Friday, July 22, 2022

The Giant Joro Spider

First your car catches fire, and then your house. Worse yet, your date kills you and devours your flesh without so much as an apology. Yeah, spiders are creepy (I’ll explain). Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, reportedly affects from three to six percent of us worldwide. In fact, it’s the most common phobia among humans (I assume the fear of humans is the most prevalent phobia among other animals, spiders included). Experts aren’t sure why we’re so scared of web-spinning arachnids, although evolutionary selection and family genetics are likely involved.

Cultural conditioning plays a role as well. In the US, for example, up to 15% of the population have some degree of arachnophobia, more than twice the global average. And a 1991 study in the UK found that 78% of Londoners surveyed expressed a general dislike of spiders. Here in the northern latitudes, we currently have no resident species of venomous spider, although that may eventually change as the climate warms. On rare occasions, the northern black widow (Latrodectus variolus) has been found as far north as southern Ontario and Québec. But the northern black widow is not aggressive, and its bite, while unpleasant, is not deadly.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 21, 2022

ADK Park: 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.

All Hooked Up – St. Lawrence County
On July 4, ECO Atwood responded to a call about a small goose with a fishing lure stuck in its foot in the town of Colton.

 

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Controlling an Invasive Plant Without Herbicides

Invasive species are plants, animals, fungi, or microorganisms that spread rapidly and cause harm to other species. They are introduced species that can thrive in areas beyond their natural range of dispersal.

     Characteristically, invasive plant species are adaptable, aggressive, and usually lacking natural enemies that can limit their growth and populations. They have a high reproductive capability; growing rapidly in short life cycles and producing abundant amounts of seed. They aggressively compete with native plants and plant communities and often displace them, thereby disrupting the normal functioning of ecosystems and threatening biodiversity and already endangered native plant species.
     Purple loosestrife is a perfect example of an introduced plant species that has become a serious and widespread threat to native species, natural communities, and ecosystem processes. It was brought to North America by the European colonists as an herbal remedy for dysentery, diarrhea, and other digestive ailments and introduced in the 1800s as an ornamental. It was well-established in New England by the 1830s, and spread along canals and other waterways. Supposedly sterile species were offered for sale for many years, but researchers later found that those cultivars were fully capable of cross-pollinating with plants growing in the wild.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

DEC Seeks Citizen Scientists to Help Monitor Turkey Productivity

wild turkey - femaleNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today encouraged New Yorkers to take part in the State’s annual survey of wild turkeys, a valuable tool that helps DEC determine the productivity of turkey populations statewide.

“Citizen scientists provide important data that helps our biologists examine how factors such as weather, predation, and habitat conditions during the breeding and brood-rearing seasons impact turkey survival,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Without the assistance of our volunteers, the task of monitoring turkey populations statewide would be far more difficult, and we encourage participation this summer to help enhance our knowledge of turkeys in New York.”

» Continue Reading.


Monday, July 18, 2022

Nature’s Dental Plan

The vast majority of people have no dental coverage, or at best have a less-than-stellar plan which only pays if you use their provider in the Outer Hebrides who works on alternate Tuesdays in April, although you’re still on the hook for a $5,000 deductible. Given a few recent discoveries, however, it looks like insurers could give us perfect teeth and yet save piles of money in the long run by taking cues from nature.

With a single up-front procedure, we could get self-replacing or unbreakable teeth like those found in certain animals. Of course, this would require the use of a gene-editing tool such as “Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats,” or CRISPR. The acronym is fitting: one of its first miracles was an apple that stays crisper even if sliced and left out for ages. Nature’s answer to the Twinkie, I suppose.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, July 18, 2022

DEC: Public Encouraged to Report Potential Beech Leaf Disease Infections

On July 15, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that Beech Leaf Disease (BLD), which affects all species of beech trees, was identified in 35 counties in New York State to date. The DEC began tracking BLD in 2018 after it was confirmed in Chautauqua County. Fourteen of the counties with BLD were confirmed in 2022, and more are likely to be identified.

