Beginning today members of the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership (AFPEP) will contribute to the Adirondack Almanack about Adirondack outdoor recreation. AFPEP shares a vision with Almanack founder John Warren that outdoor recreationists will know, share, and protect the park and themselves. AFPEP hopes to provide Adirondack visitors and residents information about having safe and enjoyable recreational experiences, while protecting the Forest Preserve for future generations.
With two and a half million acres of Forest Preserve public land and another three and a half million acres of private land, Adirondack Park recreational opportunities are available for everyone. These weekly essays will offer advice on the entire range of activities allowed on state land from paddling to motorboating, backcountry skiing to snowmobiling, to hunting, fishing, birding, and more.
AFPEP is a coalition created by the Wildlife Conservation Society, Adirondack Mountain Club, Adirondack Invasive Plant Program, Adirondack Regional Tourism Council, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Leading E.D.G.E. Building on the Leave No Trace philosophy, their goal is to provide public education about the Forest Preserve and Conservation Easements with an emphasis on how to safely enjoy and protect these unique lands.
Please join me in welcoming the Almanack‘s newest contributor Linda J. Peckel. Peckel explores the Adirondacks by following the arts. Originally from Croton-on-Hudson, she developed a lifelong interest in the Hudson River School of painting, and has since expanded her appreciation to many types of art that hail from the Hudson River Valley and the Adirondacks. She managed the Lakeshore Gallery in Bolton Landing during the 2009 season, and has reported on the arts from Albany to Canada for Examiner.com and her own ArtsEnclave blog. Linda has crewed on film sets, worked on film and music festivals, and interviewed painters, photographers and artists of all kinds.
At this time of year the orbital dust from the comet 7P/Pons-Winnecke, which orbits our sun once about every six years, is the cause of the Bootid meteor shower. In 1998 and 2004 this shower had outbursts that produced up to 50-100 meteors per hour at its peak, but the surrounding years produced very few meteors.
Over the years Pons-Winnecke’s orbit has been disturbed by Jupiter and has moved the comet and the meteor stream into a slightly different orbit which has resulted in the June Boötids being hardly noticeable in recent years. One advantage we’ll have this year is the moon will be a small waning crescent, which is good for spotting some of the dimmest meteors. Meteor showers are always a great show as long as clouds and the Moon, cooperate. They also don’t require any type of optics to get the full satisfaction. It’s actually recommended that you don’t try to view them with binoculars or a telescope because of the randomness. They radiate from a certain area in the night sky, but that doesn’t mean that they will all be visible in that one specific area, so it’s best to use your naked eye and scan the entire area of the sky.
Where to Look? The Boötid meteor shower is in the constellation Boötes (hence the name), The Herdsman, which is quite an easy constellation to find in the night sky because of the brilliant orange star Arcturus marks the base. To find Arcturus, find the Big Dipper and follow the curve of the handle to the orange star which is the forth-brightest of all nighttime stars. If you get your skymap for the June sky it should help you find your way to Boötes which passes nearly overhead in the late evenings.
When Is The Meteor Shower? The peak for the Boötids this year is the 27th and the 28th, but observers have reported seeing members of the shower starting several days earlier, and lasting into the beginning of July.
The History The Boötids was first noticed by astronomers soon after sunset on June 28, 1916 in England. William Frederick Denning, an experienced observer, noted that a meteor shower was in progress when he stepped outside at 10:25pm. Denning described the meteors radiating from between Boötes and Draco as “moderately slow, white with yellowish trains, and paths rather short in the majority of cases. Several of the meteors burst or acquired a great intensification of light near the termination of their flights, and gave flashes like distant lightning.”
On the night of the June 29th Denning was unable to observe due to clouds, and on the 30th when he was able to get out for only about an hour he saw only one meteor. Denning started to wonder if its sudden appearance might be attributed to a comet. After searching through lists of cometary orbits, Denning concluded that the periodic comet Pons-Winnecke was most likely the cause.
Following 1916, two notable though weaker appearances of the meteor shower occurred during the next two perihelion dates of Pons-Winnecke. In 1921 Kaname Nakamura from Kyoto, Japan, saw 153 meteors in 35 minutes. During the period between June 26 to July 11, Nakamura was able to plot 9 points of radiant which slowly made their way southeast each night.
Recent activity indicates that the showers have weakened considerably since the 1920s. In 1968 Edward F. Turco had said that observations had revealed recent rates of only 3 to 5 meteors per hour, “with meteors being on the fairly dim side.” In 1981 David Swann from Dallas Texas wrote that on six occasions during 1964 to 1971 he only observed 1 to 2 meteors per hour. Swann noted that he had “never noticed any trains, even though I have seen several bright shower members.”
