A Winter Raptor Fest will be held on March 12-13 in Fort Edward, Washington County, NY. Participants will see hawks, owls and falcons on display and during a flight show and learn about the short-eared owl, American kestrel, and other captivating birds of prey. Experts who work to protect and conserve our wildlife will be on-hand to answer questions including NYS Department of Environmental Conservation biologists who will discuss tracking raptor movements with use of satellite, and wildlife rehabilitators. Additional activities will include a snowshoe race, a horse-drawn sleigh ride, and a snow sculpture competition. This two-day event will be held at the Little Theatre on the Farm in Washington County Grasslands Important Bird Area, a place that is critical to the survival of many raptors. Get more details on this event by visiting www.winterraptorfest.com.
One of the most tedious tasks while exploring the backcountry of the Adirondacks is water treatment. Unfortunately much of the water in the Adirondacks may be unsafe for human consumption without being treated so this annoying task is unavoidable. The alternative is to risk an intestinal disease requiring an inordinate amount of time spent running to the restroom.
Adirondack water may contain any one of numerous waterborne parasitic micro-organisms. Many of these parasitic organisms may cause serious adverse reactions within humans anywhere from mild diarrhea to eventually, if untreated, death. These waterborne diseases can be caused by protozoa, viruses or bacteria. Giardia remains the poster-organism as far as waterborne disease-causing microorganisms are concerned in the Adirondacks region. » Continue Reading.
The Ausable River Association (AsRA) has received two awards that will fund trout and salmon habitat improvement projects. The project will identify and replace structures that act as barriers to the passage of fish and other aquatic organisms. AsRA will receive $46,910 from the Lake Champlain Basin Program and will work with The Adirondack Nature Conservancy and SUNY-Plattsburgh to complete a fish passage study. AsRA will also receive $52,000 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to replace culverts and deconstruct dams that act as barriers to fish migration. The project will use field assessments and GIS mapping tools to identify and rank barriers to aquatic organisms, assess the overall connectivity of stream habitat in the Ausable Watershed, and prioritize structures for replacement. The collaborating groups will conduct a training workshop to present the results to Town and County highway superintendents, and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.
Maintaining connections between rivers and small tributaries is important for protecting trout, salmon, and other aquatic organisms. Trout rely upon small upland tributaries for spawning and refuge from warm summer temperatures. Dams, culverts, and bridges can altered flow and block upstream movement to important refuge streams. Connectivity to upland tributaries is becoming even more critical as temperatures in valley bottom streams rise due to climate warming.
The Ausable and River Association is a nonprofit watershed group that works cooperatively with landowners, municipalities, and government agencies to preserve the natural, scenic, and recreation resources of the Ausable Watershed. For more information call 873-3752 or write [email protected]
A New York State Museum scientist has collaborated with Smithsonian colleagues to make more than 202,000 wildlife photos available to the public for the first time through a new searchable website called Smithsonian Wild.
The new website allows the public to see exactly what scientists see in their research — photos of wildlife captured at close range. Three of the nine photo sets available on the site come from research in the Adirondacks and other locations, conducted by Dr. Roland Kays, the State Museum’s curator of mammals. The site operates off of a database that was created as part of Kays’ National Science Foundation funded research. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Snowmobile Association (NYSSA) will be holding the 4th Annual Adirondack Park Snowmobile Trail Conference at the Adirondack Hotel in Long Lake on Sunday, April 10th From 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
This year conference will focus on the several new Unit Management Plans (UMP) that have been approved and those in the works. Once approved by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA), plans for trail improvements can begin. Additional topics will be the status of Adirondack easements, Recreation Plans, and the new Trail Stewards program. » Continue Reading.
Cornell Cooperative Extension is sponsoring a training session for anyone interested or currently involved in local farmers markets. The workshop will take place on Saturday, April 2 from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the Ausable Valley Grange, 1749 Main Street in Keeseville. Bernadette Logozar, CCE Franklin County and Regional Local Foods Specialist for Northern New York will lead sessions on “Food Safety and Samples at the Farmers Markets” as well as “Staying Current: Regulation Updates”. Anita Deming, Executive Director of CCE Essex County will cover “Record Keeping and Profitability Analysis”. The workshop is open to the public. There is a charge of $15 which includes lunch. For more information or to pre-register please call Sharon at 962-4810 x403.
