Monday, September 19, 2011

Wanakena Ranger School’s Remarkable Growth

When classes started a few weeks ago at the Ranger School in Wanakena, NY, it was anything but ‘business as usual.’ A new curriculum in Environmental and Natural Resources Conservation is credited with increasing the School’s enrollment by nearly 50%. With additional programs, more students and new teaching staff, the Ranger School is poised to begin its second century (in 2012) on a very positive note.

It has been over 25 years since the Ranger School–a regional campus of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF)–has welcomed such a large class. After seeing stable enrollment of about 40-45 students each of the last several years, this year’s class of 59 represents a significant increase.

Much of the increase in enrollment is attributed to a brand new AAS-degree program in Environmental and Natural Resources Conservation (ENRC). The new program focuses less on timber production and traditional forest management and more on wildlife, forest recreation, soils and water conservation. It also includes an intriguing new class called “Adirondack Cultural Ecology,” wherein students learn about the ways that the natural resources of the Adirondacks have influenced human use and the general culture of the Park, and vice-versa.

The ENRC program is designed to prepare graduates for a shifting job market which, in turn, reflects a shift in the way Society values forests. It’s still important to grow trees to meet society’s demand for lumber, paper, firewood and other traditional products, but it’s increasingly important to understand, protect and sustainably manage forests for wilderness, wildlife, clean air, clean water, carbon storage, forest recreation, and aesthetics.

The Ranger School maintains two other AAS-degree programs, one in Forest Technology, and one in Land Surveying Technology. The former curriculum has been in place in one form or another since the School’s primitive beginnings in 1912. The Surveying program was first offered in 1995 and recently received ABET accreditation.

In August of 2012, the Ranger School celebrates 100 years of hands-on, technical forestry education. As such, it is the longest running program of its kind in North America. The School was formed one year after the birth of its parent institution, ESF (known then as the College of Forestry at Syracuse University), with a donation of 1,800 acres of land from the Rich Lumber Company. More information about the Ranger School and its upcoming Centennial Celebration can be found at the School’s website.

Photos: Above, entrance to Ranger School campus in Wanakena, NY; below, Aerial view of Ranger School. Courtesy Jamie Savage.

Jamie Savage is a Professor at the SUNY-ESF Ranger School, Certified Forester, Licensed Outdoor Guide, and Adirondack singer-songwriter from Piercefield, NY.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Almanack Welcomes New Contributor Jamie Savage

The Adirondack Almanack has added a new contributor, Jamie Savage. Savage has been a Professor at the SUNY-ESF Ranger School in Wanakena, NY since 1991, and a Certified Forester since 1995. He teaches courses in Natural Resources Measurements, Entomology, Forest Recreation, Interpretive Techniques, Wildlife Conservation, and Adirondack Cultural Ecology.

Savage will be writing about the Adirondack forestry issues, a topic he is intimately familiar with. He is a past Chair and still active member of the New York Society of American Foresters, and currently serves as a board member of both the Five Ponds Partners, and the Adirondack Curriculum Project.

In his spare time, Savage shares his love of the Adirondacks as a singer-songwriter. He has released three CDs of original music and performs several times a year throughout central and northern New York. When he’s not teaching or singing, you can find Jamie hiking, running, biking, climbing, paddling, or skiing his way through the Adirondack Mountains.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Limit Invasive Species, Don’t Transport Firewood

What follows is a guest essay contributed by the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership, a coalition of Adirondack organizations building on the Leave No Trace philosophy:

On the heels of additional discoveries of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer beetle in forests in multiple parts of New York including the Catskill Forest Preserve all New Yorkers and visitors are urged to comply with the state’s stringent regulations prohibiting the movement of untreated firewood, the major vector for the introduction of this insect. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Endangered Bog Turtle Lecture Friday

A researcher who has studied the endangered bog turtle will discuss ways to save their habitat in an upcoming lecture at Paul Smith’s College.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the bog turtle is the state’s smallest. It reaches a maximum length of 4.5 inches. While considered threatened nationwide, they are endangered in New York; development in the southeastern part of the state, the species’ primary habitat here, has hindered the turtle from moving into new areas as existing habitat is lost.

Dr. Kevin Shoemaker will lead off this fall’s Fisheries & Wildlife Science Seminar Series on Friday, Sept. 23, with “Scaling Up Bog Turtle Conservation in New York.”

Shoemaker, a postdoctoral associate at Stony Brook University, studies how wildlife populations are affected by habitat alteration. He hopes to help humans co-exist with wildlife by making those connections understandable.

