Almanack Contributor Chloe Bennett

Chloe Bennett is a climate change reporter based in Lake Placid, NY. Originally from North Texas, Chloe has always been drawn to the natural world. In 2022, she graduated from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY where she focused on environmental reporting and audio production. She grew a deep appreciation for the Adirondack Park while interning for the Explorer in the summer of 2022.


Monday, February 26, 2024

The power of peatlands

aerial view of forest

[On Feb. 22,] we launched the first installment of Climate Voices of the Adirondacks, a new series where I’ll explore climate solutions and the people working on them. I spoke with naturalist Charlie Reinertsen about peatlands and the ways he’s spreading the word on them.

Watch the introduction to the series here. Read our story and see some vibrant photos of the ecosystems at this link. 

» Continue Reading.


Monday, February 19, 2024

Rewiring winter

An electric snowmobile in winter snow.

Despite the season’s limited snowfall, snowmobilers trekked across parts of the park in January and February, including on the Adirondack Rail Trail. Research shows that snowmobiles cause harm to the environment from their exhaust and noise pollution.

But new technology points to a zero-emission transition.

Developed in Canada, electric snowmobiles have yet to become popular in the states and in the Adirondacks, though some are encouraging their presence. That includes the former executive director of the New York State Snowmobile Association.

Read the story here.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, February 12, 2024

How can the Adirondacks stay a four-seasons destination?

The Adirondack Rail Trail in early February./

A comprehensive study and analysis of climate change’s effects on New York detailed what many in the Adirondacks already believe: winters are warming.

To combat the loss of tourism to melting ice and fewer snow showers, the recreation industry is adapting.

The state’s climate report, which was released in full last week, highlighted the park’s cycling destinations as a potential solution to balance a loss of winter tourism.

“The Adirondacks have already experienced a long-term decrease in snowfall,” an analysis of the assessment reads.

The Adirondack Rail Trail was held up as a four-season example. Read the story here. 

» Continue Reading.


Monday, February 5, 2024

Forests, climate and Paul Smith’s

Fall at Paul Smith’s VIC

The Adirondack Park’s only four-year college is looking to expand its funding sources and boost enrollment using several grants. With about $3 million banked and $4 million more pursued, Paul Smith’s College is tracking new opportunities.

Some of their funding was awarded for their climate education.

“You can’t start to separate forestry education from climate education because if you follow the literature, we know that the Adirondacks is a big carbon sink,” Dan Kelting, president of the college, told me yesterday [Jan. 31]. “And so the Adirondacks plays a large role in regulating the carbon that’s in our atmosphere.”

There are also plans to establish a new research institute on campus. Read the story here.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, January 28, 2024

Shaping young minds

Adirondack Youth Climate Summit participants hold an ”I Am Pro Snow” rally at Mount Van Hoevenberg in 2016

Teachers and students in New York public schools may get more climate education direction and lessons.

Several educators from the North Country are supporting a bill to expand climate education in New York classrooms.

Introduced by Sen. Andrew Gounardes, D-Brooklyn, and Assembly member JoAnne Simon, D-Brooklyn, the new legislation would direct teachers to prepare and instruct science, adaptation and career-focused lessons on climate change.

Although students receive some climate education in public schools, many environmentalists and teachers say the instruction doesn’t measure up to the severity of the global issue.

Click the link to read about the bill and why some Adirondackers are pushing for it.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, January 26, 2024

Report: More 90-degree days ahead

snowy aerial shot

Part of a multi-year climate assessment on New York’s environmental future was released last week. In 2021, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced the assessment with an extensive group of researchers and participants.

Projections and historical data indicating changes in temperature, precipitation, extreme weather and more were developed by scientists.

According to the authority, the assessment team is wrapping up a technical report on proposed climate adaptation strategies across industry sectors including agriculture, transportation, energy and buildings. Ecosystems, human society, water resources and health are also on the list. Adirondack Explorer will continue covering the findings as they are released. Read the latest here.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 13, 2024

Under a spreading chestnut tree

A man plants a chestnut tree

Starting today [January 11], Climate Matters will reach your inbox on Thursdays instead of Fridays. Happy reading!

This week I have a story on forest restoration using genetically-modified trees. The American chestnut tree, found in many pieces of art and literature, used to be abundant in Eastern forests. A fungus introduced in the 1900s, now known as chestnut blight, wiped out much of the population.

Although the Adirondacks were never home to a high population of the tree, climate change may have altered its range as the park’s environment has become warmer, a researcher told me.

At this link: A high-stakes restoration process that could take generations to accomplish, with some bumps along the way.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 6, 2024

Where’s winter?

Pond hockey and skating on Holcomb Pond in the Sentinel Wilderness area of the Adirondacks, near Lake Placid.

