Bird Banding 101

Just like every department, The Preserve team has unique ways in measuring successes for Shaker Village. Since we started converting cool season pastures to native warm season grasses and wildflowers in 2009, we have dramatically changed the vegetative composition of the landscape. The majority of the changes we’ve made to the landscape were done to enhance the habitat of grassland obligate songbirds, such as the Northern Bobwhite Quail. Essentially, if you build and maintain good habitat for quail, then you raise the level of habitat for all songbirds. So, how can we tell whether this project has been a success?

Bird Banding at Shaker Village from Shaker Village on Vimeo.

Bird Banding is a metric we use to determine if we have been successful with our habitat enhancement that involves capturing birds using the protocols set forth by the Institute for Bird Populations’ Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program. We set up mesh nets and check them at regular time intervals. The birds are removed from the nets and placed in protective bags, then checked for fat stores, breeding condition, feather wear and age by trained wildlife biologists. After that, the birds are released back into the wild.

This project was set up to obtain four years of baseline data in an abandoned cool season pasture, then convert the pasture to native warm season grasses and wildflowers, while continuing to collect data for a total of 10 years. This gives us an idea of how the property was used before the conversion, as well as what impact our conversion has had on bird health and overall numbers. What we’ve found after nine years of MAPS efforts is that birds LOVE what we’ve done with the place. Number of captures have been slightly up during the breeding season (May-July), but way up during the migration season (September-November). On Sept. 7 of this year, we captured our 100th species at the Shaker Village banding station! This milestone is significant in that not only are our capture numbers high, our diversity is high as well. High population numbers, along with high levels of diversity, equate to a high-five from the bird community!

We do what we can to keep our birds (and other wildlife) happy. Check out the bird blind area or take a hike on one of our trails to see The Preserve for yourself.


The Preserve and trails will be closed Mondays – Fridays from Nov. 1 – Dec. 29 for private hunts, habitat and wildlife management and trail restoration work. Learn more.


Ben Leffew is the preserve manager. A Kentucky Proud product straight out of…

What’s that Noise?

NOTICE: PRESERVATION@WORK Geothermal drilling will commence no earlier than 8:30 a.m. and will cease no later than 6 p.m. each day Oct. 2-6. Noise and vibration are to be expected.

Work on the Centre Family Dwelling and Meeting House has begun! And with that comes chainlink fences, construction equipment and loud noises. Sounds lovely, right? Actually, it really is! It’s the sound of preservation@work—work that will extend the lives of these two buildings, work that will prepare them for new interpretive experiences, work that would make the Shakers proud. So, while your Shaker Village experience will be different for the next year, we ask that you embrace this project and use it as a learning opportunity. During the next 12 months, our daily adventures schedule will feature special tours and activities highlighting the work being done on both buildings. We want you to be a part of this village@work project. Come see what’s happening! Ask questions, take a tour or read more here.

First up on the to-do list is drilling wells for the geothermal heating and cooling system.

Q: What are geothermal wells?
A: Geothermal wells are wells that tap into the natural energy found beneath the Earth. These wells will be attached to water source heat pumps inside the buildings, which maintain stable indoor temperatures.

Q: How does a geothermal system work?
A: The surface of the Earth can get quite cold or hot at times. The area beneath the Earth’s crust has a relatively stable temperature and geothermal energy utilizes this heat to provide heating or cooling for structures.

Q: How many wells are we drilling?
A: 36 total—24 for the Centre Family Dwelling and 12 for the Meeting House.

Q: How deep are the wells?
A: 380-400 feet!

Q: How are the wells connected to the building?
A: Each well has “unicoil” of pipe inside the well, a “supply” and “return in the shape of a U.” Each well is inter-connected into a pipe system, known as the “loop.” The main supply and return pipes are connected to pumps inside the building. This is known as a “closed loop” system. The system is sealed so no fluid is exchanged with the environment.

Q: What’s in the pipes?
A: The pipes are filled with glycol, a fluid similar to antifreeze in your car. The fluid doesn’t freeze and can transfer heat better than ordinary water.

