Saturday, July 2, 2022

Traveling to Webster for Grandson Nathan’s graduation ceremony

The longest day of the year passed on Tuesday, June 21 in the pouring rain, so who could tell? I missed the strawberry moon last week in the clouds, and when I did catch it in the middle of the night it was so low in the sky that it hid behind the trees even when on the second story. In the early morning before daylight, five planets are still aligned in the eastern sky, which won’t happen again for several more years.

The best place to catch this is on a lakeshore with a good view of the SE sky. The moon is at its smallest, so that shouldn’t interfere with your view. However, you must get out before the sun lightens the sky. Since I’ve been doing Boreal bird surveys starting at about daylight, I should get a few looks at these planets while traveling to these sites.

Some Loon chicks hatched this week in many places across the Adirondacks. Many more should hatch just before the Fourth of July, so be aware of them while you are out and about on the area lakes where we do have chicks already. Many will still be nesting, as they lost their first nest and have re-nested.

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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation to host children’s programs this summer

Saranac Lake, NY – The Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation invites children ages 3-5 and their families to participate in Sunday afternoon programs to learn about loons through hands-on activities, games, crafts, and stories. 
 
These programs will be held from 2:00–2:30 p.m. each Sunday through August 14 at the Adirondack Loon Center, located at 75 Main Street in Saranac Lake, NY.
Topics include:
July 3 – How the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation Helps Loons
July 10 – What Loons Eat
July 17 – Loon Nesting
July 24 – How Loons Swim and Fly
July 31 – Loon Calls and Behaviors
August 14 – Threats to Loons and How We Can Help
The summer children’s programs are offered for free, thanks to support from the Stewart’s Foundation.
Pre-registration is strongly encouraged, as each presentation will be limited to 12 children.
To pre-register, email education@adkloon.org or call (518) 354-8636.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

DEC seeks public input to address adverse impacts of informal trails on Catskill High Peaks

On June 29, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that DEC is working to help protect natural resources by identifying management solutions to address the adverse impacts of the expansion of informal trail networks on Catskill High Peaks (over 3,500 feet) previously considered to be ‘trailless.’ Informal trails created over time are having an impact and consistent with the Catskill Strategic Planning Advisory Group’s (CAG) preliminary recommendations to address increased public use in the region, DEC is seeking public input in this preliminary stage of management plan development.

“DEC is conducting a multi-year monitoring effort that is already identifying management concerns on many of these Catskill High Peaks,” said Commissioner Seggos. “DEC will be working outside of the conventional unit management planning process to develop a single document that will outline intervention strategies to help address adverse impacts in multiple areas as quickly as possible. We will be providing a variety of opportunities for public participation, including a public information session in the fall once the 2022 field monitoring season is complete.”

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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

ADK: Summit Stewards Return to High Peaks

Lake Placid, NY The Adirondack High Peaks Summit Stewardship Program has started its 33rd season of protecting New York’s alpine ecosystem. Summit stewards will be educating hikers on high peaks summits—namely Marcy, Algonquin, Wright, and Cascade—through Indigenous People’s Day. During this time, they will also be focused on expanding the program’s photopoint monitoring, which is key to showcasing the link between educational outreach and alpine vegetation recovery.

“We are excited to continue the important work of protecting New York’s alpine ecosystem,” said Kayla White, ADK Stewardship Manager. “The Summit Stewardship Program has been and continues to be one of the best examples we have of an outreach effort that has successfully shown people how to protect sensitive ecosystems while they enjoy them.”

Since the program’s founding in 1989, summit stewards have educated over 600,000 hikers about alpine vegetation and how to protect it. The result has been a remarkable recovery in vegetation on alpine-carrying summits in the High Peaks region, a trend that has held despite increases in visitor use over the last decade.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Inlet: Loon program featuring Gary Lee set for July 1

Loon enthusiasts are encouraged to join retired NYS DEC Forest Ranger, and avid naturalist, birder, and photographer, Gary Lee, as he shares stories during an informational session about banding loons in the Adirondacks.

The presentation will take place on Friday, July 1 at 7 p.m. in the meeting room of Inlet Town Hall located at 160 State Route 28. The program is free and open to the public. For more information about this event, call (315) 357-5501.

Gary lives with his wife, Karen, at Eight Acre Wood in Inlet where he was the Forest Ranger for 35 years, working in the Moose River Wild Forest Recreation Area and West Canada Lakes Wilderness Area. Now retired, Gary works summers for the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, observing, catching and banding loons.

The author of a column Daybreak to Twilight in local papers from 1986 to 2019, he now writes his Outdoor Adventures in a weekly blog, which can be seen on The Adirondack Almanack and View Arts Center websites. In 2008, Gary coauthored a book with John M.C. “Mike” Peterson, “Adirondack Birding- 60 Great Places to Find Birds.”

