Thursday, August 4, 2011

Adirondack Wildlife Festival August 6th

The Paul Smiths VIC will continue the tradition of hosting the Adirondack Wildlife Festival on August 6 from 10 AM to 8 PM. There will be presentations on all creatures great and small, from Bears to Salamanders, live music with Roy Hurd, storytelling with David Fadden of the 6 Nations Indian Museum, Mark Manske’s bird on hand demonstrations, fun and games, visits to the butterfly house and a special presentation on Loon Conservation in America by Dr. Jim Paruk.

Current schedule of activities includes: » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

‘Conference of the Birds’ Wild Center Theatre Event

The Adirondack Lakes Summer Theatre Festival continues its second season with an encore performance of stage director Peter Brook’s work performed in the Great Hall at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. After performing two sold out performances at St. Williams on Long Point, Conference of the Birds returns due to popular demand at a much-reduced cost. With a single performance on August 8th at 8 pm, audiences will get one last opportunity to see this production.

The storyline of the play focuses on a nation of birds in crisis. Urged on by one of their flock, the Hoopoe, they chart a path to find their king. Above all, the Hoopoe tries to help them conquer their fear of life as the stage becomes an astonishing aviary. Through masks, dance and song, this beautiful adaptation of the 12th Century poem comes to life in a magical evening of theater. Appropriate for all ages. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

DEC Seeks Turkey Survey Volunteers

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is encouraging New Yorkers to participate in the Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey, which kicks off in August.The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is asking New Yorkers to participate in surveys for wild turkeys.

Since 1996, DEC has conducted the Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey to estimate the number of wild turkey poults (young of the year) per hen statewide. Weather, predation, and habitat conditions during the breeding and brood-rearing seasons can all significantly impact nest success, hen survival, and poult survival. This index allows DEC to gauge reproductive success and predict fall harvest potential. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Tow Bar Inn, Old Forge

We’re not sure how many other bartenders might also work at the Tow Bar, but if you enter and find Jack, a.k.a. Jackson, a.k.a. Famous Jack, a.k.a. Action Jackson behind the bar, sit down, relax and expect to enjoy yourself immensely.

Whether it was Jack, our new-found friends (the “Tow Bar buddies”) or the fact that it was our 6th and 8th bar (perhaps making us vulnerable) the Tow Bar is at the top of our list in Old Forge. It didn’t take us long to realize we wanted the Tow Bar to be our last stop of the night so we stayed long enough to get some fact checking done, left for another bar, then returned afterward. Our work finished for the night, we were ready to just have a couple of drinks or shoot some pool without “working”.

Jack, head mixologist, has worked at the Tow Bar for 21 years! Apparently, he came with the deed when the current owners purchased the bar five years ago. His proud supporters, our Tow Bar buddies, strongly professed him to be the best bartender. Having witnessed him in action, his patience was outstanding, but what stood out above all other qualities was his genuine friendliness. Imagine working in a bar for 21 years and having any patience at all!

TOW in Tow Bar stands for Town of Webb. Having driven around Old Forge several times on Saturday, we had already formed the opinion that Old Forge was a village within the Town of Webb, but learning the origins of “Tow” confirmed our deduction. The Tow Bar is open seven days a week and only closes for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Open from noon to 2 a.m., the Tow Bar caters to locals but enjoys entertaining (verb as well as adjective) visitors. In line with catering to locals, they offer live entertainment on Sunday night, when local workers tend to get some time off to fraternize with their friends.

The Tow Bar’s 20 or so bottled beer choices are unpretentious and mostly domestic. Drafts include LaBatt Blue, Blue Light and Budweiser, all at pretty low prices. The bar is well-stocked and Jack will happily improvise if he doesn’t have what you’re looking for.

The works of Doug Green, Tow Bar’s “house” cartoonist, are displayed throughout the bar. One they are especially proud of is the cartoon of John Ratzenberger, Cliff Clavin of Cheers fame, who stopped in and played pool with some of the regulars. They list Sandra Bullock among other famous visitors to the Tow Bar. Yankee, Dodger and Giants fans will feel comfortable taking in the bobbleheads, old photos, and autographed memorabilia displayed throughout the bar. Several TV’s are strategically placed and NASCAR stats are in evidence so you can probably catch the race there on Sundays, if you’re so inclined.

