In 2020, the Preserve’s Conservation Science and Land Protection programs joined to become Conservation Programs. This integration enhances both our climate and natural history research, including citizen science programs, and our land protection and management work, including ongoing work with landowners to protect high priority properties. Working together, these conservation professionals take a comprehensive approach to deepening our connections and commitments to nature and our communities.
In order to protect and perpetuate life on the Preserve’s lands, we use the latest generation of scientific research techniques, and support our research staff, visiting scientists, and interns who monitor the environmental systems of the Shawangunk Ridge as part of our “living laboratory.”
The Daniel Smiley Research Center (DSRC) – Mohonk Preserve’s conservation science unit – is recognized nationally and beyond for its extensive collection of long-term research data, including 86 years of natural and cultural history observations, over 120 years of daily weather data, 60,000 physical items, 9,000 photographs, and research library. The data and natural history collections support the Preserve’s land management and stewardship activities and our educational programming. The collections are also frequently cited in research on climate change, biodiversity, bird migration, and human impact on the environment.
Our land protection work is multi-faceted and involves maintaining strong relationships with landowners and local communities, negotiating land transactions and land protection agreements, and monitoring our protected lands to ensure that they are not threatened or challenged. This work relies on sophisticated map-making systems, which also enable us to provide tailored maps and wayfinding information for the Preserve’s visitors.
More than fifty years after we began, our goals remain unchanged: we protect the Shawangunk Mountains by conserving key recreation areas, fragile habitats and scenic viewsheds. Working together with you, we’re leaving a conservation legacy that will remain for generations to come, fulfilling our promise of saving the land for life.
Banner photo by Carol Rietsma