Cornell Cooperative Extension is looking for small-forest owners to volunteer to meet and work with their neighbors through the New York Master Forest Owner (MFO) Volunteer Program. The MFO program is entering its 19th year and a new volunteer training is scheduled May 13-17 at SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, Adirondack Ecological Center in Newcomb. Volunteers who complete the four-day workshop will join the corps of 175 certified volunteers across the state [pdf of current volunteers]. Participants can commute daily, or accommodations are available at the AEC. A $50 registration fee (upon acceptance into the program) helps defray lodging, publications, food, and equipment costs. The workshop combines classroom and outdoor field experiences on a wide variety of subjects, including tree identification, finding boundaries, forest ecology, wildlife and sawtimber management, water quality best management practices, communication techniques, timber harvesting, and invasive species identification and management.
The goal of the program is to provide private forest owners with the information and encouragement necessary to manage their forests to enhance ownership satisfaction. MFOs do not perform management activities nor give professional advice. Rather, they meet with forest owners to listen to their concerns and questions, and offer advice as to sources of assistance based on their training and personal experience.
If you are interested in obtaining an information packet and application form, send your name and address to:
CCE Warren County 377 Schroon River Road Warrensburg, NY 12885 518-623-3291 or email: email@example.com
A certain Almanack editor turned 43 over the weekend, reaching the average age of an Adirondacker. But in this respect, the Adirondacks is anything but average.
Elsewhere in New York State and most other parts of the country the average age is more like 31 or 35, says Brad Dake, coordinator of a new comprehensive statistical study of the Adirondack Park. It’s no surprise to people living here that young people often leave to find work. But what surprised Dake is the number of older people who have moved to the park. “This inmigration is causing a rapid aging of the population. We could almost find ourselves at the level of western Florida in two decades,” Dake says. Almost every Adirondack community has a handful of new-ish residents in their 40s, 50s and 60s who have made their money elsewhere and decided to move here for a lifestyle change, he says. Collectively they form a demographic wave. Three decades ago the average age in the Adirondacks was 31. “The Adirondack age is growing at a pace of four years per decade, which is astounding. That is cause for at least curiosity, if not alarm,” Dake says.
This nugget of information is one of many to come from the Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Project, a two-year study of infrastructure, education, land use, geography, demographics and government services in every town in the Adirondack Park.
The study originated with the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages (AATV), which will publish a final report of about 70 findings on its Web site around April 15. Other participants include the Adirondack North Country Association and the LA Group, a Saratoga-based consulting firm. Dake, who is chairman of the Arietta planning board, took an interest in the project and helped obtain a $93,000 grant from the Department of State. AATV provided $20,000. The partners previewed their findings at a meeting of local government officials in Lake Placid last week.
Some other numbers:
— 40 percent of private land parcels are owned by people or companies in zip codes outside the park — 76 percent of land inside the Blue Line is protected from development — After subtracting steep slopes, wetlands and unsuitable soils, 15 percent of the park remains for building (much of it already built) — There has been a 31 percent drop in school enrollment over 30 years — There has been a 40 percent increase in the number of teachers — 44 percent of Franklin County workers are employed by government — One out of 26 park residents lives in a correctional facility (5,125 out of 132,000)
Dake says the partners have tried to avoid interpreting the data or making recommendations so that people don’t think the numbers are twisted to suit an agenda. “If we’re going to be talking about what the park already is, we’ve got to start talking in terms that everybody understands,” he says.
The slowdown in the economy is affecting the Adirondack Park’s two colleges in different ways.
At least twenty students have left Paul Smith’s College this year for financial reasons, president John Mills told The New York Times this week. “Their parents are losing their jobs, or they’re afraid of taking on any debt, even student loans,” Mills said to the Times. “It’s a fear of the unknown.”
Enrollment at the private two- and four-year college is 834 right now, low for a spring semester, college spokesman Kenneth Aaron explained Wednesday. Faculty and staff have taken a voluntary pay cut (from 1 to 2.5 percent) to help make ends meet, he added. The story is different at North Country Community College (NCCC), which has campuses in Saranac Lake, Ticonderoga and Malone. While hard times are hurting four-year colleges across the United States, they are boosting enrollment at career-oriented community colleges.
NCCC numbers are up 8 percent (103 students) over last spring, reported Ed Trathen, vice president for enrollment and student services. Some 2,200 students attend NCCC, more than double the number 10 years ago.