Applications are now being accepted for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) 2011 Environmental Excellence Awards program. The program recognizes businesses, governments, not-for-profit organizations, educational institutions, and individuals in New York State that are achieving environmental excellence through innovative and environmentally sustainable practices or partnerships. DEC is interested in acknowledging projects that achieve significant environmental benefits through: innovative and cutting-edge pollution prevention technologies; manufacturing process improvements; initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; projects using green infrastructure practices; programs that make schools and businesses more green; energy conservation and green energy production efforts; waste reduction and recycling efforts; innovative approaches to stormwater management and watershed planning; environmental protection and restoration efforts; and land conservation.
Previous award winners have helped improve New York’s environment through initiatives that have eliminated 2.10 million pounds of hazardous waste, saved 26 million kilowatt hours of electricity; reduced water use by 15 million gallons, recycled 382.5 million pounds of solid waste, and preserved 149,000 acres of open space.
Applications for the awards must be post marked no later than Friday, May 20, 2011. Information about the award program, the application materials and information on past award winners is available on the DEC website, or by writing to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Pollution Prevention Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-1750; by phone to DEC’s Pollution Prevention Unit at (518) 402-9469; or by email to [email protected]
Examples of previous winners include:
The Golden Arrow Resort in Lake Placid instituted green programs on a variety of fronts to reduce the environmental impact not only of the hotel, but also of the traveler. The resort features a “green roof” – a rooftop expanse of native plants that provides wildlife habitat, reduces water runoff and helps keep the inn warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The limestone beach reduces the impacts of acid rain. Guest rooms feature in-room recycling, insulated windows, energy-efficient lighting and low-flow plumbing fixtures.
Garlock Sealing Technologies of Palmyra voluntarily eliminated 119 tons of toluene emissions in the manufacturing of fiber sheet gaskets. By using a non-hazardous solvent to produce a viable product, they provided the industry with a new benchmark for environmentally responsible manufacturing practices. The new gasket is being made at a comparable price and seals even better than its solvent-containing predecessors. This has additional benefits for the environment since tighter seals mean less fugitive emissions and a healthier work environment for employees. Other highlights of this innovative pollution prevention project include a reduction of fire risk and the ability to recover and recycle over 95 percent of the non-hazardous solvent.
Monroe Industries in Livingston County exemplifies how a small, family-owned business of nine employees, can achieve environmental excellence, serve as a model of innovation and sustainability, and enter emerging markets for green products. The company custom manufactures cast-polymer countertops, shower walls and floors, and vanity tops. Traditionally these products are made with a variety of mined minerals and gemstones, such as granite and quartz and are typically mixed with a liquid polyester resin and binder. While developing the Robal Glass product line, Monroe identified a supplier of bio-based resins which resulted in a more sustainable product. This innovative product line uses 60,000 lbs. of recycled glass each year.
Town of North Hempstead was honored for a groundbreaking recycling partnership program involving 8 of the 11 school districts within the Town. More than 28,000 students have been involved with this comprehensive recycling program. Each classroom in every participating school maintains statistical records of the recyclables collected. As a result, students are becoming environmental stewards; taxpayers are saving money, school districts are receiving the benefit of a worthwhile service they otherwise would have to pay for and 279 tons of material has been diverted from landfills.
The 14th Annual Adirondack Park Local Government Day Conference is scheduled for March 22 and 23, 2011 in Lake Placid, New York at the Crowne Plaza Resort. This event is presented by the Adirondack Park Agency, Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages, Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, NYS Department of State, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, and Empire State Development Corporation. The annual event begins on Tuesday afternoon with a discussion lead by Curt Stiles, Adirondack Park Agency Chairman; Bill Farber, Adirondack Partnership; Garry Douglas, Governor’s Committee for Economic Development and Labor; Matthew Driscoll, President, NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation; Joe Martens, Acting Commissioner, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation; and Darrin Derosia, Associate Counsel, NYS Department of State to examine the challenges facing governmental organizations in 2011, the opportunities for change, and the future for the Park’s environment, economy and communities. Immediately following will be a facilitated forum style question and answer session with local and State leaders.
