The Bard College Ecology Field Station was established by the college in 1972 and expanded in 1984 by the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve (HRNERR) of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The Field Station operates as a collaboration among Bard, HRNERR, and Hudsonia Ltd. This report briefly summarizes activities at the Field Station during approximately the past two years.
The Field Station accommodates a variety of pure and applied research, education for professionals, and technical assistance in the environmental sciences and particularly field biology. Students, teachers, environmental professionals, landowners, concerned citizens, and others often need guidance through the maze of information and conflicting opinions regarding environmental issues and natural history. At the Field Station, diverse professionals, students, and amateurs work together to learn about the flora and fauna of the region and solve environmental problems that range from species identification to biodiversity conservation to sustainability. This work requires a particular marriage of natural history with theory, supported by long experience in the region and extensive knowledge of literature in the pertinent fields. Good land use planning and environmental management require a firm basis in field science as is provided by the Bard Field Station and its partners.
Here is an incomplete list of activities at the Field Station during approximately the calendar year 2008 and the first half of 2009. Field Station activities are supported by grants, contracts, and donations from a varied spectrum of agencies, NGOs, businesses, and individuals.
Simon’s Rock senior Rozan Abdulrahman
used Field Station library resources for her Senior Thesis.Alana Buonaguro
is an intern in the Field Station Herbarium. Currently she is curating, analyzing, and cataloguing mosses and lichens from the Hackensack Meadowlands of New Jersey.
Senior Josh Cohen
conducted his 2008 Senior Project research on the seed bank of common reed (Phragmites
) stands in Tivoli North Bay where the Department of Environmental Conservation is controlling reed. Erik Kiviat identified seedlings for Josh.
For her 2007 Senior Project Zara Dowling
performed experiments managing vegetation and soil on nesting habitats at the Hudsonia long-term Blanding’s turtle study area in the Town of La Grange. Zara, Tanessa Hartwig, Erik Kiviat, and Felicia Keesing have submitted a paper to the journal Ecological Restoration
based largely on Zara’s research.David Flores
worked as a Herbarium intern during the 2007-2008 academic year and his Senior Project benefited from discussions with Hudsonia about ecological restoration. He returned in May 2009 to take a professional workshop offered by Hudsonia.
For his 2008 Senior Project, Evan Goldman
performed a population viability modeling analysis of the Blanding’s turtle using Hudsonia’s long-term data. Evan, Felicia, Tanessa, and Erik are preparing a paper on this analysis.
Erik presented on the ecology and management of the invasive common reed in Ken Howard’s
Backyard Ecology class.
For her Senior Project, Genevieve Howell
is studying the community of potential prey for the Chinese mitten crab in the Saw Kill.Katharine Mitchell
served as a Herbarium intern in 2007-2008.
SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry student Matthew Pomerantz
is a summer volunteer at the Field Station.Samantha Root
is a Herbarium intern and office volunteer (summer 2009).Loralee Ryan
and Erik are analyzing data on animals associated with the invasive plant Japanese knotweed. Stands of invasive plants often have diverse associated fauna and flora, knowledge of which is crucial to managing the invasive species.
Film student Lauren Taylor
borrowed a canoe to shoot in North Bay for a class assignment.Regina Vaicekonyte
, Erik, and Aminy Ostfeld have completed a paper analyzing the biofuel potential of common reed.Graduate StudentsHelen Bustamante
, PhD candidate at University of Illinois, conducted much of her laboratory analysis of Hudson River zebra mussel larvae in the Field Station.
Bard CEP-MAT dual degree student Christie Ferguson
compiled data for a paper by Erik Kiviat, Cris Winters, and Fred Baumgarten on breeding bird use of common reed stands.Kay Hajek
, PhD candidate at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, used Field Station facilities while conducting field work on the effects of livestock grazing on Dutchess County fen wetlands. Erik is a member of her committee.
PhD candidate Glendon Hunsinger
, SUNY Binghamton, processed Hudson River water samples for his (now completed) research on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pollutants of health concern.
Bard CEP student Andy Lance
completed an internship and used Hudsonia data for his Master’s thesis.Jonelle Orridge
, Queens College PhD student, is studying a rare clam shrimp at sites discovered and analyzed by Hudsonia in the Hudson Valley and the Hackensack Meadowlands.
