A couple of nice events this weekend at the Wild Center. It starts on Saturday with a new “Walking With Wild Birds” series. Designed for beginners and experts alike, these morning walks will explore mountain and boreal bird habitat as well as introduce people to bird watching. Then on Father’s Day, Sunday, the center is pulling together a fly-fishing program with local experts and hands-on opportunities to learn to tie flies and improve your casting skills.
On Friday in Plattsburgh Ten Year Vamp will be rocking out at The Naked Turtle Holding Co. This year the band has been voted Best Rock Band in Metroland and they won best local rock band in Capital Regional Living Magazine. Fronted by Debbie Gabrione, they’ve opened for some of the hottest contemporary acts, including Nickelback and Gavin Degraw. Their show starts at 10 pm. Saturday 6/20: The big show this Saturday is in Saranac Lake at Will Rogers, 78 Will Rogers Drive. Jake Shimabukuro, ukulele player extraordinaire, will dazzle his audience on the four-stringed instrument. I’ve watched some of the videos on YouTube. He does more with his thumb than most people do with both hands and he does it with feeling! I can’t wait to see him in real life. If you get a chance to check out his version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and I bet you’ll be hooked. The doors open at 7 and the show is scheduled to start at 7:30. Tickets are $20 in advance and $23 at the door. You can get tickets online through Lazar Bear.
Also on Saturday in Saranac Lake Sven Curth is playing on the patio at The Waterhole. This is a free show. Sven is a favorite singer/songwriter/guitarist in the North Country from the band Jim. The show starts at 7 pm.
Another Saturday show is being held in Plattsburgh at The North Country Food Coop Upstairs Music Lounge: one of my favorite bands Russ Bailey and Crow Party. Russ plays the blues -whether electric or acoustic you’ll feel what he’s feeling. The show is from 8-10 pm and it’s free.
Sunday 6/21: On Sunday in Tupper Lake, local favorite Steve Borst is back at P2’s Irish Pub. Steve is a much sought-after guitar teacher with a lovely voice who plays his own songs and can boast an impressive repertoire of covers.
The deadline for nominations from the general public for the 2009 Adirondack Architectural Heritage Awards program is June 30th. Adirondack Architectural Heritage seeks nominations for projects that recognize exemplary historic preservation work throughout the Adirondack Park including examples of sensitive restoration, rehabilitation, and demonstrated long-term stewardship. Past winners have included projects as diverse as a 19th Century Irishtown school restoration, stewardship of Santa’s Workshop, restoration of the circa 1906 Stark Hardware Building in Saranac Lake, restoration of the Twin Pines boathouse on Loon Lake (circa early 1900s) and relighting of the Split Rock lighthouse, in Essex on Lake Champlain. For more information about our awards program and to obtain a nomination form, contact Ellen Ryan, Community Outreach Director, Adirondack Architectural Heritage, 1790 Main Street, Suite 37, Keeseville, New York 12944, 518-834-9328 or visit their website at www.aarch.org.
Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) is the nonprofit historic preservation organization for New York State’s Adirondack Park. AARCH was formed in 1990 with a mission to promote better public understanding, appreciation and stewardship of the Adirondack’s unique and diverse architectural heritage. This legacy includes not only the nationally recognized “Great Camps” and other rustic buildings but also the many other structures that embody the whole range of human experience in the region. These other structures include: a wide variety of homes and farmsteads; the churches, commercial buildings, town halls and libraries that make up most Adirondack settlements; bridges, railroad buildings, lighthouses and other transportation related structures; and industrial sites related to the region’s important iron, wood, quarrying and tanning industries. AARCH website, maintains a list of endangered properties in the Adirondacks.
We have a new school program here at the Visitor Interpretive Centers: What is a Wetland? Since I am in the process of putting the finishing touches on this program, I thought it would make a good topic for the Almanack.
Put very simply, wetlands are lands that are, well, wet. That is to say, they are wet for part or all of the year. Some wetlands are obvious, like swamps, bogs and marshes that have sodden ground or standing water that you can see (or feel) every time you are there. Other wetlands, however, are seasonal, appearing when water levels are high, and disappearing in the heat of summer. One of the Adirondack Park Agency’s responsibilities is protecting the integrity of wetlands within the Blue Line. They have staff who go into the field to conduct “wetland deliniations,” which are essentially determinations of the borders of wetlands. In order to do this, their staff look at three determining criteria: plant species, soil type(s) and hydrology.
