Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Adirondack Wildlife: If You Care, Leave It There

young buck fawnThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has cautioned visitors to natural areas against interacting with newborn fawns and other young wildlife as the peak birthing season starts. Those that see a fawn or other newborn wildlife should enjoy their encounter but keep it brief, maintain some distance, and not attempt to touch the animal.

This time of year, it is not unusual to see a young bird crouched in the yard or a young rabbit in the flower garden, both seemingly abandoned. Finding a deer fawn lying by itself is also common. Many people assume that young wildlife found alone are helpless and need assistance. However, human interaction typically does more damage than good. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Wild Foods: Take Fewer Leeks

Deep fried ramps sign at Mason Dixon Ramp Fest in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania Friends and family understand that some of my dinners can be pretty wild. For example, right now they may include mashed sunchoke or “Jerusalem artichoke” tubers that escaped the voles and mice over the winter, as well as a steaming plate of tender, sweet nettles. (When cooked, the latter lose their sting, becoming tame as kittens. Better even, because they don’t shed.)

But the tastiest wild food around in very early spring is our native wild leek, Allium tricoccum, a.k.a. wild garlic, spring onion, or ramp (from “ramson,” a name for a similar European species). It pushes its light green leaves up through the leaf litter in hardwood forests along eastern North America, from Québec and Ontario south to South Carolina, in very early spring. They grow in clumps, occasionally forming large colonies which in some places carpet the forest floor. They last for only a few weeks, fading away by late June. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Creating Backyard Habitat for Pollinators

Kim EiermanOn June 11 and 12, 2018, the Adirondack Pollinator Project is set to host two free public lectures by Kim Eierman, an environmental horticulturist specializing in ecological landscapes and native plants.

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn how to create habitat for pollinators in their own backyards. After the lecture, a one-hour reception will give guests the chance to ask questions and begin planning their own pollinator gardens. Free packet of wildflower seeds will be distributed and there will be a limited supply of pollinator plants for sale. » Continue Reading.


Monday, May 7, 2018

Wild Pollinators And Crop Viability

pollinatorsIf you’re like me, you enjoy the beauty of colorful flowers and love eating fresh fruits and vegetables. You recognize that many of the medicines and supplements we use come from plants. And you realize that the astounding diversity of ornamental, food, and medicinal plants that we grow or forage would not exist, if not for the interdependent synergy (referred to in biology as ‘mutualism’) that exists between flowering plants and their pollinators (bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies). » Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Web of Mystery: Euonymus Caterpillars

Ermine SpindleJanet Hayward Burnham, of Bethel, Vermont, was driving to the bank one day when she saw a tree on the side of the road that looked like it was covered in decorative webbing, “cans and cans” of it, as if for Halloween. However, it was June.

Burnham is an illustrator, children’s book author, and writer of sweet (as opposed to sexy) romances and mysteries. She is, in other words, an intellectually curious person and she pulled over for a better look. From the sidewalk, she could see that the whole yard was covered in cottony webbing. Deep inside the webs were yellowish-white caterpillars with black heads. “I’d never seen anything like this in Vermont,” Burnham said. “Clearly, it was infested with something. What were they? Should we be concerned?” » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 29, 2018

Mute Swans: An Adorable Invasive Species

swan by Adelaide TyrolThe big white birds paddling gracefully across a Massachusetts pond last November surprised me. I’d grown up in the town I was visiting and had never seen swans there, although my friend assured me they were resident birds. The only mute swans I’d seen before, years ago, were floating along the River Thames between Eton College and Windsor Castle.

Swans in England have a long history, and the mute swans along the Thames are, by law, the property of the queen. Mute swans on our side of the Atlantic are a more modern phenomenon and have no such protection. In fact, wildlife managers have been working for years to reduce the population of this species in order to protect native habitat and waterfowl. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Arbor Day: What Is An Arbor Anyway?

Muskrat Day. Velcro Appreciation Month. Hair Follicle Hygiene Week. Arbor Day. You know it’s an obscure event when the greeting-card trade hasn’t bothered to capitalize on it. I like to think the industry knows Arbor Day is worthy of a Hallmark line, but that they’ve decided to honor its spirit by conserving paper. (C’mon, it’s possible.) While not the best-known observance, Arbor Day has a respectable history, as well as a local connection.

Rooted in Jefferson County in New York’s northern tier, Arbor Day, which is observed on the last Friday in April, has become recognized around the world. Mr. J. Sterling Morton of Adams, NY germinated the concept of Arbor Day in 1872 to highlight the need to conserve topsoil and increase timber availability in his adopted state of Nebraska. Mr. Morton went on to a sterling career in business, founding the Morton Salt Company, still in existence today. Arbor Day went on to become a somewhat obscure, if virtuous, tradition. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Adirondack Wild: Limit Motors at Boreas Ponds

Photo by Phil Brown 2016. View of Gothics from Boreas Ponds.What follows is a press release issued by Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve:

In a letter submitted today to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the nonprofit advocate Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve recommends that the Boreas Ponds tract be managed in ways that avoid damage to natural resources and enhance opportunities to experience solitude.