An informal social with State and local officials follows the Tuesday afternoon session.
On Wednesday, a full-day of conference presentations and workshops focuses on Adirondack issues, community planning, and training for planning and zoning board members. Keynote speaker, Dede Scozzafava, Deputy Secretary for Local Government at the NYS Department of State, will deliver her message during the lunch time session. The full conference agenda and registration materials are available on the Adirondack Park Agency’s website.
Two feet of new snow around the Adirondacks and I am ready to console myself in maple syrup. I am not sure if it will be in a celebration of spring or procrastination to shoveling. Either way the next three weeks are full of various maple-collecting Adirondack Family Activities for all, starting with Thurman’s annual Maple Weekend March 12-13. Sheryl Kenyon of Adirondack Gold Maple Farm recommends that people start right off with a pancake breakfast at neighboring Valley Road Maple Farm. As one of the founders of Thurman Maple Weekend, Kenyon knows there are plenty of ways to celebrate making maple syrup and wants families to come out and be active while doing it.
“It is a wonderful breakfast,” says Kenyon. “Then people can come to Adirondack Gold Maple Farm and see Tapper tap about 100 trees. We have about 650 taps going through tubing but people do still like that nostalgic fell of seeing sap buckets.”
Tapper, Kenyon’s husband is known by that moniker for all the maple taps he has put into trees. She admits that kids just love being around Tapper and will find recipes and other products available during the whole weekend at their old-fashioned wood burning sugarhouse. .
Kenyon says, “We expect there will still be a lot of snow this weekend. We have snowshoes if anyone wants to borrow them or feel free to bring your own. We encourage people to get out on our trails and make a full day of it. There will be maple donuts and maple chili as well as hot chocolate and coffee at Adirondack Gold Maple Farm. We will also have hotdogs with maple Michigan sauce in case people are looking for something different than the pancake breakfast.”
The breakfast she refers to will start at 9:00 a.m. on both days, March 12-13, at Valley Road Maple Farm. This local sugarhouse will demonstrate techniques from their state-of-the-art sugarhouse such as “taps on vacuum with reverse osmosis.” Valley Road Maple Farm won first prize for maple candy at the New York State Fair in 2008 and 2009.
Two additional spots are Toad Hill Maple Farm and Martin’s Lumber. Toad Hill Maple Farm is the largest maple producer in Warren County and will be giving tours of their new energy-efficient sugarhouse. Martin’s Lumber will have sawing demonstrations and stepping stones and paper jewelry crafts on hand. Kenyon informs me that Martin’s provides sustainable lumbering. One example is demonstrating the beautiful wood grain in nonproducing old sugar maple trees where the wood has changed from old maple taps.
A good time for all is the annual Maple Sugar Park at Thurman Town hall in Athol on Saturday, March 12 at 4:00 p.m.. This all-you-can eat buffet also serves as a benefit for the American Cancer Society. The $10/adults, $5/(kids 6-11), Free (5-under) goes toward fighting cancer while providing live music food and some jackwax.
No, I had to ask what jackwax was. It may be maple taffy to some or “sugar on snow” to others. Whatever you want to call it, the sugary, maple candy will be boiling away in celebration of all that is maple.
Don’t forget that the New York State Maple Producers’ Association Maple Weekend is March 19-20 and March 26-27. So if this weekend doesn’t fit your schedule there will be plenty of choices for families to get a real maple treat.
It has been suggested that the philosopher must go to school with the poets in order to learn the art of exploring one’s own mind. As a philosopher I have a preference for the narrative and the poetic method, and since the Adirondack Park is the landscape of our philosophical inquiry it seems fitting to begin with our patron poet. Ralph Waldo Emerson reflects on his time at Follensby Pond: » Continue Reading.