The plant part is easy. There are species of plants that are either totally dependent on water (like pickerel weed and sphagnum moss), some that are in water two-thirds of the time you find them (like Joe-Pye-weed and black spruce), and others that are nowhere near water (like sugar maple and eastern white pine). If the area in question has a majority of plants in the first two categories, it is a wetland.
Soil types are kind of fun to determine. A core sample is taken within the test area. The soil from the sample is then compared to a soil chart, looking for evidence of oxidation. Oxidation indicates the presence of air in the soil. If there is no sign of oxidation, the soil is considered gleyed and is classified as a wetland soil. If oxidation has occurred, the soil will look rusty. If the amount of oxidation is minimal, the area is likely a seasonal wetland. On the other hand, if the soil is totally oxidized, then air gets through the layers year round and it is not a wetland.
Finally, we come to hydrology: is there water present? If there is visual evidence of innundation or saturation, you have a wetland. Do you see water? Does it squish underfoot? Is there a line of debris along the shoreline, below which the shore is scoured of vegetation? Are there areas of dead trees, where the trees essentially drowned from flooding? These are all indicators of wetland habitats.
Why is the APA so concerned about wetlands? Wetlands are extremely important habitats. Far too many people are unaware of just how important they are. Over the course of my career in environmental education, I’ve come to conclusion that many people think that those of us who promote the protection of wetlands are merely looking at them as animal homes, but the truth is that while indeed they are imporant for all kinds of wildlife, they are also so very important for people.
For one thing, wetlands clean and filter all sorts of pollutants from our water. These pollutants range from toxic chemicals to seemingly harmless fertilizers, like nitrogen and phosphorous. We know that nitrogen and phosphorous are essential for healthy soil and plants, but when large amounts enter lakes, ponds or streams, the result is potentially harmful algal blooms and excessive growth of water weeds, which can choke waterways and reduce oxygen levels in the water, resulting in the death of fish and aquatic invertebrates.
Wetlands also act as giant sponges. Every time it rains, wetlands soak up the water and release it slowly. This helps protect areas downstream from severe flooding. Look at places around the globe that suffer from massive floods today. Chances are that over the last century or two the associated wetlands have been changed or entirely removed. Without the mediating effects of these “sponges,” the water now rushes downstream, gathering speed and volume, with nothing to slow its progress as it rushes to the sea. This leads to the next benefit we get from wetlands.
Wetlands reduce soil erosion by slowing down the flow. With slower moving water, shorelines are not eaten away, and silt can fall out of the water, leaving cleaner, clearer water to continue downstream.
And, of course, wetlands are vital habitats for fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and mammals.
Did you know that one of the deciding factors for the establishment of the Adirondack Park over one hundred years ago was protection of our waters? The Adirondack region is the source of much of the drinking water for downstate New York. With all the unregulated logging that was done in the 1800s, vast areas of land were left denuded of trees, and as a result, streams and rivers were severely impacted. Some had reduced flow, others were no longer clean as a result of runoff. You can listen to a reenactment of the 1894 New York State Constitutional Convention at the Newcomb VIC that lays out these very concerns.
So, yes, wetlands are important and we need to protect them. After all, there is only a limited amount of freshwater on this planet, and all environmental reports these days suggest that freshwater will soon become more valuable than gold. We need to protect our freshwater so that it will always be there when we need it, and this means protecting our wetlands.
Tonight in North Creek at barVino, The Tony Jenkins Jazz Trip is back. Show goes from 8 to 10 pm. A few of the great artists they cover are Thelonious Monk, Grover Washington and Jimi Hendrix.
Tomorrow night in Jay The Bill Stokes Jazz Ensemble is at the Village Green. This is an excellent band that encourages people to dance with their mix of swing, standards and latin jazz. Bring your lawn chairs and a picnic dinner as the show starts at 6:30 pm. Also on Thursday in Saranac Lake at Grizle T’s ( 53 Main St.), they’re hoping a new open mic will catch on for the summer months. It’s going to be hosted by Bob Mann from Tupper Lake. There will be a sign-up sheet but no cover. Call (518) 891-6393 for more information.