The Tow Bar seems to have something for almost everyone – sports, pool, darts, friendly patrons and a terrific bartender. If you go, be sure to mention Happy Hour in the High Peaks. I think they’d like to know we weren’t just making this stuff up.

Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog, or follow them on Facebook, and ADK46barfly on Twitter.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Philosophy: Should Adk Professionals SpeakTheir Mind?

A few months back one of my colleagues here at the Almanack wrote a fine post that raised the question of whether or not it is feasible for New York State to acquire Follensby Pond and surrounding lands.

I had great fun weighing-in on an element of philosophical gamesmanship that Phil Brown touched on related to Aristotle’s notion of begging the question. A short while later, I was describing what I thought had been my clever contribution to a friend who asked “yes, but what was your position?” Well I never! No really, I never even considered entering the conversation with my position on the situation.

As a philosopher, much of my work involves drawing out the views of others into a constructive space where disagreement operates alongside mutual respect for differences of opinion. In this process I act as facilitator, offering my own opinion only when it might help to further the discourse. This method is useful, at the same time it is almost entirely without risk. Whereas others who participate in a dialog (say around Adirondack land acquisition) lead with their position and without the safety of neutral ground. This came up for me during a recent conversation with a few colleagues who work in the field of environmental education.

We were talking about how much of what we believe can and should we reveal when talk turns to issues that are invariably fraught with tension and where perspectives, and ultimately the people who hold them, are judged by what they believe. In other words, how much of our personal and ideological positions can we show up with while taking care to subject ourselves to the least amount of ire?

Each of us enters into a private negotiation to gauge this type of risk countless times a day. And the stakes are particularly high when viewpoints push past our personal belief into a professional space where often unspoken expectations about who we are and what we think are nearly written into our job descriptions as environmental educators, ecologists, biologists, and naturalists etc.

But what happens when our personal and public personas don’t seamlessly match, or when I hold to a belief that might put the two in conflict? What are the boundaries of my duty or the limits of my professional responsibility when what I believe isn’t consistent with what I am expected to believe? Am I duty bound, as German philosopher Immanuel Kant believed, to conduct myself with an artificial unanimity when I am in service to an institution or organization acting in the interest of the community? In this case is Kant right to call for obedience or submission to a disciplinary or professional agenda?

Maybe, but as members of the whole community or of a society of world citizens and thus in the role of a scholar he can argue without hurting the affairs for which he is in part responsible. In other words, as citizens and public intellectuals we are indeed obligated to speak our minds. Kant’s adamant belief in our responsibility as public and private citizens comes from his belief that freedom and righteousness always operate in concert. He envisions a landscape where we emerge as independent thinkers who value our own worth and every man’s vocation for thinking for himself where a greater degree of civil freedom appears advantageous to the freedom of mind which fosters the propensity and vocation to free thinking.

From What is Enlightenment, Immanuel Kant, 1784.

Marianne is a philosopher living, writing and teaching in the Adirondacks.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Family Overnight Camping at the Adirondack Museum

The Adirondack Museum and the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts will host an overnight adventure at the museum on Tuesday, August 16, 2011. The event will include exploring exhibits by lantern, getting dramatic about Adirondack history with the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts, hearing songs and stories by the campfire, and having a sleepover in the Woods & Waters exhibit. Dinner, an evening snack and breakfast will be served.

Camp Out for Families is open to children ages 7 – 13, and the museum requests one adult chaperone for every one to four children. The program starts at 5:30 p.m. and ends the following morning at 9:30 a.m.

Spaces are limited; pre-registration required by August 11, 2011. E-mail or call to register: jrubin@adkmuseum.org or (518) 352 – 7311 ext 115; mhall@adkmuseum.org or (518) 352 – 7311 ext 128. The program fee includes dinner, evening snack, light breakfast, and all activity materials. $45 per person for Adirondack Museum members and Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts members; $55 per person for non-members.

