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Wolcott, defender of the Pine Bush, dies

Aug 21, 2023 12:21 am

Lauren Stanforth reports in the Times Union that John Wolcott, known for attempts to preserve the Pine Bush ecosystem in Albany County, died this past week. Wolcott was a founding member of Save the Pine Bush activist group in 1978, and was 90 when he died on Aug. 17. The Save the Pine Bush group fought development proposals in the city of Albany, and Colonie and Guilderland. Wolcott also worked to save the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, a rare inland coastal pine ecosystem that is one of fewer than 20 left in the world. In 2003 he explained that when he was young his parents took him to the Pine Bush and he was mesmerized by the land's sand dunes and pine trees and said, "I never got over it.'' Wolcott's first mention in the Times Union newspaper archives came in 1988, as he led a small expedition into the Pine Bush to learn about the Karner blue butterfly, which is a native species to the Pine Bush. And five years later the Karner blue butterfly was declared an endangered species by the federal Department of Interior. Wolcott explained how the butterfly's entire life cycle was dependent on the lupine plant, which is native to the Pine Bush. He said, "If you don't have one, you don't have the other." There is a memorial service for Wolcott on Aug. 26 at 10 a.m. at St. Michael's Episcopal Church, 49 Killean Park, in Colonie, and donations can be made in Wolcott's memory Save the Pine Bush, care of Lynne Jackson, 223 South Swan Street, Albany NY 12202. Read the full story in the Times Union.

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