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Learning from a Model Forest

June 25, 2017

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October 29, 2015

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Since 2011, Green Chimneys’ Clearpool Campus has been the site of the second largest Model Forest established in and around the New York City Watershed. A Model Forest serves as an outdoor classroom to educate forest landowners, students, and communities about effective forest management and stewardship practices that are compatible with water quality protection – a critical issue for New York’s East of Hudson region.

In the four years following this land designation, a number of studies and best management practices have been completed, providing local landowners, forestry professionals and conservation organizations with valuable information and examples that can be applied to similar, public and private, forested areas. 

Continuous Forest Inventory
Permanently established plots enable long-term research to gather comprehensive data about many aspects of the forest. Tracking of overall forest health, individual tree health, growth and mortality, and understory vegetation will help determine needs and priorities for optimal forest management.

Sustainable Stream Crossings
Appropriate stream crossings for vehicles, or foot travel, are key to protecting water quality, keeping pollutants like soil, from entering fresh water. Two bridge installations demonstrate a durable, and portable, solution for landowners who need access to multiple areas of their property.

Experimental Invasive Species Control
Black swallowwort, a non-native invasive vine, was found along a hiking trail in the southeast corner of the property. An ongoing experiment to control the swallowwort without the use of herbicide features a combination of weed whacking, hand pulling, tarping, and reseeding.

Demonstration Road and Trails
Improvements to a main road and trails have stabilized a gravel road and trails to properly control water run-off and minimize erosion. Open-top culverts, water bars, broad-based dips, and rubber belt deflectors built into a section of roadway along two trails on the South and North sides of the property show how.

Sugar Bush Management
Data has been collected from an area of sugar maples in order to manage the forest for a healthy sugar bush. Thought to be in decline, this section of trees is being studied by SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry to track changes and identify actions to preserve this valuable section of forest.

Projects in the Model Forest are in partnership with the Watershed Agricultural Council.

Choose Your Own Adventure
There's no better way to experience the Model Forest than to spend a day immersed in Clearpool's 350 acres of natural woodlands. From school trips and retreats to weekend activities for families and vacation camp for children, we host a range of educational, adventurous and fun events. Start exploring >

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