Now, you might be thinking, don’t all those ferns look alike? They form a lovely verdant backdrop to the forest, but they don’t have the showy flowers and distinctive leaves that make other plants so easy to identify. But ferns are surprisingly easy to tell apart. And once you know the names of a few species, they’ll pop out at you as you wander along forest paths. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘Forestry’
One of my hobbies this time of year is to try to pinpoint the day that I can say that the leaves are out and spring has arrived. Usually it’s sometime in the second week of May, though it seems to have been inching forward over the past couple of decades. But even when I can declare that it’s “spring,” not every tree is clothed in green.
Ash trees, for instance, will still have bare branches weeks from now, and the northern catalpa in my yard will balk at putting out its saucer-sized leaves for another month. Why? The question has gnawed at me and, I’ve learned, bedeviled scientists for decades.
The answer has to do with genetics and evolution, climate and weather. » Continue Reading.
Young students knock my socks off with their ability to grasp new concepts! I delved into the world of the emerald ash borer, a nasty invasive insect, with third, fourth and fifth graders of Piseco’s After School Program. When I asked how many students heard of the emerald ash borer, none raised their hand. By the end of the interactive program, they understood its life cycle, listed invasion clues, and knew how to stop its spread. Talk about a class of intelligent students!
The program kicked off with some nitty gritty definitions. I asked the students what they thought the differences were between native and invasive species. They knew that native organisms are ones that have been in the Adirondacks for a long period of time, and invasive organisms are ones that cause harm to the environment, economy, or society. » Continue Reading.
The last week has been nothing but sunshine and warmth. The change in seasons was quick, and it seems like we went from zero to sixty in the temperature department, but it’s been good for the mind. The trees are blooming and the daffodils are shining bright yellow in the hot sun. It’s a good time of year even though my nose won’t stop running and my eyes are always itchy.
The last time I got an allergy test was a few years ago in Jacksonville. The doctor pricked both of my forearms with different allergens. On my right forearm were things like dust mites and pet dander. On my left arm were all the different types of pollen. After about five minutes, the nurse checked in on me and saw my left arm. She left and came back with the doctor, who decided that the red, swollen flesh necessitated immediate action. He cleaned up my arm and handed me a bright red inhaler that he recommended I carry with me at all times. » Continue Reading.
At Pack Forest Paul told us he took one of his best and luckiest shots. Wanting to capture the public’s imagination with something as ancient and compelling as a 500 year old stand of white pine, Paul was at a loss with the scale and the difficult angle and the lighting until the clouds parted for an instant and sun suddenly shot through the forest canopy.
Paul clicked, the shutter opened. Opportunity and preparedness aligned.
Paul told us that his photo was in demand all over the Adirondacks and the country, including in Washington, DC, where a representative of the USDA Forest Service put it on the wall. By the 1960s, the photo came to represent the urgent need to expand the Forest Preserve, protect the Adirondack Park’s remaining old-growth forests, and plan and care for the entire Park, public and private. It has been used in many publications since then, including Defending the Wilderness: The Adirondack Writings of Paul Schaefer (Syracuse University Press, 1989). » Continue Reading.
A facilitated workshop being held on April 27th, will explore Succession Planning — the human side of estate planning. “Ties to the Land: Planning for the Future of Your Woodlands” will focus on maintaining family ties to the land from generation to generation, building awareness of the key challenges facing private woodland owners, and farmers, as well as motivating families to address the challenges.
The interactive workshop is facilitated by Dr. Shorna Broussard Allred of Cornell University Cooperative Extension, in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations of Warren and Saratoga Counties, and the Southeastern Adirondack Chapter of the New York Forest Owners Association (NYFOA), providing effective tools families can use to decide the future of their land. » Continue Reading.
A distant motor thud-thud-thuds as if trying to start, then dies away. The noise repeats, and again dies off. I’ve been fooled by this sound, wondering who could be trying to start a 2-cylinder engine in the middle of the woods. This mechanical noise, of course, is really the drumming of a male ruffed grouse.
People once thought that male grouse struck their wings on a hollow log to produce this low whumping, but better observation revealed something far more astonishing. The bird stands bolt upright on a log, leans back on his tail, and fans his wings vigorously – so fast, in fact, that the wings achieve the same speed as the sound waves generated by their passage through the air. This causes the sound waves to “pile up” into a penetrating shock wave, also known as a sonic boom. For a one-and-a-quarter-pound grouse to exert such force takes strength and perseverance. Novice males have been observed going through all the motions and not producing any sound at all. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) celebrates the beginning of spring with plans for its second rubber loon race, billed as the only event of its kind in the United States. “Common loons migrate back to their breeding grounds in the Adirondacks in the spring. Our rubber loons will be back in action, too,” AIC Program Coordinator Paul Hai said.
Dubbed the “Loon Drive,” the race will be a highlight of the Memorial Day Weekend festivities that celebrate the AIC’s second year of operation as part of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Newcomb Campus. The college took ownership of the facility in 2011. The loon race last year used American-made rubber waterfowl manufactured by CelebriDucks of California. » Continue Reading.
I love my dog Pico. But there are times when he can be extremely annoying. Like right now, he’s licking my elbow and won’t stop. I lifted my arm up off the table but he just jumped up on me to keep on licking. I don’t know why he is doing this or what I could have possibly gotten on my elbow to make him want to lick it so bad. He’s just a little weird sometimes.
I noticed another oddity out here this week. I tapped a few maple trees so I could make a little sap this year. Last year, I was all primed to do the work, but then maple season came and went in a week in February, and I was caught off guard and left with no syrup.
This year is a test run. I bought some taps and used a few old milk jugs as buckets. Trying to do it on the quick and cheap, I’m really only expecting a couple servings of syrup. I don’t have the equipment or the time right now to handle a big production, but now that I know what I’m getting into, I can make a bunch of syrup next spring. » Continue Reading.
The eastern white pine is the tallest tree in this part of North America, with the biggest specimens getting up near 200 feet. They can live for 250 years or more. A truly big one is jaw-droppingly impressive.
Unfortunately, many never reach their full potential. Dubbed pasture pines, cabbage pines, or wolf trees, these squat multi-stemmed trees look like shrubs on steroids. Not for them the soaring magnificence of a robust, healthy pine. I’ve got plenty of them in the woods in back of my house. When I look at them, I just sigh. You can blame it all on a native insect: the white pine weevil, Pissodes strobi. » Continue Reading.