“Many American beech trees are already heavily impacted by beech bark disease, but Beech Leaf Disease appears to be an even bigger threat,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “The decline of beech in New York could have far-reaching consequences, including significant changes to the composition of our northern hardwood forests and the loss of a valuable food source for wildlife. Beech Leaf Disease affects all beech, so the impacts would also be felt in our urban forests where ornamental beech trees, including the popular copper beech cultivar, are widely used for landscaping and street trees.”

Much is still unknown about BLD, including how it spreads, but it can kill mature beech trees in six to 10 years and saplings in as little as two years. There is no known treatment for infected trees. BLD symptoms are associated with the nematode Litylenchus crenatae mccannii. It is unknown whether the nematode causes all of the damage, or if it is in association with another pathogen such as a virus, bacteria, or fungus.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 17, 2022

ADKX Benefit Gala set for July 30, Dr. Ross S. Whaley honored as Harold K. Hochschild Awardee

Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y.  – The Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake (ADKX) will be celebrating their annual Benefit Gala & Harold K. Hochschild Award ceremony on Saturday, July 30 from 6 to 9 pm, under the stars at their museum in the heart of the Adirondacks. This yearly celebration and fundraiser highlights the organization’s accomplishments and achievements, as well as honors the yearly Harold K. Hochschild Award recipient.

This award, given annually to a different recipient, is dedicated to the memory of the museum’s founder, whose passion for the Adirondacks, its people, and environment inspired him to create the museum and establish the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). The 2022 award recipient is Dr. Ross S. Whaley, President Emeritus of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) in Syracuse, NY.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 16, 2022

The year of the flowers: Orchids, rose pegonias flourishing

 

We didn’t have any hot days during this last week and we had rain on-and-off during the week, just enough that I didn’t have to water the garden. I did, however, have to water my tomatoes in the buckets, which are more like small trees. So far, it has been a wonderful year for the flowers. The deer had hosta at the salad bar this week, while teaching her fawns which ones to eat and which ones not to eat.

The bear came this morning, but there was nothing out there for him to eat, so he just sat there waiting for me to put up the bird feeders and the electric fence gate. He hasn’t tested it yet since getting the feeders when it wasn’t on a week ago. There isn’t much in the way of wild food for them to eat right now but grasses, grubs, and ants, not many honeybee hives in this neck of the woods. Blueberries are popping up, which they feed on in the Moose River Area, and then they hit the raspberries and blackberries.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 14, 2022

New York Annual Loon Census, Loon Center Open House on July 16

Saranac Lake, NY – Attention loon watchers! The New York Annual Loon Census is a great opportunity for Adirondack residents and visitors to participate in the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation’s ongoing research on Common Loons.

Census observers are needed for the 22nd Annual NY Loon Census on Saturday, July 16 from 8 to 9 a.m. to help determine the abundance of loons in New York during the 2022 breeding season. To participate, please sign up for a lake in advance at www.adkloon.org/ny-loon-census to help minimize duplicate observations.

“Hundreds of observers contribute annually to this valuable citizen-science study,” said Dr. Nina Schoch, Executive Director of the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation. “The results from their observations enable us to monitor the status and trends in New York’s loon population over time. We are also excited to welcome visitors to the Adirondack Loon Center this summer to learn about our many new projects to protect loons and our upcoming educational exhibits.”

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Beyond Books: Libraries Lend Binoculars to Beginner Birders

KEENE VALLEY & SARANAC LAKE, NY — Are you interested in bird watching, but don’t know where to begin? Starting this summer, the Keene Valley Public Library and Saranac Lake Free Library are loaning backpacks stocked with binoculars and field guides to give people an opportunity to try out birding.

 

The backpacks are part of the Adirondack Land Trust’s “Adirondack Birding for All” program, which is working with the libraries to increase awareness and appreciation of Adirondack birds and their habitats.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Free virtual webinar “Backyard Invasives” set for July 20

ADIRONDACKS – Anyone can help prevent the spread of invasive species, even without leaving their yard. That’s the gist of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program’s free webinar “Backyard
Invasives—Identification and Management of Terrestrial Invasive Species,” which will run from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 20.

“A lot of invasive species tend to grow on forest edges and roadsides, and some get planted intentionally, making people’s yards an ideal habitat,” said APPIP Terrestrial Invasive Species Coordinator Becca Bernacki.