The June Boötids is not the only astronomical feature William Frederick Denning is noted for, he studied meteors and novas and he won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1898. Many craters on the far side of the moon were named after Denning as was a crater on Mars.
Photo: William Denning celebrated in Punch magazine in 1892, after his discovery of a small faint comet; below, screen capture from the astronomy freeware Stellarium showing where the radiant for the June Boötids is located.
Writers, editors, publishers, and book lovers gathered at the Blue Mountain Center in Blue Mountain Lake on Sunday to hear the announcements of the Adirondack Center for Writing’s (ACW’s) annual Adirondack Literary Award winners. Among the authors recognized was regular Adirondack Almanack contributor Tom Kalinowski. The avid outdoor enthusiast who taught field biology and ecology at Saranac Lake High School for 33 years won the Best Book of Nonfiction award for Adirondack Nature Notes: An Adirondack Almanac Sequel.
Kalinowski was one of three Almanack contributors considered for the nonfiction award, including Caperton Tissot for Adirondack Ice: A Cultural and Natural History and History of Churubusco and the Town of Clinton, Clinton County, NY by Lawrence Gooley. Gooley’s book Oliver’s War: An Adirondack Rebel Battles the Rockefeller Fortune won the Adirondack Literary Award for Best Book of Nonfiction in 2008. The Adirondack Literary Awards celebrates and acknowledge books that were written by Adirondack authors or published in the region in the previous year.
The complete list of winners for 2011 includes:
Best Children’s Book: The Rock Singer by Betsey Thomas-Train, published by Shaggy Dog Press.
Best Book of Fiction: Jeffrey G. Kelly for Tailings published by Creative Bloc Press.
Best Memoir: Green Fields by Bob Cowser, publisher, UNO Press (University of New Orleans) with an honorable mention to Kristin Kimballs’ The Dirty Life.
Best Book of Nonfiction: Adirondack Nature Notes: An Adirondack Almanac Sequel by Tom Kalinowski, published by North Country Books, with an honorable mention going to the collection, Why We Are Here edited by Bob Cowser and published by Colgate University Press.
Best Book of Poetry: went for a record third time to the three Adirondack poets: Elaine Handley, Marilyn McCabe, Mary Sanders Shartle for their collection, Winterberry Pine: Three Poets on Adirondack Winter (30 Acre Wood Publishing). This is the third time (a record) they have won the Poetry prize.
The People’s Choice Award went to Karma in the High Peaks, a poetry collection with contributions by David Parkinson, Charles Watts, Mary Randall, Mary Anne Johnson, Judith Dow Moore, and Chuck Gibson, published by RA Press.
Judges for the Adirondack Literary Award were:
Nonfiction and memoir: Linda Cohen and Jerry McGovern
Fiction: Ellen Rocco and Joseph
Poetry: Stephanie Coyne-DeGhett and Maurice Kenny
Children’s Literature: Danielle Hoepfl and Nancy Beattie
A complete list of the books considered this year can be found online.
Please join me in welcoming our newest contributor to the Adirondack Almanack, amateur astronomer Michael Rector. Like many folks, I’m terrible at discerning the objects in the night sky so I asked Michael to help teach us what to look for, and how to identify what we see in the heavens above. He writes about astronomy on his own blog Adirondack Astronomy and will be contributing here occasionally about all things astronomy.
Michael told me “The field of astronomy is extremely interesting, and one great thing is you don’t need to understand physics or the highly detailed science behind astronomy to enjoy the night sky with your naked eye, binoculars or with a telescope.” Although he now lives in Clinton County, Micheal has fond memories of spending time at Great Sacandaga and West Canada Lake where the skies are dark and the Milky Way is bright. Michael is interested in getting together with other star-gazers around the region. If you are interested in getting together for an occasional star party feel free to contact him at email@example.com.
Michael Rector joins the Almanack‘s other regular natural history contributors Tom Kalinowski and Corrina Parnapy, and occasional contributor Larry Master.
Please join me in welcoming our newest contributors here at Adirondack Almanack, Kim and Pam Ladd. Warrensburg natives, Kim and Pam are working on a book project, Happy Hour in the High Peaks.
Currently in the research stage, the pair plan to visit pubs, bars and taverns inside the Blue Line, and report their findings weekly here at the Almanack and at their blog. With a goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park, Happy Hour in the High Peaks will feature reviews, history, lore, photographs and cocktail recipes with an Adirondack flavor.
Kim and Pam have spent most of their lives in Warren County. Pam has a degree in Computer Science, but her passion is mixology. Kim, is a freelance photographer whose sports images regularly appear in the Adirondack Journal. She has a degree in Advertising Design and lives in Thurman.
Kim and Pam will begin their run here at the Almanack this afternoon with a look at barVino in North Creek, but they told me they welcome suggestions for places to visit, so let them know about your favorite haunts!
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.
