Friday, October 17, 2014

Adirondack Wild’s 2014 Annual Meeting and Awards

Peter Tobiessen, aquatic biologist, was Adirondack Wild's guest speakerAquatic biologist Peter Tobiessen (shown at left) had found spiny water flea in his morning sample of Sacandaga Lake’s water, and by noon on October 10, 2014 he had several specimens under his microscope for us all to see. The occasion was the 4th annual meeting of Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve at Camp Fowler in Lake Pleasant.

This small aquatic “invader” from Europe has concerned lake ecologists since it first showed up among the zooplankton in southern Adirondack lakes around 2010. Spiny water flea, about ½ inch long, is related to native water flea, Daphnia, but it has a very long spine at the end of its body, reproduces rapidly and can dominate the large filter-feeder level of the lake’s food web at the expense of native species. Its long spine also gets tangled in fishing lines and can clog fishing rod guides.

Spiny water flea was among the good, the bad and the downright weird and fascinating aspects of Adirondack lakes revealed by guest speaker Peter Tobiessen, author of The Secret Life of a Lake to Adirondack Wild’s members and guests on October 10, 2014 during a beautiful fall day on Sacandaga Lake in Lake Pleasant.

The annual meeting was chaired by Chris Amato, newly elected Vice-Chair of Adirondack Wild’s Board of Directors. Amato works full-time as an attorney with Earthjustice which pursues legal action to protect wild nature and wildlife, advance clean energy, and combat climate change. During the remainder of the meeting Adirondack Wild staff and board shared information with members about the organization’s progress, finances, membership growth and achievements over the past year.

Professor Tobiessen has taught aquatic biology at Union College for many years, and Sacandaga Lake, Lake Pleasant and Fawn Lakes in southern Hamilton County are among those lakes he has studied the most. Much of his research over the past 35 years is reflected in his new book, The Secret Life of a Lake.  During Adirondack Wild’s annual meeting, Tobiessen was honored with the organization’s 2014 Wild Stewardship Award for “creating fresh awareness, appreciation and understanding of Adirondack lakes, their dynamic ecology, their secrets, and the need for their caring stewardship by lakeshore owners and visitors.”  For more about The Secret Life of a Lake or to order a copy, visit

Other award recipients during Adirondack Wilds’ 2014 annual meeting included:

  • Jocelyn Jerry with the Paul Schaefer Wilderness AwardThe Paul Schaefer Wilderness Award was presented to Jocelyn Jerry of Speculator and Albany, NY for her tireless efforts to sustain and steward Dug Mountain Ponds, some of the most beautiful, useful and certified private forests found anywhere in the Adirondack Park. Lyn Jerry and her late husband Harold and their families have well managed the property’s forests, ponded waters and wildlife for over 50 years. She has welcomed and incorporated lessees, hunters, fishers and foresters and set a high standard of care and management for many other private land stewards in the Park. The award is named for Friends of the Forest Preserve founder Paul Schaefer who was not only a great 20th century champion of publicly-owned Wilderness, but a strong proponent of well managed private lands compatible with “forever wild” public lands.


  • all threeWilderness Golden Anniversary Awards were presented to singer and songwriter Dan Berggren (Sleeping Giant Records), author and photographer Carl Heilman II (Wild Visions Inc.), and webmaster and graphic designer Jesse Gigandet for their efforts in producing and designing “Forever Wild,” a new 14-minute DVD to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the National Wilderness Preservation System Act of 1964. The film tells the story of “where wilderness preservation began” in the Adirondacks thanks to the work of Bob Marshall and Howard Zahniser (executive secretary of the Wilderness Society, 1945-1964) and New York State’s “forever wild” constitutional protection of the Forest Preserve. The DVD is available from Adirondack Wild via its website,

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Dave Gibson, who writes about issues of wilderness, wild lands, public policy, and more, has been involved in Adirondack conservation for over 30 years as executive director of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks and currently as managing partner with Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest PreserveDuring Dave's tenure at the Association, the organization completed the Center for the Forest Preserve including the Adirondack Research Library at Paul Schaefer’s home. The library has the finest Adirondack collection outside the Blue Line, specializing in Adirondack conservation and recreation history. Currently, Dave is managing partner in the nonprofit organization launched in 2010, Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.

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