Ask the Conservation Director: “I have property I want to conserve. What are my options?”

MHLC staff monitor properties annually

Q: I have property which I want to conserve. What are my options for land conservation?

A: This is a great question. We provide several options for landowners to meet their goals when conserving land with MHLC.

If you are interested in donating a piece of land to MHLC, we encourage you to check our acquisition criteria and see if your property is a match. Properties which align with one or more of the below criteria may be accepted as a donation of land through MHLC:

  • scenic vistas and viewpoints
  • geologic or significant resources
  • stream corridors
  • trail corridors
  • working landscapes (including agricultural and recreational lands)
  • wetlands
  • historic and archeological areas
  • significant aquatic and terrestrial habitat with corridors to link larger significant habitats.

If you, the landowner, are interested in maintaining ownership of the land, but want to ensure that its development is limited in the future, a conservation easement is often the best choice. A conservation easement is a legal document, filed with the property deed, which creates a framework for acceptable uses for the land. Easements can outline where development is and isn’t allowed on the property. They can also delineate resource protection areas which protect a property’s natural resources from development or other threats. These limitations on future development are applicable in perpetuity.

Once a conservation easement is in place, MHLC stewardship staff will work with easement landowners to schedule annual visits to the property to ensure the terms of the easement are being upheld. This means that even if you sell your property, the conservation easement will be transferred along with the property deed, and the property will be protected and monitored to ensure your wishes are upheld forever.

This fall, MHLC will be hosting our Conservation Easements 101 event, which will provide in-depth examples of lands conserved with conservation easements and the landowners that have conserved land with MHLC.

To register for this event, or to learn more about other MHLC events, please visit our Events page.

Sarah Walsh
Conservation Director

Do you have a question for MHLC’s Conservation Director? Please submit your questions to Sarah Walsh at Your question might be featured!

Looking forward from our Silver Anniversary: 2017 MHLC Staff Retreat

2017 continues to be an exciting year of change and growth at the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy!

In our 25th year of conservation, we are opening two new preserves to the public. We have welcomed thousands of guests to our public events, including the sold-out annual dinner at the Corning Tower, the wildly-successful Celebration of Music and Nature with the Albany Symphony in Rensselaerville, and the 3rd annual Summer Hike-a-thon, which featured free hikes and guided outings across the Capital Region. Our conservation team has grown with the addition of two full-time staff members: Conservation Director Sarah Walsh and Stewardship and Volunteer Coordinator Sawyer Cresap. Our Capital Region Nature Passport has welcomed more community members into our public preserves, inviting them to engage with the natural world. And we have continued to partner with local landowners, municipalities, businesses, and organizations to conserve more acreage in Albany, Montgomery, and Schenectady counties.

This week, our staff of six met to reflect upon the past, present, and future of the Conservancy. We asked ourselves: where do we want to be in the next 5 years? The next 25 years?

Challenging each other to think big, we brainstormed the many ways in which the Conservancy can continue to grow and evolve. How can we best identify and conserve ecologically and economically important landscapes? How can we improve our services to the residents and visitors of the Capital District? Which local habitats must be prioritized in our conservation plan? How will climate change, changing policies, and new technologies affect our conservation strategy?

The retreat left us feeling inspired and invigorated. We’re excited to develop our ideas for growth and resilience as the Capital Region’s land trust, and to share our plans with you.

Learn more about your local land trust: meet the MHLC staff at our annual Fall Fundraiser on September 14th at the brand-new Thacher Park Visitor Center!

We invite you to join us in 2017 and for the next 25 years of conservation. There’s room for everyone within the MHLC community, and there are several ways to join:

  • Come to an event
  • Visit a preserve
  • Volunteer in our preserves, at an event, or at the office
  • Follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter (Be sure to tag Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy in your posts and photos!)
  • Donate. Our conservation work is only possible through the support of our dedicated community members.


Gallery: The 3rd Annual Summer Hike-a-Thon

Thank you to everyone who made our third annual Summer Hike-a-Thon a wonderful success!

Hundreds of hikers, bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts joined us at eleven different outings across the Capital Region. Offerings included outdoor yoga at the new Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve, an amphibian hike at Swift Preserve, mountain biking at Keleher Preserve, and accessible bike rides and walks on the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail. The first 100 registrants received a free, sky-blue MHLC t-shirt. We welcomed old friends and new faces to these adventures in our public preserves.

We’d like to give a special “Thank you!” to our volunteers: the hike leaders, trail sweepers, planners, and helpers who made this day possible. 

We’d also like to thank our Hike-a-Thon Sponsors: Stewart’s Shops, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP, and AARP New York.

Check out these photos from this spectacular event:


Introducing Tuesday Trail Updates with the Stewardship Team!

MHLC is launching our new Tuesday Trails Update Page as a celebration of 25 years of stewardship and to kick off our Hike-a-Thon event happening this Saturday. July 22nd.

Tuesday Trails Updates can be found under “Current Trail Conditions” from the Preserve menu on our home page. These will be posted every other week to prepare our Preserve visitors for varying trail conditions throughout the year. If you have trail conditions which you’d like to report, please e-mail Stewardship and Volunteer Coordinator Sawyer Cresap at, or call the office at 518-436-6346.

Click here to visit this new page and to read the trail updates from Tuesday, July 18th. Bookmark the page so that you can easily return when planning future hikes!

Enjoy, and we’ll see you on the trail!

Why We Conserve Preserves: How big chunks of land make a difference in the Capital Region

Conservation Director Sarah Walsh reflects on the effects of nature preserves on local wildlife.

This fall, the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy will be opening its 18th preserve, the nearly 170-acre Fox Preserve in Colonie.

Why do we open new preserves?

Both humans and wildlife enjoy the Winn Preserve, where wood thrush and eastern wood-pewee have been spotted.

Large tracts of land provide many benefits. This new destination will expand our list of places where you and your family can get outside and enjoy the fields and forests of the Capital Region. Outdoor exercise, clean air provided by forests, and simply being near a natural area are all factors which have shown positive impacts on human health.

These lands also benefit wildlife. Many species which have always called the Capital Region home are increasingly having difficulty finding safe habitats in which to live. Large tracts of land provide wildlife with a buffer from human activity and create safe passageways for animals to move through developed areas, making road crossings less likely and reducing vehicle collisions.

