Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Northeastern Wolves: Then and Now

On a moonlit night two hundred years ago, a dog-shaped shadow slipped through the Vermont woods. The large, shaggy canid emerged onto a hilltop pasture, raised its muzzle, and howled – a deep, throaty howl that reverberated through the hills. A chorus of wolves responded.

Wolves were common in the Northeast and most of the U.S. when European settlers arrived. And it didn’t take long for the settlers, who were steeped in folklore that portrayed wolves as evil, to wage war. Towns enacted bounties, to which livestock owners were legally bound to contribute, for every dead wolf brought in. In 1657, New Haven, Connecticut, offered five pounds to anyone who could kill “one great black woolfe of a more than ordinaire bigness which is like to be more feirce and bould than the rest, and so occasions more hurt.” » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Race to the Bottom: Water Bears and Moss Piglets

water bear under microscopePint-size pets were practical, once upon a time. A hunter using a wolf-like dog to ferret out game would bring home less bacon than one who used a terrier for the same tracking services.

Presumably, small hunting dogs mating with dust-mops is what gave rise to Shih Tzus and other foofy mini-dogs, which sadly are no longer in high demand now that Roombas can do the same job for cheaper. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Conservation Minute: The Backyard Conservationist

lplc conservation minuteWhether you own acres of land or have a small flower garden, you have an important role to play in creating spaces that support wildlife. As our forests become more fragmented, its critical to start looking toward our front and back yards, and even our patios, to consider managing these spaces for biodiversity. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 1, 2019

Cooper’s Hawk

cooper hawk Once, when I was living in a house on the edge of a forest in Western Massachusetts, an early-spring storm blew in and left about a foot of snow in its wake. Worried about the birds, many of which had just returned to their northern breeding grounds, I spent the day replenishing the feeders and scattering extra seeds on the deck and in the yard. I watched through the sliding glass doors, as dozens of songbirds flitted in and out my view. It was a mesmerizing scene.

My reverie was broken, however, when a large bird torpedoed out of the woods and snatched one of the songbirds off the ground. It flew with such speed, I barely had time to register its presence. All of the birds, however, instantly dispersed, as if vaporized. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 31, 2019

Paul Hetzler: Let Them Eat Trees

Nearly all historians agree Marie Antoinette probably never coined the phrase “let them eat cake,” a saying already in popular culture before her time. The saying was ascribed to her by opponents to bolster her reputation as a callous and arrogant aristocrat. She would have seemed far more benevolent if she had said “let them eat trees.”

From remote villages to five-star urban restaurants, people around the world consume all manner of delectable dishes featuring second-hand wood. Although that is not generally how it is featured on the menu. Mushrooms such as inky cap, oyster and shiitake have a voracious appetite for wood, a substance that very few organisms eat because it is so hard to digest. Anyone who has tried to dine on lumber can attest to that. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 28, 2019

Exploring the History of Maple Syrup

Mike Todriff firing the sugar boiler in 2018 (Shannon Houlihan photo)I don’t think there’s a more magnificent forest tree or more glorious shade tree than the sugar maple (Acer saccharum); a deciduous tree that matures in 30-50 years, generally growing to between 70 and 90 feet tall, with a crown that turns a brilliant, fiery yellow, orange, or red at summer’s end. The sugar maple is the official state tree of New York, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. It’s also the national tree of Canada. And the maple leaf is the Canadian national emblem.

For sugarmakers, this is maple season. Having tapped thousands of maple trees, they now harvest their reward; collecting the sap that brings the region’s maples out of winter dormancy and boiling it down, with pride and care, to just the right consistency for pure maple syrup and the delicious cream, candies, and confections made from maple sugar. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Remove Bird Feeders, Don’t Attract Bears

black bear The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has reminded New Yorkers to take steps to prevent bears from easily accessing food sources like bird feeders and garbage.

