Posts Tagged ‘education’

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ottilia Beha: Lewis County Teaching Legend

Ottilia Beha classFor most of us, there are one or more teachers who made a difference in how our lives turned out. It might have been their kindness, teaching ability, understanding, or enthusiasm that inspired or affected us deeply. Whether you’re young or old, they remain “Mr.” or “Mrs.” to you throughout life, even if your ages differ by only a decade. It’s partly force of habit, but the special ones merit a lifetime of respect for one compelling reason: they made a difference.

For a great many folks attending school in Lewis County in the years on both sides of 1900, and an even larger group in a distant city, that person was Ottilia Beha. Such an unusual name was fitting for an unusually dedicated teacher. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sandy Hildreth: Children and Art

"Breezy Lake Flower" by Samantha PahuckiSeveral weeks ago, during the Adirondack Plein Air Festival, Aug 15-18, several things occurred which were wonderful to witness. First of all the event was very successful: 75 artists from all over the northeast registered; over 200 plein air paintings were on display in the Town Hall in Saranac Lake on the final day of the event and half the artists sold at least 1 painting; 55 little donated 5×7 paintings were auctioned off; over $4000 in awards were given out, including a “People’s Choice” prize of $100.

A lot of people came out to watch the artists at work at the various venues over the course of the event, and I know some were children accompanying their parents. It was a nice opportunity for them to witness “real” artists out creating original works of art. When the silent auction of 55 5×7 “Paint the Town” paintings were on display, I saw some parents actually letting their children bid on their favorite pieces! What a wonderful way to instill in children the concept of “collecting art”. The idea that it is worthwhile to purchase unique, one-of-a-kind items for personal enjoyment. The auction was the perfect place to do this because the art was “kid-sized” and the minimum bid was only $40. The parents, of course, probably had to pay for them, but it was a nice experience to provide to their children. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Peter Bauer:
New Data For The Adirondack Park Population Debate

Entering-Adirondack-ParkThree new interesting data points have recently come out from the US Census and the NYS Department of Education that provide a state and national context for the Adirondack population debate. In previous posts I have argued that we need to look at Adirondack Park population trends against a backdrop of state and national rural demographic trends, especially those impacting rural America. Others disagree and argue that Adirondack Park population trends are immune to national forces and trends, but rather are shaped by the distinct and negative impacts of the Forest Preserve and Adirondack Park Agency (APA) Act regional land use controls.

I think that the blame-the-Park lobby could benefit from a hard look at state and national trends because a better understanding of what rural areas in the US are facing will help develop a long-term population retention and recruitment strategy that might work for the Adirondack Park. The controversial APRAP report was notably devoid of larger state and national trends in its population analysis.

I believe that the Park’s modest population decreases, which are much less than many other rural areas in the US, have been eased by the protected landscape of the Adirondacks, which supports active tourist-small-business-public sector economies. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Piseco Students Get An Invasive Species Lesson

3Young students knock my socks off with their ability to grasp new concepts! I delved into the world of the emerald ash borer, a nasty invasive insect, with third, fourth and fifth graders of Piseco’s After School Program. When I asked how many students heard of the emerald ash borer, none raised their hand. By the end of the interactive program, they understood its life cycle, listed invasion clues, and knew how to stop its spread. Talk about a class of intelligent students!

The program kicked off with some nitty gritty definitions. I asked the students what they thought the differences were between native and invasive species. They knew that native organisms are ones that have been in the Adirondacks for a long period of time, and invasive organisms are ones that cause harm to the environment, economy, or society. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Where Veterans Stand: Paul Schaefer and the Pack Forest

Photo by Paul SchaeferPaul Schaefer took this photo in the Pack Forest in Warrensburg sometime in the 1940s or 50s when he was fighting elsewhere in the Adirondacks to save ancient groves from dam builders.

At Pack Forest Paul told us he took one of his best and luckiest shots. Wanting to capture the public’s imagination with something as ancient and compelling as a 500 year old stand of white pine, Paul was at a loss with the scale and the difficult angle and the lighting until the clouds parted for an instant and sun suddenly shot through the forest canopy.

Paul clicked, the shutter opened. Opportunity and preparedness aligned.

Paul told us that his photo was in demand all over the Adirondacks and the country, including in Washington, DC, where a representative of the USDA Forest Service put it on the wall. By the 1960s, the photo came to represent the urgent need to expand the Forest Preserve, protect the Adirondack Park’s remaining old-growth forests, and plan and care for the entire Park, public and private. It has been used in many publications since then, including Defending the Wilderness: The Adirondack Writings of Paul Schaefer (Syracuse University Press, 1989). » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Adirondack Lecture Series

2013_POMACLecture_Series_poster_2013Though our family always enjoys the numerous Adirondack trails, we also like to experience rich history through lectures available at a variety of wonderful venues. Not only are these lectures led by experts, it is an inexpensive way to entertain a crowd as well as a delightful way to learn more about a wide range of topics.

Those of us with young people can take advantage of the benevolence of the speaker or performer. Most people graciously answer questions or enjoy showing people of all ages the tricks of their trade. Whether it’s a fabulous round of storytelling by Chris Shaw or an historical retelling from Heaven Up-h’isted-ness!’s Sharp Swan, here is just a sampling of places to go and lectures to hear. » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Martin Luther King’s Plattsburgh Legacy

Martin_Luther_King_Jr_ 3HToday is Martin Luther King Day, and if you lived through the 1960s, you’ll never forget that turbulent decade. Even turbulent is putting it mildly: weekly classroom drills for nuclear attacks (Get under my desk? What the heck is this thing made of?); riots over race, poverty, the draft, and the Vietnam War; the assassinations of JFK, King, and Bobby Kennedy; and so much more.

