Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Learning About Bones In Newcomb

skeleton_anatomy__deer_by_omgshira-d3gfz9jHalloween is ripe for haunting, ghosts and ghouls. My son is weighing his options between being a zombie groom or part of a ghostly orchestra for his art club’s Haunted High School in Saranac Lake this Friday. He knows that I am not the person to ask whether a fake severed arm looks real or if he should go with a gaping head wound.

I am not the family thrill seeker when it comes Halloween. If I were to look at bones I’d rather it be part of Mark Lawler’s program “Bones I Have Known” at Newcomb’s Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC). An instructor in anthropology, geology and environmental science, Lawler is leading an interactive program on Oct 25 from 1-2 pm to show how bones, scat and tracks of animals can be used for identification as well as to demonstrate survival.

According to Adirondack Interpretive Center Program Manager Frank Morehouse this event is geared toward adults, families and children between 5th and 8th grade. Though most of the event will take place inside there will be a short outdoor component where participants will look for scat and signs of wildlife.

“Mark has conducted this program elsewhere,” says Morehouse. “This is the first time that we have scheduled him at AIC. He is going to use bones to demonstrate how animals adapt and how bones help them survive. Teeth will be an interesting thing to look for when comparing herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. This isn’t a lecture. It is interactive.”

After the bones program, participants are encouraged to use the AIC trail maps, track guides and animal/bird lists to search for more bones and scat along the outdoor paths. There is also an updated list of animal sightings to further assist with identification. This is the last public program for autumn, but the AIC building and trails AIC’s are free and open to the public year-round on Tuesday through Saturday 10 am – 4 pm. The winter programing schedule is still being finalized.

There are plenty of ways to celebrate a scary Halloween. For me, I’d rather be spending it hunched over the skeletal remains of a deer than wondering if the crime scene at my kitchen counter is real or just another mess my son hasn’t cleaned up.

Deer skeleton by Omarshira.

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Diane Chase

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.

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