Invasive species are plants, insects, fish and other animals that are not native to a region and cause ecological, economic or human health harm. They can reproduce quickly, outcompete native vegetation and are often spread by human activity.

Yards not only provide a welcoming habitat for invasives, they’re also heavily traveled upon, which increases the opportunity for plants and seeds to be unintentionally relocated. Mowing and landscaping are two ways unwanted plants can be spread. And while it isn’t easy to control the spread of invasive species, understanding how to identify and manage them are things anyone can do.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, July 11, 2022

Boaters required to obtain certification before launching motorized watercraft in ADK waterways

PAUL SMITHS  – A New York State Department of Environmental Conservation law was recently enacted that requires boaters operating any kind of motorized watercraft in the Adirondack Park and within ten miles of the Park’s boundary to obtain and possess a certification that confirms their motorboat is free of harmful aquatic invasive species.

 

The new measure to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species went into effect in June 2022 and is meant to complement the existing Adirondack Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Program operated by the Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute.

 

The public can learn more about this regulation via a new informational video and fact sheet, and can find locations around the region to get a courtesy inspection and a free boat wash at adkwatershed.org/clean-drain-dry.

 

The mission of the Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute is to protect clean water, conserve habitat and support the health and well-being of the people in the Adirondacks through science, collaboration, and real-world experiences for students.

Photo at top: The easiest way for the public to ensure their boat meets the “Clean, Drain, Dry, Certify” standard is to visit a Watercraft Inspection Steward at a boat decontamination station. There are several located across the Adirondack region and a boat wash is free. Photo credit: Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute. Photo provided by Zoë Smith, Deputy Director of the Adirondack Watershed Institute.


Monday, July 11, 2022

ADK launches free naturalist programs in Lake Placid

Lake Placid, NY Starting July 2, ADK will resume its popular naturalist-led walks and programs in the Lake Placid area. This includes all-new, one-hour interpretive walks at the Cascade Welcome Center, which will be offered every Saturday at 1 pm until mid-August.

Walk participants will meet inside the Cascade Welcome Center. All walks and programs are free, open to the public, and do not require advanced registration.**

Additionally, ADK will resume its popular summer naturalist series at the Heart Lake Program Center.

Guests and visitors are welcome to explore the natural world of the Adirondacks through hands-on activities by attending one or all of the following programs:

Naturalist Guided Walks  

Join an ADK Naturalist and learn about the natural history of the Adirondacks. Interpretive walks run at 10 am daily all summer long through mid-August. Meeting place is outside the Adirondak Loj.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 10, 2022

Audubon Welcomes New Forest Program Associate Rosa Goldman

As a Forest Program Associate for Connecticut and New York, Rosa Goldman works with local landowners to make their forests healthier for birds and other wildlife.

Growing up in semi-rural western Massachusetts, Goldman recounts the impact forests had on her childhood:

“I definitely took forests for granted,” she said. “I was surrounded by them all the time, and loved spending time in the woods.”

It was not until she received her bachelor’s in environmental studies and moved to New York City that Goldman realized just how powerful that influence was. “Suddenly the type of forest I’d grown up in wasn’t as accessible to me anymore. I started learning about urban forestry, but pretty quickly realized that I wanted to go back to school to study forests more broadly.”

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 9, 2022

Finding beauty in flowers, birds while cleaning up litter

I got out on several different waters this week, checking Loons and doing some Boreal Bird Studies. I found some new nesting Loons and a few Boreal birds. Some things I found in my travels didn’t make me happy. One was the mess left up in the pit by Independence Lake. I believe the mess was made by celebrating students from the Town of Webb.  I can’t prove it, but it happened on graduation night, as it has for the past three or four years somewhere on the Town of Webb Snowmobile Trail System.

A big bonfire of pallets, old furniture (and other things that will burn,) then toss in over one hundred empty beer, wine, and soda cans…and you can call it a party. Then you drive around it with some big trucks crushing other cans and bottles, and leave the mess for someone else to pick up…that’s pride in your area! We have a clean up day in May, which many students take part in making the area free of much litter left by visitors (and some by locals.) Maybe some of the students who left this mess could travel again to this area, and remove the stuff they left for others to see and pick up.

» Continue Reading.



Wait, before you go,

sign up for news updates from the Adirondack Almanack!