The Bee Farm, Catskill Creek Watershed, NY

The Bee Farm is a beautiful 160-acre property of pasture and woodland in New York’s upper Hudson River Valley for which One Nature created an Agro-Ecological Master Plan. Interestingly, the farm got its name from a previous owner, the state beekeeping inspector, who maintained hundreds of hives at the Bee Farm. The current owner now produces a small amount of honey, uses the land to grow hay, and would like to develop an ecological reserve that allows for bird watching, hiking, and cross-country skiing.

One Nature was hired to develop an Agro-Ecological Master Plan for the Bee Farm. After repeated site visits and in-depth analysis, a comprehensive master plan was completed. This master plan proposed an ecologically sound maintenance program for existing field habitats: a strategy for managing forest areas, recommendations for the maintenance and definition of pathways, and the best locations for future building projects. The plan also included ecological restoration initiatives that would enhance views, increase biodiversity, encourage pollinators, and promote agriculture.

Open land at the Bee Farm consists of about 20 acres of hay field and less than 60 acres of wild field. One Nature recommends gradually converting the wild fields into hay fields over a five-year period to maximize agriculturally productive land. Controlled burns should be conducted every 10 to 20 years to encourage vigorous growth and nutrient cycling, and reduce invasive species. Supplemental seeding with a mixture of flowering native species was advised to help promote diversity and pollinator habitat.

Ecological restoration of forested, meadow, and wetland areas is an important component of the master plan. One Nature recommended select removal of unwanted plant and tree species and new plantings to provide better growing conditions for native species. Structures such as bird and owl houses, snags, and brush piles should be installed throughout the site to encourage native wildlife habitation. Building buffer zones around each water feature on the property, including ponds, vernal pools, and seasonal drainage basins, will protect these habitats.

One Nature’s holistic approach will allow our client to create an agro-ecological balance between wild and cultivated habitats on a broad scale. This will result in resilient and sustainable farming practices, and, in the process, will create stunning landscapes rich with native plant and animal life.