Public education is central to the mission of Hudsonia. Our Biodiversity Resources Center provides Biodiversity Assessment Courses and produces Biodiversity Resource Materials to inform and educate people involved in land use decision-making in the Hudson Valley.
|News & Events||Courses & Workshops||Materials|
Our programs vary from year to year. To see the types of programs we offer in a typical year, view our Education Brochure or continue reading below. To be informed of programs as they are scheduled, please SUBSCRIBE to our Biodiversity Education email list.
Click here for information and an application form for the 2015 Short Course on Habitat and Water Resource Assessment for Land Use Planning.
Biodiversity Education Program
|The Biodiversity Education Program instructs community leaders in science-based principles and techniques for conservation of biological and water resources. Through hands-on laboratory and field exercises, participants learn the value of biodiversity in their communities, how to recognize habitats of ecological significance, and how to protect important resources through sound planning and site design . The Biodiversity Education Program has been funded by the Hudson River Estuary Program of NYSDEC, the Educational Foundation of America, the Dyson Foundation, and the Geoffrey C. Hughes Foundation.
Six-Month Biodiversity Assessment Training
A community group of 5-8 volunteers representing municipal agencies, watershed councils, land trusts, and similar organizations attends monthly or semi-monthly 4-hour laboratory and field training sessions in their own community, provided free-of-charge. The team is introduced to principles of biodiversity conservation and techniques for recognizing important biological resources. Participants learn to predict the occurrence of ecologically significant habitats using map analysis and aerial photo interpretation, and to verify the presence of those habitats in the field. They learn about the kinds of habitats used by rare and declining species of plants and animals, the importance of spatial relationships among habitats in the landscape, and how best to protect habitat complexes that support local biological diversity. We are concerned with a broad array of common and rare habitats important to biodiversity such as upland meadows, upland forests, woodland pools, fens, kettles, and carbonate crests. We have worked with over 200 participants throughout the ten-county Hudson River Estuary in the 6-month and (previous) 10-month program. Past trainees are also eligible for follow-up technical assistance. The next six-month training program will be held in 2016. Contact BRC director Gretchen Stevens (8845-758-7024) for more information.
Three-day Short Course on Habitat and Water Resource Assessment for Land Use Planning
The Short Course is a condensed version of the 6- or 10-month Biodiversity Assessment Training. Participants are introduced to many of the skills and techniques taught during the longer course. Outdoor sessions teach field identification of habitats and indicators of habitat quality, and indoor lectures and exercises focus on conservation principles, map analysis, aerial photo interpretation, and incorporating biodiversity conservation into town-wide planning and site-specific environmental reviews.
The 2015 session of the Short Course will be held in New Paltz on 10-12 September. Click here for details and application form.
Other Workshops on Identification and Conservation of Biodiversity and Water Resources
We offer one-day workshops on specific topics related to biodiversity conservation. The topics vary from year to year, but past and prospective topics include:
- Biodiversity Assessment for Land Use Decision-Makers
An abridged session on the topics presented in the 6-month, 10-month, and 3-day Biodiversity Assessment workshops
- Habitat Assessment Guidelines
Introducing guidelines that will help planning boards and land use applicants gather information about sensitive resources on proposed development sites, and design projects in ways that minimize impacts on those resources.
- Biodiversity Conservation and Site Plan Review
How a planning board can help applicants incorporate biodiversity conservation into their site plan design
- Field Skills for Reviewing Land Use Proposals: Basic skills for interpreting the landscape, recognizing sensitive areas, and assessing biological impacts of land development proposals
- Incorporating Biodiversity Conservation into Local Ordinances and Procedures
How to incorporate biodiversity protection into comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances, the SEQR process, or local reviews of land development projects
- Plants as Indicators of Ecologically Significant Habitats
A field workshop identifying plants that are indicators of certain ecologically significant habitats such as calcareous wet meadows, fens, and calcareous crest, ledge, and talus
- Habitat Requirements for Plants and Animals of Conservation Concern
The geological, structural, and biological characteristics of habitats for rare and vulnerable plants and wildlife, and measures for effective conservation
Click here for information on several 2015 workshops on habitats and conservation in Columbia County, to be held in collaboration with the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program, the Columbia Land Conservancy, and the Hudson River Estuary Program.
In 2015 we will also hold two workshops on field skills for environmental reviews. Check back here for the schedule.
The Biodiversity Education programs outlined above are conducted in partnership with the Hudson River Estuary Program, with funding from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund.
Biodiversity Resource Materials
In New York State, as in many other states, municipal agencies (e.g., town councils, town planning boards) have substantial authority for land use planning, for environmental reviews, and for issuing regulatory approvals for development projects. Most such decisions, however, are made without the benefit of good biological information or knowledge of potential impacts to biological resources. Consequently, biodiversity resources are disappearing at an accelerating rate in the rapidly developing Hudson Valley due to loss, fragmentation, and other degradation of habitats. The prospect of regional biological impoverishment was a primary impetus for creating the Biodiversity Assessment Manual and other resources for biologists and for the non-biologist members of town agencies, land trusts, and others whose land use decisions will shape the ecological landscape for the foreseeable future.
- Biodiversity Assessment Manual for the Hudson River Estuary Corridor
Written by Hudsonia scientists and published in 2001 by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Manual profiles 38 ecologically significant habitat types of New York’s Hudson Valley, discusses the plants and animals of conservation concern each habitat may support, and provides recommendations for protecting the biodiversity values of those habitats. The Manual is the centerpiece for our Biodiversity Assessment courses. Hudsonia has distributed the Manual free of charge to municipal conservation commissions, land trusts, and public libraries throughout the region. While hard copies of the Manual are no longer available, you may order a CD version by contacting Hudsonia.
- Guidebook for Biodiversity Assessment
This companion to the Biodiversity Assessment Manual guides readers through the process of assessing habitats using map resources for biodiversity conservation planning.
- Habitat maps created by Biodiversity Assessment Training groups
Several of the habitat maps created by groups who have completed the 6-month or 10-month Biodiversity Assessment Training program can be viewed on Google Earth.
- Persuasive Biodiversity Facts
Why should we be concerned about biodiversity protection? This document, created in conjunction with the Hudson River Estuary Program, describes the links between biodiversity and Lyme disease, West Nile Virus, wildlife-generated income, and other facets of ecology and human welfare. We encourage the free download and distribution of this document.
- Habitat Fact Sheets
Created with the assistance of the Hudson River Estuary Program, these documents highlight the characteristics and sensitivities of ten common and uncommon ecologically important habitats in the Hudson Valley and provide recommendations for conservation. We encourage the free download and distribution of these fact sheets to landowners, developers, and land-use decision makers.
- Plant Indicator Guides
Each guide describes and illustrates plants that can be used as indicators of ecologically significant habitats in the Hudson Valley, including calcareous wet meadows, calcareous crests, fens, and swamps. We encourage the free download and distribution of these guides to anyone interested in learning how to recognize habitats that may be unfamiliar.
- Conservation Planning
This suite of resources is designed specifically for land-use planners wishing to implement local biodiversity conservation. It includes summaries of conservation recommendations for certain habitats, as well as a series of documents with suggestions for how municipal planners can use comprehensive planning, pre-application meetings, zoning, SEQR, and other processes to incorporate biodiversity protection into their day-to-day work.
Hudsonia, a tax-exempt not-for-profit corporation of the State of New York, classified 501(c)(3) by the Internal Revenue Service, relies on the generous, tax-deductible contributions from members of our community to sustain our research and education. We appreciate your support of our work.