Caitlin Stewart manages the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District (HCSWCD). The District's mission is to manage and promote the wise use of Natural Resources in Hamilton County. Caitlin will be sharing the District's conservation-focused services, programs, and events.
She’s been a full time resident of Hamilton County since 2008 and is an avid hiker, skier, paddler, and biker. She is obsessed with adventuring with her dog Artemis.
Adirondack Waterfest was a splash of a good time that drew over 400 visitors to the Town of Inlet’s Arrowhead Park on Aug. 4. The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District organized the day-long celebration of water with support from the Finger Lakes – Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance.
Storm clouds and a few rain showers dampened no one’s spirits at Waterfest. The celebration made learning about the importance of clean water fun and exciting.
Adirondack Waterfest, the caravanning celebration of water, is coming to Arrowhead Park, 160 State Route 28, Inlet, on Aug. 4, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. There will be plenty to see and do, with activities, exhibits, and demonstrations for everyone. Admission is free.
Twenty-six years ago, the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District birthed the idea of a day-long celebration of water. The first Adirondack Waterfest was held in Speculator on July 19, 1996. Each year, the event is hosted at a different location in the Adirondack Park. Now, Adirondack Waterfest is coming home to Hamilton County for its twenty-first year.
The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District closes out 2021 with the release of their Annual Report. The document details the District’s 2021 programs, projects, and events.
“The accomplishments listed in our 2021 Annual Report would not be possible without the steadfast support from our Board of Directors, the Soil and Water Conservation Committee, Association of Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Hamilton County, and local organizations and agencies” said District Manager Caitlin Stewart. “Technicians Lenny Croote and Jaime Parslow, and Clerk Marj Remias provided expert and excellent service to landowners and municipalities year round.”
Highlights from the District’s Annual Report include:
When Hamilton County Community Services’ Prevention Educator Evangeline Wells invited me to give an outdoor presentation to Trail Blazers kids, I knew I wanted to mix fun and nature facts to keep things light and interesting for this summer event. Students traveled to the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District office on July 21 and discovered that there is more to scat than just a plop of poop in the woods. I packed the morning with activities and information about animal tracks and scat.
Photo at left: I ask the Trail Blazers to describe the story of track photos.
Christine Campeau, Adirondack Experience the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, details The Beaver Fur Trade.
Area school kids learned about conservation during the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual field day on October 7. The autumn weather was sunny and warm as ninety fifth and sixth graders hiked the Adirondack Ecotrail to six stations, learning about natural resources from the experts.
The Lynn Galusha Memorial Conservation Field Day turned forty-two this year. I organize the event annually, and was thrilled to return to in-person after last year’s virtual videos, and it was fantastic to see the kids, teachers, presenters, and volunteers.
It doesn’t get any better than educating kids on a hike, bringing in some creativity with a journaling activity, and appreciating the wild energy of a waterfall.
I teamed up with staff from the Hamilton County Family First Program and Trail Blazers to host a hike and outdoor journaling adventure to Auger Falls for students from Wells, Lake Pleasant, and Indian Lake.
Our pack of fourteen had an epically glorious afternoon on April 8 for a jaunt to the falls situated on the Sacandaga River. The weather was unseasonably warm and sunny, with the additional bonus of being blissfully free of biting bugs.
The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District held our 41st annual and first virtual Conservation Field Day event last fall where students learned about natural resource conservation from the experts and entered the fifth-grade essay and sixth-grade poster contests. I scheduled virtual and in-person awards ceremonies this winter with all participating schools to reward students’ knowledge and creativity.
Conservation Field Day was too important to cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and I was excited to rethink the platform. I warmly thank our fifth and sixth grade teachers for facilitating the virtual event with their students.
(Pictured here: Wheelerville Union Free School’s Joleen Rivera placed overall third place for the Conservation Field Day fifth grade poster contest.)
A virtual Emergency Stream Intervention (ESI) training designed for highway departments, planners, supervisors, and engineers will be held Wed. April 28, 2021, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM on Zoom. Participants will learn how streams function, the historical perspective of the causes of stream instability, and an overview of an ESI project.
This program is a tool to assist communities to better understand how streams function, why flooding occurs, and how to begin addressing impacts to communities. Program support comes from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts in New York State.
This ESI event is part of the Community Resiliency Training Program sponsored by the Champlain Watershed Improvement Coalition of New York, LLC and the Upper Hudson River Watershed Coalition, with funding provided by New York State through the Soil and Water Conservation Committee.
The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District (District) will host a Forest Pest Symposium to highlight bad bugs that are invasive to the Adirondacks on April 22, 8:30 AM – 1:15 PM. Landowners, supervisors, and outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to attend, and will learn identification, impacts, and how partners are slowing the spread of emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, and spotted lanternfly.
Experts will share their work, success stories, and detail simple steps that anyone can take to combat emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, and spotted lanternfly. These invasive insects threaten the Adirondacks’ natural resources and tourism industry. Early detection and rapid response are crucial to stopping the spread of these invaders that can harm forests, stream corridors, hiking trails, and agriculture.
Since the Halloween Storm raged through Hamilton County on October 31, 2019, excellent progress has been made to mitigate damage. In the wake of the storm, departments worked unceasingly to make roads passable. Then, they spent the spring, summer, and fall repairing infrastructure and stabilizing streams. Work continues, with more projects on tap for 2021.
Greg Boyer, Hamilton County Department of Public Works Road Supervisor II, reported that when the storm first hit, crew members spent countless hours making the roads passable.
“Crews were fabulous as far as getting together to get the work done, and making roads accessible for people to get in and out of their houses,” Boyer said. “Everyone worked together really well.”
The Hamilton County DPW completed the following flood mitigation projects:
An adult Galerucella beetle feeds on a potted purple loosestrife plant inside a hatchery.
Hamilton County students got a first-hand look at controlling the spread of invasive plants, thanks to the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District’s Leaf Munchers project. As part of the program, kids reared and released leaf-munching beetles to keep the invasive wetland plant purple loosestrife in check.
Tom Colarusso and I teamed up for an invasive insect forest survey on a sunny, warm January day. Tom is a Plant Protection and Quarantine Officer for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. We survey one campground a year for invasive insects, and his expertise has fueled my understanding of these hungry bugs.
We headed to Moffitt Beach Campground to check trees for hungry bugs like Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), emerald ash borer (EAB), and hemlock woolly Adelgid (HWA). » Continue Reading.
During National Invasive Species Awareness Week, I had the good fortune to teach Indian Lake Central School’s 9th graders how to become beetle busters. On February 22, they discovered how invasive insects can cause economic, ecologic, and societal harm. For this lesson, we zeroed in on emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle.
The class already had a solid understanding of what invasive species are because their teacher Sandra Bureau had been incorporating invasive species curriculum into their studies since September. Hands shot up when I asked for a definition. I detailed that Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer probably hitched a ride from Asia to the United States in wood packing crates. Without the ecological checks and balances found on their home turf, they reproduce rapidly. » Continue Reading.
My coworkers and I completed the installation of green infrastructure demonstration projects at the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District office in Lake Pleasant including a rain garden, a bioswale and two rain barrels.
Local homeowners and municipalities have the opportunity to see the benefits of stormwater pollution prevention practices. The projects are designed to protect and preserve water quality as essential aspects of public health, a vibrant local economy and a flourishing ecosystem. » Continue Reading.
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