By Jeff Simms
Illustrated by Tatyana Starikova
Wildlife ecologist Scott LaPoint spent his winter hanging deer carcasses in the woods. What did you do? Stomping through snow and ice at the 4,000-acre Black Rock Forest to set bait and install cameras designed to track wildlife movement was probably the exciting part. The rest of his winter—maybe not quite as dramatic—was spent in front of a computer, studying the 90-some-thousand images his cache of 30 remote cameras has collected so far.
LaPoint, who connected with Black Rock Forest through his studies at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, is tracking animals’ movements as a way of measuring landscape connectivity—one of the most important principles in land conservation today.
As the climate changes, wildlife habitat is changing, too. Food sources dry up or disappear. Stronger storms cause dangerous flooding and erosion, while cool temperatures, historically found in places like the trout streams of the Catskills, are slowly becoming warmer.
To read more of this story you will need to purchase a subscription plan. If you choose the "PREMIUM" subscription you will have access to all issues of this year's Organic Hudson Valley magazine. If you choose a "SINGLE Issue" you will have access to that specific issue you chose. Click here!