Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Summer Nature Exploration Activities

girl at summer nature programNeed fun ways to explore nature this summer? DEC’s got you covered! Get started by checking out our Conservationist for Kids 50 outdoor activities (PDF) for all ages and levels that are perfect for the whole family. Stuck inside? Find ways to “go fishing” indoors. Take an I Bird NY 2021 Challenge to get started with one of the fastest growing outdoor activities. Play bingo with family and friends using Discover Nature Bingo (PDF), also available in Spanish (PDF) and Mandarin (PDF). Keep track of your nature discoveries by using an app like iNaturalistMerlin, or eBird. Check out our caregiver, parent and educator resources webpage while at home. Rainy day? Print the Sustainable Living coloring pages (PDF).

We want to hear about your explorations this summer! Have a story you would like to share? Email [email protected]


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Wildflowers of the Ausable

Spring is a wonderful time to get out and hunt for the early signs of wildflower season in the Ausable and Boquet watersheds. In an article by Leanna Thalmann, a water quality associate for the Ausable River Association, various types of wildflowers are explained and shown in beautifully captured pictures.

The article acts as a small guide to going out to the watersheds yourself to begin locating these wildflowers, which grow in a variety of places: rich, moist areas, dry meadows, and mixed forests alike.

Leanna Thalmann has some advice, however for those who wish to hunt for flowers themselves: “As with any encounter with wild things, it’s important to look at and love these beautiful flowers but leave them for the next person to admire. Never pick a wildflower. Many are protected species in the state of New York. ”

To read the full article, visit this link at ausableriver.org.


Saturday, June 12, 2021

Piracy in the Ausable?

As the great glacier that once covered most of the surface of New York State retreated towards the end of the Pleistoncene Epoch, Lake Champlain’s outlet to the north remained blocked. Champlain Valley remained mostly underwater until present day drainways emerged, and the land returned to their current elevations.

Water levels dropped in the valley and the Ausable River was building a delta at Wickham Marsh… until something caused the Ausable to abandon its delta for another at Ausable Point. What caused the Ausable River to divert its Wickham Marsh delta?

Stream Piracy (or stream capture) is a common event, where a river or a stream is diverted into the channel of a nearby river.  They are kept under control by feats of engineering. In the case of the Mississippi River, the Old River Control structure. “a mammoth floodgate system costing hundreds of millions of dollars for construction, operation, and maintenance that keeps the Mississippi on its course to New Orleans.”

Read the full story, written by Gary Henry, a Stream Restoration Associate of the Ausable River Association, by following this link to Ausableriver.org


Monday, May 31, 2021

DEC 2021 ‘I BIRD NY’ Challenge

I BIRD NY is one of the DEC’s many programs with the purpose of enabling entertaining ways to get the public to engage in nature, and outdoor activities. Bird watching is a generally low cost hobby and a great excuse to get the family together. Two levels of challenges provide kids experienced birders to take part in identifying birds, and to learn about bird life and offer a chance to win some new equipment.

To take part in the youth challenge (open to anyone 16 years of age or younger) check out the following link: I Bird NY Beginner’s Birding Challenge (PDF).

To complete the challenge, just ID 10 common NY species of birds, and submit the challenge sheet to the DEC either via mail or email. All participants will receive a certificate of participation and be entered into a random drawing for a chance to win birding accessories.

In addition to the Beginner’s Birding Challenge, DEC is offering the I Bird NY Experienced Birder Challenge (PDF). To complete the experienced birder challenge, birders of any age must identify at least 10 different bird species found across New York State. All participants in this challenge will also receive a certificate of participation and be entered into a drawing for birding accessories.

“I encourage all birders to contribute observations of breeding birds to the Atlas by creating a free eBird account,” said Julie Hart, Breeding Bird Atlas project coordinator for the Natural Heritage Program. “By doing so, birders will increase the value of their observations for conservation. The Breeding Bird Atlas is a valuable tool to help protect birds and their habitat.”


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Feeling the Adirondack love

love in a pandemicIn recognition of Valentine’s Day, here are some stories that speak to love in the Adirondacks, from the Almanack archive:

(Pictured here: Mary Welday and Duke Huntington, finding love and companionship in Saranac Lake. during the time of tuberculosis. Courtesy of Priscilla Goss/Historic Saranac Lake)

» Continue Reading.


Friday, February 5, 2021

Red Foxes: Truly Magnetic Creatures

FoxIt takes a matter of seconds for residents here in the mountains to identify a fox.  These small, doglike creatures stick out like a sore thumb as they roam above the now cold, white landscape in their pursuit of their next meal.  Foxes are amazing creatures built for the hunt with numerous abilities that aid in survival.  What are these abilities?

Enhanced senses

It’s not evident from a distance but if you’re privileged to come into close proximity, you would see foxes have vertical pupils. This allows them to see well in the dark as well as giving them a wider field of view, 200 degrees compared to humans at 180 degrees.  Their eyes also have six to eight times more rod cells, allowing the fox to sense motion in the dark.

Foxes have quite the proboscis! They have a very keen sense of smell and have been known to find carcasses of livestock buried under deep snow and several inches below the surface. Their snouts are long and their noses are wet, allowing them to smell by dissolving the chemicals in the air and indicating the wind direction.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 31, 2020

First Day Hikes in 2021

This New Year’s Day, the 10th anniversary of First Day Hikes is taking place in New York State parks, historic sites, wildlife areas, trails, and public lands across the North Country (With some minor limitations for COVID-19).

The event includes options for hikes ranging from self-guided to small staff and or volunteer-led hikes on Friday the 1st, or the following Saturday or Sunday of January. The extended hiking schedule is to allow hikers time and space to social distance while enjoying nature.