Deep forests are also required for certain species’ survival. The wood thrush, Hylocichla mustelina, is a bird species which requires deep woods where disturbance is minimal. As development and sprawl occur, we are seeing less and less of this species nation-wide. The eastern wood-pewee, Contopus virens, is another species with similar deep woods habitat requirements. Both species were listed on a watch list in the 2016 State of North America’s Birds, a report created by the North American Conservation Bird Initiative. This means that these species need our help to prevent their disappearance from the landscape forever.  

There is hope. These species are found on many of MHLC’s Preserves, which has been an incredible surprise and delight to me as incoming Conservation Director. It is evidence that our work over the last 25 years is making a difference not only to the people of the Capital Region, but also for the unique wildlife that lives here.

Have you heard these birds on our Preserves? Listen to their songs via the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website links below and find out!

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Wood Thrush

You can read learn more about birds and their habitats that need help by reading the 2016 State of North America’s Birds report here.

Sarah Walsh
Conservation Director

In memory of MHLC Board Member, Lisa Evans

On June 20, 2017, the Capital Region lost a passionate and devoted supporter of health care, conservation, the arts, women’s rights, and programs for children, families and the disadvantaged. On this day Lisa Evans—business owner, philanthropist, and MHLC Board Member—passed away at her home after a courageous battle with cancer.

Lisa joined the Conservancy’s Board of Directors in 2008, after supporting the organization for more than 10 years prior. During her time on the board, Lisa wholeheartedly advocated for MHLC’s conservation efforts and spoke fervently about the threat of development and loss of open space in the region.  She immersed herself in the workings of the board and gave generously of her time and talents, serving as a committee chair for our fundraising efforts and our 25th Anniversary celebration, as well as serving as Board Chair from 2012-2015. 

It is no coincidence that the exponential growth of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy of recent years coincided with Lisa’s tenure as Board Chair. Lisa’s inspirational and tenacious efforts on behalf of MHLC sparked our growth and fueled our efforts. As a lifelong resident and beloved business leader, Lisa put her talents to use guiding staff, making connections to the Capital Region community, recruiting others to the cause, and finding funders to support these efforts.  Her leadership, gentle good humor, and can-do attitude inspired confidence in our success, if in some cases, it was only because she wouldn’t accept anything but.  She is sorely missed.

Lisa with Margaret Craven

When I joined MHLC as Executive Director in 2013, what began for me was not just a new job, but a cherished friendship and partnership with a truly outstanding individual. Lisa devoted hours to planning, teaching and listening to make my transition successful. Lisa seemed to know everyone in the Capital District, and those she didn’t know were just a phone call away. Need a contact in the arts? Call Phillip Morris of Proctors. Need a press contact? Call Rex Smith at the Times Union. Want to partner with the Albany Symphony? Call David Alan Miller. If the person didn’t know Lisa and MHLC already, they would become a new friend. Her approach was never pushy or demanding, but friendly and determined, and her passion for conservation was contagious.  She made it so.

As Lisa’s illness progressed and her involvement necessarily declined, I wondered: how would we continue without her? But of course, Lisa would never accept such sentiments. She would demand that we move onward and upward and never hesitate to share our passionate belief in the value of conservation–with this approach, success was certain to follow.

My deepest sympathy is with her husband Tom, who is also a former MHLC Board Member, and her business partner Suzanne Smith, both of whom loved Lisa dearly and were fortunate to spend many years experiencing Lisa’s passion, compassion and commitment for the world we all share.    

Lisa leaves us better for having had her in our lives.  She continues to inspire my efforts every day and the success of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy will always be her success.  Lisa’s legacy will live on in the land that we preserved with her and thanks to her.

Choose Your Own Adventure: Capital Region Hike-a-thon on July 22!

From historic railroad beds to glittering waterfalls, through shaded forests and verdant farmlands, eleven guided outings will showcase nine different areas protected by MHLC beginning at 9:30 AM, Saturday, July 22, during our third annual Summer Hike-a-thon.

Register Today!
The first 100 hikers will get a free t-shirt.

These concurrent offerings will be led by naturalists and experts, well versed in the history, flora, and fauna of each trail. This year’s event goes beyond hiking: other recreational opportunities such as cycling, mountain biking, yoga, treasure hunting, and more are included in this special Summer Hike-a-thon, which celebrates our silver anniversary in 2017. All activities are located within the Capital Region, and there will be three different hike/bike events on the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, including a wheelchair-accessible hike along the paved trail.

“We are thrilled to highlight these preserves for the Summer Hike-a-thon. The nine locations which we have chosen represent a sampling of our 18 public preserves covering 2,500 acres that are located across the Capital Region,” said Mark King, Executive Director of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy. “Last year, these preserves hosted over 15,000 visitors, with many people returning again and again for a rewarding nature experience. Visitors can enjoy outdoor recreation such as hiking and trail running, and many also enjoy painting, photography, reflection, and birding in our preserves.”

The Summer Hike-a-thon provides unique, guided opportunities to learn more about the preserves: frequent users of these trails will get insider information about their favorite spots from MHLC staff and volunteers, and those visiting the preserves for the first time will discover new hiking spots across the Capital Region.

The event is free (donations are welcome) and open to the public. Free t-shirts will be given to the first 100 hikers. To register, click here.

Most hikers will meet at 9:30 AM in the municipal parking lot at 125 Adams Street in Delmar, which is located directly behind the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy’s main office. At that time, participants will receive their t-shirts and carpool to their hike locations. Detailed instructions will be provided to participants upon registration.

The Summer Hike-a-thon offerings available this year range from easy to moderate. Design your own day of outdoor adventure from this menu of family-friendly and FREE guided outings:

1. Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail | Botany and History Accessible Hike | Delmar

This flat, easy course is on the railroad bed of the original Delaware and Hudson railroad line which brought travelers into Albany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This will be a wheelchair accessible out-and-back trip. We will explore the botany and history of the trail with Miles Garfinkel, local science teacher and Friends of the Rail Trail volunteer. Easy walk/ride.

Starting time: 10 AM

Starting point: Adams Street and Hudson Avenue, Delmar, heading westbound.

Distance: 0.25 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy, Wheelchair Accessible

2. Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail | Fun Ride (Bikes, Skates, Boards, & more!) | Delmar

The Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail has become a popular venue for walking, jogging, bicycling, and more. Bring your favorite set of wheels and helmet and join your community for a family fun ride where you set your own distance and pace. The fun ride will start at 11 AM and includes coupons for the whole family for free ice cream cones at Stewart’s Shops (while supplies last).