I’m pleased to announce Adirondack Almanack‘s newest contributor, North Hudson’s Marianne Patinelli-Dubay. Marianne is a philosopher dedicated to understanding Adirondack issues at the intersection of environment and culture. She began The Forgotten Muse Project as a forum for deepening the Adirondack discourse and cultivating a practical style of philosophy. Her work on the Project includes designing and teaching seminars and workshops for university students and the general public, consulting on new institutional initiatives as well as writing and teaching undergraduate and graduate curriculum. The Project includes the Adirondack Society for Applied Philosophy, which also welcomes members interested in the integration of thoughtful inquiry and philosophical agency. The majority of Marianne’s teaching has focused on the philosophy of science, eco-phenomenology, social and environmental justice, Adirondack land-use ethics and the ethics of environment and culture. She is on the National Editorial Review board of Philosophical Practice, the American Philosophical Practitioners Association’s peer reviewed journal, and is an active member of the American Philosophical Association and the International Association for Environmental Philosophy. She is currently at work on her PhD thesis, working title Transgressing the Blue Line: Toward an Inclusive Narrative of Adirondack Wilderness.
Please join me in welcoming her as our latest contributor. Her first post will appear at noon today.
UPDATE Due to the weather, the Adirondack Day has been rescheduled for March 23.
Eleven years after the Adirondack Curriculum Project (ACP) began, hundreds of teachers and students have been helped to better understand the unique landscape of their home, the Adirondacks. Many will share their knowledge with each other during Adirondack Day on March 10th at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake.
Over 100 students and teachers from four schools will share their projects through a play, art exhibition, poetry reading, story-telling, meet-the-author book reading and interactive displays. Schools attending include – Tupper Lake, Potsdam, Indian Lake, and Newcomb. Adirondack Day has been funded by The Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life for year-round residents of the Adirondack Park. Often times in the Adirondacks, because of time and distance, small schools don’t have the opportunity to interact. Adirondack Day provides the opportunity for these students to meet and ‘teach’ each other.
Sandy Bureau, science teacher at Indian Lake Central School and one of the day’s organizers says, “Research shows that having to ‘teach’ others is one of the best ways to learn. We hope to provide that opportunity and to help students feel the value of their voices and learning about this special place we live in”.
The ACP’s mission is to foster better public understanding, appreciation and stewardship of the Adirondack region’s natural and cultural resources, by providing educational resources and training opportunities for teachers in the region. The ACP hosts workshops for teachers showing them how to develop an ‘Adirondack Challenge’ – a student-centered, project-based, lesson plan aligned with NYS Learning Standards. Teachers leave the workshops with a project ready to use in their own classrooms. They later submit their completed projects to the ACP, where other teachers can access and utilize those resources. Adirondack Day is the first opportunity for students who participated in those projects to share their experiences.
Additional information about the Adirondack Curriculum Project can be found online.
The first reported introduction of Rainbow Smelt (Osmerus mordax) to Lake George was in 1918. Approximately 2.5 million smelt were released to enhance the lake trout fishery. Five Million more smelt were released in 1921. Smelt have historically been stocked into bodies of water throughout the Adirondacks as prey for larger game species such as lake trout and land locked salmon. Within Lake George, smelt are replacing ciscoe as the primary prey species. Many organizations around the lake have taken an interest in the smelt population. In 1988 The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation banned the collection or possession of smelt within the Lake George Watershed, in response to concern over the stability of the population. This ban remains in effect today. In 2002 the Lake George Fishing Alliance collected 1 Million eggs from Indian Lake and stocked them into Smith Brook and Jenkins Brook on Lake George. In 2009 the Lake George Waterkeeper, in cooperation with the Lake George Fishing Alliance and the direction of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, initiated a scientific survey of the smelt population and factors that may be inhibiting the spawning migration. This study was continued in 2010 and will be conducted again this spring.
Rainbow smelt are a small, dark torpedo shaped fish, that have fang-like teeth and have an adipose fin. Smelt reach sexual maturity between 2 and 3 years of age. They can live up to 9 years and can grow as long as 9 inches.