The museum is open through October 17, 2011, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7 days a week, including holidays. There will be an early closing on August 12, and adjusted hours on August 13; the museum will close for the day on September 9. Visit www.adirondackmuseum.org for more information. All paid admissions are valid for a second visit within a one-week period.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: Adirondack Animal Land

By Diane Chase
Camels, lemars and bears, oh my! Nestled in the foothills of the Adirondacks, Adirondack Animal Land is located near Sacandaga Lake in Fulton County about 10 miles north of Amsterdam on Route 30. Though the physical entrance is listed as Gloversville, the 80-acre zoo stretches across the Blue Line. Over 500 animals wander around, some freely, some not. The mix is from the common mallard to the more exotic lemur with Highlander cattle, Dromedary camel and Adax antelope rounding a list of animals that we are curious to see.

It is hard to know where to begin when we enter Adirondack Animal Land but I trust my children are going to make sure we see “everything there is to see.” Things to know: The 45-acre safari ride is included in your admission but hold onto your admission tickets because you can only go the one time for free. Only cash is accepted so bring your ATM card (there is a machine onsite).

Signs everywhere indicate that all the admission proceeds benefit the care and feeding of the animals, veterinary care, educational programs, special breeding programs and upkeep of this privately owned zoo.

While on the safari ride we are followed uncomfortably close by a camel. The large animal is chewing and looking ready to projectile spit. I move from the back sacrificing the children to any flying saliva.

There are many other animals mixing and mingling but the charmers of the group are the baby potbelly pigs. We learn that all zebras have different markings and see ostrich, buffalo and about 90 other animals I can’t begin to remember.

There are plenty of opportunities to feed the animals but do not bring your own food. There are rules and regulations regarding public feeding of animals to ensure that the zoo animals maintain an appropriate diet and nutritional needs.

There are other opportunities like gemstone mining or pony rides but we pass by to enter the 1800s western-style town. My children wander through each building while my husband and I rest at one of the picnic tables. Bringing a lunch is encouraged as long as you remember not to feed the animals.

The fee is not unreasonable for an all day activity ($13.75/adults and $10.75 for children) and there are online coupons to shave a few extra bucks off the entrance. We are always of the mentality that if we have to pay for an activity; we are going to make the most of it. So when the doors open at 10:00 a.m. we are there to greet the staff and if possible they are sweeping us out the door at closing.

Next week: wilderness swimming with children.
Photo and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

‘Watercolor Encounters’ Opens at Lake Placid Center for the Arts

Tim Fortune explores the natural world with delicacy combined with a hungry appreciation for the minor miracles we walk past every day. His work astonishes the senses with its simplicity and grace, and offers up a feeling of awe that resonates long past your first peek into Fortune’s world, splayed out in glorious, wall-sized watercolors.

His upcoming one-man show at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA) at 17 Algonquin Drive in Lake Placid, “Watercolor Encounters” opens on Friday, August 12th with an artist’s reception from 5-7PM. The show, which continues there until September 17th, includes more than a dozen of the large scale watercolors―along with another 20 midsized works―that reflect a uniquely gentle view of the natural world, Fortune style.

These days, Fortune works almost exclusively in watercolor, painting the simple elements of life on a scale that defies you to try to walk past it without having to stop and stare. Using a delicate and refined approach, he turns an analytical eye on the finest details, exposing the complexity of even simple subjects like rocks under water with tremendous skill. “I like the idea of fractals,” he says, “of breaking up nature, almost like a puzzle.” His studies include wild roses, impressions of tree branches in winter, leaves in fall, and several of his marvelous examinations of water in motion. His Adirondack vantage points are uniquely personal and beautiful.

It’s been many years since Fortune has mounted a solo show of this magnitude, and the combined impact of so many of his ingenious large works is a rare treat. For more information, go to the LPCA website, or visit the Fortune Studio at 76 Main Street in Saranac Lake, NY.

Photo: Top, Green Frog; Below, Fallen Pine both by Tim Fortune.

Linda J. Peckel explores the Adirondacks by following the arts wherever they take her. Her general art/writing/film/photography musings on can be found at her own blog Arts Enclave.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Anne LaBastille Rediscovers Verplanck Colvin

Fifty people in a room can seem like a crowd. Not so in a great church full of pews, or when spread out on a slope or under trees in the Adirondacks the impression is of a small, intrepid band. One Adirondack celebration with 50 people stands out in my mind. Anne LaBastille helped organize it.