Starting time: 11 AM

Starting point: Adams Street and Hudson Avenue, Delmar, heading eastbound.

Distance: You decide

Difficulty: Easy, Wheelchair Accessible

3. Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail | Bike-Hike | Albany/Delmar/Slingerlands/Voorheesville

Our guided Bike-Hike will encompass the entire length of the Rail Trail – officially stopping at the end of the pavement, and providing the opportunity for participants (with appropriate bikes and tires) to continue to the Voorheesville Pavilion. The pavement ends at the Slingerlands parking lot (a five-mile ride), and the Pavilion is at nine miles. (In future months, as Albany County continues to pave the Rail Trail, the actual length of the official ride will be somewhere between five and nine miles.) There will be numerous stops to learn about the history and structure of the Rail Trail, and riders are invited to explore the many sights along the trail as they return to South Pearl Street. This Bike-Hike is appropriate for ages 16+.

Starting time: 9:30 AM

Starting point: Downtown Albany trail head (722 S. Pearl Street, Albany, NY)

Distance: 10+ miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

4. Bennett Hill Preserve | History | Clarksville

One of MHLC’s most popular preserves, Bennett Hill offers moderately challenging trails with mostly steep hills. A guide will speak about the history of this trail, which offers views of the Helderbergs from its summit and beautiful wildflowers along the trail. Trekking poles and hiking boots recommended.

Starting time:  10 AM

Starting point: Bennett Hill Road, Clarksville

Distance: 2.77 miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

5. Bozen Kill Preserve | Treasure Hunt Hike | Altamont

This self-guided hike is great for kids of all ages! Pick up your Bozen Kill Treasure Map at the kiosk and head off to explore the fields, forests, and streams of this beautiful preserve at your own pace. From 10 AM to 12 PM, hikers are invited to explore the preserve. Along the way, you’ll interact with Preserve Docents who will share preserve “treasures” with you while you complete the activities listed on your treasure map.  Complete the map and return to the kiosk to receive your prize.

Starting time: 10 AM

Starting point: Westfall Road, Altamont

Distance: 1.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

6. Huyck Preserve | Wildlife Hike | Rensselaerville  ***ALMOST FULL***

The Huyck Preserve and Biological Research Station is a non-profit partner of MHLC. Located in the scenic hamlet of Rensselaerville, NY, the Huyck Preserve has been connecting people to nature for more than 80 years. Enjoy a guided wildlife hike on a portion of the 12 miles of trails which ramble through 2000 acres of forest, field, and wetlands, and past the Rensselaerville Falls, which cascade over 120 feet. After your hike, stay for the afternoon and enjoy Lake Myosotis, which is open to the public for kayaking and canoeing as well as fishing.

Starting time: 10 AM

Starting point: 5052 Delaware Turnpike, Rensselaerville

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty: Easy

7. Keleher Preserve | Mountain Biking | Voorheesville

NEW! Join mountain bikers from across the Capital Region to explore the Conservancy’s first preserve to open to mountain biking. The varied terrain, perfect for all riders, offers something for everyone.  From 10 AM until 11 AM, advanced bikers can enjoy the loop at a faster pace. Casual bikers are invited to begin at 11 AM.

Starting time: Advanced bikers at 10 AM; Casual bikers at 11 AM

Starting point: Gulf Hill Road, Voorheesville

Distance: 4 miles of trails

Difficulty: Moderate

8. Normans Kill West Preserve | Family Wilderness Crafts | Delmar  ***FULL***

In a world of digital entertainment, we often forget the abundance which nature provides, not only to support us but also to engage our creativity and our mind. Join Dave Muska of Ondatra Adventures for a family-friendly workshop in Wilderness Crafts at the Normanskill West Preserve in Delmar, NY. In this class, you will make a small melon basket from local and wild-harvested vines, learn the art of making cordage from natural fibers, and how to make stone necklaces. Be prepared to hear stories, learn natural history, and have fun with your family outdoors!

Starting time: 10 AM to 1 PM

Starting point: Normanskill Boulevard, Delmar

Distance: 1 mile round trip

Difficulty: Easy

9. Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve | Yoga | Amsterdam

Yoga lovers can find inner peace in the great outdoors with this free yoga class at our new Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve. Breathe deeply and listen to bird song in a beautiful natural space with this class led by Schenectady’s Studio 4 Hot Yoga & Pilates. After your class, enjoy a guided walk through the trails and explore the sinkhole and its disappearing brook, the sugar bush, and the north side of the preserve while learning about geology, storm water, erosion, and maple syrup production. Pack a mat, grab the sunscreen, and we’ll see you on the grass!

Starting time: 10 AM yoga class, 11 AM guided walk

Starting point: 240 Cranes Hollow Rd., Amsterdam, NY

Distance: Approximately 1.5 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy

10. Swift Preserve | Amphibians Hike | Delmar

This hike is great for children. We’ll be exploring a wetland, so waterproof footwear is suggested. Our guide will talk about the indigenous animals who make this site their home, and how their bodies have adapted to thrive in a wet, wild environment!

Starting time: 10:30 AM

Starting point: The end of Evelyn Drive, Delmar

Distance: 1 mile round trip

Difficulty: Easy

11. Van Dyke Preserve | Plein Air Painting Workshop | Delmar  ***FULL***

This Watercolor Plein Air Painting Workshop with art educator Kevin Kuhne takes place along the Phillipin Kill stream. This session will include a short hike, demonstration, and individual sketching and watercolor with individual instruction and critique. Any level of experience is welcome, but some basic, previous use of watercolor is needed. The workshop will focus on design and composition in a woodland interior, making a value plan in your sketchbook, basic watercolor techniques, and executing one or two small watercolor sketches. This four-hour workshop will include a 30 minute break for lunch.  Participants will be required to supply and carry their own folding chair or stool, backpack, portable easel, painting supplies, and a bag lunch. A more formal supply list will be emailed upon registration. Limited to 10 participants – register today at!

Starting time: 10 AM– 2 PM

Starting point:  Van Dyke Road, Delmar

Distance: 1 mile round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Click here to register today for the 2017 Summer Hike-a-thon. This will be a wonderful opportunity to check off some adventures on your Capital Region Nature Passport!

