Living Land Field Guide - Our Virtual Workshop



One central goal of the Living Land Project is the creation of an Ecological and Cultural Field Guide to the Habitats of Columbia County, NY. Our hope is that this guide and related materials will stimulate public exploration of our landscape and provide useful information for land-owners and land-use planners.

As part of assembling this guide, we have been sharing different versions of our initial draft chapters at public events, both to start feeding back the information we have accumulated during our project and as a way to garner input on the design of the guide.

In this spirit, this page is a 'virtual workshop' not in the sense of a workshop presentation, but rather in the sense of a machine-cluttered, saw-dust carpeted, blue-print wallpapered, fly-spotted skylight-lit workshop where we are in the midst of trying to assemble something.

If some of the information you find here is useful to you, great, please let us know; if some of it seems confusing or wrong, please, please let us know. If you're missing something, i.e., if there is information that you would hope to find in a guide like this but which doesn't yet seem to be part of our plans, also let us know. Email us or ring us (518 672 7994) with any corrections or comments.



If you plan to use this information in any way, we would recommend you contact us - some of it might be out of date, lacking in appropriate interpretation or just plain wrong.


Files describing the field guide:

Draft outline of field guide

Draft key to habitats (10/30/2015; this is the key as presented at the 30 October workshop; we got some great feedback and will be updating this)

Draft habitat descriptions: Our chapter structure has been evolving. The files are listed in chronological order, and the most recent ones indicate our most current thinking. There are various caveats. Some of these are incomplete;.some images are just web-snitched place-holders and will not be included in any final accounts; and, finally, some of the quotes offered in the cultural sections are, at this stage, 'made-up' (although based on the sense of actual interviews; this is because we did not want to use direct quotes prior to giving interviewees a final chance to review their comments).


Slideshows (in pdf format) describing the project:



Potentially useful links:

A one page set of links to the Farmscape Ecology Program's on-line info. about Columbia County biodiversity, much of which is being incorporated into the field guide.

Page for downloading images from USGS's national collection of historical aerial photographs (here are our instructions for using this somewhat clunky page).

Historical topomaps can sometimes be useful. While these generally provide less land use info. than can be gathered from historical aerial photographs, we have sometimes found topo maps that have forest cover details based on historical aerial photographs which we have not yet found and which may no longer exist. These maps are also valuable for pin-pointing former industrial locations, abandoned houses, obsolete roadways. and the like. There are at least three different pages where you can access these maps:

Historic USGS Maps of New England and New York, a map-quad-based index of images

USGS Topoview Interactive Download Map, slightly hard to navigate but the only source for geotiff versions of these maps (a format which can be directly incorporated into ARCMAP)

USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer, a different search format that allows you to stack historical maps and fade in and out between them by adjusting layer transparency.... ripe for hours of snooping.


The web pages of our collaborators and funders:

Hudsonia, Ltd. (a key collaborator in the field and at the writing desk)

Columbia Land Conservancy (an important institutional collaborator helping us to hone and share a useful field guide)

Hudson River Estuary Program (while not an official collaborator on this project, this Program has funded our consultative round of outreach and provides much regional information on biodiversity and conservation)

Kalliopeia Foundation (a major funder of the initial years of the Living Land Project)