One story has been lost in the drama coming out of the New York State Legislature lately: the Constitutional amendment. In May, before it became completely dysfunctional, the NYS Senate passed a bill that would give after-the-fact permission for a new power line from Stark Falls Reservoir to the Village of Tupper Lake. The Constitutional Amendment is necessary to provide an exception to the Forever Wild clause of the Constitution (Article 14, Section 1). The Forever Wild clause forbids logging or development on the Adirondack Forest Preserve, and that includes power lines. The Amendment requires passage by two separately elected legislatures, which is now complete, and then approval by voters on a statewide ballot this fall. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Farmers’ Market Cooperative (AFMC) is expanding with a new market for summer ’09 in Tupper Lake. Beginning June 25, The Wild Center will host a weekly Farmers Market where you can meet farmers and purchase local food grown in the Adirondack region. Market days will be held under a tent every Thursday from 11 am to 3 pm. The market is free and open to the public; museum admission is not required for market related events. The market grows out of an initiative piloted by The Wild Center and the AFMC last summer, which featured several market days throughout the season. Positive responses by attendees encouraged both organizations to move forward with plans for a weekly market this season. Shoppers found a variety of products – from honey, herbs and veggies, to baked goods, prepared foods and meats – and the opportunity to talk with local farmers about farming in the Adirondacks.
Special activities and attractions are being planned for Opening Day June 25. Herbalist Jane Desotelle will lead a Wild Edibles walk at 1 pm. Addison Bickford and Steve Langdon will play blues and old timey music 11:30 – 2. Local food will be available for sale from the grill, and hands-on children’s activities will be available at a kid’s craft table.
More stories from the Adirondack Almanack about Adirondack food can be found here.
News last week that the Adirondack Council plans to sue the Village of Saranac Lake marked an escalation in a long-simmering war of surrogates among numerous interests driven by local and regional motives. » Continue Reading.
The International Skating Union (ISU) and U.S. Figure Skating have announced the skater selections for the 2009 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series, including Skate America. Skate America, which historically is the first competition in the ISU Grand Prix Series, occurs later in the calendar this year, as the fifth of six events. This year’s Skate America will take place Nov. 12-15 at the 1980 Rink Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid. This marks the 30th anniversary of the event and the sixth time the state of New York has hosted the event and the fourth time it has been held in Lake Placid (1979, 1981-82). Skate America will welcome 18 top U.S. athletes in addition to its international field. The Americans competing in Lake Placid include current World champion and two-time national champion Evan Lysacek and the five-time U.S. Championship ice dancing team of Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, also the 2009 World silver medalists and 2006 Olympic silver medalists. This year’s Skate America marks the return of 2006 U.S. Champion, 2006 Olympic silver medalist, and 2006 World bronze medalist Sasha Cohen to competitive skating.
Other U.S. athletes competing at Skate America are 2008 World Junior Champion Rachael Flatt, Ryan Bradley, Brandon Mroz, two-time defending U.S. Pairs Champions and 2007 World Junior Champions Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker, and the ice dancing teams of Madison Chock and Greg Zuerlein – the 2009 World Junior Champions and U.S. Junior Champions – and Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre.
The international field is led by World champion Yu-Na Kim of Korea. Kim is the 2008 Skate America ladies gold medalist and 2008 Grand Prix Final champion. Kim will be joined by six-time French ice dancing champions and 2008 World ice dancing champions Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder. Three-time World pairs champions (2002-03, 2007) and two-time Olympic bronze medalists (2002, 06) Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao of China will make their competitive debut this season, following a two year absence. For the complete list of international skaters competing at 2009 Skate America, please visit the ISU web site at www.isu.org.
Tickets to Skate America are on sale now at the Olympic Center Box Office in person or by phone at (518) 523-3330. Tickets may also be purchased online through tickets.com. For a complete schedule of events, ticket prices and more information, please log on to skateamerica2009.com.
The ISU Grand Prix Series consists of the following six events: Trophée Eric Bompard Oct. 15-18 in Paris, France; Rostelecom Cup Oct. 22-25 in Moscow, Russia; Cup of China Oct. 29-Nov. 1 in Beijing; NHK Trophy Nov. 5-8 in Nagano, Japan; Skate America Nov. 12-15 in Lake Placid; and Skate Canada Nov. 19-22 in Kitchener, Ont. This is the 15th season for the series.
At the conclusion of the six events, athletes’ points are totaled, and the top six ladies, men, pairs and ice dancing teams are invited to compete at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final Dec. 3-6 in Tokyo, Japan.
Saratoga Race Course employees arrived at work Monday morning to find a cow moose wandering on the sidewalk outside track property, New York Racing Association officials said. After NYRA security worked in support of the Saratoga Springs police department to bring the moose to safety inside the gates to Saratoga Race Course, Environmental Conservation officials tranquilized the moose with the intention of delivering it unharmed back to its natural environment. » Continue Reading.
A long awaited report sponsored by the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages (AATV) that profiles all the 103 municipalities that comprise the Adirondack Park was released on June 3rd. My copy was provided by Fred Monroe (Town of Chester Supervisor, Chair of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, Executive Director for the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, and an Executive Board Member of the Adirondack Association of Towns & Villages).
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