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"Exploring a Sense of Place" at Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve through a series of events, September 21 to November 2, 2011.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – From September 21 through November 2, the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve presents “Exploring a Sense of Place,” a series of free public events, including guided walks, presentations, as well as an invasive insect training workshop. All programs are free and open to the public, however registration in advance is suggested. Unless otherwise indicated, programs will be held at the Vassar Farm and participants should meet near the large red barn across from the parking area by the community gardens. Suggested attire is close-toed shoes and long pants for outdoor events. To RSVP or for additional information, please contact Keri VanCamp, field station and ecological preserve manager, by email at kevancamp@vassar.edu or by phone at(845) 437-7414.

Wednesday September 21 at 3:30 pm
Farm Field Fall Flowers, a walk led by Dr. Mark Schlessman and Keri VanCamp
Many plants in the old fields of the Vassar Ecological Preserve are in full bloom during the early fall. We will learn about the flowers, discuss the ethnobotanical uses of plants we encounter, and talk about old-field management.

Wednesday September 28 at 3:30pm                      
Springs at the Farm, a walk led by Dr. Jeff Walker
There are literally dozens of naturally-occurring springs on the Vassar Farm Ecological Preserve, each of which the result of a distinctive combination of geological and surficial conditions.  This walk will visit two prominent springs on the Preserve: one in 10,000 year-old glacial sediments and the other in 500 million year old limestone bedrock, and will discuss the similarities and differences between the two.

Wednesday October 5 at 12:30 PM – 4:30 PM:
Observing Nature through Science Illustration, a program led by Rick Jones
In this workshop we will focus on truly observing, slowing down to notice elements of nature that often go unseen. We will use a variety of simple techniques to ease into drawing, but the focus will be using these techniques to train the hand to draw what the mind sees. Participants need bring no supplies, but if they have a notebook, or favorite drawing tool, that is a good start.

Saturday October 8 at 7:30pm
Astronomy:  Observe the Moon Night, a program led by Mid-Hudson Astronomy Club
An evening of lunar observation and education guided by local amateur astronomers.  Telescopes will be provided by MHAA. Great for all ages.

Saturday, October 15th 2011 at 9am
A Day in the Life of a Woodpecker, a program led by Mike Fraatz
Bring the whole family and join us for a kid-friendly event where you will learn all about woodpeckers. There are many different types of woodpeckers that live in the woodlands on the Vassar Ecological Preserve. We will learn what woodpeckers eat, where they live, and how to identify different species. There will be a presentation on the topic, followed by a crafts activity for the kids.

Friday October 28 from 6:30-8:30 PM
Saturday October 29 9:00am - 2:30pm  
Invasive Insect Training and Poughkeepsie Survey, a training and Survey led by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Inspectors
The City of Poughkeepsie has been identified as an area that is at high risk for invasion by the Asian Longhorned Beetle and Emerald Ash Borer. On Friday, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Inspectors will lead a training session that will review the signs, symptoms, lifecycles, and damage caused by these invasive insects. The training will also include identification of the trees that will be affected. On Saturday, October 29, teams of inspectors and volunteers will survey targeted areas in the City of Poughkeepsie. The goal of the Forest Pest Outreach Survey is to train community members to monitor our neighborhoods for these pests.  Registration is required and a boxed lunch will be provided on Saturday. The Friday evening training session will occur in Olmsted Hall for the Biological Sciences Room 301.

Wednesday November 2 at 6:30 PM
Migration of the Northern Saw Whet Owl, a program led by Dr. Glenn Proudfoot
Since 2006, Vassar students have caught, banded, and released hundreds of Northern Saw-whet Owls (Aegolius acadicus) at the Vassar Ecological Preserve.  The project was designed to access migration patterns of this pint-sized predator.  Although still in its infancy, the past five years of research have provided some interesting results. Come see what we have learned regarding saw-whet owl migration.  Experience first-hand how researchers catch and process these small owls, learn about the techniques that are being used to find out where the owls are coming from, where they are going, why they migrate, and more. The program will be held at Collin’s Field Station at the Vassar Farm. Seating is limited and registration is required.

About the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve

The Vassar Farm, situated on a 527.5-acre plot of land, is located on the southern side of the Vassar campus, across Hooker Avenue/New Hackensack Road. Historically, the land was a working farm providing milk, pork, and vegetables to the college dining halls until 1957. In the proceeding years, the farm was established as an ecological preserve for study and research. The farm currently provides wooded trails, open meadows, sports fields, and space for several organizations, including the Poughkeepsie Farm Project. The land hosts a wide variety of activities by members of Vassar and the surrounding communities, and remains one of the few expansive open spaces in Poughkeepsie.

The mission of the Vassar Ecological Preserve is to protect and preserve the ecological diversity of the land to ensure that its educational value will be maintained in perpetuity. Increased understanding and appreciation of the natural systems on the preserve are promoted through field-based education and research.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations or information on accessibility should contact the Campus Activities Office at(845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice,
appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the campus can be found at www.vassar.edu/directions.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Friday, September 9, 2011