“For us, it definitely has to do with people departing voluntarily or involuntarily from the workforce and looking to retrain themselves,” Trathen said. The college focuses on programs that can lead to local jobs; for example, nursing, radiologic technology, massage therapy, sports events management, and business for sole proprietors. NCCC also established a 2-year pre-teaching program that’s transferrable to SUNY Potsdam and Plattsburgh.
Affordability is another factor. Tuition at NCCC, which has no student housing, is $3,490 a year. At Paul Smith’s it’s $18,460, plus $8,350 for room and board.
Nurses are in demand, and NCCC received 350 applications this year for the 70 slots in its Registered Nursing program, Trathen said. In 2007 Paul Smith’s College explored launching a nursing curriculum, but no action has been taken.
Kenneth Aaron said Paul Smith’s endowment is down, just like all investment portfolios. “The silver lining is we’re not as reliant on our endowment as other institutions,” he added.
Paul Smith’s is under a hiring freeze, and NCCC is bracing for a reduction in state aid (some funding also comes from Essex and Franklin Counties). Both institutions are trying to cut costs without having to lay off faculty or trim education programs, Aaron and Trathen said.
Photograph of Paul Smiths College in the 1950s courtesy of campawful.com
Now for an update. I decided to sit in on the Alternative Fuels and Small Scale Power Generation workshop. There were about 30 people in the group and I was surprised how smoothly the discussion went. There were folks from all walks of Adirondack life: state, county, and town and village government, planners, builders and developers, educators and students, green business professionals, and simple residents with an interest. Among the groups who were represented (well actually not represented, but folks from these organizations were in attendance): the Adirondack Park Agency, St. Lawrence University, Paul Smiths, SUNY-ESF, Lake Placid High School, Houghton College, Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks, and many more. We heard first from Amanda Lavigne of St. Lawrence University who provided us with lots of background information. We then characterized the problem as “what alternative fuels and power options are available to Adirondack Park residents that can reduce the rising economic impacts of home heating and transportation while minimizing carbon emissions and the impacts of climate change.”
Finally, we made a list of potential priorities including things like broadly incentivising alternative energy, creating a clearinghouse for information and technical assistance, encouraging appropriate scale local energy production for local consumption in a decentralized distributive manner, and many more.
Tomorrow we’ll be focusing on laying out a one year action plan for our group, and then we’ll be bringing it together with the rest of the other groups Wednesday afternoon.
The Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, New York has introduced the Harry G. Remington Adirondack History Writing Competition. Open to students in grades 9 – 12 in school districts wholly or partially within the Adirondack Park, the competition offers awards for the three best essays about an historical person, place, document, organization, time period, business, event, or location relating to a community or communities within or bordering the Park. The first place winner will receive $500, the second place winner $300, and the third place $200. Essays must be 1500 to 2500 words in length and be the original work of the entrant. Entries must be received by or on March 1, 2009. The essays will be judged on originality of idea, quality of research, and the use of a variety of resources such as books, maps, publications, documents, photographs, oral history interviews, artifacts, or other historical resources.
A panel consisting of two members of the Adirondack Museum’s professional staff and a history teacher from an eligible school will read and judge the essays. The winners of the essay competition will be announced on June 1, 2009. Awards will be presented at the student’s school graduation and at the Adirondack Museum’s annual Harold K. Hochschild Award ceremony in August 2009.
The Adirondack History Writing Competition is dedicated to the memory of Harry G. Remington whose love of the Adirondacks ran deep, nurtured by a lifetime of summers spent at his family camp in Franklin County. Remington’s belief that history matters came from his family’s own rich history. His grandfather, Ashbel Parmelee Fitch, was born in Mooers, N.Y. and became a prominent lawyer and New York City politician who once was challenged to a duel by an impulsive Theodore Roosevelt.
One of Fitch’s grandfathers, Reverend Ashbel Parmelee, was the minister at the First Congregational Church of Malone, N.Y. for thirty-six years, served as a chaplain in the war of 1812 and at Clinton Prison in Dannamora, N.Y. According to local lore, his home was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Fitch’s other grandfather, Jabez Fitch Jr., was a licensed physician in Mooers who late in life became a physician at Clinton prison. Fitch’s cousin, Morton Parmelee, was a Franklin County lumberman who became an unlikely public advocate for sustainable forestry and the preservation of Adirondack forests during the 1880s and 1890s.
