Our first stop as a mobile digitizing team this summer was the Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve, located a little over 75 miles from Vassar’s campus in Albany County, New York. The Preserve was founded through gifts from the Huyck family in 1931, and has been growing ever since. Dedicated to education, recreation, conservation, and research, the Preserve boasts over 2,000 acres and has substantially contributed to the field of ecology by hosting researchers such as Eugene Odum (the “father of ecosystem studies”) and Donald Griffin (who was the first scientist to describe bat echolocation). After 3 days of work making over a hundred annotation labels, encountering 308 genus folders, and handling nearly 1,000 herbarium specimens, the Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve Herbarium has been fully imaged. In the collection, we came across specimens collected as far back as the nineteenth century, as well as many that were collected in the mid-twentieth century. The annotation and imaging process was a wonderful way to begin our summer URSI projects under the mentorship of Dr. Schlessman and with the assistance of Taylor Conte. Our time working was filled with lots of laughs, lively conversations about plants and taxonomy, and was a perfect introduction to the field of botany.
We were graciously hosted by the Huyck Preserve, which allowed us to spend our nights in one of their research lodgings located directly at the edge of Lincoln Pond and only a short, nature-filled walk from the Eldridge Research Center. After an eventful first day working, we decided to take a walk on the trails surrounding Lincoln Pond and stumbled upon multiple snapping turtles laying their eggs, and on the following days, we encountered porcupines, deer, beavers, woodchucks, and an adorable gaggle of goslings. We would like to extend our thanks to Anne, Adam, and Garrett for being so welcoming and sharing the preserve with us.
Alison Carranza ‘23 and Garrett Goodrich ‘23