Walk with us and learn from diverse voices
This series is designed to allow participants to explore Olana State Historic Site through a diverse set of topics and viewpoints and consider Olana’s history and current legacy through the intersections of art and environmentalism. During this series, regional environmentalists, activists, agriculturalists, and ecological stewards will lead walking tours of Olana–engaging participants in the work of their organizations and providing new insights into Olana’s 250 acres. By connecting their expertise with Olana’s physical landscape and viewshed, each visiting environmentalist will give a deeper understanding of Olana as not only an artist-designed landscape but a resource for immersive explorations in our contemporary environment and appreciation of the natural world.
August 13, 2022 | 1PM-2PM
Under the Surface: Lake Explorers at Olana
Join Columbia Land Conservancy‘s Jenifer Rosete for an afternoon of lake exploration. Take a closer look at Olana’s man-made Lake to learn what macroinvertebrates are living below the surface and what they can tell us about water quality. Waders, nets, and field guides will be provided. The Columbia Land Conservancy works with their community to conserve the farmland, forests, wildlife habitat and rural character of Columbia County, strengthening connections between people and the land.
Jenifer Rosete joined CLC in October 2020 and is a Columbia County native with a degree in Environmental Science from the Rochester Institute of Technology Jenifer enjoys connecting to nature through hiking, bird watching, photography, and searching for geocaches.
September 10, 2022 | 4PM-5PM
How About Them NY Apples: Regional Agriculture, Sustainability, and Cider-Making in New York State
Join Alejandro del Peral of Nine Pin Cider and Jake Samascott of Samascott Orchards for a tour of Olana’s historic orchard and conversation about their work together. During this program, participants will learn more about Nine Pin and Samascott Orchard’s work together, current orchard practices, the contemporary craft of cider-making, and the environmental impact of sourcing local produce and supporting New York Agriculture.
Alejandro del Peral grew up an all-around apple enthusiast in Columbia County, New York, fascinated by the gnarly apples from the trees his father planted from seed. After studying wildlife biology at McGill University in Montreal and hydrology at the University of Vermont, Alejandro came home and founded Nine Pin Cider Works in Albany, New York’s first farm cidery.
Jake Samascott is one of the fourth-generation farmers at Samascott Orchards which is now growing over 100 named apple varieties and has about 400 trees of brand new exclusive apple varieties. Samascott
Orchards are constantly expanding and diversifying product offerings and are always looking for new varieties and crops to try.
October 8, 2022 | 1PM-2PM
Exploring The Future of the Hudson River
Join Riverkeeper’s new President Tracy Brown for a walking tour of Olana’s artist-designed landscape focusing on the current threats and future prospects for the Hudson River, which sits directly in Olana’s historic viewshed. Learn more about how we can work together to meet the challenges impacting the health of the Hudson River and the upcoming priorities for the river’s leading team of advocates. Riverkeeper’s mission is to protect and restore the Hudson River from source to sea and safeguard drinking water supplies, through advocacy rooted in community partnerships, science and law.
Tracy Brown became President and Hudson Riverkeeper in 2021. A recognized leader in clean water advocacy, Brown brings a multidisciplinary approach to Riverkeeper, prioritizing data-driven, community-oriented strategies to realize our mission. She previously served as Regional Director of Water Protection at Save the Sound, establishing their New York office which delivers science-based projects that protect and restore Long Island Sound. Prior to joining Save the Sound, Brown worked at Riverkeeper for seven years. She was instrumental in developing Riverkeeper’s water quality monitoring program. A resident of Sleepy Hollow, Brown is a founder of the Peabody Preserve Outdoor Classroom, a nature preserve for hands-on, outdoor education for the students of the Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow public schools.
October 15, 2022 | 1PM-2PM
Thinking in Systems: What Church and His Contemporaries Knew About Climate Change
Join Partners for Climate Action to learn more about how scientific thinking in Frederic Church’s era connects to our own contemporary climate crisis. One of the treasures in the Church family library is a first edition of “Man and Nature,” the landmark treatise by George Perkins Marsh, considered by scholars to be America’s first environmentalist. Marsh was prophetic in his observations on the decline of our ecosystem and Church understood how farm and forest environments within Olana played a role in the larger ecosystem of the Hudson Valley. During this outdoor walking tour, Partners for Climate Action will connect the thinking of Marsh and Church to actions being made today to mitigate and adapt to climate change while exploring Olana’s varied ecosystems.
Matt Stinchcomb is co-founder of Partners for Climate Action. Prior to shifting his attention to the nonprofit world, where he also helped to found the Good Work Institute and PlaceCorps, Matt was Vice President for Values and Impact at Etsy.com.
Bob Dandrew is co-founder of Partners for Climate Action. He has a 30-year career in nonprofit leadership and philanthropy. He also serves as a program director at The New World Foundation in NYC.
October 22, 2022 | 3PM-4PM
Inspiring Partnerships to Protect Inspiring Views
Frederic Church designed Olana’s landscape to maximize his views of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains, an inspiration for many of his paintings. Join Scenic Hudson Director of Land Conservation Cari Watkins Bates and Director of Land Use Advocacy Jeffrey Anzevino to learn how Olana has inspired 50 years of collaborative — and ongoing — efforts to protect Olana’s integral viewshed and create exciting ways of connecting people with the region’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.
Cari Watkins-Bates’ 20+ year career in land conservation has been focused on the preservation, restoration, and access to both natural and cultural resources (including agricultural lands). She has a MA in Energy and Environmental Analysis from Boston University. Prior to joining Scenic Hudson, she was with The Nature Conservancy’s Nevada Field Office.
