Conservation Projects

The 300 acres of land at The Uplands Center resides on is rich with diverse plant communities and wildlife. As stewards of this land, we aim to enhance, strengthen, and conserve the ecological community through several initiatives:


Stream-side tree planting

We have partnered with the Delaware Country Soil and Water Conservation District (DCSWD)’s “Catskills Stream Buffer Initiative” to prepare for a major native tree planting project on our lower property.

DCSWD works toward protecting water quality in Delaware Country, NY, which is part of the largest unfiltered water supply in the United States.  One key component to stream health is adequate tree and shrub establishment on the edges of the waterway. Stream-side plants reduce pollution by slowing and filtering storm-water runoff, resulting in higher quality water. Vegetated buffers also mitigate flooding and erosion by stabilizing stream banks.

With the help of DCSWD, we have prepared 30 acres along a stream for a tree and shrub planting. Many aggressive non-native shrubs were dismantled and mulched in place, leaving space for native plants of higher wildlife value. We anticipate a spring planting of over 2000 trees and shrubs: elderberries, hazelnuts, blueberries, birches, oaks, hemlocks, and more. While this enhances the health of our waterways, it also provides greater diversity, nutrition, and habitat for wildlife – creating a healthy, resilient ecosystem.


Pollinator meadow

Through a collaboration with National Resources Conservation District (NRCS), we are working toward establishing a native wildflower meadow near our organically-grown garden. We will till and plant a buckwheat cover-crop several times this summer to prepare the soil and reduce weed pressure on about an acre of land. Once the ground is sufficiently prepared, perhaps by this fall, we will cast a diverse wildflower seed mix: echinacea, bee balm, milkweed, aster, mints, and more. All of these plants are beloved by bees, butterflies, and birds. Not only will this provide sustenance and habitat for important pollinators in our region, but it will enhance our garden ecology and likely improve our crop production.


Conservation mowing schedule

Grassland birds require large patches of tall grass for nesting and raising young. The fields at The Uplands provide this, as well as an abundance of wildlife-supporting plants such as goldenrod and milkweed. These plants provide coverage for birds to hide nests and attract insects to eat.

If the fields were completely undisturbed, they would eventually turn into forest. Mowing the fields prevents trees from overtaking the meadows. However, if mowing occurs during the breeding season (May-August), it creates unsuitable nesting sites, or in some cases, even destroys existing nests or fledglings.

We manage our with fields with bird conservation in mind by waiting until the fall to mow, and only mowing every 2 years to promote insect habitat. A notable increase in the population of birds, particularly Bobolinks (a threatened species) has been observed since we’ve implemented the conservation-based mowing schedule. Learn more here!

We welcome opportunities to collaborate with regional universities and offer the land as a site for environmental research and learning. Whether it be a professor interested in a diverse and abundant ecosystem to work with, a grad student seeking a site to engage in field research, a local school group in need of a field trip, or something beyond, we’d be thrilled to offer our space. Please reach out to to explore the possibilities!


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