For additional information about the Harry G. Remington Adirondack History Writing Competition, please contact Christine Campeau, School Program Coordinator and Museum Educator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mining in the Adirondacks was labor-intensive, dangerous work. More than 250 mines and ore processing sites have operated over time in the region, extracting eleven different minerals. Ores from the Adirondacks fed a national hunger for iron as the country expanded in the late 1800s. Mining is a major Adirondack story, which has been covered in part here at the Adirondack Almanack (and then picked up by NCPR). This week the Adirondack Museum (which closes for the year Sunday FYI) announced that it will re-install its exhibit on Mining in the Adirondacks (expected to open in 2011). According to the Museum, “the extensive new interactive exhibition will tell powerful stories of people and the communities that grew around mines and forges.” As plans for the exhibit progress, the museum has formed a regional advisory committee to serve as a sounding board for curators and museum educators – unfortunately the advisory committee contains no experts on immigration or labor history and it should.
Various immigrant groups, African Americans, and Native Americans have a long history of laboring in Adirondack mines and related industries, and they should be represented in the Adirondack Museum’s planning. Often their stories have been left untold, just as they often went unnamed in local news reports.
In 1907, five unnamed miners – “Polanders, and it was impossible to learn their names” – where injured when the roof of a mine at Lyon Mountain caved in. Two men broke their legs and the other three were less seriously wounded.
“An Italian who was blown up at Tongue Mountain died Thursday,” one report noted. “He accidentally struck a stick of dynamite with a crowbar. The man’s left arm was blown off at the shoulder, there is a compound fracture of his right arm just above the hand, both eyes were blown out of his head, a stone was jammed against his heart and his head was bruised.” It was a remarkable that he wasn’t killed instantly.
The Adirondack Museum has a perfect opportunity to tell the stories of immigrant labor and others who labored in the mines, but they cannot do that properly without including historian of labor and immigration in the process. The museum claims it will convey the “the ebb and flow of a transient population of immigrant workers, work shifts, and company-sponsored social activities set the rhythm of life in mining towns.” The museum’s advisory committee includes a retired GE engineer, a retired mining executive, a retired mining engineer, a mining reclamation specialist, and lots of other bigwigs – but not a single miner; and that’s wrong.
Members of the Mining Advisory Committee include: Dick Merrill, retired General Electric engineer, historian and author from Queensbury, N.Y.; Scott Bombard, Graymont, Plattsburgh, N.Y.; Conrad Sharrow, retired college administrator and Dorothy Sharrow, retired elementary school teacher, Clifton Park, N.Y.; Vincent McLean, retired mining executive, Lake Placid, N.Y.; Gordon Pollard, professor SUNY Plattsburgh, and industrial archeologist; Carol Burke, professor, CAL-Irvine, oral historian, folklorist, and former Tahawus resident, Irvine, Ca.; Bob Meldrum, Slate Valley Museum, Granville, N.Y.; Don Grout, retired mining engineer, Lake Placid, N.Y.; Betsy Lowe, Director, DEC Region 5 and mining reclamation specialist, Lake Placid, N.Y.; and Adirondack Museum Board of Trustee members Rhonda Brunner, AuSable Forks, N.Y.; Gilda Wray, Keene Valley, N.Y.; and Glenn Pearsall, Johnsburgh, N.Y.
The Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, New York is inviting families visiting the museum from September 24 through September 30 to participate in the “Young Naturalists Program” — a series of self-guided activities that explore gardens, grounds, and wooded areas while learning about the natural history of the Adirondacks.
The Adirondack Museum is one of many participants nationwide in “Take a Child Outside Week.” The program is designed to help break down obstacles that keep children from discovering the natural world. By arming parents, teachers, and other caregivers with resources about outdoor activities, the goal is to help children across the country develop a better understanding and appreciation of the environment in which they live, and a burgeoning enthusiasm for its exploration. “Take a Child Outside Week” has been initiated by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and is held in cooperation with partner organizations such as the Adirondack Museum, across the United States and Canada.
The museum is offering a number of special activities to guide families in exploration of the outdoors. Find the beauty in leaves, trees, and rocks with the Nature’s Art Scavenger Hunt. Use a tree guide to identify and learn about the trees on museum campus. Learn about the tracks and signs animals leave behind at the Animal Signs Station and visit sites on grounds where you can see signs of nighttime animal visitors. Make a pinecone mobile or leaf rubbing at our Nature Crafts Center. Explore mystery boxes at the Senses Station and look at pictures and pelts of Adirondack animals. Learn how animal coloring helps them survive. Watch fish in the pond, learn how to identify rainbow and brook trout, and help feed them lunch at 12:30 p.m. daily.