Guest Post: Five Preserves, One Day by Stewart Dutfield

Stewart Dutfield is the Rail Trail Ambassador Coordinator for the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, and was recently honored for his volunteer work at the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy’s annual dinner in January.

Executive Director Mark King snapped this photo of Stewart as he was about to run through Bennett Hill Preserve

Five Preserves: One Day

The map of MHLC preserves shows 19 or so protected areas; how to connect these, each with its few miles of well-maintained trails? On June 3rd, I chose to celebrate National Trails Day by traveling on foot between five of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy’s preserves, from near Schenectady to almost Greene County, and explore the trails in each one. After quite a bit of planning, I had assembled a packet of preserve maps printed from the MHLC website and a photocopy of a road map indicating the route.

Wolf Creek Falls

Wolf Creek Falls: Fresh-footed and Fancy Free

Setting off early in the morning from the trailhead, I noticed a hunting hide in the woods and wondered at a way of spending time in the woods so different from what I had planned for the day: peering out of a slit into the dark woods rather than following one’s fancy from place to place. Some trails here feature turquoise markers for the Long Path, several miles north of the current terminus. I would follow them along the road for a while before making the climb into the Helderbergs.

Winn Preserve

Winn: Engines

Amidst the Maidenhair ferns were signs for the S70 snowmobile trail (“Culvert Ahead”) and evidence of dirt bikes. From the preserve’s southern boundary, old forest roads offer tempting ways into private land. The trail map suggests that S70 is usable outside the preserve—material for future exploration.

Thacher Park: Mud on the Long Path

Munching trail mix & sipping water from a backpack, I trotted along route 156 to rejoin the Long Path markers on Old Stage Road. At the official end point, Long Path markers suggest that the trail continues: in 2013 this led Kenneth Posner to overshoot his epic end-to end traverse.


Long Path Markers

The Long Path took me to High Point and, after a Mars Bar while admiring the view, through a very muddy section past a group of trail volunteers (doing their part for National Trails Day by trimming brush beside the trail). At the brand new Thacher Park visitor center I felt too grubby to linger, so I replenished my water supply and moved on up the hill to Beaver Dam Road. From here it seems that the Long Path once followed trails to the south, but the markers now take the road instead.

Keleher: Trail Work in Progress

The trailhead kiosk indicated that trail reroutings under way had superseded the map. I abandoned the white blazes when they seemed to turn back toward the trailhead, and used the position of the sun as a guide until something appeared that was recognizable on the map. A seat at the overlook offered a fine view through the trees to downtown Albany and beyond.

View from Keleher Preserve

The trail back to the start had also been considerably rerouted, marked in places only by ribbons, but by running approximately toward the mid-afternoon sun I found my way out without the map.

Bennett Hill: Too Many Bathtubs

If MHLC’s Executive Director Mark King was expecting his camera to capture athleticism in action, he was surely disappointed. He drove up to find a (now grubbier) itinerant slouched on a log and scoffing what remained of a bag of trail mix. Photo ops done, I left at the most convincing trot I could manage. Making good time, I thought, as I made a left turn onto the loop around the summit. After passing only the second group of hikers I had seen all day, I noticed a bathtub spring just like the one I expected to pass on the way down. Only after another couple of hundred yards did I realize that the trail was going in the wrong direction; I had not taken the left turn after all, and wasn’t moving quite as quickly as I’d thought. It’s the mind that gives out before the legs do.

Bennett Hill Preserve

Holt: Cutting Corners

It was not far to the last preserve of the day. Tarrytown Road took me past the church in Onesquethaw built of stone which the builders rejected from the Erie Canal, and briefly on Route 32 before turning east onto Lower Copeland Hill Road. The sign-in book at the trailhead kiosk indicated that the lower trails were “very soggy”, so I followed the undriveable portion of what was once Copeland Hill Road up a steep hill to the trailhead for the upper trails. Here, rather than another loop after 11 hours on the move, I chose to walk out on Upper Copeland Hill Road/Appleby Road to the car that would meet me for the 45-minute drive back to the start.










Over 200 Guests Enjoy Live Music at Rensselaerville Event

On Saturday, June 24, guests flocked to the Daniel Conkling House in Rensselaerville for a one-of-a-kind event with the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy and the brass musicians of the Albany Symphony.

Generously hosted by Stewart Myers at his historic property, this “Celebration of Music and Nature” celebrated the protection of the Eldridge Farm and the preservation of the historic agricultural landscapes of Rensselaerville. An outdoor reception was followed by a performance by the brass musicians of the Albany Symphony, conducted by David Alan Miller. Host Stew Myers was invited to conduct the final encore of the evening.

After the performance, many guests joined MHLC Conservation Director Sarah Walsh for a guided hike around the property. At the end of the evening, guests drove home in a light rain, greeted by a beautiful rainbow.

“We are so grateful to everyone who made the Celebration of Music and Nature at the Daniel Conkling House a very successful event,” writes MHLC Executive Director Mark King. “The winning combination of a stunning setting, a gracious host, and beautiful music created a perfect afternoon. Sunny skies and a steady breeze certainly helped round out the day. Stewart Myers’ restoration of the home and grounds of this historic estate is a gift to all who see the property. For years, the Conkling house appeared to be in its final stage of decay until the acquisition by the Open Space Institute lead to the preservation of the property, and the subsequent sale to Stewart and Roy Myers brought about a rebirth of the home. The property is located across the street from the Eldridge property which was protected by MHLC in 2016 and also adjoins lands of the Huyck Preserve to the north, creating a block of more than 500 acres of preserved lands.”

Check out the photo gallery of this unique summer event below. You can also view these photos on the Times Union’s “Were You Seen” page.

Mark King Presents 25 Years of Conservation with CDRPC on July 20

Join MHLC and the Capital District Regional Planning Commission for a luncheon on July 20, and learn more about our Executive Director, his experience and insights into conservation in the Capital Region, and MHLC’s conservation efforts in our 25th anniversary year in 2017.

The second in the Capital District Regional Planning Commission’s (CDRPC) speaker series CDRPC@50, this luncheon presentation will be held on Thursday, July 20 at the National Register-listed University Club of Albany at 141 Washington Avenue at Dove Street. The University Club will serve a hot and cold buffet from noon to 1 PM, with Mark’s presentation commencing at 12:30. The cost for the luncheon is $20. Reservations for the luncheon are required by Wednesday, July 19 and may be made online. To register for the luncheon, click here.

