Numerous surveys and public opinion polls indicate high levels of support for preserving the rural qualities of the Catskill Mountain/Hudson Valley Region. A revitalization of the tourism industry, art oriented economic development and concerns about protecting water quality and preserving local agriculture are all related to sustaining “working” landscapes that are economically viable and able to withstand the impacts of unplanned growth and increasing development pressure.
The Agroforestry Resource Center provides educational programs, supports research, and promotes collaborations among organizations concerned with sustaining the rural landscape of the Catskill/Hudson Valley region which in many areas is over 80% forest covered. The goal is to promote sustainable practices that will provide economic benefits to landowners and communities while preserving forested areas so they continue to provide ecological, economic and public health benefits to the surrounding human populations.
Additionally, by focusing on the general public who may or may not own forested land, in addition to rural landowners and decision makers, we can contribute to the development of a broad based land use ethic in the region that can provide the level of public support needed to sustain a working rural landscape.
Educational programs and nature experiences such as woods walks, workshops from whittling and bird watching to edible woodland plants and fly tying serve to introduce and connect area residents to the recreational and quality of life activities that can enhance their well being, provide positive activities to engage in with friends and family members, improve physical and emotional health and enhance the value of their property.