Tuesday, February 22, 2022

New Research Suggests White-Tailed Deer May Be Highly Susceptible to COVID-19 

Two recent studies; one published in December in Nature (www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-04353-x) and the other posted to the bioRxiv preprint server earlier this month (www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.02.04.479189v1), present evidence that white-tailed deer are highly susceptible to infection by SARS-CoV-2, with multiple reports of widespread spillover of the virus from humans to deer in the wild.

The bioRxiv-published report details a study conducted by an interdisciplinary team of researchers led by Penn State University (PSU) scientists. The team examined 131 free-ranging white-tailed deer, all living on Staten Island, the most suburban of the 5 New York City boroughs. Nineteen tested positive for COVID antibodies, indicating that the deer had prior exposure to the virus and, according to the researchers, implying that they are vulnerable to repeated re-infections with new variants.

The report has not yet been certified by peer review, but has been published as a pre-print because of the significance of the findings, according to Suresh Kuchipudi, an American College of Veterinary Microbiologists (ACVM) board-certified specialist in virology and immunology at the Department of Veterinary and Biological Sciences at PSU. He serves as associate director of PSU’s Animal Diagnostic Laboratory where, as head of microbiology, he oversees the University’s bacteriology, virology, serology, and molecular diagnostic units. Kuchipudi has expressed concern that spillover of omicron from humans to deer could result in new and possibly vaccine-resistant mutations of the virus evolving undetected in non-human hosts and noted that one of the infected deer in the study had antibodies from a previous COVID-19 infection; indicating that deer, like humans, can experience breakthrough cases.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Look for Wildlife Tracks this Winter

wildlife tracksNow is a great time to search for winter tracks (PDF) or other animal signs visible in the snow. It can be fun to be a detective and figure out what animals have been walking through your yard or across a trail. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Snow conditions can make a difference in a track’s appearance—wet snow captures a print better than powdery snow.
  • Members in the dog family (coyote, fox, or dogs) will usually leave claw prints above the toes, while the cat family (bobcat, housecat) will not. You should see four toes on both front and back feet for both families.
  • Rodents, such as squirrels, chipmunks, mice, muskrats, and voles, usually have four toes on the front feet and five on the back. Claws may or may not be seen.
  • Bring a notebook, camera, or field guide with you.
  • Sometimes an animal’s droppings, or scat, can help you identify it—a rabbit’s looks like small balls of sawdust.

Find out more in the Become a Winter Wildlife Detective (PDF) issue of Conservationist for Kids.

Check out the video on winter wildlife tracks and scat identification on DEC’s Facebook page.

Photo of ruffed grouse tracks by Sandy Van Vranken/DEC


Kid next to water
Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, Adirondack Land Trust, Eagle Island, Inc. welcome new hires

Three Adirondack-area nonprofit organizations including The Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, Adirondack Land Trust, and Eagle Island, Inc. welcomed new staff members during the month of February.

The Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation expands their team:

 

The Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation is pleased to welcome two new members to its staff – Susan Harry as its Philanthropy Director, and Jay Locke as its Finance and Operations Director. Since becoming a nonprofit organization in 2017, the Adirondack Loon Center has experienced steady growth and expanded its loon conservation and educational programs across the Park.

“We are very excited to have Susan and Jay join our team, as they greatly increase our capacity to do more for Adirondack loons,” said Dr. Nina Schoch, Executive Director of the Center. “They bring a wide depth of experience and knowledge that will significantly enhance our loon research and conservation projects in the Adirondacks.”

Susan has worked professionally and as a volunteer for many wildlife conservation organizations. She is passionate about protecting the environment for future generations to enjoy. Susan raised awareness and support for the Kenyan Lewa Wildlife Conservancy’s conservation efforts to protect the African Black Rhino, which led to Susan receiving the 2010 Anna Merz Honorary Award.

Her wide experience in fundraising and grant management will greatly expand the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation’s capacity for sustaining its Adirondack loon conservation and research programs. When Susan is not with loons on the water, she enjoys exploring the Adirondacks by hiking with her golden retrievers, cross-country skiing, and snow-shoeing.

Jay brings a broad background in data management, grant administration, and fundraising to the Loon Center. He previously worked with the Open Society Foundations in NYC, where he provided funding and technical advice on impact evaluation and data management to not-for-profit organizations across the world. Prior to OSF, he supported data analysis projects for the United Nations Development Program in Eswatini, served in the Peace Corps in Kenya as a community economic development advisor, and worked in internal audit for a Fortune 500 company in Atlanta. Jay is a licensed CPA and wildlife rehabilitator, and enjoys birdwatching, identifying lichens, and playing guitar.

Jay and Susan are excited to apply their professional expertise and passion for wildlife conservation in their new roles at the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation. The Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation is a 501(c)3 non-profit that conducts scientific research and engaging educational programming to promote and inspire passion for the conservation of Common Loons in and beyond New York’s Adirondack Park. To learn more about the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation visit www.adkloon.org or www.facebook.com/adkloon, or contact the Center at [email protected] or (518) 354-8636. 