Smelt will begin their annual spawning migration within the next 4 to 6 weeks. Hundreds to Thousands of fish will be seen swimming within streams tributary to Lake George and other bodies of water within the Adirondacks, once the water temperature reaches 42 degrees. The spawning migration will generally last two weeks depending on the weather. During this time, smelt will return to their birth streams to spawn. Spawning takes place at night, however fish can still be seen within the streams during the day. The eggs will hatch in early to mid May depending on the water temperature. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae smelt will drift out to the lake.
Many factors could be affecting the annual spawning migration of the smelt, these include; structural impedance, siltation, foraging pressure, habitat alteration, lack of riparian cover, and excessive nutrients.
This year the Lake George Waterkeeper and the Lake George Fishing Alliance are asking for volunteers to help monitor the annual spawning migration of the Rainbow Smelt in Lake George streams. If you are interested in assisting, please contact Corrina at: [email protected] or Chris Navitsky at: [email protected]
Photo’s: Smelt within streams tributary to Lake George, NY. Courtesy: Blueline Photography, Jeremy Parnapy.
Corrina Parnapy is a Lake George native and a naturalist who writes regularly about the environment and Adirondack natural history for the Adirondack Almanack.
It’s interesting (sometimes) to listen to the multitude of political pundits, politicians, and talking heads as they inform us what our “founding fathers” intended, and the rules, ethics, and morals this country was founded on. In reality, they are often telling us what they WANT the founding fathers to have believed. History tells us they are often far off the mark, but the lack of accuracy doesn’t deter them from saying it publicly anyway.
The often muddled view of history offered by some commentators is troubling, and is usually, of course, self-serving. But the modern media has proven one thing: if you say something often enough, whether it’s accurate or not, people (and maybe even the speaker) will begin to believe it. When it’s intentional, that’s just plain wrong. History is important. It can offer valuable perspective on possible solutions to some of our problems, and can play an important role in how we view the present and future. It can also tell us more about who we are, something that was brought to mind recently as I listened to a radio discussion about the current jobless rate.
The focus was on the nation’s high unemployment, which reminded me of how I annoyed my teachers long ago when that very same topic was discussed. Back then, we all learned how lucky we were not to live in other countries, an argument that was backed with plenty of scary facts.
For one thing, other countries allowed no choice when attacking certain problems. We were told that some countries didn’t even ALLOW unemployment. Idle men were conscripted into the military and/or put to work for the good of the nation. All male teenagers were required to begin military training. Those countries were said to be anti-freedom, but we had choices. That kind of thing couldn’t happen here.
And that was my cue to interrupt. I’ve always read a lot, and as a teenager, I was ready to challenge my teachers (and pretty much any authority). So, I thought I had a really good set of questions about those terrible practices, something I had learned on my own.
My teacher, a fervent military man who still seemed to be fighting World War II, was not amused when I said I knew of just such a place. I said that they made unemployment illegal and forced men to take jobs chosen for them by local authorities (unless the man chose one of his own). Each man was required to work a minimum of 36 hours per week.
Even worse, I added, the government passed another law ordering all teenagers 16 or older to attend military drills or perform military duties. Doing so earned them a certificate, and here’s the kicker: without that certificate, young men were not allowed “to attend public or private school or obtain employment.”
Right away the other students began guessing. Russia? Germany under Hitler? Cuba? (Cuba did outlaw unemployment at that time.) Who would order its citizens in such fashion? My classmates knew it had to be someplace evil. After all, we were in the midst of the Cold War.
At that point, I knew I was in trouble. The instructor was staring at me with cold, beady eyes, waiting for me … no, daring me … to say it. So I said it. It wasn’t intended as a criticism. I was just happy to know the truth, excited that I had learned something unusual on my own, and couldn’t wait to share the surprise (that is, until his stare began).
“New York State and the Anti-Loafing Law,” and that’s about all I was allowed to say. The teacher immediately launched into an explanation. It was true, he said, but it was nothing like the situations in other countries. We did those things, but it was different.
