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The Shaker Swamp Conservancy Receives
Significant Land Donation

New Lebanon, NY
April 25, 2015 For further information contact John Dax 794-0404 or 432-1002.

The Shaker Swamp Conservancy recently received a generous donation of 39 acres of land within the area known as the Shaker Swamp, located along Route 22 in New Lebanon, NY. The property was given by Amy Schirmer of Pittsfield, MA, and had been acquired in the mid-1980s by Ms. Schirmer’s parents, the late Duke and Martha Schirmer of New Lebanon.

“The Schirmer parcel is a central part of the historic Shaker Swamp. The Conservancy is very pleased that this is the first acquisition in our effort to preserve the Shaker Swamp for public education, recreation and conservation purposes,” according to Board President, John Dax. Ms. Schirmer was first contacted by the Conservancy’s project coordinator, Karen Ross, who knew of the Schirmer family’s interest in preserving the Shaker Swamp.

The Conservancy expects to make additional acquisitions of land in the Shaker Swamp in the near future and to present plans to the New Lebanon Town Planning Board for developing public access into the Swamp for passive recreation and educational purposes.

The Shaker Swamp Conservancy, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation and a charitable organization under 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Conservancy was formed to preserve the Shaker Swamp and to make this unique and defining asset of the Lebanon Valley available to the public, to promote understanding of this natural resource and its human heritage, and to create related opportunities for public education and recreation. More information about the Conservancy and its efforts can be found at shakerswamp.org.


The Shaker Swamp Conservancy
Granted Tax-Exempt Status

New Lebanon, NY
February 25, 2012

The Shaker Swamp Conservancy, a nonprofit community based organization in New Lebanon, has recently been granted tax-exempt status by the IRS. Now a 501c3 entity, the Conservancy can seek tax-deductible donations to continue work on research into Shaker Swamp history and ecology and its potential for recreation and tourism. The mission of the Shaker Swamp Conservancy is "to preserve the Shaker Swamp as a unique and defining asset of the Lebanon Valley, to promote understanding of this natural resource and its human heritage, and to create related opportunities for public access, education, and recreation."

Beginning in 2007, a team of local historians, archaeologists and botanists did initial research into the role the 400-acre Swamp has played in Native American life, in Shaker life, and in Tilden's rise as the first pharmaceutical company in America. After two years of investigative work, filmmaker Ted Timreck and a local team funded by private donations produced "Medicinal Wetlands," which tells the story of the transmission of knowledge of medicinal herbs and foods from the Natives to the Shakers and then to commercialization in the Tilden factories.

The unique quality of the Swamp is directly tied to its sources from the Warm Mineral Springs in Lebanon Springs and from the flow of water from surrounding mountain drainages through calcareous formations and is linked to the cyclical action of beavers. The Swamp filters and cleans waters that flow into the enormous aquifers underlying New Lebanon and that provide one of the sources for the Wyomanock and Kinderhook.

In 2010 the Shaker Swamp Conservancy was awarded a grant from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (BTCF) through the Fund for Columbia County. The Columbia Land Conservancy served as the fiscal agent for the grant and they, along with the Farmscape Ecology Program, the Shaker Museum and Library, the Lebanon Valley Historical Society, the Lebanon Valley Business Association, and Darrow School, have been working in partnership with the SSC. The Swamp is privately owned, and willing, supportive, and cooperative landowners have made this ongoing research possible. The Shaker Swamp Conservancy Board, headed by Fiona Lally, is committed to working with landowners, conservation groups, and a local team of volunteers to continue to research Swamp history and ecology.

Several public showings in Columbia County of "Medicinal Wetlands" have generated enthusiastic support for the project and the creation of a "Friends of the Shaker Swamp" group. Last year, Mr. Timreck made a companion film describing a boardwalk system used by the Audubon Society, describing how boardwalks are constructed in wetlands and the role they play in educating the public about wetlands ecology. This year, another film focusing on the Native American component of Swamp history has been produced by Mr. Timreck with funding from the BTCF and private donations. In addition, Claudia and Conrad Vispo from the Farmscape Ecology Program have been extending their botanical survey of the Swamp (through BTCF grant monies) and recently partnered with a scientist from Columbia University who, working with Darrow students, is extracting and analyzing core soil samples.

The Shaker Swamp Conservancy is proud to have gathered a core team of professionals who have volunteered countless hours of their time and expertise to bring to light the extraordinary and significant story of this local treasure that has gone unrecognized for so long.

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The mission of the Shaker Swamp Conservancy is to preserve the Shaker Swamp as a unique and defining asset of the Lebanon Valley, to promote understanding of this natural resource and its human heritage, and to create related opportunities for public access, education, and recreation. 


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Shaker Swamp Conservancy
PO Box 833
New Lebanon, NY 12125

Email: info@shakerswamp.org

Photo Credits: Claudia & Condrad Vispo, and Karen Ross

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