Martin Luther King was a leading figure of those times, beloved and hated nationally and internationally. Love him or hate him, he was remarkable. Against the worst of odds, he effected change through peaceful protest. The impact was clear, even here in the North Country.

A series of events during the 1960s proved that peaceful protest and the purity of King’s motives were strong enough to convert critics and naysayers. Plattsburgh offers an example of King’s effect over the course of a decade. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Finding Blessings, Resilience and Self-Worth in Nature

I just mailed a contribution to an organization which immerses their community’s children in learning about river basins and watersheds. I endorsed the check “in memory of the children of Sandy Hook Elementary.”

As countless naturalists and writers, from Richard Louv, to Rachel Carson, to John Burroughs and many Adirondack teachers have shown us, children who are led and encouraged to be themselves and to explore in the outdoors, with adults who participate in that exploration without dominating it, gain significantly in awareness, confidence and self-worth. We are born to love the world, including the more than human world, and our ready inclination to explore that world, and to find answers to our place within that world is intrinsically human.
» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Conversation About Guns

I was going to write about ski centers and getting ready for Christmas, but this morning my nine-year-old didn’t want to go to school. She sat on the floor with her lunch box in her hand and started to cry. When I asked her what was wrong, she described a story she heard at school, about children escaping from Sandy Hook Elementary.

I know I am not the only parent that is struggling with a conversation to explain the unexplainable to our children. Sadly, my children are not strangers to death. They were given a dose of reality when they lost their eight-year-old cousin to cancer and both grandfathers in the course of a year. My daughter questions why some people die while others live. I am not able to provide her with answers. Thankfully she does not yet seem obsessed with her safety. She plays with her friends and wanders the woods around our house, but obviously somewhere buried deep the stories matter.
» Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Adirondack Stewardship Programs Meeting Saturday

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.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Adirondack Philosophy: Indentity and Experience

Last month I considered how a condition of inter-subjectivity might be responsible for whether and how our surroundings influence who we are and what we create.  Picking up where I left off, this morning I’m turning over the question of how the lived-world draw us forth and how it is drawn into our creative process.  It seems to me that the world infuses us with its own being and we, who are being given the world, interpret and draw out its edge through our own lifework before we deliver it back into community as self-expression.  A tripartite process of what is given, literally what is submitted, what is received in the exchange that is soon re-visioned, re-imagined and given back as an offering.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Politics And History: ‘For The Children’

Public endeavors that bring huge benefits to the participant (we’re talking state-level and national politics here) can be a tricky thing when you want people to know that you’re in it for them and not for yourself. A popular way for politicians to demonstrate their intentions (altruism) is to invoke the children, as in “our children and our grandchildren.”

I can’t help but laugh when it’s used today because it should be worn out by now. Yes, I know … it really means a concern for the future, but it’s so much more poignant and meaningful when it’s “for the kids.” The term has been used so much, it should be considered child-phrase abuse. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spring Land Use, Ethics Symposium in Newcomb

The Adirondack Almanack has recently been enlivened by a series substantive of conversations around land use in the Adirondacks.  I invite anyone interested in continuing those conversations to participate in the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Interdisciplinary Scholarship in Land Use and Ethics 2nd Annual Symposium May 17–19, 2013 at the Newcomb campus.  On its best day, philosophy succeeds in sending “the conversation off in new directions.”

With a free exchange of ideas and a commitment to inquiry, philosophy as both catalyst and conveyor ought to “engender new normal discourses, new sciences, new philosophical research and thus new objective truths.” This project provides us with an opportunity to do all of these things in an open dialog around issues of land use on local, national and global scales. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pace Law School Profs Issue Forest Preserve Papers

At the Bar Association’s Environmental Law Conference in Lake Placid on October 13, Pace University Law School professors Nicholas Robinson and Philip Weinberg released twelve edited papers – eleven by their law school students – that review the history, and relevancy today of New York’s Article 14.

Effective since 1895 and known as the “Forever Wild” provision of our State Constitution which protects the State’s Forest Preserve in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, Article 14 states that “the lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands.”
» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

John Brown Portrait Unveiling Set For History Event

John Brown Lives! and North Country Community College have announced that Maine artist Robert Shetterly will be present for the unveiling of his portrait of abolitionist John Brown during Freedom Now, Freedom Then: The Long History of Emancipation, a two-day program designed for students, educators and the general public on November 30-December 1, 2012. The events will take place in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, New York.

Brown is one of the newest additions to the Americans Who Tell the Truth project that Shetterly began 10 years ago using portraits of contemporary and historical figures and their own words to offer a “link between a community of people who struggled for justice in our past and a community of people who are doing it now.”

With this portrait, Brown joins Shetterly’s pantheon of more than 180 Truth Tellers that includes Abraham Lincoln, Sojourner Truth and Mark Twain from the nation’s past, and Bill McKibben, James Baldwin, Michelle Alexander, and Jonathan Kozol who are addressing some of humanity’s gravest concerns today. » Continue Reading.