$1M Grant Announced at RCP Network Gathering

Approximately 150 conservation professionals from across New England and eastern New York met in New Hampshire Nov. 13 to share strategies on how to advance collaborative conservation throughout the region.

Sponsored by Highstead, the annual Regional Conservation Partnership (RCP) Network Gathering brought together leaders from the academic, state and federal agency, non-profit, and philanthropic sectors. A highlight of the conference was the announcement of a $1 million grant from the Jessie B. Cox Trust that will help grow the RCP Network and increase land protection throughout New England.

Highstead’s Bill Labich Receives Award for Conservation Work

Regional Conservationist Bill Labich was awarded the Eliot Wadsworth Litchfield Hills Greenprint Award Oct. 18 in recognition of his work with Regional Conservation Partnerships (RCPs) across New England.

The award was given by the Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) at its annual meeting and awards ceremony. HVA sponsors the Litchfield Hills Greenprint Collaborative, one of the many RCPs that Labich works with throughout the region.

Highstead Makes Its Mark at Land Trust Alliance Rally

Highstead had a strong presence at the annual Land Trust Alliance Rally in Providence last month, with workshops and sponsorships highlighting local and regional conservation efforts. Highstead provided funding for New England scholarships and sponsored a well-attended New England conservation breakfast hosted by Highstead Fellow Jim Levitt.

Highstead was also represented by Regional Conservationist Bill Labich, who led a Regional Conservation Partnership (RCP) workshop and three-hour RCP seminar, and Conservation Director Emily Bateson, who presented at two climate conservation planning workshops.

Highstead Welcomes New Conservation Interns

Highstead is pleased to welcome our 2014 conservation interns, Mary Buchanan and Chloe Ginsburg.

Mary Buchanan graduated from Connecticut College after studying biological sciences, and ecology and environmental studies. Mary will be conducting research for the five-year anniversary of Wildlands and Woodlands and producing geographic information systems (GIS) maps for the Hudson to Housatonic Initiative focus areas and Fairfield County Regional Conservation Partnership’s countywide strategic conservation map.

Chloe Ginsburg graduated from Drake University in Iowa after studying environmental policy and politics. Chloe will help with planning the Regional Conservation Partnership Network Gathering, as well as Hudson to Housatonic events and workshops.

Highstead Collaborates with CT, NY Partners to Launch H2H

Highstead (on behalf of the Fairfield County Regional Conservation Partnership), along with more than two dozen local and regional partners, has launched a new conservation initiative aimed at protecting imperiled streams, drinking water reservoirs, and plant and wildlife habitat. The Hudson to Housatonic Initiative (H2H) will be led by Highstead, Westchester Land Trust, Mianus River Gorge, and Housatonic Valley Association. H2H will focus on engaging landowners in 13 focus areas that straddle town or state lines and contain land with streams that drain into reservoirs or habitats that are likely to adapt to climate change in the future.

This project is funded in part through a grant awarded by the U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry. H2H is part of the Landscape Scale Restoration Program of the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For more information click here.

Fall Art Exhibit Celebrates Nature’s Influence on Art

 Artist Dorie Petrochko, pictured left in costume, chats with
fellow artist Frances Topping as other attendees admire the
               many works of art featured in the show.

Highstead’s 2014 Fall Art Exhibit kicked off with a well attended opening Sept. 7, which featured several works of art from the Greater New York Chapter of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators.

The exhibit, titled “Echoes: An Homage to Plants and Animals in Art,” showcased the strong influence of natural flora and fauna on art throughout human history.

Several featured artists participated in an artists’ discussion, describing their pieces to the audience. Artist Dorie Petrochko, whose piece titled “Cypress Vigil” addresses the mass hunting of birds for women’s hats in the 1800s, performed a skit with fellow artist Judy Aronow highlighting the subject of her work.

Highstead Ecologist Featured in Connecticut Woodlands Magazine

The summer 2014 issue of Connecticut Woodlands magazine features an article by Highstead Ecologist Ed Faison, which details how forests have changed since Connecticut’s settlement three centuries ago. Analyzing witness tree data and pollen from wetland sediments offers insight into the types and abundance of trees present throughout the region’s history.

In addition to looking back in time, the article also looks forward, posing the question of what Connecticut’s forests will look like in the future. As noted in the article, development, carbon dioxide emissions and the amount of forest cover will largely shape the forests of the future.

Frederic Church's romantic rendering of the Southern New England landscape in the 1630s

New Stewardship Science Manual Completed

The Wildlands and Woodlands Stewardship Science: Manual For Long-Term Forest Monitoring was released last month and aims to help groups and individuals who own conserved land monitor their forests.

While most existing forest monitoring programs are designed to be used by trained forestry and ecology professionals, Stewardship Science -- authored by Highstead ecologist, Ed Faison and collaborators from the Harvard Forest, Brandeis University, and the University of Maine -- can be used by landowners, land trusts, conservation commissions, and academic institutions. Long-term monitoring helps participants gain a better understanding of their land and make more informed land-use and management decisions.

Read the full manual here. Find more information about Stewardship Science here and more infomation about Wildlands and Woodlands here.