Scientist Curt Stager walks along the edge of the woods, his flashlight shining into the shallow water of a leafy, roadside pool on a dark night in Paul Smiths. It’s late April, and he’s out looking for spotted salamanders, wood frogs, and spring peepers that have migrated to shallow vernal pools to breed. After poking around for a minute, he lets out an excited shout: “There’s a salamander! There he is! He’s early!”
In the water is a dark, four-inch-long creature with bright yellow spots. In the same pool not far away, wood frogs float on the surface. In another week, pools like this will be a filled with breeding frogs and salamanders, which will leave behind egg sacks that hatch into larvae.
Spotted salamanders spend most of the year underground, so seeing them is rare except during these annual breeding migrations. Their journeys are triggered by the first rains of spring. » Continue Reading.
The president and chief executive officer of the Student Conservation Association and Dr. Curt Stager of Paul Smith’s College will be among the speakers featured at a November 3 workshop seeking to connect the Park’s various natural resource stewardship programs together to improve communication and collaboration. The workshop is underwritten by a grant from International Paper and organized by Adirondack Wild.
“Stewardship programs for the Adirondack Park’s wild summits, lakes, backcountry and biota have proliferated as natural resource challenges have grown, yet there are few opportunities for all these programs to communicate among each other. Adirondack Wild wants to start that process,” Dan Plumley of Adirondack Wild said in a statement to the press. “Through this workshop, which has never been attempted before, we will connect a variety of programs which train and sponsor field stewards, educators and researchers.” » Continue Reading.
Environmental authors Bill McKibben and Curt Stager will be among the distinguished speakers participating in the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Winter 2012 Lecture Series at the High Peaks Information Center (HPIC). The Saturday evening lecture series begins Jan. 7 and runs through March 17.
McKibben, one of the leading voices of the environmental movement, is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College in Vermont. His books include The End of Nature, The Age of Missing Information and Hope, Human and Wild: True Stories of Living Lightly on the Earth. His Feb. 4 lecture, “Notes from the Front of the Climate Fight,” will focus on the global movement to address climate change. Stager, a professor at Paul Smith’s College, is the author of Deep Future: the Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth, which Kirkus Reviews listed as one of the best nonfiction books of 2011. On Jan. 21, Stager will speak on “Climate Whiplash: What Happens After Global Warming?” While debate over global warming generally focuses on what may happen in the next 100 years, Stager will discuss the long-term climate picture.
Other lectures in the series will focus on winter birds, backcountry travel, avalanche awareness and moose in New York State. On the lighter side, the series will also feature concerts by Annie and the Hedonists and the Rustic Riders.
Winter 2012 HPIC Lecture Series
Jan. 7: “Winter Birds of the Adirondacks” with Joan Collins, president of Adirondack Avian Expeditions & Workshops.
Jan. 14: “Backcountry Travel” with Pete Fish, a retired forest ranger with over 30 years experience patrolling the High Peaks.
Jan. 21: “Climate Whiplash: What Happens After Global Warming?” with Curt Stager.
Jan. 28: “Basic Avalanche Awareness” with High Peaks Forest Ranger Jim Giglinto.
Feb. 4: “Notes from the Front of the Climate Fight” with Bill McKibben.
Feb. 11: “Moose in New York” with state wildlife biologist Ed Reed.
Feb. 18: “Adirondack Environmental History: It’s as Clear as Mud” with Brendan Wiltse, a Ph.D. candidate from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario.
Feb. 25: Music by Annie and the Hedonists.
March 3: “Introduction to Square Dancing,” with music and calling by Stan Burdick.
March 10: “Flora and Fauna of the Adirondacks.”
March 17: Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with The Rustic Riders, an Adirondack-based acoustic group.
The High Peaks Information Center (HPIC) is at the end of the Adirondack Loj Road, 8 miles south of Lake Placid. For more information about the lecture series and other ADK programs, visit our website at www.adk.org or call (518) 523-3441.
The Adirondack Mountain Club, founded in 1922, is the oldest and largest organization dedicated to the protection of the New York State Forest Preserve. ADK is a nonprofit, membership organization that protects the Forest Preserve, state parks and other wild lands and waters through conservation and advocacy, environmental education and responsible recreation.
WPTZ meteorologist Tom Messner reported a record high (65°F) in Montpelier Monday. The low (46°) in Saranac Lake yesterday was higher than the average high for November 14 (43°), according to Weather Underground. Last week, on November 9, Saranac Lake broke a record when the temperature reached 67°.
As much as the odd warm fall day seems to take us by surprise, temperature fluctuations are a normal part of the transition to winter. But it is strange to see fresh sprouts in the garden, which is ordinarily frozen by now.
Autumn is warming more rapidly than any other season locally, evidenced by records kept between 1975 and 2005. Paleoclimatologist Curt Stager, of Paul Smith’s College, last year analyzed data averaged from eight U.S. Historical Climatology Network stations throughout the Champlain Basin. He found that the most significant warming occurred in the fall, with an increase of 3.6°F in average temperature; year-round temperatures rose 2.1°F.
Adirondackers tend to fixate on ice-out, but Stager points out that ice-in is having a greater impact on lake cover duration. “For example, freeze-up at Mirror Lake [in Lake Placid] now comes 12 days later than it did in 1910, but spring ice-out arrives only two days earlier, and that smaller change is not statistically significant,” he concluded in Climate Change in the Champlain Basin: what natural resource managers can expect and do, a report sponsored by the Adirondack and Vermont chapters of the Nature Conservancy (and co-authored by me) in 2010. See page 10 of the report for more detail on temperature trends.
Graphs by Curt Stager, from Climate Change in the Champlain Basin. Caption: Temperatures averaged from eight USHCN weather stations in the Champlain Basin 1976–2005. The only statistically significant linear warming trends were in the annual, summer and autumn records.