Families should not leave the museum without a “Young Naturalists” booklet filled with activity suggestions to do at home, in parks, and on trails.
According to the organizers of the weeklong program, “Going Outside” connects children to the natural world, helps kids focus in school, and reduces chances of childhood obesity.
I recently read that as many or more people are killed crossing at marked crosswalks than jay-walking. It got me thinking about all those jay-walking stings – you know, where the police lay in wait for people to cross the street.
In July more than 100 college presidents took an important step toward backing away from that kind of criminalizing barrage on Americans by suggesting we lower the drinking age to 18. It’s called the Amethyst Initiative and it was begun by John McCardell, the former President of Middlebury College in Vermont. The website says:
These higher education leaders have signed their names to a public statement that the 21 year-old drinking age is not working, and, specifically, that it has created a culture of dangerous binge drinking on their campuses.
The Amethyst Initiative supports informed and unimpeded debate on the 21 year-old drinking age. Amethyst Initiative presidents and chancellors call upon elected officials to weigh all the consequences of current alcohol policies and to invite new ideas on how best to prepare young adults to make responsible decisions about alcohol use.
Those locally who have supported the idea include (1, 2, 3):
Paul Smith’s College President Dr. John Mills
Clinton Community College, Interim President Dr. Frederick Woodward
Clarkson University President Anthony G. Collins
St. Lawrence University President Daniel F. Sullivan
Hamilton College President Joan Hinde Stewart
Plattsburgh State President Dr. John Ettling “feels the idea deserves serious consideration”
Vermont State Colleges Chancellor Robert Clarke and University of Massachusetts System President Jack M. Wilson also signed on.
MADD is, well, mad. They still argue that raising the drinking age in 1984-1988 is what has reduced alcohol related deaths among 16 to 20 year-olds (why 16 and not 18?) some 60 percent since 1990 – though they have risen over the past ten. I’ll bet the cause is more likely the stricter DWI enforcement and penalties – the bottom line is young people need to learn from their elders what responsible drinking is about.
Chicago’s Mayor Daley (son of Richard “the policeman isn’t there to create disorder, the policeman is there to preserve disorder” Daley) is also mad:
You think the president of the university is gonna open a beer hall in his house? Do you think the coach of the baseball team or football team will open it up? They should raise their standards and think that drinking is not part of college life. … Everybody has responsibility on this and drinking at universities isn’t something you should be proud of. … You don’t send your son or daughter to learn how to drink at universities. You send ‘em for an education.
According to the more civilized discussion points in the piece:
More than 40 percent of college students reportedly show at least one symptom of alcohol abuse or dependence. And every year, more than 500,000 full-time students at four year colleges suffer injuries tied in some way to excess drinking.
It is the law’s job to protect innocent people from likely harm to their person or property. It is not the law’s job to protect adults from the risks of their own consensual acts.
In case you still have any doubt that criminalizing drinking will make any real cultural difference, here is an article from the Ticonderoga Sentinel on backsliders in the Schroon Lake Temperance Society in 1884:
C. T. Leland has found an old book giving the facts concerning the organization of the Schroon Lake Temperance Society in the year 1884, and gives the names of all members, business transacted, record of back-sliders, etc.
At the start 185 persons joined, altho we find that beside many names are written the words “withdrawn,” “older,” “drank,” “intoxicated” giving exact dates of each slip-up, while beside one name appears this amusing inscription “Mr. Benthusen,” “drank every time any body asked him,” and below that information some one had added these words, “Who could blame him.”
Who could indeed. Abstinence and enforcement have failed, it’s time for another approach.
When some folks prattle on about conservation and environmentalist ideas being forced on us from outside the Adirondack region, they simply get it wrong. Take this quote from blogger Dave Scranton, calling himself Adirondack Citizen:
The fact is that the NON-Residents Committee to “Protect” the Adirondacks and the Adirondack Council do not speak for all New Yorkers and in fact, they speak for damn few real Adirondackers (those of us that live and work here.) Elitist such as Sheehan, Beamish and Bauer are nothing more than professional lobbyists who peddle misinformation to advance their extremist Enviro-Nazi agendas at the cost of our Adirondack communities. Their claims of supporting “healthy Adirondack communities” are hypocritical beyond belief and APA & DEC need to stop giving their whines so much weight.