Q: So how does it all work?
A: In winter, the system collects the Earth’s natural heat through the loop. The fluid circulates through the loop and carries the heat to the building. There, an electrically-driven compressor and a heat exchanger concentrate the heat and release it inside the building at a higher temperature. Ductwork distributes the heat to different rooms. In summer, the process is reversed. The loop draws excess heat from the building and allows it to be absorbed by the Earth.

Q: Isn’t it expensive?
A: The short answer is yes. Creating the infrastructure of wells and piping is a cost we have chosen to incur. We also have to create duct work and piping on the building interiors to distribute the heat or air conditioning. Our design team worked tirelessly to do this in ways that are sympathetic to the buildings so the systems are mostly hidden. When we are finished, you will have to look really hard to see where we added them.

Q: Why did Shaker Village choose geothermal?
A: Part of Shaker Village’s mission is to be good stewards of our resources. Geothermal helps us do this in two ways. First, geothermal heat pump systems are more than three times as efficient as the most economical furnace. Instead of burning a combustible fuel to create heat, a ground-source system uses the earth’s energy as heat. Geothermal systems provide three to four units of energy for every one unit used to power the system’s compressor, fan and water pump. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency identify geothermal as having the lowest environmental impact of all heating systems. Secondly, geothermal systems are able to reach very high efficiencies. For example, geothermal heat pump can be up to 600 percent efficient on the coldest days of the year—a normal air source heat pump will only be 175-200 percent efficient on cool days—meaning the geothermal system is using far less electricity than a comparable heat pump, furnace or air conditioner. Thus, this installation will help us save financial resources in the long run on our purchase of electricity.

This project has been in the works for decades. The systems installed during the 1960s in the Centre Family Dwelling and Meeting House  should’ve lasted 25-30 years, but we extended the life of those systems 50 years. Now, it’s time to dedicate the time and resources necessary to prolong the lives of these buildings for the next generation. When we are finished, guests will have a better experience inside the buildings during hot or cold days—regulating the temperature and humidity inside the building help us preserve the buildings and allow us to display furniture and textiles that are too fragile for non-climate controlled spaces. Some big long-term wins for a few weeks of noise and dust.

Preservation work is never completed—ongoing repair, maintenance and upkeep is critical for the sustainability of this site. Thanks to your donations and site revenue, projects like this are possible.


William Updike is the vice president for natural and cultural resource management…

How does Shaker Village inspire you? Five ways to show your support.

Shaker Village is on a mission to inspire generations through discovery by sharing the legacies of the Kentucky Shakers. But, what does that mean really? We are a village at work, of great work. Storytellers educate children and adults. Farmers and chefs build healthy foodscapes. Naturalists restore rare habitats. Craftsmen preserve irreplaceable architecture. Archivists care for priceless collections. And SO much more.

Has our work inspired you? We hope so! If not, give us a chance and we will make you proud. We rely on people like you to keep this place going, to continue to make great things happen here.

We asked some of our donors why you should support us:

“Shaker Village is a jewel right here in Central Kentucky. It is up to us to carry it forward.” -Ms. Barbara Hulette, Danville, Ky.

“I live near Shaker Village and love the property. It’s wonderful that Shaker Village allows people to come hike, ride and learn the history of the Shakers. I want to help keep it going. I would love to see Shaker Village continue on for many generations to enjoy.” -Dr. Leigh DeLair, Harrodsburg, Ky.

“I feel like a piece of my soul resides at Pleasant Hill.  I always want it to be there.” -Mr. James Spragens, Lebanon, Ky.

Help us keep it going. Tell your friends about Shaker Village. Like us on Facebook (we post cute pictures of baby animals)! Sign up for our email list. Visit the online shop. Take full advantage of all 3,000 acres and what they have to offer. Here are five easy ways to show your support now:

  1. Text INSPIRE to 501501 to donate $25. It’s quick and easy!
  2. Donate online.
  3. Visit us! Come see the real work that happens here. Attend a special event or workshop or just come for the day and enjoy the tours and sights. There’s plenty to keep you busy around here. Check out our calendar.
  4. Become an Annual Passholder. We’ll get your support and you’ll get free admission and other perks. Plus, we’ll get to see you more often!
  5. Learn more about our nonprofit mission and the legacies we strive to share. Check out our website or call Melissa in the development office to learn about giving options (859.734.1547).