The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy is celebrating 25 years of conservation in Albany, Schenectady, and Montgomery counties. King will provide an overview of the many activities of the Conservancy including our preserves, farmland protection, climate change and resiliency efforts, and the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail.

For more information, and to save your spot at this event, visit the CDRPC’s website.


Calling All Artists: Rail Trail Committee Seeks Muralists

Proposed Site of ART Mural

In late 2016, a group of Bethlehem community members gathered, inspired by the idea of creating public works of art along the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail. Forming a volunteer committee known as Art on the Rail Trail (ART), these citizens have spent the past eight months working steadily, receiving approval from MHLC, as well as from the Bethlehem Town Board, to implement this public art project. ART identifies several benefits of creating public art along the Rail Trail, including: improved quality of life, beautifying the trail during all seasons, and a sense of community ownership. The first proposed art installation is a mural on the corner of Adams Street and Hudson Avenue in Delmar.

The members of ART have been reaching out to local businesses and residents, building sponsorships, community support, and public awareness for the project. Now, the committee is ready to hire an artist to paint the mural, and has posted a Call for Artists with the Arts Center of the Capital Region.

On June 29th, from 6 to 7 PM, an open house will be held at 90 Adams Street for interested applicants. ART welcomes all artists who apply, but is specifically interested in those who have experience in public art, mosaics, and murals. The group is hoping to hire an artist who lives in the Capital Region in an effort to support local community members. ART is particularly interested in proposals which incorporate the themes of connectivity and movement. Applications are due by July 31st, 2017 at 11:59 PM, and must be submitted through The Arts Center of the Capital Region’s website

Throughout the month of August, up to three finalists will be selected and a public presentation will be made. The committee is prioritizing transparency in the selection process, welcoming community members to voice opinions on the different proposals. By mid-October, the mural will be completed, and there will be a mural unveiling ceremony.

ART’s project is a community effort, so be sure to stay engaged and informed via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Love the Rail Trail? Love art? Support this community project by donating to ART today!

Gardens and Glissandos: Join MHLC & the Albany Symphony on June 24

Rensselaerville Azaleas

Music aficionados and nature lovers have long known that great music, like a long walk in the woods, does wonders for our minds and our bodies. The experience of a live concert soothes the soul and sparks the imagination, just as a day in the fresh air energizes the body and quiets the mind.

Scientific data provide evidence to support these well-known phenomena; peer-reviewed studies show us how music and nature improve our health. In 2016, researchers from the Imperial College London tested the levels of cortisol, the primary stress hormone, in over 100 volunteers both before and after attending a live orchestral concert. The results? Across the board, the experience of live music lowered the volunteers’ cortisol levels. A 2015 study compared neural activity in walkers who strolled through city environments to those who walked through a natural setting. The researchers, based at Stanford University, found that those who walked through more natural areas had decreased neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex; in other words, a more natural environment helped walkers stay calm and healthy.

MHLC Executive Director Mark King is pleased to announce that the Conservancy is partnering with the Albany Symphony to bring an afternoon of music and nature to Capital Region residents and visitors. States King, “We invite the community to join us for a celebration of the music and the landscapes that make the Capital Region such a special place to live.”

Join MHLC and the Albany Symphony for an afternoon of music and nature on Saturday, June 24. Enjoy an outdoor reception and light refreshments before an outdoor performance by the brass musicians of the Albany Symphony, conducted by David Alan Miller. Generously hosted by Stewart Myers at his historic home in Rensselaerville, the evening will also include guided walks through the lawns, fields, and gardens of the Daniel Conkling House, a restored 1806 Federal mansion.

Click here to RSVP for this event, or call 518-436-6346. The suggested donation for the event is $75 per person, and all proceeds will support the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy. Space is limited, and it is recommended that participants register by June 19.

The Eldridge Farm in Rensselaerville

The event celebrates MHLC’s protection of the Eldridge Farm and the preservation of the historic agricultural landscapes of Rensselaerville. “As a board member of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, a resident of Rensselaerville, and the Chair and Founding Trustee of the Carey Institute for Global Good, I am honored to be part of this wonderful event,” wrote Carol Ash, former commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “Our local community is so appreciative to the Conservancy for protecting the beautiful landscape in which we live – the music of the Symphony will celebrate the beauty of the hills.”

This event is also a continuation of a partnership between the Symphony and the Conservancy. In June of 2016, MHLC offered a private tour of a conservation easement as part of the Symphony’s week-long American Music Festival. In 2015, David Alan Miller was the guest speaker at MHLC’s Annual Awards Dinner. On June 24th, the two local institutions will join again to bring this one-of-a-kind experience to community members.

For more information, and to purchase your ticket to the June 24 event, click here.

New Conservation Director Focuses on Connectivity

We are excited to welcome Sarah Walsh, our organization’s first Conservation Director, to the MHLC team. Sarah joined in late May and will oversee our stewardship activities and assist with land acquisitions.

As Sarah delves into fields, forests, and filing cabinets, she brings a focus on connectivity to our conservation work. One of Sarah’s goals is to link our preserved lands, providing a critical link for wildlife between the Capital District, the Catskills, and the Adirondacks.

“This position is getting me back to my non-profit roots and I’m very excited to join this team at an exciting time for conservation in the Capital Region.”

Sarah brings nearly ten years’ experience in habitat restoration initiatives for bird habitat, riparian and wetland areas as well as experience in protection of conservation lands, non-profit program development, and trail planning. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Science from SUNY ESF and her Master’s degree in Science Education from the University of Albany in 2012. Sarah is an avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys back-country skiing, mountain biking, hiking, paddling, sailing, and bird watching.

As Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy celebrates twenty-five years of conserving lands, we will continue to strategically conserve lands while taking into account research and policies regarding climate change and connectivity. We will also continue our goals for providing the public with ways to connect to the land of this region through acquisitions of parcels that allow for public access and recreational opportunities.

Sarah, Sawyer, & National Trails Day Volunteers

On October 21, we will be opening the Fox Preserve, a generous donation of land in Colonie from Pat Fox. This 70-acre Preserve offers hiking trails with views of Shaker Creek and the Mohawk River and is located within walking distance of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike Trail, providing visitors a great place to hike rest and enjoy the wonderful green spaces this region offers. On June 3, volunteers joined Sarah and our Stewardship and Volunteer Coordinator, Sawyer Cresap, at the Fox Preserve for National Trails Day. The group spent the morning clearing brush and making trails, preparing this Preserve for its Grand Opening this fall.

