SUNY Orange and Orange County Land Trust Jointly Presenting Lecture by Jay Westerveld on Nov. 7

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. –Orange County Land Trust and SUNY Orange, in cooperation with the New York Natural History Council, will present a lecture and presentation by Jay Westerveld on the discovery of a new species of frog found on protected lands owned and managed by Orange County Land Trust.

The presentation will be held Thursday, Nov.7 at p.m. in the Gilman Center for International Education at the College's Middletown campus.

In "Hiding in Plain Sight: Tracking a New Frog Species in Orange County," Westerveld, who founded the New York Natural History Council, will discuss the newly described species, its occurrence in the Hudson Valley, threats to its survival and its global importance.

Westerveld and the NYNH came upon the new frog species unexpectedly in 2012, while conducting an ecological survey of the land trust’s newly acquired Jack and Louise Birnberg Preserve, a 187-acre nature preserve located alongside The Heritage Trail in the towns of Chester and Blooming Grove.

“When we think of disappearing frogs and new species, our thoughts typically go to the Amazon”, he said. “But in doing so, we ignore the unique and fragile ‘little jungles’ of our own Hudson Valley.”

Westerveld has been performing ecological research for over 40 years. His research with the Bog Turtle won him Orange Environment’s Anne Botshon Protection Award as well as an award of recognition from the New York State Assembly in 2007. In 2008, Orange Magazine named him as Who’s Who in Conservation in Orange County. He has worked with the New York Zoological Society, the Staten Island Zoological Association, the National Wildlife Federation, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the Museum of the Hudson Highlands, and the New York Natural Heritage Program, among others. Through the NYNH, he leads regular “Urban Safaris ™ of New York’s Central Park to engage city-dwellers in enhanced Urban Ecology study, working often with students at Columbia University and The School of Visual Arts.

Westerveld is credited with describing six new bog turtle populations in New York and he identified the majority of New York’s known cricket frog populations.

This event is free and open to students and faculty as well as the general public. For more information, contact Orange County Land Trust at (845) 469-0981 or Dr. Jennifer Merriam, associate professor of biology, at (845) 341-4178.

For two decades, Orange County Land Trust has worked to preserve Orange County’s important natural resources, scenic landscapes and working farmland, resulting in the protect nearly 5,000 acres of land, including twelve working farms. The Land Trust owns and stewards eleven nature preserves, seven which are free and open to the public every day for outdoor recreation and nature study. Two preserves are leased to farmers and are in active production, and one preserve is inaccessible and protected for wildlife habitat.

To become a member of Orange County Land Trust, call 845.469.0951, x14 or visit the website for a downloadable and printable membership form, and for more information. Become a fan or the OCLT on Facebook for upcoming events and news.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940