 

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Monday, February 21, 2022

New Political District Maps And The Adirondack Park

Governor Kathy Hochul recently signed redistricting legislation to create new districts for the 26 US House of Representatives in New York State, 63 State Senators, and 150 Assembly members. Redistricting is a process that occurs every ten years and follows the decennial US Census. The first elections for the new districts will be in June, when New York has a series of state and federal primaries, followed by the November 2022 general election.

Redistricting this year has changed things for the Adirondack Park in both subtle and substantial ways. Click here for a good interactive map of the current and new districts.

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Monday, February 21, 2022

2022 Adirondack Snowshoe Fest set for Feb. 25-27 in Saranac Lake

After hosting the World Snowshoe Championships in 2017, Saranac Lake officials were inspired to keep the joy of that international experience alive by creating and hosting a new snowshoe-themed weekend called the Adirondack Snowshoe Fest set for Friday – Sunday, February 25-27. Participants will have the opportunity to snowshoe at the Dewey Mountain Recreation Center and the Paul Smith’s College VIC . These two venues cater to the outdoor recreational sport and offer varied, uniquely Adirondack experiences. Dewey Mountain trails twist and turn up the gentle slopes of the mountain, which is a short drive from downtown while the VIC allows explorers to enjoy the extensive trail network comprised of wide, well-marked paths that skirt ponds, dip through open forest, and cross wetlands on boardwalks. Both venues will be offering a variety of snowshoe-related activities and experiences, as well as other winter outdoor activities suitable for all ages.

This festival is ideal for those new to snowshoeing as well as those who are advanced in the sport, and will consist of both adult and youth 5, 10 and 15k races. Folks who wish to take part in this year’s festival can register online at the link here: https://www.eventbee.com/v/adk-snowshoe-fest-2022#/tickets. Guests will also have an opportunity to take part in a slew of other fun winter activities including a Children’s Snowshoe Scavenger Hunt & Icicle Obstacle Course, a Snowshoe Disk Golf Tournament, an axe throwing demo, winter fat tire bike demos, local music, beverages and grub, and much more.

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Monday, February 21, 2022

Two Adirondack-area arts organizations seeking new leadership roles

Two prominent arts organizations located in the Adirondack region are seeking new leadership roles to round out their creative teams. View, the arts center in Old Forge, is currently seeking a new Executive Director following the recent announcement that Mark Salsbury, View President, intends to step down from his position by this summer. The Upper Jay Art Center is also accepting applications for the role of Artistic Director. 

Mark Salsbury, President of View arts center in Old Forge has announced his departure from his role. Photo provided by Travis Kiefer.

View Center for Arts and Culture in Old Forge:

Mark Salsbury, the President of View, has announced that he will step down from his role by the Summer of 2022, following the strategic planning process that is currently underway. Salsbury and Kathy Ruscitto, View’s Board Chair, have jointly announced plans to begin the process of searching for his replacement. Following several years of retirement, Salsbury joined View in 2019 to help build a foundation for the future.

“It has always been my intention to build a strong foundation to prepare View for the next stage of our development, and the View team has stepped up to the challenge to make that happen,” noted Salsbury. “Our needs going forward are different than they were three years ago, and I look forward to helping transition a new leader in steering View forward to reach its full potential. According to Ruscitto, View’s Board of Directors will commence with a formal search for his replacement through a board-led search committee. A position description and requirements document has been prepared and will be posted on View’s website, and a recruitment firm will be engaged to conduct the search.

“The Board is grateful for Mark’s contributions and the solid foundation he has created for the next leader. We anticipate a wide search for someone with a balance of art management, business development, and community engagement skills. We appreciate the time Mark has given us to conduct a thoughtful search,” noted Ruscitto.

Ruscitto also indicated that progress regarding the search process will be communicated through various updates to its members and the community. “This position is a great opportunity for a passionate and community-minded leader to make a significant difference for View and the Old Forge community. View is an economic engine within our region, and we’re truly blessed to have such a beautiful, large, multi-purpose arts center in our own backyard.”

View is located at 3273 State Route 28 in Old Forge. To learn more about View visit ViewArts.org.

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Sunday, February 20, 2022

The Layman’s Guide To Watching Curling

curling
  •  Though you play on a team, you are really competing against yourself, which can be both highly gratifying and incredibly frustrating.
  • One can imbibe while playing. “What’s the point of a game without a wee draught?” asked one of the originators, while towing his rocks to the frozen Curling Pond early in the 1500s.
  • Aficionados compete in special shoes.

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Sunday, February 20, 2022

Inlet to host 20th annual Frozen Fire and Lights event February 26

All are invited to bundle up and gather with family and friends to enjoy a day of fun winter activities during the 20th annual Frozen Fire and Lights celebration in the town of Inlet on Saturday, February 26. The free event serves as Inlet’s winter carnival, boasting an array of family-friendly activities that have proven to be crowd-pleasing ventures over the years including cardboard sled races, kite flying, face painting, a kids’ stuffed animal workshop, fireworks, and much more.

