Research takes flight at Tait Preserve
Scientists began conducting research at the Tait Preserve of RIT for the first time this summer. Researchers from the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science’s Digital Imaging and Remote Sensing Laboratory were the first to use the site, collecting data using imaging technology flown on unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones.
In 2019, Amy Leenhouts Tait and Robert C. Tait, Rochester natives and highly successful real-estate entrepreneurs, gifted RIT their 177-acre property, which includes a 60-acre lake and a private mile of Irondequoit Creek adjacent to Ellison Park. The site, home to a former Dolomite sand quarry, was dedicated as the Tait Preserve of RIT.
The researchers were excited to take advantage of the site, which provided an expansive, geographically diverse area in which to work.
“This is a perfect location for us to collect UAS hyperspectral imagery over targets deployed in and out of different types of shadows, both man-made and natural,” said Assistant Scientist Nina Raqueno, who was part of a team collecting data at the Tait Preserve of RIT.
The Tait Preserve of RIT is located 25 minutes from RIT’s Henrietta campus and 10 minutes from downtown Rochester. Given its convenient location, RIT expects to use the facility for a wide variety of education, research, and conservation activities including:
- Environmental education and research, incorporating K-12 programming;
- Agriculture and aquaculture research and education, including sustainable agriculture and community engagement;
- Conservation, sustainability, and urban ecology research and training;
- Events and hospitality community functions;
- Youth recreation.
The site contains the Leenhouts Lodge, named in honor of Leenhouts family members, which has geothermal heating and air conditioning, a chef’s kitchen, a massive stone fireplace, and an open concept interior with huge sections of glass walls that mechanically open to the outdoor patios, firepit, and view of the lake.
The initial imaging science project, conducted in support of the defense intelligence community, is expected to be the first of many activities at the Tait Preserve. Activity is expected to increase after coronavirus restrictions are lifted.