As Anne just passed away, she is much in the collective mind this summer. The year was 1992, the Adirondack Park’s Centennial Year. Anne’s co-conspirator was Norm Van Valkenburgh, the retired director of Lands and Forests with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, and a surveyor from the Catskills. Both were keen admirers of the 19th century Adirondack surveyor Verplanck Colvin (1847-1920, and Superintendent of the Adirondack Survey, 1872-1899), who did so much to improve awareness, understanding, knowledge of the Adirondack mountains, and to inspire legislative action in the creation of the Park itself. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 1, 2011

The Woodland Jumping Mouse

Sitting around a campfire after dusk, it is sometimes possible to catch sight of a small rodent bounding across a section of the forest floor that is illuminated by the glow of the flames or a bright moon. Similarly, a small creature may occasionally be seen in the headlights of a car leaping across a road like a frog, but at a distinctly faster pace. The chances are that both these sightings are of the woodland jumping mouse, a small rodent that is fundamentally different from the species of mice that begin to enter homes and camps toward the end of summer.

On those rare occasions when one of these common forest dwellers is seen around a lean-to or tent, it can be easily mistaken for a regular mouse, as both rodents are nearly identical in size and have similar body shapes and facial features. The jumping mouse however, has a set of hind legs slightly larger than those of a regular mouse. These rear appendages are better adapted for catapulting its body forward when it wants to quickly escape a location. The jumping mouse is known to bound up to three feet at a time, which is ten to fifteen times the length of its body. Along with traveling in a straight line, the jumping mouse can also hop in a more erratic manner, making it more of a challenge for a predator either on the ground or from the air to grab it while it attempts to reach a place of safety.

The most conspicuous physical feature of the jumping mouse is the extraordinary length of its tail which can approach twice the length of its head and body. The tail of a normal mouse is roughly equal to or slightly greater than its body length. The much longer tail of this rodent often becomes noticeable when it is hunched up, nibbling on a berry or a favored mass of fungi which it has just unearthed from the uppermost layer of soil.

As its name implies, the woodland jumping mouse inhabits forested settings, especially where numerous ground plants and shrubs cover the forest floor. This mammal also shows a preference for wooded glades where the soil remains moist in summer. Lowlands along the edges of marshes and swamps, or places where natural drainage is poor and water seeps into the soil rather than runs off, are ideal locations for this abundant creature.

Because the jumping mouse prefers to forage under the cover of darkness, this rodent is not as likely to be seen prowling the forest floor as a chipmunk. Also, since it rarely utters any sound, there is little to draw a person’s attention to this mammal’s presence.

As August arrives, the jumping mouse begins to increase its intake of food. This is partly the result of longer nights for foraging, and an increase in the berries, ground dwelling bugs, and maturing fungi upon which it feeds. The excess food consumed as summer wanes is stored as fat. While a normal mouse begins to amass caches of food around this time of year for use in winter, the jumping mouse relies on its fat reserves to carry it through the colder months.

Unlike other mice, the jumping mouse lapses into a state of true hibernation as its food sources dwindle. After it retreats into a chamber deep in its burrow, the jumping mouse experiences a drastic drop in its body temperature as does the woodchuck and many species of bats.

In the Adirondacks, the jumping mouse is known to begin its winter dormancy as early as the middle of October. This is the time in the autumn when berries and bugs become limited in availability. While small seeds may still be present for this rodent to pick up from the forest floor, the new layer of dead leaves on the ground covers them and makes them harder to find.

Also, a fresh, dry carpet of dead foliage makes it harder for the jumping mouse to remain inconspicuous as it forages. The faint noise created by a mouse as it rustles through the dead leaves may be difficult for a person to hear, but it is more than adequate to alert any predator in the immediate area that a potential meal is active nearby. By slipping into a dormant state until conditions on the ground improve for it in mid spring, the jumping mouse is able to deal with the adverse conditions over the next 6 months.

As the moon develops in brightness over the next few weeks, an evening out in the woods may reveal periodic glimpses of this unique rodent which is active around most campsites here in the Adirondacks.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia.

Tom Kalinowski has written several books on Adirondack nature.


Monday, August 1, 2011

The Life Struggles of Dean Clute (Part Three)

His initial success at bookselling was encouraging, but Dean Clute was looking for more, and it came from an unexpected source. His published article had caught the eye of one important reader who was so taken with his story, she became his benefactress. Though often portrayed as anonymous, her name was, in fact, Mrs. Ethel Clyde, whose husband was the principal owner of the Clyde Steamship Line.

