Presentations from farmers and scientists followed by small group opportunities, to support resilience and strategy over uncertainty and confusion. There is a required pre-session webinar to listen to, then all are welcome to join this participatory virtual workshop.

Required pre-viewing: Climate Change 101: The Foundational Science, by Dr. Keith Dixon, research meteorologist with the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, NOAA -

Climate Session: 9:00am - 11:00am

9:00 am – Introductions

9:05 am – The Implications of Resilience – Farming in a Changing Climate - Laura McDermott, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program

9:10 am – Climate Change Adaptation on Northeastern Farms

  • Monitoring and Managing Soil Moisture in Mulched Systems - Abby Fenta, Foxtrot Farm, Ashfield MA and Lisa McKeag, UMass Extension
  • Climate-resilient native fruit in AgroforestryErik Schellenberg, Black Creek Farm and Nursery, Highland, NY
  • Ponding, Flooding, and Runoff – Oh MY! - Kip Kolesinskas, Land Use and Conservation Specialist with UConn Extension’s Solid Ground Program
  • The Impact of Climate Change on Weed Populations - What Risk to Farmers? - Sonia Birthsiel, University of Maine

9:55 am – Small Group Discussions and/or Q&A

10:10 amReducing greenhouse gas emissions from New York crop farms – Peter Woodbury, Cornell University

Peter will help farmers understand GHG mitigation markets and the importance of change being permanent, real, and verifiable. He will review key approaches to reduce GHG emissions from crop production and provide examples using the FAST-GHG tool for tillage, cover crops, and N management for field crops, with a discussion of relevance for fruits and vegetable farms.

10:40 am – NYS Grant Opportunities supporting Climate Resilient Farming – Jenna Walczak, Ag Climate Resiliency Specialist, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Harvest New York

10:50 am - Where do we go from here? Open discussion about Climate Change education and outreach needs in Eastern NY

11:00 am - Adjourn

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  Climate Session, February 17, 2022
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Erik Schellenberg

Erik works for Cornell Cooperative Extension as the Commercial Horticulture and Natural Resources Educator, and he owns and operates Black Creek Farm and Nursery in Highland NY. Erik has a Masters in Natural Resource Management from the University of Manitoba and a Bachelor of Science from UVM in Biology. He has had the good fortune to work with indigenous people in Mexico and the Arctic in depth for long periods of time, which has had a deep influence on the systems of agriculture used in the farm and nursery. He has been teaching Permaculture Design Courses with Whole Systems Design since 2014 and working privately on permaculture designs and installations since then. He has been operating his own vegetable and fruit farm since 2009 and started growing perennial nursery plants in 2012.

Kip Kolesinskas

Kip is a Land Use and Conservation Specialist who has worked the American Farmland Trust (AFT), the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Connecticut Farmland Trust, North Central Conservation District, and the University of Connecticut Extension. Much of the focus of his recent work has involved efforts to improve land access and affordability and provide technical services to new and beginning farmers. His work with the Solid Ground Farmer Training program offered training and site assessments on land access, soil health, and climate change adaptation strategies. In addition, he works on AFT’s recent National initiatives Farms Under Threat, Farmland For The Next Generation, and Climate Change initiatives. Kip also assists the CT Department of Agriculture with the Farmland Restoration Program to sustainably bring additional lands back into production, and the CT Farmlink Program, a farm access listing-linking service. Formerly USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service State Soil Scientist for Connecticut and Rhode Island, where he worked extensively with farmers, educators, government and nonprofits to help them protect farmland and wetlands and use soils information to make better-informed land-use decisions. He is a recognized regional and national speaker on soils and land use planning, farmland protection, climate change adaptation, and farmland access. Kip is the Co-Chair of the Working Lands Alliance and a member of the Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality. In addition to this wealth of professional experience, Kolesinskas is an avid fisherman, cook, gardener and local foods advocate. 

Lisa McKeag

Lisa is an Educator with the UMass Extension Vegetable Program. She works with commercial vegetable growers throughout Massachusetts on topics such as Integrated Pest Management and Produce Safety, including understanding and meeting the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act. She is a co-editor and contributor to Extension’s Vegetable Notes newsletter and the New England Vegetable Management Guide. [email protected]

Laura McDermott

Laura McDermottLaura has long been interested in horticulture, completing her undergrad degree at Cornell University and her master degree at the University of Florida. Laura joined Cornell Cooperative Extension in 1990 and, through the years, has fine-tuned her expertise in commercial small fruit and vegetable production including pest identification and management, soil fertility, food safety, and season extension techniques. Today, Laura leads small fruit outreach efforts in our area, serves as a liaison with grower organizations, and regularly participates in applied research and demonstration activities.

Abby Ferla

Abby is the owner and farm manager of Foxtrot Herb Farm in Shelburne Falls, MA. Since her first apprenticeship in 2012, Abby has worked on small veggie farms and orchards from Maine to New Mexico. She envisions local agricultural systems that are resilient, ecologically-sound, socially just, and wholly integrated/integral in their communities. Abby studied herbalism at Blazing Star Herbal School in Conway, MA and holds a BA from Bard College. She is a 2021 SARE Climate Adaptation Fellow.

Jenna Walczak

Jenna is an ag climate resiliency specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Harvest New York team. She works with extension staff to assist farmers in implementing practices to mitigate climate change and reduce its impact on New York State farms. Jenna has a B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies from Colgate University. Email: [email protected] Phone: 518-791-1888

Peter Woodbury

Peter is a Senior Research Associate in the Section of Soil and Crop Sciences at Cornell University. He has decades of experience researching how agriculture and forestry can mitigate and adapt to climate change. For example, Dr. Woodbury has worked with an international team to assess Natural Climate Solutions, quantifying how 20 pathways of improved management of agricultural, forest, and wetlands can reduce GHG emissions to meet 37% of the Paris Agreement target by year 2030 globally, and offset 21% of US emissions. With Jenifer Wightman, he is developing a new greenhouse gas inventory for the agriculture sector in New York State, as well as quantifying opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet Statewide goals. For more information about his work and links to resources, please visit:  

Sonja Birthisel

Sonja is a Faculty Associate with the University of Maine School A picture containing person, outdoor, person, lady

Description automatically generatedof Forest Resources and Ecology & Environmental Sciences Program. While pursuing her PhD in weed ecology, she coordinated the Graduate Student Climate Adaptation Partners (GradCAP), funded by the USDA Northeast Climate Hub. This project built a network of early-career Scholars working on climate adaptation in agriculture, aquaculture, and forestry across the Northeast region, providing opportunities for networking, outreach, and professional development.  She is currently the Director of The Wilson Center.