By Samiullah Khan
A tradition of the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) is for members from around the world to host the annual meeting in their respective country, choosing a venue that is scientifically, culturally and aesthetically important. For the 19th GLEON All Hand’s Meeting in 2017, the local organizing team is ahead of the curve, selecting a wonderful meeting location, the Mohonk Mountain House on the shore of Mohonk Lake in New Paltz, New York. The Mohonk Mountain House is a spectacular venue — imagine Hogwarts, the famous school of Harry Potter stories, meets GLEON. The GLEON 19 meeting will take place from 27 November to 1 December 2017 and is co-hosted by SUNY New Paltz, Mohonk Preserve, and Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. The registration deadline was extended today to Friday, 15 September 2017.
Background About the Mohonk Mountain House and Mohonk Preserve
Mohonk Mountain House was founded by the Smiley Family in 1869, and in 1963, they transferred significant parcels of surrounding land to create the Mohonk Preserve, New York’s largest nonprofit nature preserve that now manages over 8,000 acres of mountain ridges, forests, fields, streams, ponds, and other unique and beautiful places. The Smiley Family tradition of love for nature and science dates back at least to 1896, when they established a U.S. Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service) Cooperative Weather Station. Over 122 years later, Mohonk Preserve staff continue to record daily weather readings at the Mohonk Lake Weather Station.
The late Daniel Smiley was an avid field naturalist and initiated several environmental monitoring efforts in the Preserve, most notably when he began recording the dates of spring warbler migration on the mountain where he lived. His natural history observations laid foundation for the Conservation Science Center at Mohonk Preserve, now called the Daniel Smiley Research Center, which is housed in Elms Cottage, his former home. The Center extends the rich legacy of biology and science, combining one of the best long-term phenological records in the country, natural history collections, and more than a century of daily weather data, among many other data. The Center shares datasets with scientists and students from around the world and has produced a number of publications addressing climate variations in the region and the occurrence of extreme weather events.
Conservation Science and Lake Research at Mohonk Preserve
GLEON Co-Chair, Kathleen C. Weathers is Vice Chair of the Mohonk Preserve Board of Directors and also principal investigator (PI) for a National Science Foundation (NSF) research planning grant at the preserve along with co-PIs Elizabeth Long, Mohonk Preserve’s Director of Conservation Science, and Dave Richardson, a GLEON member and Associate Professor at SUNY New Paltz. Senior GLEON member and GLEON Student Association (GSA) advisor Hilary Swain, Executive Director of Archbold Biological Station, FL, and new-to-GLEON member Sarah DeVaul Princiotta, Director of Research and Education at Lacawac Sanctuary, are also involved in the planning project, providing input from their experience of running field stations that have received similar NSF research planning grants.
Dave Richardson also works on Mohonk Lake and other glacial lakes along the Shawangunk Ridge, all named ‘Sky Lakes’ for their position on the ridge and ombrotrophic nature. Limnological research in the Sky Lakes includes recovery from acidification, food web dynamics, and climate change. Mohonk Lake is a GLEON site with a ‘buoy’ and weather station installed on a wharf used to rent boats and fishing equipment to guests at the hotel. Richardson works closely with undergraduates and an undergrad-focused group of scientists in northeastern North America (NE GLEON).
In addition to its natural and scientific values, the Mohonk Preserve is also well known due to the historical role of the Shawangunk Ridge particularly around Mohonk Lake, which has been the landscape subject for several painters from the legendary Hudson River School. In 1986, Mohonk was officially named a National Historic Landmark. According to the MMH website, “The distinction is unique in that it encompasses not only the Mountain House, but 83 other Mohonk buildings of historic significance, 128 summerhouses (gazebos) and the surrounding 7,800 acres of developed and undeveloped land.” Also the famous home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, now a National Historic Site that has been listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, is located in Hyde Park, NY on the other side of the Hudson River from Mohonk.
Mohonk Mountain House Amenities
While attending the G19 meeting you will want to make your spare time and evenings even more memorable, taking advantage of a wonderful range of leisure facilities including an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, miles of beautiful jogging/running trails, billiard room, tennis courts, show gardens and an award-winning spa. A list of resort amenities can be viewed by visiting the Mohonk Mountain House webpage.
Post GLEON-19 GSA Workshop
As part of the GLEON Graduate Student Fellowship Program, an intensive Bayesian statistics workshop will be held at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies on December 2 and 3, 2017, immediately after the conclusion of the GLEON 19 All-Hands’ Meeting. Cary is about a one-hour drive from Mohonk Mountain House, and transportation will be arranged for participants. The workshop will engage a diverse group of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in a training program that will provide an introduction to, and immersion in Bayesian analysis through the use of GLEON and other large-scale datasets. Participants will have the opportunity to develop R skills and form teams for broad collaborations. This workshop will also provide a platform for participants to leverage their individual toolsets to contribute to and further the research and professional development objectives of GLEON. If you are interested in attending the workshop, click here (the application deadline remains Friday, 4 August 2017).
Other workshops are being planned, including a Machine Learning workshop and a workshop organized by NYC Department of Environmental Protection on the Carbon/Natural Organic Matter (NOM) Challenge: Disinfection By-Product Concerns for Drinking Water, also on Monday 27 November. Look for details and updates on the GLEON 19 meeting website.
Samiullah Khan is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, and Co-Chair Elect of the GLEON Student Association (GSA). Working under the supervision of Dr. Marc Schallenberg and Dr. Kevin Collier (University of Waikato, Hamilton) his Ph.D. thesis is part of a national project “Enhancing health and resilience of New Zealand lakes.”