From the Keene Valley the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and the Adirondack Land Trust have recently announced the hiring of summer intern Meghan Johnstone of Saranac Lake.
An Adirondack native, Johnstone graduated from Saranac Lake High School in 2006. She just finished her sophomore year at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry where she majors in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Communication and Culture.
“Growing up in the Adirondacks has given me a deep appreciation for the environment. Now I’m working with a highly respected organization helping to protect the place that I know and love,” Johnstone recently said (that’s her at top left on a visit to recently purchased OK Slip Falls). It’s statements like those that show local anti-environmentalist like Dave Scranton for what they really are – hate mongers with a political agenda. The internship Johnstone is pursuing this summer was established in part by Clarence Petty (now there’s an “enviro-nazi” for ya!) – who probably has a few more years of “real” Adirondack living than the so-called Adirondack Citizen does.
And what is Meghan Johnstone’s primary goal this summer? It’s to work with the Conservancy’s director of communications starting with improving the pages relating to the recent purchases of ecologically and economically significant lands in the heart of the Adirondacks.
Nature Conservancy interns like Johnstone – raised in our own backyard – are gaining the practical skills to help equip them to address environmental challenges and public threats from folks like Adirodnack Citizen.
Money is being raised for an endowment to ensure funds are available well into the future to keep this program going. Everyone who deplores the divisive and hate-filled attitudes of some of our neighbors should contribute.
It’s time some of the folks around us stop trying to turn the rest of us into public enemies – donating to the fund is an appropriate way to send a message that those of us who live here are determined to protect our way of life, which includes protections for our surroundings and the economic opportunities our environment affords us.
For More Information
“Friends in Conservation,” a ten-minute video about the Adirondack Conservation Internship Program, featuring Barbara Glaser and Clarence Petty, is available by contacting Connie Prickett at 518-576-2082 x162 or email@example.com.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading international, non-profit organization working to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. Since 1971, the Adirondack Chapter has been working with a variety of partners in the Adirondacks to achieve a broad range of conservation results. The Chapter is a founding partner of the High Peaks Summit Stewardship Program, dedicated to the protection of alpine habitat, as well as the award-winning Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, which works regionally to prevent the introduction and spread of non-native invasive plants.
The Adirondack Land Trust, established in 1984, protects open space, working farms and forests, undeveloped shoreline, scenic vistas, and other lands contributing to the quality of life of Adirondack residents. The Land Trust holds 45 conservation easements on 11,174 acres of privately-owned lands throughout the Adirondack Park, including 15 working farms in the Champlain Valley.
Together, these partners in Adirondack conservation have protected 556,572 acres, one out of every six protected acres park-wide. On the Web at nature.org/adirondacks.
Kelly Eustis tells NewsWatch50 he borrowed the idea from student leaders at SUNY New Paltz but also believes it’s a Republican-oriented issue.
“I believe it is our constitutional right,” Eustis said. “It will show people that it is the right to bear arms. It will also act as a defense organization for the students of SUNY Potsdam and act as a kind of a watchdog group for police.”
Eustis said that after just a few days of soliciting he has 16 students interested in being a part of the militia.
At SUNY New Paltz, Student Association leaders are proposing patrols consisting of three students, two armed with shotguns and a third carrying a video camera.
Friends… prepare your arm salutes!We only hope there isn’t a beer garden nearby.
The Plattsburgh Press Republican is reporting that enrollment is up for Adirondack region SUNY schools. Unfortunately, they didn’t bother to report on the recent attacks on SUNY, one of the best public education systems in the country. Nor did they mention the nonsense Adirondack Community College has been going through with Warren and Washington county officials.
Already suffering from increased attendance, insufficient funding, and low-paid staff and teachers, Adirondack Community College (ACC) now has to deal with Washington and Warren county governments acting like children. Washington County behavior in particular is frankly disgusting. While pushing a tax break that in some towns reduces taxes by nearly 30 percent, they are refusing to adequately support their only local college… it’s no wonder Whitehall, Fort Edward, and Fort Anne look the way they do.
Federal agents raided the downtown office of Brattleboro Vermont’s low-power community radio (10-watt) station Radio Free Brattleboro (107.9 rfb) yesterday morning seizing (ahem… stealing) thousands of dollars worth of equipment and leaving a warrant on the unmanned console [full story].
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.To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.