Welcome to the Farmscape Ecology Program
you for stopping in. A Grey Wood Frog and a herd of cows & a
tractor (at the bottom) keep you company on this page. A
none-too-subtle reference to
program's goal of combining an understanding and appreciation of the
natural world with a realistic approach to agriculture. Of course,
idealists in our own way, but we hope that the information on these
pages helps inform your interaction with the land, whether you're a
farmer, a naturalist, or a just curious inhabitant of the County.
These pages explain some of our work and
motivation. For general information, please choose from the list at
left; for more detailed information, use the menu on top.
What is farmscape
In our books, 'farmscape ecology' refers to the patterning of life on
our landscape. It is a landscape in which farming has played and does
play a large role. We emphasize that role by calling our landscape a
farmscape. Given that the vast majority of our land was once opened for
agriculture, it is fair to say that agriculture's legacy, if not
current imprint, has defined much of the human settlement pattern and
native species ecology that we see around us today.
Farmscape ecology includes those aspects of human ecology that relate
to our use of the land and the growing of food upon it. Thus, we look
at studies of our local food system as one way of describing the nature
of our landscape. Likewise, farmscape ecology also includes description
of how other animals and how plants distribute themselves on the
land - where do they find homes? how do they get nutrients? how
do they move about? And, foremost perhaps, farmscape ecology
includes looking at how the patterning of human and non-human ecologies
how does our activity, for example, determine where plants and animals
can exist? How do those plants and animals, in turn, influence
our existence? Where are there synergies, where are there disconnects
between our own use and that of other organisms?
Our ultimate goal is to encourage the compassionate, holistic
understanding of our landscape and the active consideration of how
human and non-human ecology can best be configured on that landscape so
as to provide healthy, economically feasible (for consumer and
producer) human sustenance while also providing a livelihood for the
other species that share this land with us. We're all in this
As you browse through the information available on these pages, please
ask yourself - what does this tell me about who I am as an 'ecological
agent' influencing the lives of other people and other organisms? What
does this tell me
about how those others likewise influence my life? And, how
does this begin to help me envision the 'best' future shape of this
County we all call home?
INFORMATION - Late 2013 (and some earlier stuff we haven't quite forgotten yet).
Join us in the Field! November and December Outings are Now Posted Here.
Video of Program Description
If you're curious to actually watch one of us try to make sense of all
this, you now can, courtesy of the Cornell Horticulture Department.
Watch one of us in this on-line video of a recent talk.
Sean's Wildlife Photos.
Sean Madey has been collecting some wildlife photographs using game cameras set on Phudd Hill. His latest 'hits' are on this page.
Harlemville Weather 24/7
to an anonymous donation, we have been able to go live with our
weather. You can now check out the Farm's weather anytime, anywhere
(e.g., midnight in the bathtub, 2am EST from the top of the Eiffel
Tower, etc.). To do so, go to the weatherlink network, or download the free weatherlink mobile app for android or apple.
Aside from current info., basic historical information is also
available through that interface (tap the bar at the bottom of the
app's screen in order to see historical data). Our station name is
"hvf". Our standard weather web page will continue to be updated, but, as usual, only when our computer is on.
Our 2012 'Year in Review' Now Available
This pdf file describes program activities during the past year.
Preliminary Report of Land Use Research around the New Lebanon Shaker Village.
Kyle Bradford, our
former intern and new technician, has been out exploring the fields and
walls around the New Lebanon Shaker Village. View this page to see a summary of his work to date and to download a Google Earth file.
New Report on On-Farm Nature Available
Through a series of species profiles this report summarizes aspects of our work
on regional organisms that affect farming and that are affected by farming.
New Farmer Narrative Project
Farm Profiles and Map Now Available!
The New Farmer Narrative Project has been gathering and sharing new
farmer stories and information through the traveling Journeys
into Farming exhibit. While the exhibit tour is now done, you
can see online versions of the exhibit panels, including a map of
new farms in the area, on the New Farmer
Narrative Project webpage.
The Living Land Project
We've been out exploring the County this summer as part of our Living
Land Project in collaboration with Hudsonia and the Columbia Land
Conservancy. We're still in the preliminary stages, but if you'd like
to see a brief summary of the project and a few of this summer's
sightings, then check out this pdf.
Checklist of Plants of Columbia County
After several years of research, we are now ready to share a first
draft of an updated checklist of 1491 vascular plant
species that are known to grow wild in Columbia County. We hope for
your help in making this list ever more accurate, so please give us
feedback if you have seen additional species or disagree with any of
the information presented. This list is very much a work in progress,
but we hope it serves as a useful tool for everybody interested in
exploring the flora of our County.
Claudia recently completed a report on the ecology of Shaker Swamp in New Lebanon
for the Shaker Swamp Conservancy. To learn more about this ecologically
(and historically) interesting spot, please see
her revised report.
Exciting Addition! Anna has now created her own page about the
Community Food Assessment project
she has been working on. Click here to visit this new realm.
How to Get More.
Please consider reading our blog,
Finally, don't forget our monthly opendoor evenings, the first Thursday of every moth
(except holidays, 6-8pm)
No need to call ahead, no need to bring anything.
Just come by and we'll have a pot of
soup, chili or some such waiting.
We're located at 1075 Harlemville Road in Ghent (on the NW corner of
Hawthorne Valley Farm).
Just to make sure people don't forget, we can send you a monthly reminder - please email us
if you want to be on the list.
See our contact info. for more complete directions.
Call us at (518) 672 7994 if you need information.
MOSAIC OF COLUMBIA COUNTY AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS CREATED. Thanks to
the Columbia County Soil and Water Conservation District and volunteer
Otis Denner, we have essentially finished our county-wide mosaic of
1940s aerial photographs. Check out a snap-shot of the mosaic and let us know if you'd like a copy of the 1940s aerial image of your property.
HARLEMVILLE WEATHER. A periodically updated page with recent Harlemville weather.
SIGN-UP FOR ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER. We've
moved out of the Stone Age and at least into the Bronze Age: you
can now subscribe to our electronic newsletter by simply following this