In a little over 12 months, the New York State Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law will take effect, requiring businesses that generate an annual average of two tons or more of wasted food per week to donate excess edible food; and recycle all remaining food scraps if they are within 25 miles of an organics recycler.
AdkAction and their newest project, Compost for Good, are hosting a Zoom event on January 20th from 10-11:30am. The event is designed to help municipal officials and community advocates understand the new law, and to introduce various options for composting. Representatives from NYS DEC will join us to discuss the new law as well as the Climate Smart Communities program. There will be a question and answer session after the presentation.
Cornell University has created a model that converts campus-generated organic waste into rich compost. It won a 2009 Environmental Quality Award from the U.S. EPA. – Cornell CALS photo/Almanack archive
Some of the most important trees in your woodlot are the ones that are no longer alive. Large, standing dead or dying trees—called snags—are an important part of healthy forests and a critical habitat feature for wildlife. They provide places for many birds and mammals to forage, den, nest, perch, and roost. Snags are very important for cavity-nesting birds like woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees; for bats that roost within cavities, crevices, and flaky bark; and for countless species that rely on insects, fungi, and lichens as a food source. As long as they aren’t in a hazardous location such as near a road or building, consider leaving snags for wildlife.
In woodlands where snags are sparse or absent, it’s possible to create a few by topping, girdling, or simply leaving several mature trees as legacy trees that may become snags in the future.
Biologists recommend having at least three large snags (>12” diameter) per acre to benefit wildlife. These stately spires also add structural complexity, provide an element of visual interest, store carbon, reflect a forest stand’s past, and will enrich soils in the future.
As a card-carrying, registered tree hugger, I have long touted the benefits of trees such as carbon storage, energy savings and improved mental health. And beyond the familiar tree-related blessings such as maple syrup, lumber and firewood, I’ve written about some obscure things like birch-based candy that fights tooth decay, and health-promoting chaga tea derived from a birch fungus. Then there’s basswood bark for fiber, elm bark for baskets, and pine bark for lunch. That stuff is all pretty straightforward.
More highly processed wood products, though, are a mystery to me. Even a fairly mundane example like how a pile of dirty logs becomes a decidedly coveted treasure – I’m speaking of toilet paper, of course – seems like rocket science. But recent developments are truly mind-blowing. Without a doubt, tree-derived stuff has risen to a whole new level: the Japanese will soon rocket a wooden satellite into space.
A few simple changes can have a positive impact for your local recycling program. By learning the “ins and outs” of your local program, you can recycle right this year and help clear up confusion about items that cause contamination in recycling streams across NY.
Before you throw an item in the trash, take a second to search some alternative ways to use or manage it. Can it be reused? Can it be donated? Does your recycling program accept it?
I’ll keep investigating waters of the Adirondacks. Stories about what’s still wild, about what has been changed, and about what is at risk of ruin.
Water? That seems niche, one might say. But water is everywhere — and where it isn’t is also a story.
All of our greatest stories involve water. The baffling story about the punishment of Moses for bringing it out of a rock. The story about the reflective trap of Narcissus. Native American stories that focus on the turtle, straddler of water and land.
The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program APIPP will be hosting 5 new education events over the course of January through April 2021. The events will be based around the threat of invasive species, habitat integrity, and the economies of the communities which make up the Adirondacks. The APIPP needs your help to combat invasive species on land and in water throughout the Adirondacks, and they are offering the opportunity to sharpen your skills and join the effort.
The discovery of two emerging forest pests within the Adirondacks, the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid and the Emerald Ash Borer incited a race to understand and treat the scale of existing infestations across hundreds of acres. the APIPP’s Winter Learning Series reflects the rising threat of conservation, and challenges homeowners, recreationalists, local businesses, and all interested in citizen science to help prevent the spread of, and to help manage invasive species threatening the North Country.