John Warren, founder and editor of Adirondack Almanack, will present a talk entitled “Adirondack Media: History and Future” this Thursday, March 3, at noon in the Cantwell Community Room at the Saranac Lake Free Library.
John will discuss the history of media in the Adirondacks, the current media environment and its possible future. A lively discussion is expected to follow. Bring a lunch; enjoy dessert and coffee provided by the Hospitality Committee. For more information, call 891-4190. The event is free and open to the public. Over 25 years John’s work has ranged from traditional broadcast and print to new media. In addition to Adirondack Almanack, he is also the founding editor of New York History, the author of two books of regional history and a weekly contributor to North County Public Radio. John was the 2010 recipient of the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Eleanor Brown Communications Award for “outstanding talent and journalistic achievement in building an online, independent news source about the Adirondacks.”
John has a Masters Degree in Public History, and holds credits on more than 100 hours of primetime television programming, including documentary projects that have aired on PBS, History Channel, A&E, Discovery, TLC, and Travel Channel. Since 2001 he has carried out documentary program development work for PBS affiliate Maryland Public Television.
He also manages an archival new media project for the New York State Writers Institute at the State University at Albany and teaches documentary studies and media production at Burlington College.
The Adirondack Almanack is pleased to welcome our newest natural history contributor Tom Kalinowski.
Tom is an avid outdoor enthusiast who taught field biology and ecology at Saranac Lake High School for 33 years. He has written numerous articles on natural history for a variety of magazines and wrote a weekly nature column for the Lake Placid News for nearly ten years. He has also written two books; An Adirondack Almanac, and Adirondack Nature Notes, both of which focus on various events that occur among the region’s flora and fauna during very specific times of the calendar year. Along with writing, he also spends time photographing wildlife. Tom’s work here at the Almanack will also include his more recent work in video. His first post will appear this morning.
It’s been a busy week couple weeks for new contributors and today I’ve got some more good news for our readers who enjoy the Almanack‘s natural history side.
Please join me in welcoming Paul B. Hai as our newest contributor. Paul is the Program Coordinator for the Northern Forest Institute for Conservation Education and Leadership Training of the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) and the leads the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) in Newcomb, the former Newcomb VIC, and now the educational outreach venue of the NFI. He is co-founder of Children in Nature, New York and serves on the Grassroots Leadership Team of the Children & Nature Network.
Paul is passionate about creating interdisciplinary programs using natural history, inquiry-based activities and outdoor experiences as the foundations for teaching the process of science, exploring the Adirondack experience, and for getting children outside. He says that his commitment to using informal science education as a vehicle for reconnecting children to nature will form one of the key programmatic themes of the Adirondack Interpretive Center. Paul first “visited” the Adirondacks at three-months old, returning with his family to camp on the islands of Lake George two weeks each summer for the next 14 years. He also spent eight summers attending Adirondack Swim and Trip Camp on Jones Pond, an experience that took him by foot and paddle all over the region.
Paul and his wife, ecologist Stacy McNulty, Associate Director of the Adirondack Ecological Center, live in Newcomb with their two daughters. Prior to moving to Newcomb, Paul spent four years living in Bolton Landing and working in Chestertown and Warrensburg before moving to Syracuse to attend graduate school at ESF.
Here is our list of the Adirondack Almanack‘s ten most popular stories of 2010.
The Return of the Black Flies (Ellen Rathbone) It’s fitting that this year’s most read story was written by Ellen Rathbone, one of the Almanack‘s most popular contributors in 2010. With the state’s economic problems resulting in the closure of the Newcomb Visitor Interpretative Center, Ellen lost her job and we lost her regular contributions on natural history and the environment. In this gem from March, Ellen reminds us that the black flies are much more than a nuisance. The Cougar Question: Have You Seen One? (Phil Brown) There is perhaps no wildlife question in the Adirondacks that raises so much ire as the question of whether or not there are mountain lions (a.k.a. cougars, pumas, panthers, catamounts) in the Adirondacks. When Phil Brown asked the age old question in August, he stirred the pot one more time. Other big mountain lion stories this year included a hoax, Phil’s own encounter stories, and even a story from 2005 which still tops the charts.
Dannemora Notes: The Clinton Prison (John Warren) Some of the most popular posts of all time here at the Almanack are about the history of the Adirondack region. In fact, the history category is the currently the 13th most clicked-on page of all time. The single biggest story each month remains a piece I wrote in January 2008 about Gaslight Village. This year is continuing proof that Adirondack history is a big draw, as my short post about Dannemora Prison drew an astonishing number of readers.
Siamese Ponds: The New Botheration Pond Trail (Alan Wechsler) Alan Wechsler’s regular forays into the outdoors are something even the most active Adirondackers envy. Not a week goes by when he’s not biking, hiking, skiing, climbing, or thinking and writing about getting outside. When he wrote about the new eight-mile Botheration Pond Loop, a route that circles around the Balm of Gilead Mountain and several lesser hills in the 114,000-acre Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area, Alan grabbed the interest of readers.
