Rhodora Publishes Highstead Mountain Laurel Study


A new study co-authored by Highstead Ecologist Ed Faison looks at the factors behind a decline in Kalmia latifolia in parts of southern New England. The research was conducted over four years at Highstead and measured the influence of deer browsing, canopy cover, and landscape position on the success of mountain laurel sprouting. The study, titled, “To sprout or not to sprout: Multiple factors determine the vigor of Kalmia latifolia (Ericaceae) in southwestern Connecticut,” was published in the April 2014 issue of the journal Rhodora. David Foster, president of the Highstead board, and Peter Del Tredici, Highstead board member, were co-authors.

Highstead Ecologist Featured in Connecticut Woodlands Magazine

The summer 2014 issue of Connecticut Woodlands magazine features an article by Highstead Ecologist Ed Faison, which details how forests have changed since Connecticut’s settlement three centuries ago. Analyzing witness tree data and pollen from wetland sediments offers insight into the types and abundance of trees present throughout the region’s history.

In addition to looking back in time, the article also looks forward, posing the question of what Connecticut’s forests will look like in the future. As noted in the article, carbon dioxide emissions and the amount of forest cover will largely shape the forests of the future.

Frederic Church's romantic rendering of the Southern New England landscape in the 1630s

Friends of Highstead Attend Members Open Day

The Highstead Members Open Day was a success as we welcomed members and friends to spend the day touring the property and listening to our guest speaker.

Operations Director Geordie Elkins gave a guided tour of Highstead’s Laurel Collection, which was approaching peak bloom, while Ecologist Ed Faison hosted a guided tour of the property’s mesic forest and bobolink habitat.

Thompson, Senior Ecologist at Harvard Forest and Lead Author of Changes to the Land: Four Scenarios for the Future of the Massachusetts Landscape, spoke about the effects of land-use choices on the future of New England forests.

Apply to Be a Conservation Intern at Highstead



As part of our Conservation Program, Highstead is seeking two Conservation Interns for Fall 2014. Interns will act as research assistants under the guidance of Highstead’s Regional Conservationist and Conservation Director. The internship is open to college graduates or current graduate students with an interest and passion for developing real-world strategies in the areas of landscape ecology, land conservation, and forest policy. Candidates must have good writing, research, and organizational skills. The program runs for a twelve-week period from mid-September to mid-December. For more information about the internship and how to apply click here.

New Stewardship Science Manual Completed

The Wildlands and Woodlands Stewardship Science: Manual For Long-Term Forest Monitoring was released last month and aims to help groups and individuals who own conserved land monitor their forests.

While most existing forest monitoring programs are designed to be used by trained forestry and ecology professionals, Stewardship Science -- authored by Highstead ecologist, Ed Faison and collaborators from the Harvard Forest, Brandeis University, and the University of Maine -- can be used by landowners, land trusts, conservation commissions, and academic institutions. Long-term monitoring helps participants gain a better understanding of their land and make more informed land-use and management decisions.

Read the full manual here. Find more information about Stewardship Science here and more infomation about Wildlands and Woodlands here.