Due to poor natural food availability last fall, many black bears went into their dens with low fat reserves. As they begin to emerge from winter dens, they have already begun seeking out food sources around homes. » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 25, 2019

Animal Population Estimates: What’s in a Number?

moose by adelaide tyrolForty years ago, amid the surge of legislation that accompanied the rise of the modern environmental movement, New Hampshire passed its first Endangered Species Conservation Act.

The goal was to protect wildlife facing extinction in the Granite State. There was just one problem: they had no list of exactly which species were threatened or endangered. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Naj Wikoff: The Healing Powers of Nature

woman skiingIs being out in Nature healing? An increasing body of evidence says yes according to Florence Williams, the author of The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes US Happier, Healthier, and More Creative.

What makes us happy? For a long time, research has pointed to having good relationships, being engaged with one’s community, meeting one’s basic needs of food, housing, and income, getting exercise, and being involved in some cause more significant than one’s self; spending time helping others. But what about the environment we live in, does that matter, and if so, does it matter in some significant way? » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 18, 2019

The Mink: An Outside Story

otter by adelaide tyrolIt was a cold, snowy Sunday morning in the middle of January. I planned to heed the warnings encouraging motorists to stay off the road and turned the radio on to catch the end of an interview with poet Mary Oliver, recorded in 2015.

The poet had died earlier that week, at the age of 83. “Listening to the World” was the title of the conversation, ironic on a snowy morning when the earth seemed so quiet. » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 18, 2019

Build a Greener Adirondacks Expo at The Wild Center

build a greener adks expoBuild a Greener Adirondacks (BAGA), a day-long conference and vendor expo is set to return to The Wild Center on Thursday March 21 from 8:30 am to 5 pm.

BAGA works to educate local builders, contactors, architects, code officials and engineers about the latest in energy and cost savings of green building practices and products. This year, the focus shifts to the qualitative aspects of green building: health, wellness and comfort. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 16, 2019

Fireflies of Winter

winter lightning bug Like most people, I thought I knew where to find fireflies: in back yards and fields on summer nights, flickering on and off like dollhouse-sized lanterns or like Tinkerbell, the tiny fairy that the author of Peter Pan invented while observing fireflies near a Scottish lake.

I was only partly right. There are about 2,000 firefly species, but not all are nocturnal. Nor are they all flashy – some don’t light up at all. Furthermore, we don’t have to wait for summer to see one.

Meet Ellychnia corrusca, known as the winter dark, or diurnal, firefly. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 9, 2019

Eyeshine: Those Glowing Eyes Looking Back At You

eye shine I’ve taken to wandering the night lately – one of the pleasures of having a puppy. Willow, my pup, and I walk at all hours, from twilight to midnight and into the shadowy early morning. Some nights we walk under the cover of stars and moonlight, and other nights the world is so dark my black dog disappears and I wonder what exactly is on the end of my leash.

Void of visual stimulus, any earthbound glimmer of light is noteworthy. One night I saw the glow of two small eyes, like gold coins caught in the arc of my headlamp. I watched the weasel – a long small body, and bold shimmering eyes – disappear down the crevice of a stonewall. Since then I’ve become obsessed with eyeshine. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Adirondack Life Names Annual Photo Contest Winners

First Light in the Adirondacks Adirondack Life magazine recently named the winners of its annual photography contest. One overall grand prize was awarded, as well as 12 awards in landscape, recreation, black-and-white and wildlife categories.

Lewis Cowan, of Ridgewood, New Jersey, took the grand-prize-winning photograph, The Durant Cabin, a quintessential Adirondack scene taken from a snug cabin on a winter’s day. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Herpetofauna of the Adirondacks Talk in Schenectady

frogThe Kelly Adirondack Center at Union College has announced Herpetofauna of the Adirondacks, a talk with Alvin Breisch, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Fish and Wildlife (retired), set for April 11, 2019, in the Old Chapel on the Union College Campus, 807 Union St, Schenectady.

Refreshments will be served at 5 pm, with the lecture beginning at 5:30 pm. This event is free and open to the public. » Continue Reading.



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