Five years ago, we published the first edition of our Place You Call Home series: The Place You Call Home: A Guide to Caring for Your Land in the Upper Valley. The idea behind the publication was to provide landowners on either side of the Connecticut River in Vermont and New Hampshire with an owner’s manual for their woodland. The publication featured how-to articles, discussion of land management options such as improving wildlife habitat or donating a conservation easement, tips for tracking wildlife, and contact information for government agencies, consulting foresters, and conservation organizations.
The publication was so well received that we immediately followed it up with a version that focused on the Catskills region of New York. In 2008, a Vermont edition that covered the entire Green Mountain state was released. That same year, the seeds were planted for an edition covering all of New York.
Momentum was carrying us along until the cloud of the recession put the big chill on our fundraising efforts. New York seemed especially affected by this turn in the economy. Our traditional agency and nonprofit partners faced substantial cuts in their budgets, and many businesses, especially those in the wood product sector, were forced to trim contributions. Despite falling short in reaching our fundraising goal, we made the decision to go ahead with this important, mission-driven project.
In April, the presses rolled and we finally delivered the New York version of The Place You Call Home. The publication was made possible by contributions from over a dozen individuals, businesses, and organizations. Their support made it possible for this guide to be made available to New York landowners at no cost. While it is gratifying to have a new publication join the Northern Woodlands family – particularly one with such a long gestation – it is far more gratifying to know that this educational guide will translate into stewardship action on the ground. Sixty-eight percent of readers who participated in a survey about the Vermont edition indicated that the publication prompted them to take steps to improve the management of their forests. Especially heartening were the responses from those individuals new to land ownership. As a new generation takes over the reins of forest management, having this resource will help guide sound stewardship decisions.
Copies of The Place You Call Home: New York are available for free at all Cornell Cooperative Extension and NYS DEC offices around the state. They can also be ordered for mail delivery for a small fee on our website.
We hope that this guide will strengthen the connection between landowners in New York and the land they love. We’d also like to work with partners to create new versions of A Place You Call Home in regions that have not yet been covered. If you would like to help us develop an edition for Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or New Hampshire, please contact me. Together we can renew the momentum and inspire many more landowners to actively manage their piece of the Northern Forest.