A Labor of Love—Writing the History of a Research Station

I am writing a history of a biological research station—the Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve and Biological Research Station, located in the historic hamlet of Rensselaerville, New York. Through this blog, I am putting together pieces of the Preserve’s history and adding other interesting tidbits of natural history. It’s a labor of love, but one that is taking an awfully long time to finish.

My family started the Huyck Preserve in 1931 as a place for the public to enjoy nature. Edmund (Ted) Niles Huyck and the Huyck family owned 500 acres that included beautiful waterfalls, a lake, a pond, woodlands, and miles of trails. Ted told friends before he died that he thought it wasn’t right for one person to own such a wonderful place and that the public had a right to enjoy it. So after he died, his widow—Jessie Van Antwerp Huyck—established the Preserve in his name. In 1938, the research station was added. The Preserve is one of only a handful of independently owned biological research stations. Most are owned by universities. Today it protects more than 2,000 acres; is still open to the public for hiking, non-motorized boating, and swimming; provides educational programs; and supports graduate students and senior scientists doing ecological research.

Several members of the Huyck and Van Antwerp families have served on the board. Jessie was chair until she died in 1959; my grandmother, Katharine Huyck Elmore, was chair until she died in 1996; then others served as chair including Marguerite (Marge) Rooney, Shirley Stevens French (a Van Antwerp relative), and me. The board itself is elected by Preserve members and includes family and community representatives, as well as experts in various fields (scientists, conservationists, educators, and others).

If you want to read more and find out how you can visit the Huyck Preserve, go to www.huyckpreserve.org

And perhaps, one day soon, you’ll be able to read my book . . .  if I ever finish writing it, that is.  Read more by clicking on the “Posts” tab above.

L. Stephenson Carter

7 Responses to Home

  1. Virginia H Carter says:

    Laura, Thank you so much for sending this. What an absolutely lovely beginning and the page is beautifully designed. I’m sure as comments start to come in you will feel very encouraged to spend more time and the project will begin to get some legs. Wonderful. Ginny

  2. Janet Haeley says:

    The Falls is such a special and photogenic place that putting a photo of The Falls at the start of your history of the Preserve is perfect. I look forward to reading the rest of your writings.
    Janet Haseley

  3. Craig Chapman says:

    Laura, I own a painting, actually a pastel done on felt board, done by your gr-grandmother Laura Talmadge Huyck. I assume she’s your namesake. My aunt, Marie Hartley was associated with Laura and helped organize a showing of her work through the Betty Parsons Gallery. Marie ended up living in Rensselaerville and opened he own gallery there.

    Did Laura Huyck collect artwork in addition to producing her own art?

  4. George Frangos says:

    Thank you Laura! I Always look forward to your wonderful Huyck histories that make apparent the Preserve’s living links to our communities. A rich inheritance for all of us.

  5. Laura, what a wonderful job you are doing. Documenting the history of the Preserve, the many charming personal anecdotes from you and Janet Haseley, and the crystal-clear interpretation of the science over the years makes your blog already a treasure.
    Roswell Eldridge
    June 4, 2014

  6. Pingback: September 24: On This Day, the Research Station Was Founded | lscnews

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