Hover Fly on a light purple New England Aster

Hover Fly on a New England Aster

Hawthorne Valley’s Farmscape Ecology Program (FEP) team will present some of their research in two sessions at the Northeast Natural History Conference in Springfield, MA on April 12-14.

The Northeast Natural History Conference is in its 19th year and serves as a gathering space and forum for researchers, naturalists, natural resource managers, and students. On Saturday, April 13, all five team members will give presentations, some in conjunction with collaborators, on their research regarding phenology (the study of the seasons), and the role of wilder on-farm habitats in supporting nature conservation and agricultural production.

Conrad Vispo, wildlife ecologist, is facilitating a session on “On-farm Habitats: Agronomic Beneficials and Biodiversity Conservation,” which features many aspects of the current farmscape ecology research by FEP and collaborators. The session will focus on the paired questions of ‘what can farms contribute to nature conservation?’ and ‘what can wild organisms contribute to farm production?’.

As part of the session, Claudia Knab-Vispo, field botanist, will speak about creating native wildflower meadows as a way of enhancing on farm beneficials in “Creating Habitat: Establishment and Monitoring of On-farm Native Wildflower Meadows.” Field Technician Dylan Cipkowski will present research on wildflower use by hover flies and wild bees in a talk titled “Beneficial Insect/Wildflower Associations in Upstate New York: Farm Management Implications.” Kendrick Fowler will also present findings comparing the ant communities in wilder habitats around crop fields with the ants found in those fields in “Ant Assemblages in Vegetable Crops and Crop-Adjacent Habitats in the Hudson Valley, New York.”

Collaborators who will also be presenting during this session include Anne Bloomfield of the Hudson Valley Farm Hub, Erin Allen of SUNY-Albany, Carmen Greenfield of SUNY-Cobleskill, Noah Perlut of New England University, Erik Kiviat of Hudsonia, Jerry Jenkins of the Northern Forest Atlas Project, and Jean-Paul Courtens of the Roxbury Agriculture Institute. They will talk on the interactions of on-farm habitats with birds, turtles, mosses, soil invertebrates, additional insects, and crop production,

In a different session that day on “Phenology and Climate Change,” Anna Duhon, cultural anthropologist at FEP, will give a presentation with Kerissa Battle of the Community Greenways Collaborative and New York Phenology Project on “Two Centuries of Phenological Change in NY State.” In this talk, they will discuss the discovery of a historic network collecting phenology data from over 100 locations throughout New York State from 1826-1872, and how it is being paired with the contemporary New York Phenology Project citizen science network to look at season changes in the state.

“This conference is a laid-back yet hard-core gathering where naturalists share what they have learned,” Vispo said. “It’s great for us to have this opportunity to share the range of our work.”

For more information about the conference, including a complete schedule, please visit their website.

The Farmscape Ecology Program has performed research and outreach in Columbia County, NY, and the surrounding counties for over fifteen years. Their work is dedicated to encouraging an informed compassion for place through exploring the relationship between nature and human activity in the rural, semi-agricultural landscape of our region. The program seeks to make this theme accessible to the general public through various forms of outreach and participatory research methods. It offers monthly Open Houses and Ecology Walks around the county that are free and open to the public. For more information, please visit their website.