Ethel gave Dean $2000 which he used to attain his dream of leaving the hospital and opening a bookstore. The money covered his expenses for one year, and he gave it his best shot, but with the economy in severe depression, prospects were not good. Store sales and his own articles failed to generate enough income to stay afloat.

No further charity was forthcoming, and in late 1931, Dean rented an apartment in Greenwich Village. He moved the store there as well, but had to reduce services and inventory, mostly handling mail orders.

As he struggled to survive, there were others who tried to help. Among them was famed media man Walter Winchell, whose “On Broadway” column in late October mentioned Gary Cooper, Kate Smith, Governor Franklin Roosevelt … and Dean Clute.

Winchell wrote: “Do you know anyone who would like to help Dean Van Clute keep running his book shop at 145 Waverly Place? He once was a pro baseball player and illness knocked him down—now a cripple. He was set up in this shop by a rich woman whose whim for philanthropy died easy—and needs another lift. Maybe you know somebody.” (Note: The family used the surname Clute, but Dean revived the “Van” for his authored pieces.)

Dean’s brother, Walton, was still by his side, assisting him in daily life and handling the store business. Without loyal, helpful friends and a loving brother, Clute’s existence would have been much less enjoyable.

For some time, Dean had been working with Walton on writing an “autobiographical novel.” The book was accepted for publication by Frederick Stokes Company and scheduled for release in late 1932.

In the meantime, there was more bad news. Dean was unable to pay his bills, and in April his phone service was cut off. In May he was $30 short on the rent, prompting the City Marshal to issue an ejection warning. A return to City Hospital was looming, but Dean didn’t seem worried, telling a reporter, “Aw, hell—it’s all in a lifetime.”

Forced to reduce expenses, he moved to a basement studio in Greenwich Village. The book business was mainly a lending service at that point, but another dream of Clute’s was fulfilled when his new digs became a popular stop-off for important figures on the literary scene.

The man Mencken had called “one of the most courageous men ever heard in this world” was further pleased when the book on which he and Walton had collaborated was released in the fall. Pour Wine for Us was well received.

One reviewer wrote: “… so moving a story of the solace to be found within the recesses of one’s own mind from one defeated by all that men hold precious. … It is an intense and throbbing human document, paralleling many of the literary masters, but always retaining a poignant individuality. … His ability to bridge the gap of his disability is no less remarkable than Helen Keller’s achievements.”

His triumphs and struggles were recounted in the media, offering praise for the new book along with admiration for Dean’s incredible courage. How could one so traumatized find positives in a life seemingly filled with negativity? Whatever the answer might be, the public found itself envying the mind of one so enlightened. Said Clute, “My blind eyes are seeing more beauty today than was ever revealed to them when they were perfect.”

For most people, a body so ravaged by disease was nothing less than a prison. The Great Depression alone was reason enough for people to give up, and many did. But not Dean Clute, who had found within himself something special.

Despite the necessity of moving for a fourth time, he remained positive about life and ever hopeful that a cure for his physical impairments might be found. Plans were in place for more articles, more books, a new bookstore, and a life among the educated and inquisitive.

Each summer he and Walton had journeyed north, visiting family on the St. Lawrence River and spending time amid his childhood haunts at Terrace West, about a mile east of Morristown. It was a wonderful time of renewal for the brothers, who shared a terrific bond from the struggles of the past decade.

But there would be no such trip in 1933. On Monday morning, March 6, Dean was found dead in his wheelchair, betrayed one final time by a body that had been in failure for fully 20 years. The coroner’s report cited heart disease as the ultimate cause of death.

The story of Clute’s life was replayed in the columns of writers who had known and admired him during the past decade. Though tragedy and inspiration were necessary themes, every writer concluded that one word above all others defined him: courage.

But that’s not how Dean saw it. The man with a beautiful mind truly felt he had lived a wonderful life. It was a viewpoint that most people simply couldn’t grasp. But in the end, he proved that life was indeed all about one word: Perspective.

Photo: H. L. Mencken admired Clute’s courage and ability to write.

Lawrence Gooley has authored nine books and many articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004. He took over in 2010 and began expanding the company’s publishing services. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Will Cougars Return to the Adirondacks?