Two other lectures are scheduled this semester: Dr. Dennis Murray of Trent University in Ontario will discuss “New World Wolves: Confusion, Controversy and Conservation” on Friday, Oct. 14, and Tim McKay of Colgate University will deliver a lecture called “Ecology of North America’s Smallest Mammals: The Shrews” on Friday, Nov. 4.

All lectures will be held at 10:10 a.m. in the Pine Room of the Joan Weill Student Center.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Clarkson University’s 3rd Forever Wired Conference

Clarkson University is now taking registrations at http://www.clarkson.edu/adk for the third annual Forever Wired Conference on Tuesday, October 4, in Potsdam.

The conference will offer a variety of sessions geared toward assisting small business owners and teleworkers in rural communities. Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss responsible and sustainable economic growth in the Adirondack region, and address the resources available to assist entrepreneurs in overcoming challenges.

These sessions will offer workshops on:

- Telecommuting Tips
- Overcoming Rural Entrepreneurship Challenges
- Micro-financing
- Government, Industry and Higher Education Collaboration
- Doing Business Internationally

Professionals and organizations are invited to set up promotional displays at the conference to connect with other entrepreneurs who may be seeking their services. Free one-on-one consultations with experts from Clarkson University’s Shipley Center for Innovation and Reh Center for Entrepreneurship will also be available upon request, as well as networking with rural sector experts from around the east coast, who are helping with the sessions.

“The Forever Wired schedule is designed to bring a wide cross section of regional stakeholders together,” said conference chair Kelly O. Chezum, vice president for external relations at Clarkson. “We will cover professional development, networking and information sessions for working-wired entrepreneurs, mobile workers, corporate telecommuters and people interested in green tech commerce.”

Last year’s conference drew more than 250 participants from across New York State and included many seasonal residents of the Adirondack Park, as well.

The conference is a central component of the Adirondack Initiative for Wired Work, which is championed by a team of regional leaders and energized professionals dedicated toward creation of a sustainable economy in the greater Adirondack North Country. Through their activities, the Adirondack Initiative encourages telework, green-tech commerce and entrepreneurship from home offices and businesses with minimal impact on the natural environment.

“We must advance economic opportunities that will attract and retain our young people and bring meaningful employment into to the region,” said Clarkson President Tony Collins. “The Adirondack Initiative balances the environmental needs of our region, and is aimed at preserving the unique character of our Adirondack and North Country communities, which we share with recreational enthusiasts, tourists and wildlife.”

Clarkson University is expanding support services for teleworkers and entrepreneurs in the area. The Adirondack Business Center hosted by the Clarkson Entrepreneurship Center in Saranac Lake, N.Y. is equipped with wireless Internet, a conference room, quiet workspace, and will provide other amenities to the public. The built-in classroom holds sessions such as “My Small Business 101″ to advance practical business skills of local entrepreneurs.

For more information on the Adirondack Initiative for Wired Work, or to register for the Forever Wired Conference, go online, e-mail foreverwired@clarkson.edu or call 315-268-4483.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Book: Sport of Kings, Kings of Crime

A new book, The Sport of Kings and the Kings of Crime: Horse Racing, Politics, and Organized Crime in New York, 1865-1913 by Steven A. Riess, fills a long-neglected gap in sports history, offering a detailed and fascinating chronicle of thoroughbred racing’s heyday and its connections with politics and organized crime.

Thoroughbred racing was one of the first major sports in early America. Horse racing thrived because it was a high-status sport that attracted the interest of both old and new money. It grew because spectators enjoyed the pageantry, the exciting races, and, most of all, the gambling.

As the sport became a national industry, the New York metropolitan area, along with the resort towns of Saratoga Springs and Long Branch (New Jersey), remained at the center of horse racing with the most outstanding race courses, the largest purses, and the finest thoroughbreds.

Riess narrates the history of horse racing, detailing how and why New York became the national capital of the sport from the mid-1860s until the early twentieth century. The sport’s survival depended upon the racetrack being the nexus between politicians and organized crime.

The powerful alliance between urban machine politics and track owners enabled racing in New York to flourish. Gambling, the heart of racing’s appeal, made the sport morally suspect. Yet democratic politicians protected the sport, helping to establish the State Racing Commission, the first state agency to regulate sport in the United States.