All hikes are family-friendly, ranging from one to five miles dependant on location and conditions. Hikes are being offered at 61 state parks, historic sites, DEC state lands, wildlife areas, Forest Preserve trails and environmental education centers.

A full listing, including details and pre-registration requirements, can be found at parks.ny.gov  and dec.ny.gov.


Friday, November 27, 2020

Saratoga PLAN opens former dog-sled training grounds as public trails

This Thanksgiving weekend, Saratoga PLAN will be opening their latest public trail system, the Barkersville Trails, located in the Towns of Galway and Providence. Formerly grounds for sled-dog training, the Barkersville Trails are still privately owned by Dolores Arste and her husband David Hickey, and consist of relatively flat to hilly terrain, with winding pathways through moss-covered boulders and brooks.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 21, 2020

Helping the snow birds that stick around

When we hear the term “Snow Birds,” we naturally think of a person who migrates from the colder northern parts of North America to warmer southern locales but birds here in the Adirondacks also claim this title and fittingly so.

As winter approaches the mountains, an entire orchestra of song birds migrates to a warmer, southern winter territory.  The morning music of feathered chirpers throughout the spring and summer months have flown away not to return until April-May next year.

These flying migrators range from 29 species of warblers to various populations for thrushes, sparrows, flickers, bluebirds, buntings, sapsuckers, wrens and hummingbirds.  This does not leave winter void of the sound of winged music, there are songbirds that remain and brave the cold.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Adirondack 46ers support crucial high peaks stewardship programs

adk mountain club logoThe Adirondack 46ers have increased their support of critical stewardship programs in the High Peaks Wilderness after another busy year in the Adirondacks. Last week they announced a $41,000 commitment to the ADK’s (The Adirondack Mountain Club’s) professional trail crew. This pledge was the second from the 46ers, announced shortly after a pledge of $75,000 to be distributed over three years from 46ers, effectively doubling down on their efforts to support the ADK Mountain Club’s stewardship program. The Stewardship Program is managed in partnership with the NYS DEC, and the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

Over the last 20 years, the 46ers have donated nearly $350,000 to the ADK’s trails program, $298,000 of which in the last 8 years alone, when visitor use has reached its peak.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, September 11, 2020

A cure for an ailing planet: 2nd annual Rewilding anthology

In the midst of the worst pandemic in a century, The Rewilding Institute was at work creating its second annual anthology, which showcases the consequences of an “unwinnable war on nature,” including our encroachment on species-rich habitats, and the exploitation and marketing of wild animals for food and aesthetic items.

Produced by The Rewilding Institute and published by Essex Editions, Rewilding Earth has contributions from conservation and restoration leaders and artists who live all over the globe, but several make their home in the Adirondacks and Champlain Valley, including Bill Amadon, Sheri Amsel, David Crews, John Davis, Steven Kellogg, Jon Leibowitz, Rob Leverett, Larry Master, Patty Meriam, Shelby Perry, Kevin Raines, Sophi Veltrop, and Brendan Wiltse.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 3, 2020

Commentary: The healing power of the forest

Denuding the Adirondack Woods.

There is in the previous sentence a title of a book. There are many reasons why we go into the Wilderness. I go to be away from people and visit my church, if you will excuse the expression.

The natural wonder of nature and of being in a wild place calms my nerves and feeds my soul more than anything else I can do in my day to day life. The Adirondacks feel timeless, and throwback to an early period in American history. Trees, water, rocks, sand, wildlife, all of this profoundly changed during the many periods of ice advancement from Canada almost down to Virginia. Advance and retreat, then repeat and repeat again.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Wild Center set to reopen July 15

The Wild CenterStarting July 15, The Wild Center natural history museum in Tupper Lake will be back in business with a phased reopening.

Starting with the Wild Walk and outdoor experiences, the museum will be implementing a limited capacity along with enhanced operational procedures and cleaning protocols.

To find more information and to reserve a spot visit this link.

To complete the Wild Center’s reopening survey visit this link.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, May 25, 2020

The American Marten in the Adirondacks

Rolling into the summer months, the High Peak wilderness experiences a sharp expansion of its wildlife community.

Insects adapted for survival in an often cool, high-elevation environment emerge from their long winter dormancy and are engaged in eating and breeding. Various species of birds have traveled to our upper elevation slopes to mate and nest, and numerous mammals that reside in this harsh climatic zone are now busy rearing infants which can temporarily double their populations.

One predator that is occasionally seen by people who pass through this region and whose young are currently developing to the stage at which they are leaving their mother’s den for the first time is the American marten (Martes Americana), a creature that symbolizes the great North woods character of the Central Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 23, 2020

Reading in Place

Good Books from Wild Places to Help Us Through Bad Times

Entodon cladorrhizans. ©Northern Forest Atlas Foundation

If you must “shelter in place”, the North Country is a good place to do so.  Those of us fortunate to live in New York’s great Adirondack Park are already accustomed to “social distancing”, and generally have ample space to get fresh air and exercise – thanks to the good work of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and regional land trusts in protecting millions of acres of wild lands and waters. We are also fortunate to have thousands of brave neighbors continuing to go to work to provide us essentials, like groceries, heating fuel, and health care.

Still, even we lucky Adirondackers – nearly as much as our fellow New Yorkers down-state wishing they could be up here – likely have more time alone now than we usually have.  Quiet time affords us chances to read. Here is a quick list of books of regional interest and/or environmental bent that I’d suggest to neighbors sheltered at home through this upsetting pandemic.

» Continue Reading.