Guests are also encouraged to take advantage of Inlet’s all winter long specials including all-day free trail access for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, free access to Fern Park’s enclosed ice rink for ice skating and free access to the sledding hill located at Fern Park (situated at 11 Loomis Road in Inlet.) Folks are welcome to bring their own equipment or check out the skate, ski and snowshoe rentals available at Pedals & Petals in downtown Inlet.
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Sunday, February 20, 2022

Weekly news round up

A collection of interesting reads:

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Saturday, February 19, 2022

Observing resilient winter breeding crossbills raise their young

It was minus sixteen this morning (Monday, February 14). I was feeding the birds just after sunrise and the trees were popping and snapping as the water that collected in their cracks was expanding very loudly. Last night the deer didn’t come through to clean up the fallen seeds from the feeders, so the blue jays took advantage of the opportunity. They were working on those and carrying them off to a safe place for hiding. Yesterday I banded my 50th blue jay since the first of December. They keep coming in from some place and the others move south. The highest count I can get at any one time at the feeders is sixteen, but I know there are many more than that if they all came together.

I mentioned before how the jays fill their beaks with seeds and fly off with them to store somewhere, just in case I don’t feed them anymore. Their beaks are full of sunflower seeds or corn when I catch them in the potter traps. They are so full, in fact, that you can see it while I have them in hand and they can’t chirp (or bite) while their beaks are full. Most times, I can see the seeds and they let me band them, and measure a wing. They also usually let me check for age by looking for bars on the outside feathers of the wing before they go out the window to freedom. And they are still holding those seeds when they are released by the way. Blue jays are one of the most placid birds in hand while banding them. Very often they just lay still and watch what you are doing with their big black eyes. However, their feet are active and grab on to anything that touches them, like your fingers, a pencil, or the banding pliers…and they have a fairly good grip.

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Saturday, February 19, 2022

Local Olympians compete with support from Uihlein-Ironman Sports Fund

2015 luge world cup

Nearly $33,000 awarded to athletes and organizations in the Olympic region

Three competitors at this year’s Winter Olympics received a boost from the Uihlein-Ironman Sports Fund at Adirondack Foundation.

The Uihlein-Ironman Sports Fund (UISF) was established by the Henry Uihlein II and Mildred A. Uihlein Foundation, Ironman North America — now known as World Triathlon Corporation — and Adirondack Foundation. These local organizations have teamed up to help athletes from Lake Placid and the Olympic region achieve their sports dreams, and to help nonprofit organizations that foster and promote life-long sports and healthy lifestyles for local kids. The fund awarded nearly $33,000 in grants and scholarships this year.

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Saturday, February 19, 2022

Last chance to be part of this year’s Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies

upper saranac platform

Call for Submissions

Volume 25, Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies

The Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies (AJES) is now accepting submissions for Volume 25. Deadline for submissions is March 1, 2022. Articles of a broad disciplinary scope will be accepted for review, including topics in natural and social sciences, arts and humanities related to the region or more general environmental issues. We welcome articles in the following categories: Scholarship, Student Work, Commentary, and a new section, Spotlight on Adirondack Archives.

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Friday, February 18, 2022

The Voluntary Professionals Behind the Adirondack Research Library

Many organizations introduce their work with the words “were it not for the volunteers, we could not…” That can be justifiably said of the Adirondack Research Library (ARL), formerly part of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks (AfPA).

This largest Adirondack collection outside of the Adirondacks launched in 1979 as part of Union College’s Schaeffer library. It then moved and in 1985, courtesy of then Museum Director Bill Verner (formerly curator with the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake) occupied a corner of the Schenectady Museum. In 1988, ARL became a committee of the nonprofit Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks (1901-2010). Following the untimely and sad death of Bill Verner, in 1989 the Schenectady Museum’s next director told us we had to move out. So, for the next 15 years the AfPA and ARL rented space below a dental laboratory in Schenectady. Suffice it to say, that situation was less than ideal. We made the best of it but dreamed of better opportunities. Much better opportunities.

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Friday, February 18, 2022

Outdoor conditions (2/18): High water and avalanche warning

outdoor conditions logoThe following are the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for comprehensive and up-to-date information on seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.

High Water and Avalanche Warning: Backcountry users in the Adirondacks, especially the High Peaks Region, should be aware of potential avalanche and high water risk following mild temperatures, high winds, and rain. Warmer weather and rain will melt existing snowpack, swelling waterways and making water crossings dangerous. High winds and a return to colder temperatures will then result in re-freezing. Avalanche danger increases during thaws and snow becomes increasingly unstable as it undergoes freeze/thaw cycles.

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Kid next to water
Friday, February 18, 2022

Latest news headlines

Here’s a look at news from around the Adirondacks this week:

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Kid next to water

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