At the same time, racetracks became a key connection between the underworld and Tammany Hall, enabling illegal poolrooms and off-course bookies to operate. Organized crime worked in close cooperation with machine politicians and local police officers to protect these illegal operations.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Join the Land Use and Ethics Conversation

On its best day, philosophy succeeds in sending “the conversation off in new directions.” With a free exchange of ideas and a commitment to inquiry, philosophy as both catalyst and conveyor ought to “engender new normal discourses, new sciences, new philosophical research and thus new objective truths.”

In this spirit the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Northern Forest Institute invites submissions for its Symposium of Interdisciplinary Scholarship in Land Use and Ethics, to be held at the Adirondack Interpretive Center on Huntington Wildlife Forest in Newcomb.

I envision this project as an opportunity to open up the dialog around issues of land use and ethics on local, national and global scales. This is the place for ideas in-process, unfinished research and to introduce work in its various stages of development. We’re welcoming research from across professions and disciplines on topics related to balancing individual and community priorities with respect to land use and the associated expectations for human and ecosystem stewardship and social and environmental ethics.

I hope to see independent scholars alongside industry and agency professionals and students from across the humanities and the sciences. Presentations are meant to generate conversation around a variety of approaches to land use, the moral implications of these approaches, as well as the ways that they influence the ongoing debate over how to achieve social and environmental justice.

Philosopher John Dewey referred to active discourse as “breaking the crust of convention” and I’d like us to use this symposium to get together and get on with it.

For information on how to join the conversation email mpatinellidubay@esf.edu

References from Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Richard Rorty

Photo of Arbutus Lodge, compliments of Huntington Wildlife Forest, Newcomb, NY.

Marianne Patinelli-Dubay is a philosopher living, writing and teaching in the Adirondacks.


Friday, September 16, 2011

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights

On Friday afternoons Adirondack Almanack compiles for our readers a collection of the week’s top weblinks. You can find all our weekly web round-ups here.

Subscribe! More than 7,000 people get Adirondack Almanack each day via RSS, E-Mail, or Twitter or Facebook updates. It’s a convenient way to get the latest news and information about the Adirondacks.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Adirondack Events This Weekend (September 16)

Visit the Almanack on Fridays for links to what’s happening this weekend around the Adirondacks.

The Almanack also provides weekly backcountry conditions and hunting and fishing reports for those headed into the woods or onto the waters this weekend.

Region-wide Events This Weekend

Lake Placid Region Events This Weekend

Old Forge Area Events This Weekend


Friday, September 16, 2011

North Elba Boathouse Cases Heat Up (amended)

A federal court judge this week dismissed civil rights claims in a case arising from a planning board decision to modify plans for a proposed boathouse on Mirror Lake in the Village of Lake Placid.

This is the second legal challenge in the past year to the authority of Lake Placid/North Elba’s Joint Review Board to regulate boathouse construction. Both challenges have been shepherded by Lake Placid Attorney James Brooks.

Chief United States District Court Judge Norman Mordue on Wednesday dismissed all charges that the community’s planning board violated the United States Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection when it required a private property owner, developer Keith Stoltz, to shorten the length of the dock he sought to build behind his Main Street storefront. The court also remanded an Article 78 challenge of the review boards’ procedures to state court.

On August 23rd, in a separate boathouse case litigated by attorney Brooks, acting New York State Supreme Court Judge Richard Meyer issued a summary judgment supporting Mr. Brooks’s argument that municipalities have no regulatory authority over boathouses built entirely above navigable waters. Mr. Brooks, who is Judge Meyer’s former law partner, contended that the state Department of Environmental Conservation has the sole responsibility to permit and regulate such shoreline-adjacent construction throughout the state.

Attorney and SUNY Albany School of Law Dean Michael Hutter and attorney for the Town of North Elba Ron Briggs have appealed Judge Meyer’s decision as well as a number of the jurist’s intermediate procedural orders. Arguments in the case will be heard by the Supreme Court’s Third Appellate Division in Albany by year’s end.

Also on August 23rd, in related criminal indictments handed up by the Essex County Grand Jury, general contractor Dan Nardiello of Lake Placid and builder Robert Scheefer of Saranac Lake were arraigned on misdemeanor charges of construction without a building permit. The property owner William Grimditch of Lake Placid was subsequently arraigned on the same charges. Judge Meyer will hear the cases against the three men—all represented by attorney Brooks—later this Fall.

Disclosure: Adirondack Almanack contributor Mark Wilson serves as President of the Lake Placid Shore Owners’ Association. The Association has filed a friend of the court brief supporting North Elba’s appeal of Judge Meyer’s decisions.


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