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, June 10, 2024

Flipping the script on wetlands

Woman poses on chair against snow backdrop

Our latest episode of Climate Voices spotlights Keeley Jock, the climate justice fellow for the Adirondack North Country Association. A wetland project she led that prioritizes traditional Indigenous values of  natural systems. She gave a talk about her work at the annual Adirondack Research Consortium in mid-May.

I interviewed her after to learn more. Click here to watch a short video feature.

» Continue Reading.

Sunday, June 2, 2024

How to help birds and bees

bee on a flower

This month, a week dedicated to the health of pollinators will be marked by a festival and native plant sale, organized by ADK Action. Birds, butterflies, bees and various bugs contribute to the Adirondacks’ unique ecosystem with the help of native plants. Climate change is contributing to the decline of pollinators with habitat loss and seasonal shifts, but humans can easily lend a hand. Contributor Holly Riddle wrote about some of the solutions recently.

“We have more drastic temperature fluctuations in a given season,” said Sawyer Bailey, ADK Action’s executive director. “We have more extreme weather events. That makes it difficult for creatures that have a very narrow band of conditions that they can live in, migrate in, and generally move and feed and forage in, to survive.”

» Continue Reading.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

From canoe to climate

Man in water near waterfall

Meet Garrett Marino, the youth climate leadership coordinator for The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. With a love for literature and the outdoors, Marino uses communication and science to teach others about climate change.

Here’s what he said about his philosophy on climate action:

“It’s not that we need to be afraid of this, so we should be inspired to action. It’s that we love our planet and we love nature and we love the critters and the bugs and everything on it. And it’s worth protecting.”

» Continue Reading.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Who will pay for climate disasters?

NYS map

A suite of environmental bills passed in the state Senate recently to mark last month’s Earth Day. One measure, delivered to the Assembly last week, could result in a multi-million annual grant for the North Country to help with disasters caused by extreme weather.

The money is anticipated under the Climate Superfund Act introduced by Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan. It would require oil and gas companies to contribute to a fund of $3 billion each year to foot climate disaster bills. The legislation was excluded from this year’s $237 billion state budget.

» Continue Reading.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

The importance of long-term monitoring

Man with dog

On this episode of Climate Voices of the Adirondacks, I talk with LJ Mills in Newcomb. He’s collecting vitals on the Huntington Wildlife Forest as part of a long-term monitoring program.

Studying the same ecosystem for years creates a baseline that scientists can use when analyzing climate change. The project in Newcomb, operated by the SUNY College of Environmental Forestry, dates back several decades.

Read more here.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Yellow buses turning green

School bus from front

Yellow school buses could soon be much greener in the Adirondacks. A state mandate to electrify school bus fleets will take effect in 2035, and officials are encouraging districts to begin the switch now. As of today, May 2, a total of $500 million from the state and some $5 billion from the federal Environmental Protection Agency is meant to fill in the financial gaps.

Some schools are eligible for more money than others, including several in the Adirondack Park. Moriah, Raquette Lake, Saranac, Lowville and more are listed as priority districts, elevating their maximum funding eligibility.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, April 29, 2024

Summer Outlook

Chubb River in June 2023

Muddy trails and warm air are expected in the Adirondacks this summer, as scientists predict above-average temperatures and precipitation. Using a series of climate projection tools, NOAA scientists calculate the chances of weather patterns like temperature and precipitation across the country.

Last year seized the record for warmth, the administration announced in January, and 2024 has a one-in-three chance of exceeding that troublesome title. There’s a 99% likelihood that this year will be among the five hottest, NOAA stated. The switch from El Niño to La Niña later this summer plays a large role in the projections, as the natural weather phenomenon influences temperatures differently across the country. Read more here.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Hope for the future

The Adirondacks’ environment is changing, with warming temperatures, declining animal species, milder winters and more. The Explorer works each week to keep you informed on how global climate change is impacting the park at a local level. But there’s good news, too. Your neighbors are working on research, education, solutions and more in the climate space. That’s why we launched Climate Voices of the Adirondacks. For the next several weeks, we’re spotlighting the people working toward a more resilient and sustainable future. Read more here.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Carbon mapping

A map of New York showing tree cover and developed lands

Nearly five years ago, New York state passed an ambitious climate law intended to reduce and counteract fossil fuel emissions contributing to climate change. Storing carbon dioxide, a gas released from burning fuel, is key to achieving the goals outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Much of that can be accomplished through protecting carbon-absorbing forests across the state.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Solutions in our backyard

black spruce

Last week I sent you a story on how climate change could be triggering a mass movement of species northward. The Adirondacks could be a critical habitat for those migrants.

So, how do we help?

During an interview with a wildlife connectivity expert from The Nature Conservancy, I asked that question. It turns out the solutions to protecting migrating species are mostly uncomplicated: Conserve the land you have.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Connecting wild spaces

Elk in Alberta, Canada

The Adirondack Park is home to a universe of animals and plants. From fire-colored efts to shy black bears, abundant waters and forested lands support a dense network of Northeastern biodiversity.

So, you may be wondering why a photo of an animal that hasn’t existed in the park for centuries is featured at the top of this newsletter.

It’s possible that elk could slowly move back to the Adirondacks in the future. Scientists see evidence for animals and plants inching northward and to higher elevations as Earth warms from accelerated climate change. The park has an outsized role in ensuring their survival, scientists say.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Signs of Spring

An American robin.

This week marks the first calendar-official days of spring. Some ground around the Adirondacks is covered in white while other parts are bare and evolving into the next season.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation in early March advised hikers to avoid elevations higher than 2,500 feet, an announcement made earlier than usual. The park saw the warmest winter on record, producing spring-like weather during the last weeks of the season.

But it’s still unknown how the conditions will impact the arrival of the traditional “signs of spring.”  We do know it’s been an early maple season. 

» Continue Reading.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Literacy and solutions

Paul Smiths College students on a boat on a lake

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Bay Watershed Education and Training program awarded a grant to Paul Smith’s College recently. The $160,000 award boosts the college’s funding for climate programs and focuses on climate literacy and solutions. Under the terms of the grant, a new Youth for Climate and Water Action project will unite school districts in the Adirondacks and the Finger Lakes around studying the Great Lakes watershed.

» Continue Reading.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

The warmest winter

nordic skis laid across a muddy trail with minimal snow

After more than a year of living in the Adirondacks, I’ve learned that winter is highly anticipated and celebrated by most. Months of powdery and icy conditions in the region have historically attracted outdoors enthusiasts to experience the park’s extensive cold season. But this winter’s record-breaking warm temperatures and minimal snowfall transformed the season, shortening outdoor recreation times and disrupting some events.

Winter temperatures in the Saranac Lake area were the warmest on record this year. According to data from the National Weather Service, the average temperature from December to February was 24.1 degrees. The previous record was 23.5 degrees in the 2015-16 winter season. Read the story here. 

» Continue Reading.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Quieter forests, silent spring?

A song sparrow and a white-throated sparrow

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke with Jason Hill, an ecologist with the Vermont Center For Ecostudies. He recently published a report with data going back to 2010 showing a steep decline in many mountain birds. Some of the data came from the Adirondacks.

Climate change is a root cause, he said.

“The processes driving these long-term trends that are reported in the State of the Mountain Birds report aren’t ephemeral,” he said “They are choices that we make as a society.”

But there are some ways to help local birds. Click here to learn more.

» Continue Reading.

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