A week later, Sarah and Sawyer traveled to Hagaman to visit Mosher Marsh. Ellie Peters donated this 43-acre parcel to the Conservancy in 2008. Ms. Peters, conferring with our conservation team about recent flooding and beaver activity at the Preserve, remarked that her father had scattered a bag of lupine seeds in their garden when they built the house over fifty years ago. Today, the flowers are still blooming and have migrated all the way over to the preserve entrance and all throughout the meadow along the trail.

Sarah and Sawyer noted buttercups, bird boxes, clover, and a daisy that loves the wet soil near the beaver lodge – Philadelphia Fleabane. The trail is currently flooded near the first bridge, so visitors to the preserve are  encouraged to walk up along the meadow near the lupine.

Enjoy these photos of Mosher Marsh from Sarah, Sawyer, and our Stewardship Intern, Jake Hill.

Guest Post: Meet our Stewardship Intern, Jake!

Jake works with Kathy Meany to remove trash from the Bozen Kill Preserve

Jake Hill returns to MHLC to complete his second summer as our Stewardship Intern in 2017.

Growing up in the Capital District, nature and the outdoors have always been a large part of my life. Some of my happiest memories involve exploring the landscape of Altamont, with many days spent catching animals and swimming in the Bozen Kill River.

Having spent the majority of the past three years away from home while attending school at SUNY Geneseo, I’ve gained even more of a love for the land here. This passion for the outdoors was also strengthened by the courses that I was taking at college. As a biology major with geology and environmental studies minors, my understanding and appreciation for nature and land has grown exponentially with each passing year.

Jake Builds Trails for MHLC

Last May, after finishing my sophomore year of school, I began my summer internship at Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy. Having learned about land conservancies at school I had become interested in land conservation and saw an internship at MHLC as the perfect opportunity. It gave me the ability to give back and help preserve the land that I grew up on, and see if land conservation really was an interest of mine.

A highlight of last summer was the ability to work on the Bozen Kill preserve, an area that I remember exploring before it was anything but an open field with grass taller than my head. Being able to both maintain and build new trails on that preserve only strengthened the bond that I had with the land and really showed me the importance of the Conservancy’s work.

This realization stuck with me and led to me returning for a second year of my internship with MHLC. I am coming back with an increased understanding of the Conservancy and how it works, along with an increased passion for conservation. I look forward to being back on all the preserves I frequented last year, along with interacting with all the amazing people that are associated with MHLC.

Land conservation is always of the highest importance, now more than ever. Knowing that I am playing a role in keeping land from being developed and destroyed is a very rewarding feeling, and when I consider that the land I am helping to protect is the land that I grew up on it becomes even more special. Hopefully a whole new generation is able to explore MHLC properties and find the wonder they hold, falling in love with nature just as I did. Being able to play a role in preserving the land so that one day that is possible is why I came back for a second year of MHLC, and why conservation is now an incredibly important aspect of my life.


Let me take you down, ’cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields

The ribbon cutting ceremony at Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve

As you wind your way up the steep, paved drive to Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve, you will be welcomed by a series of signs featuring the lyrics to The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever,” a song which continues to evoke a mellow, other-worldly feeling fifty years after its original release in 1967.

The lyric signs, dappled by morning sunlight and framed by the emerald green of maple leaves in spring, set the stage for the grand opening of our Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve last Saturday, May 20. Over 150 guests drove to Cranes Hollow Road in Amsterdam to celebrate the opening of this 118 acre property to the public.

MHLC Board Member Claiborne Walthall and daughter Anna enjoy hiking at the grand opening

Visitors mingled and enjoyed coffee, pastries, fruit, and granola. Maple syrup, which was harvested and processed on the property by landowner Jeff Leon, was for sale, with all proceeds going to MHLC to directly support the preservation of Wolf Hollow in Amsterdam.

MHLC Executive Director Mark King, welcomed the crowd in a sunny field, a strong breeze cooling the air. “Thank you for joining us for the opening of our newest preserve,” said King. “We are proud to be working with landowners in Montgomery County to continue to protect the open spaces which make this area so beautiful, and to create preserves for the public to enjoy.”

Jeff Leon, owner and steward of the preserve, spoke of his work with MHLC to protect this property in 2013 under a conservation easement. He named the property “Strawberry Fields” because of the many wild strawberries found in the open fields and along the trails. As guests leave the property, they see the lyrics to John Lennon’s “Imagine” printed on the back of the driveway signs. Leon explained that he chose the lyrics to “Imagine” because of the unifying message of the song. “I may be a dreamer,” Leon remarked, “but I’m not the only one…For nearly 50 years, Strawberry Fields has given me so many opportunities to learn about, and appreciate, the breadth of life. By opening our nature trails to the public, I hope many more people will take the same opportunities to more deeply realize how much human existence depends on nature, and why overexploitation of nature threatens that existence. Deeper appreciation of nature’s essential assistance can lead us to living in a sustainable manner.”

After the remarks from King and Leon, the official opening ceremony concluded with Leon cutting a large ribbon, assisted by his grandchildren. The ceremony was followed by a series of guided tours on the preserve’s trails. The crowd split into smaller hiking parties, trekking across open fields to explore the features of the red and yellow trails: views over the Mohawk River Valley, hemlock forests, a sinkhole, excellent birding areas by a large pond, and the fields and successional forests in which over 300 vascular plant species have been identified by botanists.


Climate Change and Conservation with the MHLC Board

On a May morning in Selkirk, NY, MHLC’s Board of Directors met with Scenic Hudson’s Science Director Nava Tabaka and Land Conservation Director Seth Mckee under an overcast sky. The rain held off as the group hiked through a property that was once proposed as a site for a landfill but which has been protected by Scenic Hudson. This property borders the Hudson River and includes part of the Binnen Kill watershed. The group observed the extensive wetlands and discussed how rising sea levels may affect the area.

After the morning hike, the Board reconvened at the home of Christine and Paul Shields, who graciously hosted the Board’s annual retreat: an opportunity to connect, reflect, and look to the future. The staff from Scenic Hudson, our partner and fellow Land Trust Alliance-accredited non-profit organization, shared their groundbreaking tools for strategic conservation planning in a changing climate.

