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 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.”
COVID-19 has affected all of us in one way or another, and hopefully things are winding down. For those of us in upstate New York, getting back to a sense of normalcy seems just around the corner, and listening to some bluesy folk music about the Adirondack High Peaks may be the perfect way to hold us over until we can return to the outdoors ourselves without fear.
Upstate New York-based band Nite Train is back with their newest album “Cat on a Mission,” named after band leader Ken Briggs’ newly adopted blind cat, whose other senses have turned up to overdrive. The cat zooms around with some serious conviction, and the phrase “cat on a mission was born.”
Including Deer Habitat Management as Part of a Forest Management Plan
In early fall, deer’s bodies begin converting large amounts of the food that they consume into stored fat and the deer start to put on weight. This occurs regardless of the quality of the nutrition that’s available, but in years when mast trees, such as oaks or beech, have produced an abundance of acorns or nuts, deer will seek out those high-energy foods, often remaining in areas where they can be found and pawing through the snow to get to them.
As the extreme cold sets in and snow accumulates, they’re forced to seek cover, and they become reliant upon that limited supply of stored fat to help carry them through the winter. If the season isn’t too brutally cold and the snow isn’t too deep, and if March brings welcome warmth and milder conditions overall, even deer that have been struggling will, most likely, survive. But, should winter refuse to let up, deer that have already burned through much of their winter fat reserves and can’t find enough food to sustain their weight will probably die.
The 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.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) are offering youth ages 12 through 15 an opportunity to hunt waterfowl with an ECO this fall, with events scheduled in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties.
St. Lawrence County hunt
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) of St. Lawrence County are partnering with the Massena Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and the DEC Wildlife staff at the Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area to offer youth between the ages of 12 and 15 the opportunity to hunt waterfowl and pheasant this coming fall. This opportunity consists of a three-day event beginning with an in-class lesson at the Massena Rod and Gun Club on Thursday, Sept. 10, which will prepare the youth to spend the next two Saturdays hunting.
Getting fresh air is more important than ever this coming summer during the public health crises, but it would be wise to remember that both ticks and people are going to be active and outside. Laura Harrington, a professor of entomology, vector biologist, and Director of the CDC Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector Borne Diseases (NEVBD) has shared some tips on how to avoid ticks.
A bacterial infection that causes Lyme disease is the most important tick-borne human infection in the U.S., with around 200,000-300,000 reported cases per year. The blacklegged tick or ‘deer tick’ is the vector of Lyme disease in most of the U.S. It can also transmit other pathogens to people and pets, including the agents that cause babesiosis, anaplasmosis and Powassan disease. Blacklegged ticks are most common in forested areas and shaded trail edges with abundant leaf litter and shrubby plants, Harrington says.
Harrington recommends a few personal protection measures to keep ticks from biting, such as tick repellent, first and foremost. She also recommends light-colored clothing, and to tuck your pantlegs into your socks. It also wouldn’t hurt to treat your clothing with permethrin, or to purchase permethrin-treated clothing. Remember to check yourself for ticks often as well, both while hiking and after you get home! It only takes 24-48 hours after the tick attaches before it can begin to transmit Lyme disease. For other pathogens like the Powassan virus, transmission can happen quickly, so it is good to check as often as possible.
Check for ticks all over your body, including your back, neck, and hairline. If you happen to find a tick, carefully remove it with sharp tweezers by grasping as close to the point of attachment as possible and pulling. Once you are back inside, place your clothes in the dryer for at least 20 minutes, and take a shower (a good place to perform a tick check). You can also place your clothes in a sealed garbage bag to dry later.
Saratoga PLAN (The Preserving Land and Nature land trust in Saratoga County) has received a $500,000 grant from the Sarah B. Foulke Charitable Fund. The donation will go to the planning, design, and stewardship of over 20 miles of permanently conserved trails in the 40,500-acre Southern Palmertown Range, an area that stretches north of Skidmore college in Saratoga Springs to the Hudson River.
It is the largest private cash gift ever made to the 17-year old conservation organization.
Saratoga PLAN aims to design Friendship Trails that will provide enjoyment through an inclusive spectrum of outdoor activities: walking, running, wheelchairing, dog-walking, mountain-biking, horseback-riding, bird-watching, botanizing, forest-bathing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and learning about nature and local history. Saratoga PLAN will announce new trail segments as they open to the public over the next several years, beginning in late 2020 if public health restrictions are lifted.
The Town of Keene is prohibiting spill-over hiking parking, in order to reduce health risks during the governor’s “New York State on PAUSE” directive. Access to the Garden, a jumping off point for all major trails into John’s Brook Valley and the Great Range, will remain open to local hikers and visitors, but once the 46-car lot is full, no more parking will be allowed. There will be signs and barricades to mark where it has been made illegal to park and violators of the new restrictions will have their vehicles towed.
April 1 marked the beginning of trout season, and while getting fresh air and exercise outside is essential to your health and happiness, it’s important to remain proactive in preventing the spread of COVID-19 among your fellow anglers. The DEC has these recommendations:
First, make sure to get your fishing license. Due to the closure of locations where a license would normally be available, you can order one online by visiting this link, or over the phone by calling 1-866-933-2257.
Once you have your license, make sure you follow the fishing regulations. Requests for hardcopies are currently delayed due closures of the town clerk offices, but a PDF version of the 2020/2021 regulations is available for download from the DEC’s website. If you want to receive a hardcopy, just email email@example.com and include your physical mailing address.
Remember to socially distance yourself, and to avoid crowded fishing spots!
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the Adirondack backcountry.
What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.
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