Wendy K. Smith, Chief Development Officer

 

Recipe: Zucchini + Squash Pickles

We have an abundance of patty-pan squash coming in from the garden this year, and we hear we aren’t the only ones. It seems to be a very productive year for garden veggies! Right now, our garden team is harvesting 30-40 pounds of summer squash every other day!

The abundance doesn’t stop there. Our butternut winter squashes have produced with equal vigor and have ripened earlier than expected. The beets are in, the garlic has been dug and sorted, and the tomatoes, basil, peppers, okra and eggplant harvests are ramping up! It doesn’t get much better than enjoying late summer crops from the garden.

That means The Trustees’ Table has to get creative with how fresh ingredients are getting prepared on a daily basis. Here’s one of our favorite ways to serve the fresh squash and zucchini:

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 qt. apple cider vinegar

1/2 qt. water

1 1/4 c. sugar

1 tbsp. red pepper flakes

1 tbsp. fennel seed

1 tbsp. mustard seeds

1 tbsp. dry mustard

1 bulb fennel, sliced and tops rough chopped

6 large zucchini, sliced into 1/8-thick rounds

1 onion, thinly sliced

1/4 c. Kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

Bring vinegar, water, sugar, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, dry mustard and mustard seeds to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar.

Toss zuchinni and salt in a large bowl and let stand until zucchini releases moisture, 30-35 minutes. Drain squash, add fennel and onion. Pour pickling liquid over vegetables to submerge and stir. Cover and chill at least 12 hours. Enjoy!


In the Shaker tradition, our farmers take pride in planting, tending and harvesting sustainably-grown fruits, vegetables and herbs, destined to end up on your plate at The Trustees’ Table.

J. Steven Brockman is the executive chef. A south central Nebraska native, he grew up surrounded by the corn and soybeans of his grandparents’ farm…

Dylan Kennedy is the farm manager. An avid mountain biker and traveler, he has farmed as far and wide as Foxhollow Farm in Oldham County (Kentucky) to New Orleans…

A Modern View

Shaker Modern: a new interpretive platform that sheds light on the enduring appeal of Shaker lessons and their influences on today’s communities, lifestyles and design.

There’s a new phrase buzzing around Shaker Village. Shaker Modern is a term being used to describe our new exhibit, but also to describe what’s going on around this 3,000-acre property. The Shaker legacy is extremely relevant today, and we want to share that with our guests. So… we painted the walls white, rearranged some of our favorite Shaker artifacts and brought a new spin to this long told story.

Shaker craftsmanship has long influenced notable Modernist artists and designers. Beginning in the mid-20th century, Shaker furniture and textiles became a source of great inspiration to sculptors, poets, composers, dancers, architects and designers seeking balance through utility and simplicity.

The thoughtful, yet pragmatic principles of the Shakers have influenced not only a signature design ethos, but a remarkable cultural heritage that feels more relevant today than ever before. Shaker Modern celebrates Shaker lessons in community, sustainability and ingenuity—lessons that continue to impact this site and improve our lives every day.

Where can I see Shaker Modern?

Shaker Modern is everywhere! The concept is reflected in our new seasonal menus, daily programs, special events, retail merchandise, preservation plans and throughout the everyday tasks of this Village@Work. Here are a few examples:

Carpenters’ Shop Welcome Center
Opening Soon This one-stop sales and information hub will greet guests with a new Shaker Modern aesthetic, along with new interpretive and retail experiences.

Shaker Modern Exhibit
This new exhibit explores modern concepts of spirituality, community, ingenuity, diversity and sustainability through Pleasant Hill Shaker artifacts and stories. This exhibit will be on view through 2018 and is housed in three buildings: East Family Brethren’s Shop, East Family Wash House and East Family Sisters’ Shop. Check out the exhibit tour on the daily schedule!

Shaker Village Mobile App
Coming Soon This engaging mobile application will feature interactive wayfinding and geolocation-based interpretation, augmented reality, itinerary planning and much more.


The Shaker Modern Exhibit is on view now. Plan your visit!