Black Dome Press

From the Hudson to the Taconics: Field Guide to Columbia County


From the Hudson to the Taconics
An Ecological and Cultural Field Guide to the Habitats of Columbia County
by Anna Duhon, Gretchen Stevens, Claudia Knab-Vispo & Conrad Vispo
Trade paperback, 7 ½″ x 10″, 432 pages, more than 750 full-color photographs, maps graphs, tables and charts
ISBN 9798985692143, $35.00

Featuring 36 discreet natural habitats in the Hudson Valley’s Columbia County, and beautifully illustrated with over 750 full-color photographs, maps, graphs, tables, and charts, this easy-to-use Field Guide offers readers an in-depth look at the ecology, history, and cultural impact of natural habitats throughout the county and is the culmination of over two decades of research conducted by Claudia Knab-Vispo, Anna Duhon, Conrad Vispo, Gretchen Stevens, and the staff at Farmscape Ecology Program and Hudsonia.
The Field Guide was designed to appeal to a wide audience of readers—from land stewards and scientists to hikers and backyard gardeners, from educators and policy makers to farmers and land managers—in short, anyone who inhabits, visits, or loves this landscape. The goal is that readers will discover resources within this book to deepen their relationship with this land and to better understand and appreciate the wild plants and animals who share it.
This engaging and highly informative companion for exploring the ecological and cultural fabric of a richly varied Hudson Valley landscape and environs provides the tools to recognize and get to know the 36 distinct habitats. Each chapter offers tables and descriptions highlighting the plant and animal species distinctive of that habitat, with beautiful photographic illustrations, habitat identification tools, and stewardship considerations, featuring:

● Vivid descriptions & distinguishing features of each habitat
● “What to look for” sections with comprehensive lists of over 1200 associated wild plants and animals
● Maps of habitat locations and public areas where they can be experienced
● Invitations to interact with habitats & ideas for stewarding them
● Fascinating habitat histories, stories, and perspectives, past to present

The book also looks at so-called “ghost” habitats that have been lost from Columbia County, a feature that the authors hope will invite readers to think more critically about the stewardship of current habitats. As coauthor Conrad Vispo says,“I think it’s really easy for us to look around us and assume that the way things are now is the way they have always been and will always be” but “going back in history, you can quickly realize that is not the case.”
Brian Donahue, author of Reclaiming the Commons and The Great Meadow had especially high praise for the Field Guide: “Nearly a century ago,” he stated, “pioneering ecologist and conservationist Paul Sears called for each county to have a resident ecologist—a publicist as well as a scientist—so that citizens would better understand the ‘whole scene of which they are part.’ With this superb Field Guide, Columbia County has a model for every other county in the nation.”

More Praise for From the Hudson to the Taconics
“How well do we really know the place we live, farm, garden, hike, bird? Not just its component parts—the animals or plants, for instance, covered in conventional field guides—but the ecological whole. Through deep dives into each of the diverse, distinctive habitats that make up Columbia County, From the Hudson to the Taconics unlocks an intimate and holistic understanding of this magnificent, historic land, teaching us to look through fresh eyes at somewhere we thought was so familiar, seeing something new revealed each time as our understanding deepens.” Margaret Roach, garden writer and podcaster,, and New York Times contributing garden columnist

“It is well-organized, easily accessible, and filled with historical insights and even-handed stewardship suggestions. Best of all, it rests on unparalleled research and engagement with its beloved landscape.” Brian Donahue, author of Reclaiming the Commons, and The Great Meadow

“If you don’t love it, it’s hard to work tirelessly to save and protect it. The photographs and the narrative in this Field Guide will make you fall in love with this special part of the world. This Field Guide is like no other and will inspire you to nurture the land, the water, the soil, the climate, and of course all the creatures that live there—including us.” Judith Enck, President of Beyond Plastics, Former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator

“An invaluable resource and a must-have for nature enthusiasts or anyone interested in exploring the incredible diversity of habitats in Columbia County or the Hudson Valley! This guide is a unique collection of scientific and cultural knowledge that inspires care for all inhabitants, common or rare.” Kristi Sullivan, Cornell Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, Director, New York Master Naturalist Volunteer Program

“Take a hike through Columbia County’s beautiful landscapes with From the Hudson to the Taconics in your hand. This captivating exploration takes a close look at some of our best-loved landscapes, celebrating the forests, the rolling hills and meadows, and the clear, cool waters that define this special place. Whether you’re a seasoned naturalist or just purchased your first set of binoculars, this book will leave you inspired to cherish and protect the wild wonders of Columbia County.” Troy Weldy, Columbia Land Conservancy

“When the seasoned researchers of the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program team up with Hudsonia to compile an inventory of the ecosystem what is left for the serious gardener, farmer, land steward or curious citizen to do but buy that book?” Wes Jackson, co-founder of the Land Institute, MacArthur fellow, and author of several books including Becoming Native to This Place

About the Authors
Anna Duhon’s interest in the interconnections between people, nature, and land use has led her to many new places, including graduate school in Costa Rica, but she is grateful to have found the opportunity to bring this interest closer to home through her role, since 2009, doing community-based social science research with the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program.
Gretchen Stevens has been studying the plants, animals, and habitats of the Northeast for over 40 years. With a specialty in field botany, she is the director emerita of Hudsonia’s Biodiversity Resource Center (BRC), which gathers and disseminates information on biological resources to those who can put it to the best on-the-ground uses for conservation.
Claudia Knab-Vispo is a field botanist who grew up and studied in Germany, honed her skills in Borneo and Venezuela, and moved to Columbia County with her husband Conrad more than two decades ago. Since then, on the team of the Farmscape Ecology Program, she has been documenting and teaching about plants in and around Columbia County.
Conrad Vispo is a wildlife ecologist by training, having studied mammalian thermoregulation in corporate lawns, wild bird nutrition in northern forests, and tropical fishery biology/ecology. His current work at the Farmscape Ecology Program is mainly on the agroecology of insects, but he maintains an interest in other realms, especially historical ecology.

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This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 01 May, 2024.

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