The highly controversial decision by the NYS Adirondack Park Agency in February, approved by Governor Cuomo, not to consider an all-Wilderness alternative, but to split the 20,000-acre Boreas Pond tract between Wilderness and Wild Forest classifications was opposed by Adirondack Wild, which offered many reasons why the entire tract should be managed as an addition to the High Peaks Wilderness area. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

DEC Releases Draft Invasive Species Management Plan

LGA Lake Steward Monika LaPlante inspects a boat in 2010 at the Norowal MarinaThe New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Agriculture and Markets (DAM) has announced the release of the State’s draft Invasive Species Comprehensive Management Plan for public comment.

The proposed plan is designed to minimize the introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive species throughout New York. Comments will be accepted through June 1, 2018. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Monroe and Siy: Act Now To Stop Invasives

ais sources for adk parkNo place in the state or nation is more vulnerable to aquatic invasive species (AIS) than the pristine waters of the Adirondacks. New York already has the highest number of non-native forest pests in the country and is adjacent to the continent’s main gateway for the introduction and spread of aquatic invasives — the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. As the map shows, the Adirondack Park is literally surrounded by waterways that harbor dozens of destructive species threatening the Park. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Tim Rowland: Filling The Feeder Is For The Birds

bird feeder Somewhere I read that up here in the Adirondacks you should not feed the birds after March 31st. I forget the exact logic. The article provided one of those explanations that, you know, sounded quasi-plausible, but might have just been something that a guy would tell his wife so he wouldn’t have to go out into the yard and top off the feeder for the 7,000th time this year.

I think it had to do with birds needing to fend for themselves, and several other sundry character issues that I hadn’t thought of as applying to wildlife. I sort of understand, though. It’s like all our kids thinking that food comes from a supermarket instead of a farm. Maybe bird-parents sit around Starbucks saying, “Fledglings today, do you believe it? They think everything comes from a feeder. They don’t realize all the work it takes to peck it out of a seedhead.” » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Moles and Voles and Yards with Holes

star-nosed mole It’s spring. Days are getting longer. The weather’s getting warmer. The sun is sitting higher in the sky. And, as I write this, the persistent snow in my yard is finally giving way to bare ground.

This is the time of year when the consumer horticulture season really begins in earnest at Cooperative Extension. It often starts with questions from anxious callers about recently discovered lawn, landscape, and garden damage; often from wildlife pests. Questions about mice, squirrels, and chipmunks are frequent. But, perhaps because of their tenacious tunneling activities, the most noteworthy culprits of concern to frazzled callers are meadow voles and hairy, or more often, star-nosed moles, the 2 mole species that live in northern New York. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Wild Gardening: Delicious Dandelions

Early spring dandelionWeeks before the soil warms enough to plant most garden favorites but those vegetables agreeable to cool weather, there are many delicious, healthy, and useful wild edibles available – if one knows where to look.

One of the earliest to appear is the dandelion, taraxacum officinale. As soon as the ground is friable, look for the early signs of emerging dandelions. Dig up the roots, remove the crowns, wash with a vegetable brush to remove soil. If the root has been harvested while the soil is still very cool, they may be lightly peeled, and prepared as most root vegetables by adding to soups or steaming until tender. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Forest Pests: Velvet Longhorn Beetles

velvet longhorned beetleSome invasive insects appear to be trying to win us over through sly public-relations moves. Emerald ash borer (EAB), the Asian beetle killing our ash trees, arrived looking like it just came from a Mary Kay convention, all bright, glitzy and glitter-coated. And it could have been simply called the green ash borer, but instead managed to get itself branded “emerald,” something everyone likes.

A new forest pest on the horizon seems to have taken a page from EAB. Trichoferus campestris, better known as the velvet longhorned beetle, has cleverly brought the cuddliness of the Velveteen Rabbit and the romantic image of Texas Longhorns together in its name. Don’t be fooled by this brilliant strategy, though. Let’s pull back the curtain and expose the velvet longhorned beetle (VLB) for what it really is. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Thatcher’s Remains: Lyrid Meteor Shower April 16-25

lyrid meteor showerIn the pre-dawn hours of April 22, the Lyrid meteor shower will peak. About 15 to 20 meteors will be visible each hour, which  is really not very many. By comparison, the Perseid meteor shower in August averages about 60 to 70 an hour, and the Geminid in December can top 120. But I’m most fascinated by the Lyrid.

Here’s why: More than 2,700 years ago, someone in China looked to the heavens, observed this meteor shower, and left a written record of what they saw. And so this yearly event has been happening for millennia – it is perhaps the oldest meteor shower known to humans. I love that when I step outside to watch the Lyrid, I am connected to that long-ago human being from a far off place, and to all of those who have followed. We are fleeting observers of an enduring phenomenon. » Continue Reading.