The Open Space Institute (OSI) has announced their latest acquisition of over 3,300 acres of land in the Herkimer County towns of Salisbury and Norway. The land consists of hardwood forests, softwood forests, and wetlands which will be protected under the OSI, expanding their regional connectivity of land which they protect.
DEC and the Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT) recently announced TILT’s acquisition of 527 acres in the Town of Alexandria as part of the Crooked Creek Preserve Water Quality Initiative. This acquisition will protect the surface water quality of the St. Lawrence River. TILT acquired the parcels with New York State Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) funding that provides resources to protect source waters.
The St. Lawrence River serves as a drinking water source for many nearby communities. As shoreline development and agricultural expansion continues along the River, the potential for water contamination of this widely used source water increases. The acquisition includes three parcels in the Goose Bay/Crooked Creek complex:
The Three Lakes Tract is an area of commercially managed forestland, composed of northern hardwood forest, Hitchcock, Grass, and Moose Ponds. It shares around 4.1 miles of boundaries with the State Forest Preserve lands (the Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness and Independence River wild Forest) as well as 2.5 miles with the Big Moose Tract Conservation Easement.
Until January 13, The NYS DEC will be seeking public input on the development of a draft Recreation Management Plan (RMP) for the Three Lakes Tract Conservation Easement. The conservation easement is privately owned and extends over 3,350 acres in the town of Webb, in Herkimer County.
Paul Smith’s College electricity accounts are now 100% sourced from local hydroelectric power stations, effectively transitioning over 40% of the colleges energy needs to renewable sources. That’s according to a recent news release from Northern Power and Lights (NP&L) and the college.
NP&L began supplying power to Paul Smith’s College in March after the college subscribed to electricity from the Azure Mountain Power Facility in St. Regis Falls. An addition of electricity from the Sissonville hydro station on the Raquette River allowed them to move to all-locally generated power.
We look at January 1st as a new chapter, a time to start fresh. However, if you find the idea of drafting up a new list of New Year’s resolutions a bit too abstract, our 30-day wasted food challenge might be a fit, focusing on doing small tasks each day in order to build habits that will stick.
Forty percent of all food produced in the US goes uneaten. Wasted food is a major contributor to multiple environmental and social problems that we face today – and most of this waste is happening right under our noses! ReFED estimates US households alone waste 76 billion pounds of food annually, costing each household an average of $1,800 per year!
Spend sometime this winter getting involved in the following learning opportunities provided by the NYS DEC. Do your part to help combat the ongoing threat of invasive species within the Adirondack Park.
Protecting Rare Species from Invasives (Finger Lakes PRISM) – Tuesday, January 12 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. – Join the Finger Lakes PRISM for their Invasive Species: How to Know, Observe and Report Webinar Series. This presentation will feature Steve Young, Chief Biologist from the NY Natural Heritage Program. Please register in advance.
Northeast Aquatic Plant Management Society Annual Meeting (NEAPMS) – January 12, 13, and 14 – View agenda and registration information on NEAPMS’s website.
The Power of Native Plants (SLELO PRISM and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Saint Lawrence County) – Thursday, January 14 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Join us for a free online class about the power of native plants, alternatives to exotic and invasive ornamental plants, and invasive species to watch for. Participants will also learn about nature-based community science opportunities they can contribute to from home. Register for this session on Zoom.
One can never step in the same river twice. (Attributed to Heraclitus.)
Ripple in still water…when there is no pebble tossed nor wind to blow. (Grateful Dead)
What goes up must come down. (Everyone.)
As the year’s closing, I’ve been thinking about the lessons taught by the concept of retention time. That’s the average time water stays in a lake or pond. Think of it as the effect before has on after.
In the meantime, let us know if you have any insights on Adirondack snow to share with us. We’re working on a story about the history and future of snow in these mountains, and what it means to our economy and ecology. Besides what climate scientists and other experts have to say about changes in our winters, we’re interested in hearing personal stories about your experiences and observations through the years.
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