What's New in 2023

Kyle's Feature in a WAMC Radio Segment

In an episode of WAMC's radio series called The Best of Our Knowledge, Kyle shares insights into the roles and ecologies of ants in our environment. In this short segment, he covers the diversity of ants in Columbia County and the Hudson Valley, touches on some of the different morphological characteristics within this large taxa, explains how they impact our environment including within a farm context, and so much more.  Check out this segment for a brief overview of ants and how they live in the land among us. If you find this interesting and would like to know more details about ant diversity or the agroecology of ants, be sure to check out Kyle's talk on ants which expands on many of the ideas he mentions in this radio interview!


Conrad's Article on Ponds Published in LakeLine Magazine

Conrad explores the history and ecology of Columbia County ponds in his recent article, "The Pond Boom and Its Implications for Nature," published in LakeLine Magazine’s winter issue. Ponds as we know them are not usually a natural occurrence in Columbia County. They are often the result of a human need, such as an irrigation source for farming, a desire for recreational activities like swimming or fishing, or aesthetic preferences. Whatever the reason, ponds are now common, and Conrad explores just what this might mean for the ecology of the landscape.

In this article, Conrad describes four ecological challenges that certain human-constructed ponds pose to the resiliency of our local flora and fauna. He also describes some groups of organisms and species of plants that are found in productive pond ecosystems, and how they might be hindered or supported depending on management practices used in the surrounding landscape. Conrad invites readers to imagine and explore how we can better manage and steward these bodies of water to draw out the potential for supporting native biodiversity. If you would like to dive deeper into the ecology of ponds, check out our pond webpage for more information on Farmscape’s original pond study.


The Farmscape Ecology Program on "Roots to Renewal" Podcast

Hawthorne Valley’s Executive Director, Martin Ping, sits down with Conrad Vispo and Claudia Knab-Vispo to talk about the Farmscape Ecology Program on Season 2, Episode 4 of Hawthorne Valley’s “Roots to Renewal” podcast.

The “Roots to Renewal” Podcast started in 2021 as part of the celebration of Hawthorne Valley’s 50th anniversary. In each episode, podcast host Martin Ping sits down with people advancing the ecological, social, and spiritual work at the heart of Hawthorne Valley’s mission. Guests have included such internationally renowned thinkers and practitioners as Bill McKibben and Frances Moore Lappe, alongside those doing this work locally or at Hawthorne Valley.

In this episode, Conrad and Claudia share the background story of how they came to start the Farmscape Ecology Program, where the term “farmscape” came from, and some of the surprises, highlights, reflections, and accomplishments along the way. As the Farmscape Ecology Program celebrates its own anniversary of 20 years, this episode is a wonderful opportunity to hear directly from its founders.


The Little Things that Run the World — A Winter Lecture Series

This autumn/winter, we offered a four-part in person and online lecture series. These lectures focused on four fascinating insect groups and their role in regional biodiversity and agriculture. The richly illustrated presentations explore the amazing worlds of bees, ground beetles, ants, and wasps. What do these insects look like? How many species do we know of? What have we learned about what they are doing? And how can we help them to continue thriving in our landscape?

This free lecture series was presented on four Thursdays, in the Hawthorne Valley Learning Center (327 CoRoute 21C, Ghent NY; the white building attached to the red barn):