Occupation: Ryan is the Education Forester for the Catskill Forest Association (CFA), where he offers both forestry advice & programs to its members throughout the Catskill Region. CFA strives to “connect people to woodlands” and feels the Catskills forests are one of the region’s most valuable resources. Ryan educates members on a wide variety of topics including: forest edibles, backyard maple sugaring, forestry for wildlife, tree marking to improve forest quality, apple tree pruning, arboriculture, forest health, small-scale forest management, and much more. More importantly, Ryan seeks to educate others so that they can feel comfortable in pursuing their own forest management into the future.
Place of Residence: Samsonville (Town of Olive), Ulster County, New York
Background and Personal History: Ryan was born and raised in New Paltz, Ulster County beside the Shawangunk Ridge. The ridge served as a good place for Ryan to appreciate and grow his love for forests. His father is from Highland and descends from Italian immigrant fruit farmers. His mother is from New Paltz and descends from Dutch roots stretching back hundreds of years in the Wallkill Valley. Besides tromping around the Wallkill Valley, Ryan has also resided at loftier positions in Ulster County as an Assistant Forest Ranger for the NYS DEC in the Slide Mountain Wilderness Area of the Catskill Park. He also lived in Claryville for a while as an Environmental Educator for Frost Valley YMCA. Outside Ulster County, Ryan served as a U.S. Marine Rifleman in the Reserves as well as a Wilderness Ranger for the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont.
Current Projects: The sap is running, and that means two things: grafting and maple syrup. Ryan has been helping out landowners in preserving their favorite apple varieties. Many of these trees are quite old, but can be preserved by grafting onto a younger available tree.
This is Ryan’s ninth year making maple syrup. He has a small evaporator that he uses to make anywhere from 10 to 25 gallons of syrup during the season.
Other Fun Facts: Ryan and his wife Sara’s free time is mostly occupied by caring for their newest addition: 1.5-year-old daughter, Metta Mae. Outside of baby-sitting, he can be found cutting firewood and sapwood for next year’s heat and sugar, trout fishing, hiking, hunting, planting trees, pruning trees, and making apple cider.
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