And he was right, maybe. But what bothered me was how he seemed to take it personally, how insulted he was. It seemed to suggest that this was HIS country. It was, but it was my country, too, so I fought back. As I soon learned, you might have the truth, but might makes right.
The Anti-Loafing Law was passed in New York State in 1918, less than a year after the US entered WW I. Maryland and New Jersey led the way, and we were next. I found it fascinating that in a democracy, the law could require all men between the ages of 18 and 50 to be “habitually and regularly engaged in some lawful, useful, and recognized business, profession, occupation, trade, or employment until the termination of the war.”
If a man didn’t have a job, a local authority was assigned to choose one for him. And no one could turn down a job because of the level of pay. Every man must work. It was the law.
“Useful” work had its implications as well. Already, by orders of the US General Provost, Enoch Crowder, men between the ages of 21 and 30 were “not permitted to be elevator conductors, club porters, waiters, pool room attendants, life guards at summer resorts, valets, butlers, footmen, chefs, janitors, or ushers in amusement places. Men of that age were needed for war.
New York’s government, indicating there would be few exceptions to the new law, fed the media a wonderful sound bite taken directly from the text: “Loitering in the streets, saloons, depots, poolrooms, hotels, stores, and other places is considered prima facie evidence of violation of the act, punishable by a fine of $100 or imprisonment for three months, or both.”
Still not clear enough? Charles Whitman, governor of New York, chimed in: “The purpose … is to force every able-bodied male person within the State to do his share toward remedying the conditions due to the present shortage of labor.” By signing the law after New Jersey passed theirs, Whitman had a handy reason: if we didn’t pass our own law, men from New Jersey would flood across the border into New York State to avoid being forced to either work or fight.
How would it sit with you today if you read this in your favorite online journal? “The State Industrial Commission will cooperate with the sheriffs, the state police, and other peace officers throughout the state to find the unemployed and to assign them to jobs, which they must fill. It will be no defense to anyone seeking to avoid work to show that he has sufficient income or means to live without work. The state has the right to the productive labor of all its citizens.”
Governor Whitman admitted “there may be some question as to the constitutionality” of the law, but enforcement began on June 1, 1918. Sheriffs across the state were required to act, and they did. Some, like Clinton County Sheriff John Fiske, made sure there were no scofflaws, scouring local establishments as the law instructed, looking for loiterers.
Those who were jailed in Clinton County had to pay a fine and serve their time, just like the law said, but they weren’t allowed to sit idle. Fiske put them to work full-time in the community, ensuring they would comply with both the letter and the intent of the law.
On the surface, those laws look absolutely un-American and undemocratic. The argument was, extreme times (WW I) call for extreme measures. Other states and countries (including Canada) passed similar laws. Maybe New Yorkers were lucky. In Virginia, compliance was extended from ages 16 to 60. And some people retire today at 55!
Learning all of that was interesting, but sharing it in school was less than wise, at least in that particular classroom. After that, my so-called “history teacher” saw me as nothing but anti-American, and he made life miserable for me. He caused me to dread that class every day.
I argued that protesting and speaking out were critical to America—it’s how the country was formed. But it didn’t matter to him, and after that, I didn’t care. I lost all respect for him. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t just deal with the facts, and the truth. In my mind, that’s what every history teacher’s work should be based on.
I always hated those lame “George Washington cut down the cherry tree” stories. Making stuff up just means you have something to hide. Apparently they didn’t want us to know he owned slaves. As a teenager, I wanted the truth, and I could deal with it. It was far more interesting than some of the stuff they fed us.
Photo Top: NYS’s Compulsory Labor law.
Photo Middle: Clinton County Sheriff John Fiske.
Photo Bottom: NYS law ordering lawmen to search each community for able-bodied males.
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.
The Lake George Association has released a report with findings from the 2010 Lake Steward program. The Association considers the Lake George Lake Steward Program “a critical part of protecting the water quality of Lake George and preventing the spread of invasive species between waterbodies by boaters throughout the Lake Champlain Basin and the Northeast.” Despite the fact that dozens of aquatic invasive species have already made inroads nearby, only four are currently found in Lake George. » Continue Reading.
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