Claiborne Walthall, newest member of the MHLC Board, reflected that “Scenic Hudson’s presentation was very useful. It was interesting to learn about what a partner organization is doing, and exciting to see the possibility for incorporating climate change into our conservation strategy to expand upon the solid criteria which we already use. This was a great example of learning from a companion organization.”

Projected Changes Within the Hudson River Estuary

Seth and Nava of Scenic Hudson explained to the group the potential impacts of sea level change under various future projections based on scientific modeling. Sea levels have already risen 15 inches along the river since 1900, and the rate of change is increasing quickly. An increase of six feet is possible by the end of this century. This change will have a dramatic impact on the Hudson’s unique intertidal freshwater wetlands.

Scenic Hudson is using sea level rise modeling and climate science to better understand these changes and to guide their conservation work. By using complex computer modeling and building on work from organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, Scenic Hudson is developing online mapping tools which can guide land protection efforts of organizations throughout the Hudson Valley. The MHLC Board discussed how our organization can use this framework to guide conservation decisions going forward, specifically within the Hudson River Estuary‘s thousands of acres of wetlands.

An estuary is a body of water found at the meeting of an ocean and a river. Here, saltwater mixes with freshwater. The Hudson River Estuary is almost 150 miles long- this ecosystem reaches from Manhattan to the Federal Dam in Troy. As tides come in, salt water moves upriver. As tides go out, the salt water retreats. This balance between ocean water and river water creates both brackish and freshwater environments which have evolved under the constant influence of the tides, adjusting and thriving in an environment where the movement and chemistry of the water continually fluctuates.

Over 7,000 acres of intertidal wetlands are located in the Hudson River Estuary, and they contain critical habitats for thousands of species of plants and animals. These wetlands also serve as filters, removing pollutants from the Hudson River and regulating water quality.

These unique ecosystems, and the benefits they provide to human communities along the Hudson River, are under direct threat from rising sea levels caused by climate change. As water levels rise in the Atlantic Ocean, water levels will rise along the Hudson River Estuary.

From Scenic Hudson’s Report “Protecting The Pathways”

The Hudson River Estuary is likely to experience 3-6 feet of sea level rise by the end of the 21st century—a rate faster than any in recent millennia and potentially much faster than the wetlands’ ability to accrete and maintain their position between the tides. Steep slopes and shoreline development may further limit the wetlands’ potential to adapt by restricting horizontal movement. Together these factors pose a fundamental challenge to the long term persistence of the Hudson River Estuary’s wetland habitats and the health of the entire ecosystem.Scenic Hudson

Protecting Wetlands Along the Northern Estuary

The northern reaches of this ecosystem, which are situated within the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy’s service area of Albany, Montgomery, and Schenectady Counties, are outside the reach of the Atlantic saltwater. According to Scenic Hudson, “in the northern half of this long freshwater stretch the river is shallow and broad, and undeveloped low-elevation shores are more abundant. Approximately half of the estuary’s current tidal wetland area is found in this most northern reach.”

As the sea level rises, we can fight the loss of wetlands by protecting existing wetland areas and by protecting wetland pathways, the areas identified as both current wetlands and the adjacent areas into which the wetlands may migrate as sea level rises and sediment accretes. By preserving these wetland pathways, MHLC can increase the adaptability of freshwater wetlands along the northern traces of the Hudson River Estuary.

From Protecting the Pathways: “Ensuring that wetlands have the physical room to adapt to rising sea levels is essential to the long-term health of the Hudson River Estuary ecosystem as well as human communities. A land protection strategy that prioritizes undeveloped parcels with the greatest potential for hosting future wetland areas (including persistent current wetlands and wetland migration areas) can serve as a blueprint for action by federal and state agencies, municipalities, land trusts, and other conservation entities. Minimizing future development and infrastructure investments in these areas will also reduce risks to communities and property owners in the changing flood zone.”

Looking Forward: MHLC and Climate Change

In our silver anniversary year, we are taking our 25 years of experience, consulting with other conservation experts, and incorporating the latest scientific research and policy changes to expand and improve our conservation plans moving forward.

Want to join the conversation about climate change and conservation in the Capital Region? MHLC will have a table at the upcoming League of Women Voters of Albany County Meeting on Wednesday, May 31 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Bethlehem Town Hall. This meeting, entitled “Climate Change: The End? Or the Beginning?,” features guest panelists Congressman Paul Tonko and Dr. Jeff Corbin, Chairman of Environmental Science at Union College. This program will focus on new innovations in conservation, business, and science in addressing climate change.

Bike to Work Day: A Celebration of the Rail Trail

Join the NY Bicycling Coalition, Elected Officials, and MHLC on May 19 for Bike to Work Day: A Celebration of the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail!

John Clarkson and Pat Fahy at  Bike to Work Day 

Walk, stroll, ride, or glide along the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail on Friday, May 19th and show your appreciation for this treasured community resource. You are invited to join Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy, New York State Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, Bethlehem Town Supervisor John Clarkson, and the New York Bicycling Coalition at MHLC’s annual Bike to Work Day.

This free event begins a light breakfast at 8 AM at our office at 425 Kenwood Avenue. At 8:30, guests will hit the Rail Trail to ride. Bike to Work Day is open to anyone, whether or not they are able to bike to their place of work from the Rail Trail. Join in for free refreshments and a bit of outdoor exercise before you start your day. Register today!

The event highlights bicycling as a zero-carbon transportation option. Bike to Work Day is an annual event, and 2017 marks the first year in which bicyclists can take the paved Rail Trail all the way to their destination. The Rail Trail is an essential route for bicyclists and pedestrians, and will be especially important as of June, when improvements and construction on Delaware Avenue in Delmar, NY, between Adams Street to Elsmere Avenue will create detours as the ‘Delaware Avenue Hamlet Streetscape Enhancement’ construction project takes place. The Rail Trail offers an excellent detour opportunity for those who can walk or bike to their destination.

Click on the picture above for a full-size, printable poster.

“As the steward of the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, we are pleased to see that so many people have utilized the Rail Trail for recreation and to get to work each day,” said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. “People from all over the county have embraced biking to work as a way to combine a love for the outdoors with environmental consciousness. It is my hope that we can continue our work to make the trail a resource for more people in the county.”    

