ALBANY COUNTY – The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is looking for neighbors that live within half a mile of the Preserve to help track changing weather patterns by measuring the depth of snow in their own backyard. On Wednesday, Oct. 5, from 7-8 p.m., volunteers can come to the Discovery Center at 195 New Karner Road to learn how to collect and submit measurements.
Regionally, climate change is altering seasonal weather patterns, especially temperature and precipitation, but little is known about specific changes in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is therefore asking Preserve neighbors to help fill this knowledge gap by inviting them to participate in a citizen-science project to document snow depth around the Preserve.
“Many plants and animals have evolved to require cold, snowy winter weather”, said Neil Gifford, Conservation Director for the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission. “For example, such conditions appear essential to the success of the endangered Karner blue butterfly’s eggs, which overwinter under the snow. Prolonged cold temperatures also provide the refrigeration critical to the germination of many native plant seeds, and snow can affect how much water is in vernal ponds for frog and salamander breeding in spring.”
According to Gifford, understanding how weather patterns in the Preserve are changing is the first step to understanding what the Commission can do to improve the long-term survival of the Karner blue butterfly as well as 68 other rare wildlife listed as Species of Greatest Conservation Need in New York State.
This program is free and recommended for ages 15+. Snow monitoring materials will be provided. Participants must live within one half mile of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. Pre-registration is required for all programs. The Discovery Center is located at 195 New Karner Road in Albany. To sign up please visit www.AlbanyPineBush.org/events or call 518-456-0655.
The 3,200+ – acre Albany Pine Bush Preserve (APBP), located in New York’s Capital District, protects one of the best remaining inland pitch-pine scrub oak barrens in the world. This extraordinary fire-dependent ecosystem provides habitat for many plants and animals and supports 69 New York State-designated wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the endangered Karner blue butterfly. The APBP is a National Natural Landmark, Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area Site, a New York State Unique Area, Bird Conservation Area and a National Audubon Society Important Bird Area. Characterized by rolling sand dunes and miles of trails, the APBP offers visitors many recreational opportunities including hiking, bird watching, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, fishing and canoeing. The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is a public-private partnership created by the NYS Legislature in 1988 to protect and manage the APBP and provide the public with educational and recreational opportunities.