Last winter in the Adirondacks saw relatively mild temperatures and unstable ice. By February 2023, one skater said he would have traversed 200 miles of ice by then. But conditions caused Dan Spada, a retired supervisor in the natural resources department at the state Adirondack Park Agency, to lose about a fourth of that mileage.

Lake Champlain, a favorite wild ice skating spot of Spada’s, has yet to fully freeze this winter, he said. Human-caused climate change is spiking temperatures across the globe, leading to thin ice and rainy winters in climes like the Adirondacks.

The park, along with the entire Northeast, is already feeling the effects of climate change.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 20, 2023

Listening to the youth

youth at john brown's farm

It’s a big week for young people taking on powerful entities for the environment. On Monday, a judge sided with young activists in Montana who said the government was violating the state constitution with pro-fossil fuel policies. The plaintiffs’ argument was that the state’s policies infringed on their right to a healthy and safe environment. The judge’s ruling means they were right.

I wondered whether something similar could happen here.

The state’s The Environmental Rights Amendment, added to the New York Constitution in Jan. 2022, says, “Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.”

It’s unclear whether legal action such as Held v. State of Montana will happen in New York.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 10, 2023

Breaking down carbon offset projects in the Adirondacks

shot of trees from above

Hundreds of thousands of acres in the North Country are hosting carbon offset projects and many of them are forestry-related. But how does that translate to climate mitigation?

Forestry offset projects, meant to conserve land, are enrolled in the compliance and voluntary markets. In California, the compliance market is overseen by the Air and Resources board. While researching for our carbon offset series, I learned that credits enrolled in the compliance market are generally worth more than its voluntary counterpart. But the price of a credit can range widely from a few dollars to more than $50.

To be certified, or deemed effective, experts say projects should meet some basic standards. I go over those in the article linked here. There’s also a larger question by scientists, landowners and climate-conscious people about whether the projects work in mitigating climate change.

Some call it a greenwashing tactic while others look at it as a necessary tool to achieve a net-zero emission status.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 19, 2023

What does the future of extreme rain look like in the Northeast?

flooding

After major flooding and infrastructure damage, I asked:

What does the future of extreme rain look like in the Northeast?

The past few decades have trended toward heavier rainfall, Arthur Degaetano, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Regional Climate Center said. Predictions based on scientific data show the Northeast is expected to become wetter because of climate change. Warmer air holds more moisture and causes more rainfall. That rain is mostly coming from oceans, Degaetano said, which are also warming and making evaporation easier.

“We’re seeing catastrophic flooding and we’re going to see more road failures,” Erik Backus, who teaches civil engineering, told the Explorer. “How to deal with that is a significant thing we need to consider going forward.”

Read about it here: https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/stories/rain-flooding-adirondacks-newyork  and also our follow up here: https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/stories/road-work-ahead-after-storms

Also:

Climate Smart Communities Grant Program Accepting Applications Through July 28th

Applications for grant funding are due by 4:00 pm on Friday, July 28, 2023

Read our previous coverage of Climate Smart Communities here.

Photo at top:Rain runoff eroded parts of the beach at Long Lake. Photo by Tracy Ormsbee/Adirondack Explorer

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Chloe’s weekly “Climate Matters” newsletter. Click here to sign up.


Wednesday, July 5, 2023

El Niño in the Northeast

people on a bench by an icy lake

Although Earth recently experienced some of the hottest documented years, scientists say it was in a cooling period with the naturally occurring La Niña weather pattern. Now, an opposing El Niño could boost warming temperatures further.

What does that mean for the Northeast and the Adirondacks?

The probability of higher temperatures in the Adirondacks is increased during an El Niño, but that doesn’t mean the park can expect heat waves.

Normally, winds blowing east to west push warm surface waters toward Asia, but La Niña and its opposing El Niño disrupt that pattern for months or years. But external forces such as the Madden-Julian Oscillation can dominate the influence of an El Niño.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, March 17, 2023

Historian joins climate change assessment study

This week I have a story about an Adirondacker giving a hand to a statewide climate study.

Around 80 people in different parts of the state are working on a climate change assessment. This multi-year study is overseen by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Last summer, Long Lake Town Historian Hallie Bond joined the team. She’s researching how climate change will alter community culture, including historical societies and museums.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Climate matters: Keeping track of a changing environment

Steve Forbes, who owns a hardware store in Wilmington, has recorded every plow job since 1987. Photo by Chloe Bennett

It’s week three for me at the Explorer and I have a few things to share with all of you. On top of learning how to live in the Adirondacks – like equipping my car with proper tires – I’m learning about how Adirondackers are keeping track of their changing environment. One longtime resident showed me her gardening journals that date back to the 1970s and have weather notes, bloom dates, wildlife sightings and more. I drove over to Wilmington and flipped through a hardware store owner’s log of snowplow jobs dating back to 1987. His take? Snow is coming later in the Adirondacks. Read the story here. 

» Continue Reading.



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