Jeffrey Anzevino, AICP, the Director of Land Use Advocacy at Scenic Hudson where he has worked for 30 years helping communities revitalize their riverfronts, protect views and expand river access. He has a BA in Geography from the University of Maryland
November 5, 2022 | 3PM-4PM
A Farm for the Past, Present, and Future: Exploring Agrarian Practice in the Hudson Valley
Join Churchtown Dairy’s Head of Communications and Programming, Amy Gavaris, during this tour of Olana’s farm complex linking Olana, the Hudson Valley’s long history of agricultural tradition, and Churchtown Dairy’s current biodynamic farming model. During this program, participants will learn more about Olana’s origins as a working farm and the ways in which the legacy of farming in this region impacts sustainable farming practices today. Churchtown Dairy is a biodynamic farm in Hudson, NY that intends to serve as a beacon for those working to promote organic agriculture and resilient communities. Their 250-acre farm property, which houses a 28-cow raw milk dairy herd as well as a medicinal garden, is open to all to explore solutions to the pressing needs of our time.
Amy Gavaris holds degrees in Landscape Architecture and a Master’s in Urban Design and was a founding staff member of Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project. While there, she managed NYRP’s programmatic initiatives, open space redevelopment of public parks and community gardens, and major capital projects. Amy returned to the Hudson Valley – an area she knows and loves well from her teen years at the Shaker Villager Work Group in New Lebanon— as a Bard student in the late ‘60s, and then a part-time resident of Chatham. In 2017, she began her work at Churchtown Dairy developing the Farm Store and Welcome Center into what is now a successful operation and a touchpoint for visitors to the farm.
April 23, 2022 | 1PM-2PM
A Gift for Modern Pollinators: Exploring Olana’s Legacy Landscape
Join Fox Farm Apiary’s Beekeeper Chris Layman to celebrate Earth Day at Olana during this special Environmentalists on Olana focusing on pollinators. Chris will discuss the legacy of Frederic Church’s artist-designed landscape and the flora that provide abundant nutrition for bees and other pollinators generation after generation. Through this lens, participants will learn more about Olana’s honeybees, the many native bees that also inhabit the landscape, and why they matter.
Chris Layman manages the honeybee hives in Olana’s historic farm complex and together with his wife, Lisa, owns and operates Fox Farm Apiary in Greene County. Fox Farm Apiary manages several apiaries including hives at Opus 40, Greene Land Trust and the Woodstock Land Conservancy.
NEW DATE! April 30, 2022 | 1PM-2PM
Birding with a Decolonized Lens
Join Yamina Nater-Otero (she/they) from Amplify the Future in a birding tour of Olana that allows you to spend time with birds in a new way. Set aside your bird guide, don’t worry about your life list, and ignore the eBird alerts. If you’ve wanted to try birding but were intimidated by the “experts” this outing is for you. Spend an hour learning about the resident and migrant birds that visit Olana in a welcoming environment, because there is no one right way to enjoy birds.
Amplify the Future provides scholarships for students and networking opportunities to the historically excluded in conservation, including the Black and Latinx Birders Scholarship and the BIPOC Birders Graduate Student Mini Grant. To learn more about their work, visit www.amplifythefuture.org.
May 14, 2022 | 12PM-1PM
Examining Olana’s Landscape through Indigenous Eyes
While the home and designed landscape of 19th-century artist Frederic Church sits upon a hill and overlooks the mighty Hudson River, there is a history that you don’t see. Before Church, before Olana, before the farmers who worked the land, there is a past that you don’t hear about or maybe even know about. Learn more about Indigenous histories, responses to extractive colonialism, and its climatic effects in Canada and the United States during this program led by Candice Hopkins, Executive Director of Forge Project. This program will also delve into Indigenous conceptions of wealth and reciprocity as forms of colonial resistance. Forge Project is a Native-led initiative centered on decolonial education, Indigenous art, and supporting leaders in culture, food security, and land justice.
June 18, 2022 | 11AM-12:30PM
Indigenous & Introduced: Discovering Flora & Fungi of Olana
Laura Chávez Silverman, the founding naturalist of The Outside Institute, leads a walk to explore the native and introduced flora and fungi at Olana, with a focus on sustainable foraging of edible and medicinal species. Participants will discuss how indigenous wisdom forms the basis of this knowledge and what they can carry forward to enhance our relationship with the land and all beings. A light trail snack featuring wild-foraged elements from local areas will be offered.
Laura Chávez Silverman is the Founding Naturalist of The Outside Institute. A desire to share her deep love of nature inspired the creation of The Outside Institute, founded in 2017 in the Upper Delaware Valley to foster a greater connection to the Earth. By nurturing humanity’s powers of observation and innate affinity for the wild, Laura hopes to inspire joyful awareness and essential reciprocity between all beings, regardless of species or race.
July 16, 2022 | 1PM-2PM
The Knowledge of the Land: Exploring Ancestral Healing
Join Nkoula Badila, founder of Grow Black Hudson, for a walk exploring Olana’s wildlife informed by her work with herbal medicine, community advocacy, and sustainable agricultural practice. During this program, participants will see Olana’s landscape in a new way and explore how it can serve as a resource for healing and connection. Grow Black Hudson is a movement to re-introduce black and brown community members to the importance of agricultural practice, connecting to nature, and creating more local Black leadership. Founded in mid-June of 2020, Grow Black Hudson, has established 17 raised-bed gardens in Hudson, NY to grow fresh food for local families.
Nkoula Badila is a multidisciplinary artist, born of Congolese traditions in New York. Nkoula founded Grow Black Hudson, an initiative that aims to reconnect her Black + Brown community to the plant knowledge of our ancestors and spread access to fresh food. The program also opens space to talk about sustainable lifestyles as well as returning to the earth, natural plant medicine, and meditation. Nkoula also teaches youth programs like dancing and drumming, beading, and crafting.