Photo at top: Gary Lee with loon. (Town of Inlet website photo.)


Monday, June 27, 2022

This Summer, Visit Tourist Destinations that are Close to Home

Summer’s here. And people are getting back to traveling. However, in recent weeks, tens of thousands of travelers have found themselves stranded at airports due to flight delays and cancellations. And for almost everyone else, rising gas prices and travel costs in general, have become a major barrier to taking that dream vacation.

Fortunately, families in northern New York can escape to budget-friendly vacation spots that aren’t so far away that they’ll devastate an already dwindling bank account. There are many extraordinary and some truly world-class places to visit locally. Whether you crave an adventurous getaway, a relaxing lakeside beach, unrivaled fishing, great entertainment, or a few days of luxurious living, you can have just about any summer vacation you want right here. And you can improve your travel experience by researching local destinations ahead of time.

Sometimes we forget that we live in an area with literally millions of acres of publicly accessible land. We have incredible parks, recreation areas, and tracts of state land nearby, many with inexpensive campsites, and a few that still offer free backcountry camping.

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Monday, June 27, 2022

Recent DEC Hunting and Trapping News

DEC Seeking Reports of Moose Sightings:

DEC asks the public to report moose sightings via an online form as part of ongoing efforts to monitor moose distribution across New York. While the Adirondacks are home to most New York moose, some live in the eastern part of the state along the Vermont and Massachusetts borders. Moose can also occasionally be found in southeastern New York and the Catskills, but these are usually individuals that have dispersed from other areas.

Moose are the largest land mammal in the state. In the summer, when most sightings occur, moose typically spend a lot of time in ponds and wetlands feeding on submerged aquatic plants. During the rest of the year in cooler weather, they browse on leaves, twigs, and buds of trees and shrubs. Favored browse species include willows, birches, maples, balsam fir, viburnums, aspen, and mountain ash. Bulls weigh up to 1,200 pounds and stand up to six feet tall at the shoulder. Cows weigh anywhere from 500 to 800 pounds and usually give birth to one or two calves in late May or early June.

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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Hiking Excursion Results in Rare Find: Loon Family with 3 Eggs

Thunderstorms rumbled all around us the other night and even shut off the TV dish for a while, but we only got a quarter inch of rain that night. One mostly-wet day was Thursday, June 16, but then it was only light rain that fell and didn’t even keep me out of weeding in the garden. The wind has been the big thing, with white caps on most of the big lakes most all week into the weekend. Even some of the smaller ponds were tough to travel on in a small craft like a Hornbeck boat.

My 17- foot canoe had all it wanted on the Cedar River Flow on Friday, June 17, with three-foot swells and white caps, which the wind blew the tops off. I stayed along the north shore, and it wasn’t too bad as the wind was strong out of the NW. I saw an older fella (actually he was younger than me) in his rehabbed canoe he found at the dump out on the flow. He kept close to shore on the north side and made it back to the landing just as I got there on my return trip.

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Saturday, June 25, 2022

ADK Park: Recent Environmental Conservation Police News


The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Division of Law Enforcement enforces the 71 chapters of New York State’s Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), protecting fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality across New York. In 1880, the first eight Game Protectors proudly began serving to protect the natural resources and people of New York State. In 2021, 282 Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) and Investigators across the state responded to 26,207 calls and worked on cases that resulted in 11,562 tickets or arrests for violations ranging from deer poaching to solid waste dumping, illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.

Drone Training – Oneida County

From June 2 to 5, members of DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement drone team, along with New York State Police and the Town of Colonie Police Department, presented at the 2022 New York State Technical Rescue Conference at the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany. ECOs presented on the critical role of drones during investigations. ECOs demonstrated scenario-based and hands-on drone training, ranging from hazmat responses and emergency operations, to structural collapse situations and flooded environments. This is the first time drones were a topic of discussion at the conference.

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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Lake Protectors Volunteer Training Scheduled for June 28

The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) is inviting volunteers to join its Lake Protectors program and is kicking off summer with its first (of three) Lake Protectors training sessions from 9-11:30 a.m. on June 28.

“Being a Lake Protector is fun, easy and a great way to help Adirondack lakes,” said Brian Greene, APIPP’s Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator.

Since the program’s inception in 2002, hundreds of volunteer Lake Protectors have surveyed more than 460 lakes in the Adirondacks, of which more than 75-percent do not have invasive species present.

Participation in the program is simple. After taking a training course, every volunteer is encouraged to adopt a waterbody of their choice and commit to surveying that pond or lake at least once during the summer. Many Lake Protectors, like Saranac Lake author Caperton Tissot, view the program as a way to spend time on a favorite waterbody while also helping to protect it from the threat of invasive species. Tissot has been a volunteer Lake Protector since 2009. In an interview last summer, she said her favorite place to survey is Barnum Pond in Paul Smiths because there are no buildings nearby, she rarely sees another boat and the shoreline varies from rocky outcrops to forests and bogs.