SUNY Albany Conservation Biology and Policy Master’s student Shannon Rauch
is analyzing spatial behavior of Blanding’s turtles using Hudsonia’s long-term data. Erik is a member of her committee.Kimberly Uyehara
published a paper, based on her Bard GSES Master’s thesis on the endangered Hawaiian duck (koloa), in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology
Bard CEP employee and graduate Molly Williams
wrote a chapter on environmental laws and regulations for the Biodiversity Assessment Handbook for New York City
, a project of Hudsonia and the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History.High Schools
Poughkeepsie Day School Seniors Clare Churchill-Seder
(daughter of Bard faculty member Jean Churchill) and Greg Shaheen
served their senior year spring internships with Hudsonia at the Field Station.Gabriella DiGiovanni
(Rhinebeck High School) is a summer volunteer.Jane Meigs
, of the Millbrook Prep School, used library resources from the Field Station and was advised by Erik and Simon’s Rock faculty member Bob Schmidt in the design of a fish monitoring project to be conducted by Millbrook students.AlumniTanessa Hartwig
(BA, MSES Bard) is Assistant Director of Conservation Ecology at Hudsonia. She supervised the long-term study of Blanding’s turtle response to habitat creation at Arlington High School in the Town of La Grange, and played key roles in a number of other Hudsonia projects including mapping potential habitats for Blanding’s turtle in six Dutchess County towns, collecting and analyzing data on the ecology of two rare plants, providing technical assistance in matters of land development, performing biological survey work at three New York sites, and team-teaching a professional workshop Habitat Creation and Turtle Conservation. Tanessa presented papers on the Blanding’s turtle research at conferences in Toronto, Pennsylvania, and New York. Tanessa and Erik also presented a two-day professional workshop on amphibian and reptile survey methods in May 2009. The Blanding’s turtle research has provided information used in making conservation and management decisions throughout the US and Canadian range of the species.Erik Kiviat
(BS Bard) is Executive Director of Hudsonia and has been associated with the Field Station since its planning in 1970. Erik’s primary research interest is the ecology and innovative management of invasive plants, and he presented papers on this subject at conferences in California and New York, co-taught a professional workshop on common reed ecology and management (with Cathy McGlynn), and coauthored papers on reed, cerulean warbler (a declining bird), Japanese knotweed, urban frog populations, a globally rare species of clam shrimp that lives in rain puddles on dirt roads, and the threatened Blanding’s turtle. He wrote two chapters and assisted with a third for the new book Tidal Freshwater Wetlands
(Backhuys Publishers). Erik also provided technical assistance on biological conservation to several citizens’ and environmental groups, municipal agencies, and businesses. He is coauthoring a book on urban biodiversity and its management in the Hackensack Meadowlands of New Jersey, a quintessentially urban wetland complex. Studying urban biodiversity teaches us how to better conserve rural biological resources as the landscape changes to urban, as well as helping urban practitioners manage those resources that persist in the cities.Faculty and StaffFelicia Keesing
collaborated with students and Hudsonia scientists on Blanding’s turtle research.Bill Maple
, who has served for 30 years as Field Station Director, taught field biology classes and provided support for a wide range of student and professional activities. Bill has also been involved with the maintenance of specimen collections and the Field Station library, and he has facilitated collaborations among many of the organizations and individuals using the Field Station.Catherine O’Reilly
taught classes at the Field Station and collaborated with the DEC, Hudsonia, and students monitoring juvenile American eels migrating from the ocean into the Saw Kill. Catherine and this group also installed and studied use of the first eel ladder on the Hudson River, designed to assist young eels in ascending the concrete dam and gaining access to upstream habitat.Joan Retallack
used Field Station library resources in her study of the representation of bird songs in different languages.Susan Fox Rogers
used Field Station boats and equipment for annual clean-ups in Tivoli North Bay. (North Bay has been a major study area for the Field Station since the early 1970s.)Bob Schmidt
(Simon’s Rock and Hudsonia) initiated and participated in several projects at the Field Station, including the American eel studies, clam shrimp research, and an ongoing investigation of the colonization of Hudson River tributaries by the Chinese mitten crab.Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve of the DEC
HRNERR researchers Sarah Fernald
and others continued to analyze water samples from the Hudson River and its wetlands and tributaries for their monitoring project. Educators Laurie Fila
and Jean McAvoy
used the Field Station as their base for public canoe trips at Tivoli North Bay and other wetlands. HRNERR restorationist Dan Miller
was involved in the eel studies, common reed management, and other projects that used the resources of the Field Station. DEC Rangers patrolling the Tivoli Bays area also used Field Station facilities. Erik assisted HRNERR staff with specimen identifications, field sampling, and facilities support.Other NGOs, Colleges, Government Agencies, and Individuals
Two summer undergraduate fellows at the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, Lori Jaeger
and Matt Francis,
are studying an introduced population of the red-eared slider (turtle) with supervision from Tanessa Hartwig and Erik Kiviat.
The New York Natural Heritage Program and Hudsonia have collaborated for many years. Recently we have re-examined locality records for rare plants in Red Hook and at David’s Island in Long Island Sound. The mission of the Natural Heritage Program is to survey and provide information about rare species and plant communities in New York.
Hudsonia performed biological surveys of the Hudson South Bay area for Scenic Hudson, due to the potential for ecological restoration of this post-industrial tidal marsh and upland complex. Some of the more interesting species found were river otter, northern leopard frog, Jefferson salamander, and side-oats grama grass.
We are helping Jeremy Davis
) locate stands of butternut and black walnut near Poughkeepsie for his research on an associated insect species.John Hoyt
(Millbrook) is a volunteer assisting with carpentry projects.Other Hudsonia Activities
Many of Hudsonia’s projects involve biological surveys (looking for particular species, or compiling lists of the flora or fauna of an area), habitat mapping (for land use planning), or biodiversity assessment training (so municipal agency members and NGO staff can map habitats and conserve biological resources in their own communities. We have been working with municipal groups in Red Hook and Kingston, as well as communities up and down the valley. Habitat mapping projects have recently been completed or are close to completion in the towns of Pine Plains, Hyde Park, Poughkeepsie, Northeast, Beekman, and Marbletown, and a mapping project is underway in Dover. We have also performed short biodiversity assessments and biological surveys on development sites and park areas widely spread in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Gretchen Stevens, Nava Tabak, Andrew Meyer, Jamie Deppen, Tanessa, and other Hudsonia staff are responsible for the mapping and training projects.
Hudsonia also provides technical assistance to municipal agencies (e.g., planning boards), environmental and citizens’ groups, and businesses. These projects generally address specific issues of rare species, wetlands, streams, other habitats, fish, or invasive species, in connection with land use projects. More information is available at hudsonia.org/
Report compiled by Erik Kiviat with assistance from Bill Maple, 17 July 2009
Individuals interested in the program of the Bard College Field Station may contact Bill Maple or Erik Kiviat.