The Death of Climber Dennis Murphy (Phil Brown) The death of Dennis Murphy at Upper Washbowl Cliff in Keene Valley was tragic. Dennis worked at Eastern Mountain Sports in Lake Placid and was a regular at local climbing hot-spots. This post by Phil Brown, written just a week after they had a lengthy talk about climbing gear and soloing Chapel Pond Slab, struck a nerve with readers. Two other stories of danger and disaster this year also ranked high: Ian Measeck’s first hand account of surviving an avalanche while skiing Wright Peak, and the High Peaks disappearance of Wesley Wamsganz.
Natural history fans will be happy to see the return of nature writing to the Almanack with the addition of our newest contributor Corrina Parnapy.
Corrina is a Lake George native who has been working and volunteering as a naturalist and an environmental research scientist for over ten years. Her love and interest in the Adirondacks led her to undergraduate degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies. Her professional focus has been on invasive species, fish and algae. Corrina was recently invited to sit on the Lake George Land Conservancy’s Conservation and Stewardship Committee. She currently works for both the state and on a contract basis for the FUND for Lake George, while working on a forthcoming book, A Guide to the Common Algae of the Lake George Watershed.
Please join me in welcoming Corrina as the Almanack‘s 23rd regular contributor. Her columns on the environment and natural history will appear every other week.
Please join me in welcoming Jeff Farbaniec as the newest contributor here at the Adirondack Almanack. Jeff is an avid telemark skier and a 46er who writes The Saratoga Skier & Hiker, a blog of his primarily Adirondack outdoor adventures. This winter, Jeff’s emphasis will be on the ski sports – everything and anything related to Adirondack skiing.
His first piece for the Almanack runs at noon today, an interview with Olavi and Ann Hirvonen founders of the Lapland Lake ski touring center in Benson (near Northville). Olavi is a former Olympian (1960 Squaw Valley) and at age 80, may be the most experienced groomer in the country. For now, check out Jeff’s blog. He recently took a look at the pre-season ski movie ritual, took the snowmaking media tour at Whiteface, and spent opening weekend at Gore.
Jeff Farbaniec lives in Wilton, just south of the Blue Line in Saratoga County, with his wife and their 2 young children.
Please join me in welcoming Saranac Lake resident Caperton Tissot as the newest contributor to the Adirondack Almanack. Caperton’s work has appeared in Adirondack Life, Adirondack Explorer, and includes a shared weekly “Friends and Neighbors” column in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
She has published two books on her own Snowy Owl Press, History between the Lines, Women’s Lives and Saranac Lake Customs (2007), and Adirondack Ice, a Cultural and Natural History (2010). Caperton will be writing regularly about Adirondack ice through the winter. During the last three years Caperton has held a number of oral history workshops, and is currently touring the region with an Adirondack ice slide show and book signings. She also coordinates a winter lecture series at the Saranac Lake Free Library. “It is,” she says, “a wonderful way to meet new folks and learn about Adirondack art, history and culture.”
When not traveling or writing, she and her husband are active skiers, snowshoers, hikers, paddlers and bikers.
Did you miss something yesterday? I know I did. Ellen Rathbone, our dedicated naturalist for more than a year and a half has left the Adirondacks, and so too the Adirondack Almanack.
Those who have been following Ellen’s writings know that she contributed (twice a week!) out of the love of nature education and as part of her job as an interpretive educator and naturalist at the Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) in Newcomb. Despite her ten years at the VIC, when the Adirondack Park Agency faced cutbacks this past year, education and Adirondack visitor services were the first to go. Ellen had hoped to find a position here in the region but alas, ended up Education Director at the Dahlem Conservancy just outside Jackson, Michigan.
The Dahlem Conservancy is an environmental education / nature center which also has a farm, at which they’ve just put in an acre of community gardens. She’ll be doing all sorts of public and school based nature, gardening, and environmental ethics programming. You can check them out at http://www.dahlemcenter.org/.
Ellen has been working as a naturalist or environmental educator almost steadily since she graduated from SUNY ESF in 1988 with a BS in forestry and biology. Her work has taken her from NY to NJ to VT but she had a special affection for what she called her “beloved Adirondacks.” Ellen incredible insight to our natural world and defense of the smaller (some would say creepier) creatures of our woods and waters will surely be missed here at the Almanack. (We’re currently in search of someone to fill her boots, no one could replace her.)
I thought in honor of Ellen’s departure I’d link to some of her work here at the Almanack. Of course you can always still follow her adventures in Michigan at her own blog.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to Almanack founder and editor John Warren.
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