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Thursday, June 23, 2022

Ginseng: The Root to Health

The media trope of an aged character with their nightstand chock-full of pill bottles may be an unfair cliché, but observing family and friends in their 70’s and 80’s, I’d say it has at least some validity. I’m sure anyone who take numerous meds would like a single fix-all product, a universal remedy. For over a thousand years, an assortment of aches and ailments have been treated by such a panacea, the root of a medicinal plant we know as ginseng. This term is derived from Chinese words for man-root, a reference to its typically forked shape, though Western taxonomists dubbed it Panax, “cures all.”

The genus Panax comprises about 17 species (there’s some dispute), nearly all of which are found in the northern hemisphere. While Korean ginseng is often stocked in health-food stores, our American ginseng is equally good. As for its properties, claims run the gamut. Maladies which could be managed through ginseng include cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, chronic fatigue, dementia, heart disease, arthritis, and immune deficiency. Controlled studies prove ginseng enhances cognition, reduces inflammation, improves stamina, and lessens the severity of the flu. Evidence hints at other possible benefits such as erectile function, but researchers need to apply more rigor to say for sure. Scientific rigor, I mean.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

DEC announces 2022 ‘I BIRD NY’ challenges

Birder at Washington County Grasslands provided by DECOn June 17, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the start of the 2022 “I BIRD NY” challenges for beginning and experienced birders. Two levels of challenges provide the opportunity to identify birds and learn about birdlife and offer a chance to win birding equipment. With the launch of many New York State Birding Trail segments this year, DEC will be increasing the chances of winning if participants find birds on a New York State Birding trail site.

“No matter where you live, birdwatching is a fun, easy, affordable activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, abilities, identities, and backgrounds,” said Commissioner Seggos. “This summer is a great time to start birding or take your birding skills to the next level by observing birds in the diverse variety of habitats and locations the New York State Birding Trail offers.”

New York State’s wide-ranging habitat types, from the Atlantic Ocean’s sandy beaches to majestic Catskill and Adirondack peaks, Great Lakes shorelines, and everything in between create a birder’s paradise that supports more than 450 different bird species throughout the year. New York offers a wide variety of options in Birding Trail locations with ongoing new sites being added, making it even easier for New Yorkers to get started with this fun activity.

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Monday, June 20, 2022

National Pollinator Week is June 20 – 26


Pollinator Week is June 20-26. It is an annual celebration in support of pollinator health, established and managed by Pollinator Partnership. This week is a prime time to raise awareness for pollinators and also to spread the word about what people can do in order to protect them. Those interested are encouraged to celebrate Pollinator Week get involved by taking part in a variety of activities such as planting for pollinators, hosting garden tours, participating in online bee and butterfly ID workshops, and more.

Fast facts from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation:

  • Pollinators are essential to our environment, and they provide an ecological service for the reproduction of over 85% of the world’s flowering plants, including more than two-thirds of the world’s crop species.
  • The U.S. alone grows more than 100 crops that either need or benefit from pollinators.
  • The economic value of native pollinators is estimated at $3 billion per year in the U.S.
  • Pollinators are keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems. Fruits and seeds derived from insect pollination are a major part of the diet of approximately 25% of all birds and of mammals.

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Saturday, June 18, 2022

Adirondack animal babies: Nesting bluebirds, fawns, and loons

Since the time of my last column, I had two and a quarter inches of rain, which pushed many of my flowers to bloom and others to grow taller. The sweet peas are climbing the trellis about two inches a day. I guess the pellet fertilizer I gave them is working. The roses are covered with buds, and it looks like the plants are all coming up from the original plant, which is over twenty years old now.

My three trumpet vine honeysuckle vines are covered with blooms, which the hummers like. I fenced in my queen of the forest today (June 12) as the doe which dropped her fawn in the driveway yesterday, was munching close to that plant at daylight this morning.

I also put a fence around my cup plant (not because the deer eat it,) but when it gets to be six feet tall, the stems of the plant will not hold it up, so the fencing keeps it upright as it blooms. The bees love this plant and when it goes to seed, the warblers and goldfinch feed on the bugs and seeds from the flowers. Two Fall seasons ago, I caught six different warbler species feeding in the plant in two days.

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Saturday, June 18, 2022

DEC, State Parks Announce 2022 Outdoor Photo Contest


hiker finds a moment of solitude on Giant Mountain during a busy weekendOn June 16, the state’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the launch of the 2022 Outdoor Photo Contest to highlight the best of New York’s natural beauty and special destinations among New York’s state campgrounds and parklands. The online contest runs for four months–through mid-October–with the winning images to be featured in statewide digital and print campaigns.

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