“The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy is proud to partner with Albany County and local municipalities to continue to improve the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail as a vital pedestrian and bicyclist resource in the Capital Region,” says Mark King, Executive Director of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy. “Bike to Work Day is an excellent opportunity for Rail Trail users to show their support for this community treasure.”

To register for Bike to Work Day, visit our Events Registration Page. The event is free and includes a light breakfast, as well as the opportunity to shake your elected officials’ hands and tell them how much you appreciate the Rail Trail.

The Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail (ACHHRT) is a 9-mile trail providing exciting opportunities for recreation, exercise & fitness, and zero carbon transportation, amidst beautiful vistas of natural scenery. The trail provides a safe and enjoyable bike-and pedestrian-friendly connection between the communities of Voorheesville, New Scotland, Bethlehem, and Albany. The Rail Trail is owned by Albany County and is a shared-use path that accommodates all types of non-motorized traffic. The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy works in partnership with Albany County, the City of Albany, the Towns of Bethlehem and New Scotland, and the Village of Voorheesville to promote and advocate for this exceptional recreational asset. Volunteers from Friends of the Rail Trail (FORT), a committee of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, serve as Trail Ambassadors, guiding visitors, patrolling, and serving as trail custodians.

Spring Trail Work at Swift Preserve

This week, MHLC welcomed our new Stewardship and Volunteer Coordinator, Sawyer Cresap, into the office.

She didn’t stay in the office for long! It’s springtime, and there’s trail work to do. This Thursday, Sawyer met with John Sherman, Preserve Steward of Swift Preserve, to remove some downed trees from the preserve trails.

Enjoy Sawyer’s before and after photos of the work, as well as some shots of trout lilies, violets, and the wetlands in springtime.

Swift is one of MHLC’s “Pocket Preserves” – little pockets of nature, tucked within developed areas and easily accessible for a hike any time of day. This 21.6-acre wetland is located in Delmar directly across Delaware Avenue from the Bethlehem Central High School sports field. A gift from the Swift group, the Preserve was created to protect the wetlands remaining after homes were constructed on neighboring parcels. It includes a 1-acre man-made wetland, built to help compensate for the natural wetlands that were filled in. It officially opened to the public in 2007, and is a favorite  spot for MHLC staff craving a dose of vitamin D, the smells of the forest, and the sounds of the wetlands on our lunch-time breaks from the office on Kenwood Ave.

To learn more about Sawyer, visit our MHLC Team page.

Guest Post: Meet our Communications Intern, Christiane!

Hi there!

My name is Christiane Lee, and I am the new intern at the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, you can find me writing letters, emails, and blog posts at our office in Delmar. Let me take this time to tell you a little bit about myself and how I became the intern at your local land trust.

I am a junior English major and writing minor at the College of Saint Rose. I am both the intern at the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy in Delmar, NY, and an office clerk at the Hubbard Interfaith Sanctuary in Albany, NY. Although I live in Albany for my schooling, I am not actually from the area. I was born and raised in Tolland County, Connecticut, with my two younger sisters and older brother. When I’m not at school or my jobs, I enjoy reading, writing, playing the piano and ukulele, hiking, and painting.

A typical day at my internship consists of a lot of writing and reading. Over the course of the day, I work on numerous projects, like drafting and editing blog posts, social media posts, and press releases about our upcoming events. I put my English major skills to work and carefully proofread our newsletters and flyers. I have recently been addressing and mailing out hundreds of our Nature Passports, and have also been working on the early stages of some new and exciting projects which MHLC will be releasing later in 2017.

Christiane prepares Nature Passports to be mailed.

I applied for this internship at the Conservancy back in December. I believe conserving land, air, water, and other natural resources is crucial for our development as part of the global community. Without the Earth, we have no home. I, too, spend a lot of time on our nature trails, and recognize the inner peace fresh air, singing birds, and tall trees gives us. I want to make sure that future generations have places where they can play and learn about the Earth and its other inhabitants. As an environmental advocate, I wanted to work with a team that holds similar values, and found the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy. With this organization, I am able to express my fervor and passion for environmental conservation, and help the MHLC give back to the public by providing clean and safe spaces to explore and reconnect with nature. I greatly appreciate all of the knowledge and guidance my mentors here have given me.

I hope to meet some of you, our supporters, in my time working at the Conservancy, and want to thank you for letting me work at your local land trust!



Strawberry Fields Forever: Grand Opening of Our New Preserve!

MHLC welcomes the public to the grand opening of a new preserve in Montgomery County, the first of our 25th anniversary year!

On May 20th, you are invited by the Conservancy, and hosts Jeff and Judy Leon, to join our growing community of Capital Region conservationists at the grand opening of Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve, located on Cranes Hollow Road in Amsterdam. The celebration begins at 10 AM with a light breakfast, followed by a grand opening ceremony at 10:30. After the ceremony, guided tours of the new trails will head out to explore the blooming, spring-time landscape of this “oasis for flowers and birds.”

This event is free, but you must reserve your spot by registering online. Please RSVP by May 12th.

RSVP Today!

Strawberry Fields
is 118 acres of protected land. The property includes the nature preserve, a family homestead, and a working farm. It was protected in 2013 under a conservation easement with MHLC. For more information about Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve, visit our Preserve page. We also recommend “Strawberry Fields is an oasis for flowers, birds” – a piece written by Karen Bjornland in The Daily Gazette:

It will not be long before the spring flowers are blooming off Cranes Hollow Road in Amsterdam. At the Strawberry Fields Farm Preserve, you will see bloodroot, trout lily, marsh marigold, trillium and mayapple. In July, tiny wild strawberries, the namesake plants of the preserve, will pop up all over the fields.The Daily Gazette

The property provides habitat to abundant and diverse wildlife, and protecting that life is a primary purpose for the preserve. Over 300 vascular plant species, over 100 bird species, and uncounted other members of the food chain have been identified here. Visitors can often spot American woodcock, turkey, ruffed grouse, pileated, red-bellied, downy, and hairy woodpeckers, Northern harrier, bluebirds, bobolink, meadowlark, osprey, red-tailed hawks, and Baltimore orioles. Deer sightings are common, as are squirrels, woodchucks, rabbits and chipmunks. Less commonly sighted are fishers, foxes, bobcats, weasels, and coyotes.

We hope you will join us on May 20th for the grand opening of this ecologically unique and stunningly scenic preserve. RSVP Today!