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THE
JOURNAL

Winter Edition

February, 2023

UPCOMING VOLUNTEER DAYS

To sign up for any of the following volunteer days, please click on the button below to fill out the sign up form.

We will be removing phragmites from Pleasant Valley, but need a solid freeze to be able to walk on the ice.  For those who are interested in being notified closer to the date, please email pporter@cnylandtrust.org.

Nest box building dates are to build boxes for installation at preserves and for general fundraising.

Thursday, February 23rd - Bluebird and Mason Bee Nest Box Building at Bachar Preserve in Skaneateles 10:00 AM until done

Friday, March 17th - Bluebird and Mason Bee Box Nest Building at Bachar Preserve in Skaneateles 10:00 AM until done

Thursday, March 23rd - Bluebird and Mason Bee Nest Box Building at Woodchuck Hill in Manlius 10:00 AM until done

Thursday, April 6th - Bluebird and Mason Bee Nest Box Building at Pleasant Valley Preserve in Marcellus 10:00 AM until done

Friday, April 14th - Three Falls Woods Trail Clearing 10:00 AM until done.  We will be continuing to widen the trail.

Saturday, April 22nd - Walk for Nature at Green Lakes State Park in Fayetteville.  We need volunteers to help us run the walk, check people in, take donations, sell merchandise, hand out water bottles, and talk about the CNY Land Trust.  The walk begins at 1:00 PM, but we will need volunteers there to help us set up by 11:00 AM.

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50th
The Central New York Land Trust Turns 50

by Kendra Pearson

The Central New York Land Trust is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and we have some commemorative events planned, including Walk for Nature, which re-creates the first walkathon that raised funds to save Baltimore Woods in 1972. 

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Since our incorporation in 1973, we have added an additional 50 conservation sites - one for each year we have served CNY.  It has been an impressive ride for an organization that got its start as a small grassroots group wanting to save one parcel of land.  Our community of members, volunteers and supporters has grown over the years, and you all share purposeful goals and visions stretching far beyond this lifetime.  It is because of those visions, we have more than 3,400 acres of protected spaces in CNY.  This milestone has given many of us cause to reflect on our accomplishments and a renewed energy to establish goals for the next 50 years, and we know that our work is just beginning.   
 

According to Global Forest Watch, in the last twenty years, the United States has lost 16% of our tree cover due to deforestation, and we now face the rapid decline of hemlock and ash trees due to the invasive pests hemlock woolly adelgid and emerald ash borer.  These types of challenges are particularly burdensome for our stewardship department and volunteers as they are faced with more monitoring, maintenance and the need for collaboration with outside agencies in an attempt to mitigate the effects of losing these beloved and important trees.  Just this past year, we were inundated with several downed ash trees encroaching on private property, which required removal by us or by professional tree removal services, which are costly, but necessary expenses.  We have also been working with several agencies to combat hemlock woolly adelgid on our preserves, which are facing irreparable damage if these pests are not controlled.  The effects on the security of our drinking water due to the knock on effect of lost hemlock trees in our watersheds would be devastating, and so we must act now.

In New York State, we have seen a rapid decline in populations of native pollinators, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.  We are working diligently to return post agricultural fields to wildflower and successional growth meadows and young forests.  We continue to protect fragile wetlands, which are the last remaining habitats for many of the creatures currently on the threatened and endangered species list.  We are replanting lost trees and creating young forests to replace our lost mature species.  
 

Our land conservation efforts have extended to safeguarding drinking water as we combat the effects of human encroachment in our watersheds, riparian zones and eskers.  This past year we undertook a monumental riparian zone repair project within one of our 92-acre preserves in the Skaneateles Lake watershed, which is directly upstream from the intake for the water supply for the City of Syracuse.  Rehabilitation of the esker will take several years to complete, but we have proudly finished the first phase of the repair and are looking forward to the second phase this year.  Before we acquired this land, it underwent significant damage due to deforestation and disruption of its fragile ecosystem.  We knew from the beginning that this would be an uphill battle, but we were acutely aware of the importance of this portion of the Robert J. Vitkus Conservation Area.

This 50th year and beyond, we will be facing these challenges, and many more as we deal with the effects of climate change, human development, and the introduction of more invasive plants and pests through globalization.  As partners in these challenges, we are looking to you this year to help us raise awareness about The Central New York Land Trust.  Please sign up for our Walk for Nature and show the community that we are a force for change.  Spread the word about what we are doing.  Share our website and social media links with your friends, family and colleagues, and encourage them to sign up for our newsletter.  If the past fifty years were highlighted by the number of acres we saved, we would like the next fifty to be signified by the number of people we educate and inspire to join this movement.  

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Dear Friends and Members,

 

The Central New York Land Trust celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.  We want to honor that incredible milestone by advancing our Stewardship Department philosophy of connecting communities and building bridges with programs that unite people with nature, and projects that re-establish displaced wildlife and damaged habitats.    

We plan to continue the water connectivity work begun last year by identifying more problem areas and pinch points under bridges and in culverts on our preserves and in the community at large.  We will repair and replace what we can, and address areas that require additional funding and outside expertise.  If you missed our fall newsletter, I encourage you to read the article Building Bridges and Connecting Waterways to learn more about what we are doing to improve and repair water passages.

The second phase of our Skaneateles Lake riparian zone repair at Albanese begins this spring.  We will succession plant native trees, shrubs, and plants in the hopes that they can quickly take root and assist in retaining the sandy substrate.    

We will be installing the Universal Access Trail at Pleasant Valley Preserve, which opens up this treasure to people with mobility issues and vision impairments.  The trail will lead through the new pollinator meadow to a new bird hide overlooking the wetland for auditory and visual bird observation.  

We are expanding our pollinator meadow project, including invasive plant removal and continued seeding at High Hickory Wildlife Sanctuary and creation of a new wildflower meadow at Woodchuck Hill Field & Forest Preserve.  We will be adding some plants that are a little more difficult to establish from seed, as well as native shrubs and trees.

The native bee nesting habitat will be installed at Pleasant Valley Preserve.  This impressive five foot structure will be the centerpiece for the native pollinator interpretive kiosk and corresponding pollinator education program.  

We are currently working with educators to create programs for middle and high school students in our effort to bring practical ecology into the classroom.  The goals of this program are to bridge the gap between Onondaga County and Onondaga Nation Schools, creating a space where traditional expertise is combined w