The news that a mountain lion killed on a Connecticut highway had migrated more than 1,500 miles from South Dakota raises an intriguing question: could the cats return to the Adirondacks someday?

The short answer: “someday” is a long way off.

Christopher Spatz, president of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation, said it took twenty years for cougars from the South Dakota’s Black Hills to establish a small population (thirteen adults) in the Nebraska panhandle—just 120 miles away.

“It might take them forty years to get to Minnesota,” he said. “If you project that eastward, you’re talking a century before they get to the Adirondacks.” » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Watching Wildlife in the Adirondacks

What follows is a guest essay from the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership (AFPEP).

Bald eagles are the largest bird species that nest in the Adirondacks but they are just one of 220 species of birds that reside in the Adirondacks or pass through during fall and spring migration. 53 species of mammals and 35 species of reptiles and amphibians also make the Adirondacks their home.

Due to the vast size, unique habitats and geographic location of the Adirondacks many species of wildlife are found nowhere else in New York or are in much greater abundance here. Birds such as the Common Loon, Spruce Grouse, the Black-backed Woodpecker and the Palm Warbler; Mammals such as Moose, Otter, Black Bear and American Marten; and Reptile & Amphibians such as Timber Rattlesnake and Mink Frog. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Comets, Meteors and More with David H. Levy

On Monday, August 1, David H. Levy and the Adirondack Public Observatory will present “Comets, Meteors and More” at the Flammer Theater at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, NY. There will also be a celestial observing event in the parking lot after the presentation, weather permitting. David H. Levy will also be doing a book signing after the presentation.

David Levy is an astronomer and science writer who is most famous for his co-discovery of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 in 1993, which collided with the planet Jupiter in 1994. Levy began his telescopic comet search, called CN3, on December 17, 1965. David has tied for third place for his number of comets found by an individual at 22 comet discoveries. Levy is probably best known as a comet discoverer who appears on television and radio programs devoted to astronomy. He is an Emmy winner, reveived the award in 1998 as a part of a writing team for the Discovery Channel documentary “Three Minutes to Impact,” and his work has been featured in 35 publications.

Lecture is from 7-8pm and a book signing at 8-8:30pm. I’m looking forward to going and hope other interested in astronomy can make their way to the Wild Center for the event.

This event comes at the perfect time for the Delta Aquarids Meteor shower which peaks on July 28 and 29, although you should still see some meteors into early August. This meteor shower produces around 20 meteors per hour and can be found radiating near the constellation Aquarius. Best time to look for this shower is after midnight to the east. The moon will be a small crescent moon so it shouldn’t cause too many problems due to it’s light.

Photo: The flier posted on the Adirondack Public Observatory website advertising for the David H. Levy presentation

Michael Rector is an amateur astronomer with his own blog, Adirondack Astronomy.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Environmental History: The Nature of New York

David Stradling, Professor and Graduate Studies Director at the University of Cincinnati, is author of The Nature of New York: An Environmental History of the Empire State. This recent (Fall 2010) survey of over four hundred years of New York’s environmental history has received praise from historians and environmental policy experts.

From the arrival of Henry Hudson’s Half Moon in the estuarial waters of what would come to be called New York Harbor to the 2006 agreement that laid out plans for General Electric to clean up the PCBs it pumped into the river named after Hudson, this work offers a sweeping environmental history of New York State. David Stradling shows how New York’s varied landscape and abundant natural resources have played a fundamental role in shaping the state’s culture and economy. Simultaneously, he underscores the extent to which New Yorkers have, through such projects as the excavation of the Erie Canal and the construction of highways and reservoir systems, changed the landscape of their state.

Surveying all of New York State since first contact between Europeans and the region’s indigenous inhabitants, Stradling finds within its borders an amazing array of environmental features, such as Niagara Falls; human intervention through agriculture, urbanization, and industrialization; and symbols, such as Storm King Mountain, that effectively define the New York identity.

Stradling demonstrates that the history of the state can be charted by means of epochs that represent stages in the development and redefinition of our relationship to our natural surroundings and the built environment; New York State has gone through cycles of deforestation and reforestation, habitat destruction and restoration that track shifts in population distribution, public policy, and the economy. Understanding these patterns, their history, and their future prospects is essential to comprehending the Empire State in all its complexity.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.