins, European starlings and cedar waxwings were the most abundant. However, a bald eagle was sighted as were two members of the hawk family, yellow-rumped warblers and mallard and wood ducks, to name but a few. The walk was leisurely, which provided a much needed respite from normal work-a-day pressures, and concluded by noon.

The next First Saturdays event is scheduled for Saturday the 4th of December, also at the Slocum-Mostachetti Preserve. We will meet a 9.00 am and devote part of the day to trail clearing. If you would like to participate and don’t mind a bit of labor please join us. Call (845) 855 7014 for further details.

Number of Species 21
Number of Individuals 144

2 Wood Duck
2 Mallard
25 Black Scoter
1 Bald Eagle
1 Sharp-shinned Hawk
2 Red-tailed Hawk
1 Belted Kingfisher
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
4 Northern Flicker
5 Blue Jay
20 American Crow
5 Black-capped Chickadee
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
2 Carolina Wren
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
20 American Robin
15 European Starling
20 Cedar Waxwing
8 Yellow-rumped Warbler
6 Dark-eyed Junco
2 American Goldfinch

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Great Swamp

The Great Swamp, stretching nearly 20 miles across five municipalities from Southeast to Dover is set in a 62,343 acre watershed that sprawls into Sherman and New Fairfield, Connecticut.

Its southern flow basin which starts in the center of the Village of Pawling, feeds drinking water to residents in Pawling and Patterson, Westchester County and New York City. The northern flow (Swamp River) joins the Ten Mile River in Dover, which converges with the Housatonic River in Connecticut. Over one million people in the southern drainage alone depend on this vital resource. In the northern drainage, local residents are equally dependent on the protection of the Swamp and its associated aquifer: groundwater wells are the only water resource, and this water is sourced only from local rainwater.

The Swamp is also a critical habitat refuge for wildlife, waterfowl, and a major flyway for neo-tropical birds and is officially recognized as an “Important Bird Area” in NYS.

The Great Swamp is an ecological treasure nestled in the fast-developing Harlem Valley. It is one of New York State’s largest wetlands and the most threatened.

Almost from its conception in 1990, Oblong Land Conservancy has recognized the significance of this resource and its vulnerability. We worked with the U.S. Park service to protect a unique rare plant community in the wetland, south of the Appalachian Trail Corridor, which includes some frontage on Route 22. It will remain forever green.

Pawling Corporation provided the funding for an analysis and a map of the various cover types of vegetation in the North Flow. With help from a grant from The Iroquois Pipeline, we purchased our “Scudiere” Preserve,” our first preserve, a unique marsh in the Village of Pawling and restored its edges; accepted a gift of land from the Carruth Family, (prime turtle nesting habitat on the Swamp River); a donation of the most photographed 10 acres on River road in Pawling from Donald and Anna Zaengle; and donations of conservation easements on 176 acres, consisting of Ray Lake, wetlands and uplands from Gordon Douglas, and an adjacent 157 acres of wetlands and uplands (Cushman Farms) from Peckham Industries, in the southern drainage. Our most recent acquisition, the 106 acre Slocum-Mostachetti Preserve is a rare “marble hill” surrounded by The Great Swamp, located in Wingdale, acquired in partnership with FrOGS.

Oblong currently has ongoing contacts with numerous landowners in Dutchess County, in accord with a conservation plan for The Great Swamp, adopted in collaboration with our partners: FrOGS, the Putnam County Land Trust, and The Nature Conservancy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Successful Partnership Between Farmers and Land Trust

check out this great video from Scenic Hudson:

to learn more about easements, visit our Landowner Benefits page

Saturday, April 3, 2010

First First Saturday

A wonderful beginning to our "First Saturdays" series of organized outdoor activities!

Dr. Jim Utter led us up the red trail at the Pawling Nature Reserve from the trailhead by French Lake. Along the way to the vernal pools he explained some of the habit of the red squirrels and history of the pine grove. Dr. Utter had set up traps at the two pools we visited on the top of the ridge and we were able to see a large mole salamander and the adult form of the red-spotted newt (these guys metamorphosize twice and have magnetic skin that tells them how to get home!). The importance of vernal pools has recently become more recognized. These pools form in the spring but dry up by the end of summer. This means that no fish can live in the pools, allowing the frogs and salamanders that use them as breeding grounds to have high reproductive success rates that they cannot achieve in the a permanent pond or lake. Most of us would have the same instinct if we had one of these in our backyard: make it a permanent pond or fill it in. Unfortunately the depletion of vernal pools can decimate the frog and salamander populations. Some towns have begun to zone against the destruction of these pools but they remain, for the most part, unaddressed wetlands.

After the pools we went back down to Quaker Lake road and moved to the main trailhead where we hiked in for about 5 minutes to a small cave-like rock shelter. Judy Moberg accomplished the incredible feat of relaying a geologic and human history of the area from 1.3 billions years ago to 1776 in about 30 minutes! We looked at points (aka arrowheads) that were used by Native Americans in the area to hunt musk ox and mastodons. Cool.

Thanks to FrOGS and PNR for partnering with us on today's event. Join us next month as we venture to Nellie Hill Preserve and Stone Church. For details, stay tuned to our events page, become a fan on Facebook or join our email list.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

OLC Launches "First Saturdays" Series

In support of its mission of preserving land and open space, The Oblong Land Conservancy believes it is important for community members to know and appreciate the natural resources in the area.

The OLC is launching a program called "First Saturdays" which will offer an organized outdoor activity the first Saturday of every month, generally at 1pm. The program will run from April-October (may be extended if it works out well). Please visit the events page for more event details.

Below is a list of proposed dates and activities:
  • 4/3 Naturalist-led hike in the Pawling Nature Preserve (co-sponsored by FrOGS and PNR) (free)
  • 5/1 Naturalist-led visit to Stone Church and Nellie Hill Preserve (free)
  • 6/5 FrOGS canoe trip on the Great Swamp ($22 Adult Member, $11 Child: 6 to 14 yrs, $26 Adult Non-member, $16 Child non-member)
  • 7/3 Bald eagle hike at Nuclear Lake or Little Whaley Lake (free)
  • 8/7 Fly-fishing clinic at Lakeside Park by the Angler's Den (free)
  • 9/4 Kayak on in the Great Swamp with Great Blue Outfitters ($20)
  • 10/2 Mountain bike outing at Cranberry Mountain with Pawling Cycle (free)
Please join us for the inaugural event on Saturday, 4/3, 1-3pm at one of Pawling's natural gems -the Pawling Nature Preserve- which will be co-sponsored by FrOGS and the Pawling Nature Preserve.

The hike will be be led by Mark Chipkin (Chairman of the Pawling Nature Preserve), Dr. Jim Utter (Chairman of FROGS and Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences School of Natural and Social Sciences - SUNY Purchase) and Judy Moberg (naturalist) and . We will explore the abundant wildlife found at the PNR and especially look at vernal pools and salamanders. The hike will be moderately strenuous and about 2 miles and is not suitable for those under 12 years old. Please call Judy Moberg at 845-878-7740 to make reservations.