Magic in the Mountains: A Mountainkeeper Podcast

Listen on Spotify or Anchor

Magic in the Mountains podcast is for nature enthusiasts, environmentalists, and everyone in between who wants to learn about the environment, food systems, sustainable farming and agriculture, and more. Hosts Eugene Thalmann and Taylor Jaffe–two young farmers based in different parts of the Catskills–are connected through their respective roles as Mountainkeeper’s Agricultural Program Coordinator and Environmental Justice Coordinator. Each week they get together to discuss a different aspect of life on their farms, and how it relates to environmental justice, ecosystem sustainability, local and global food systems, and more. You can listen to these engaging conversations on Spotify or Anchor!


Cosmos in the Catskills

During our ‘Cosmos in the Catskills’ webinar, night sky experts and Catskill Astronomy Club members Irene Pease and John Kocijanski shared tips for identifying constellations in the night sky, and showed participants how even basic stargazing can change the way we understand our place in the cosmos. Irene and John also walked participants through how to use important gear, what to consider when investing in a telescope, shared a number of great locations for night sky viewing in Sullivan County, and provided information on how to connect with local stargazing clubs in our region.

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Hidden Gems in the Bluestone Wild Forest

This weekend Paul Rubin--an expert geologist in the Catskills, who is actively conducting field work to document archaeological, geologic and hydrologic resources within New York State owned Bluestone Wild Forest in Ulster County, NY--shared brand new historical findings in the Bluestone Wild Forest.
Paul’s research has uncovered historic wagon roads and quarries, workshop areas, foundations, stone-walled pastures, a 163-year old farmstead, an abandoned railroad station, and unique geologic features that portray a comprehensive picture of the 19th and 20th century landscape in our region. These new findings could put the Bluestone Wild Forest on NY State & National Registers of Historic Places.

Webinar: Cap & Improve

Along with advocating for Catskills funding in the budget, we've been collaborating with NY Renews on funding climate solutions and responding to Governor Hochu's Cap and Invest proposal.
This week, NY Renews hosted a Cap & Improve webinar featuring Mountainkeeper Deputy Director and NY Renews Steering Committee member Katherine Nadeau as a panelist. The webinar focused on what we can learn from allies who’ve worked on California’s Cap and Trade program.

Catskill Park Day 2023: Virtual Legislative Roundtable

On February 2nd 2023, Mountainkeeper hosted a webinar discussion with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYS Senators, and NYS Assemblymembers. This conversation tackled specific obstacles facing our region, explored possible solutions to pressing problems, and outlined actions we all can take to help enhance life in the Catskills and protect everything that makes this region so special. To wrap up this roundtable, webinar participants chimed in to ask direct questions of our panelists.
We were thrilled to have so many of our supporters and concerned citizens take part in this day of Catskills appreciation; if you couldn’t join us in real time, please take a look at the full recording.
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Comfortable in the Cold: Winter Hiking in the Catskills

To celebrate Catskill Park Day 2023 Mountainkeeper invited two expert hikers and Catskill locals–Stash Rusin and David Hans–to share their knowledge and tips for staying safe and comfortable in the cold. They also recounted some unique trail experiences, including an especially precarious descent from the top of Plateau Mountain.
If you missed it, we hope you watch our recording!

Neonics: The Toxic Truth

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Did you miss our webinar about neonicotinoid–’neonic’–pesticides and their harmful effects on pollinator populations and human health? If so, you can watch a full recording at the link above! You’ll hear from Kathy Nolan, MD–Mountainkeeper’s Senior Research Director–and Dan Raichel–Acting Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Pollinator initiative–as they share their expertise on pollinators and public health. You’ll also learn how to support the New York Birds & Bees Protection Act. This bill would eliminate the vast majority of neonics entering New York’s environment by prohibiting wasteful and unnecessary neonic uses, and could serve as model legislation for other states. We hope you give it a watch!

Informal Trails Webinar

On Wednesday, October 19th Mountainkeeper hosted a webinar all about informal trail networks in our region and how they damage local ecosystems. We were thrilled to see nearly 170 individuals tune in for this great conversation, and if you missed it you can watch a full recorded version. We heard from experts in the field, including researchers at the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the New York Natural Heritage Program, and the United States Geological Survey, as they discussed the state of trailless peaks in the Catskills, and visitor use management plans to address them. Informal trails made by hikers put considerable strain on the health and wellbeing of native wildlife and plants, causing harmful impacts like loss of native vegetation, soil compaction, erosion, forest fragmentation, and introduction of invasive species into interior forest habitats. Want to know more about informal trails and their impact? Visit the DEC’s webpage for more information.


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Disadvantaged Communities Information Session

On Tuesday, June 28th, we partnered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York State Energy and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to hold a Disadvantaged Communities Information Session via Zoom. During this webinar, Mountainkeeper’s own Environmental Justice Coordinator, Taylor Jaffe, discussed the ins and outs of the DAC criteria with panelists Adriana Espinoza, DEC’s Deputy Commissioner for Equity and Justice, Tyler Picard, a Project Manager at NYSERDA, and Christopher Coll, Director of Energy Affordability and Equity Program at NYSERDA.


Click here to watch

A crucial part of Mountainkeeper’s work is upholding environmental justice and protecting people from a variety of environmental hazards–like tainted drinking water, polluted air, and waste contamination, among others–that pose serious risks to the health and safety of our communities. These hazards are endemic in underserved, low-income communities, reflecting the ongoing racial and socioeconomic injustice in our society; identifying DACs is a core component of addressing and correcting these injustices.

If you missed this important webinar, you can watch a full recording here.


New York's Climate Plan and You: Understanding the Plan and How to Influence It

On April 21st, 2022, Mountainkeeper hosted a “Lunch & Learn'' webinar focusing on the details of the NYS Climate Action Council’s (CAC) draft climate plan. Our Deputy Director Katherine Nadeau walked participants through the most important features of the plan, which include a path for a carbon-free future, policy that prioritizes environmental justice for communities most affected by the climate crisis, and investments in renewable energy that protect our communities and provide sustainable jobs for workers.
This discussion will give you the tools you need to effectively advocate for solutions, jobs, and justice in your comments to the CAC, and will help you testify at public hearings being held by the CAC throughout NYS from now until the end of May.
Looking for our NY Renews Top Five talking points to draft your own testimony? Look no further--you'll find them here in both English and Spanish.

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