Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center on Route 28N in Newcomb is hosting the Summer 2009 Huntington Lecture Series. Each lecture on Thursdays at 7:00 PM. Here is the remaining schedule:
July 23 – Wilderness Pioneer Bob Marshall’s Adventures in the Adirondacks Phil Brown – Adirondack Explorer
July 30 – Where, How Fast and How Far do Adirondack Deer Move? Exciting New Insights from GPS Collars Matthew Smith – Graduate Student, SUNY-ESF August 6 – Coyotes, Deer, and the “Landscape of Fear” Dr. Jacqueline Frair – SUNY-ESF Faculty and Robin Holevinski – SUNY ESF Graduate Student
August 13 – Minerals of the Adirondack Highlands Michael Hawkins – New York State Museum
August 20 – Vernal Pools: Teeming with Life and Mystery Mary Beth Kolozsvary – Biodiversity Research Institute at NYS Museum
Two local media tidbits to report this morning. The first is the announcement that Andy Flynn is no longer at the VIC. According to an e-mail sent by Flynn: “As of June 25, Andy Flynn will no longer be serving as the Senior Public Information Specialist at the NYS Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Centers.” The e-mail did not include details as to why Flynn was leaving. Adirondack Almanack reported here last month that Flynn, a resident of Saranac Lake would no longer be writing his weekly “Adirondack Attic.”
The second piece of media news also comes from Saranac Lake – Mountain Communications News Director and host of WNBZ’s “Talk of the Town” radio program Chris Knight will be leaving Mountain Communications. Chris Morris, Assistant News Director at Mountain Communications forwarded the following press release regarding Knight’s departure. I’m reprinting it here for the information of our readers: SARANAC LAKE — In an announcement made during “The Morning News” on WNBZ and ROCK105 Thursday morning, News Director Chris Knight revealed to his audience that in just a few short weeks he will be leaving Mountain Communications. Knight joined the station’s news department in September of 2001, two days before the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.
Mountain Communications Owner and General Manager Ted Morgan said Chris will be missed. “Since the day he started, Chris immediately began to build himself a solid reputation as one of the leading news reporters in the region,” Morgan said. “I can say this because I regularly hear from people Chris reports on, as well as listeners, that his style of reporting tells a story so close to what actually happened that you could have been there. This attention to detail and dedication to his craft is what’s given Chris and our entire news department a reputation for quality and accurate news reporting.”
During his tenure as news director at WNBZ, “The Morning News” expanded from two to three hours and was added to ROCK105’s, giving Knight the opportunity to bring the news to a region of the Adirondacks stretching from Old Forge to Wilmington. “The Morning News” currently airs from 6 a.m. until 9 a.m. weekdays on ROCK105 (WLPW 105.5 FM and WRGR 102.1 FM) WNBZ (920 AM and 1240 AM) and Time Warner Cable Channel 2.
Talk of the Town, a long-time staple of “The Morning News,” flourished under Knight’s tenure. He increased the program’s length and worked to foster a meaningful discussion of important community issues in a respectful manner.
“Chris was able to take the program to a new level, adding length to the discussion, re-formatting the Adirondack Regional Report and strengthening the overall value of the program for our listeners,” Morgan said. “Chris was able to make it his own. We have a fabulous news department and I’m sure the tradition will continue as we work hard to continue programs like Talk of the Town and to report the news that is relevant and valuable to the communities we serve.”
In addition to “The Morning News,” Knight hosted “The K & J Show,” predecessor to WNBZ’s current public affairs program “North Country Today.” For the last three years, Knight teamed up with Doug Haney to host “Control Alt Delete,” a two-hour alternative music program which currently airs on ROCK105 Thursday nights from 9 to 11 p.m.
An avid outdoorsman, Knight produced an historic documentary on the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondacks in a series called “High Peaks Journal.” The program continues to be available online at WNBZ’s website www.wnbz.com.
Knight also helped to create the stations’ mission statement; “Mountain Communications is committed to working together as a team to deliver quality radio programming that excites, informs and serves our listeners while connecting our advertisers and their customers creatively, promoting economic development and quality of life in the communities we serve.”
Knight has also hosted telethons and fundraisers for High Peaks Hospice, Habitat for Humanity and First Night Saranac Lake.
Assistant News Director Chris Morris will replace Knight in July. He called his time working with Knight “invaluable.”
“He has hands-down been the best coworker I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,” Morris said. “His work ethic and commitment to delivering the most accurate news to the Tri-Lakes region is unmatched. He leaves behind some pretty big shoes to fill – and I will do my best to fill them and carry on the legacy he leaves behind.”
Summer. The word conjures up images of the outdoors: sunshine, trees, beaches, birds, flowers. It is THE time to go beyond your door and explore the natural world. There are so many options that, as Calvin noted in the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, “The days are just packed.” Here are three summer activities on my “to-do” list this year.
1. Orchid Hunting. Orchids are wonderfully strange wildflowers that hide out in many Adirondack wetlands. Some are in bogs (Ferd’s Bog, near Inlet, is famous for its white-fringed orchids), some are in roadside ditches (like the smaller purple fringed orchids I found last year near home and the green wood orchid I tracked down along the road to Tahawus). But I’ve also found ladies tresses on a dry roadside bank! The best time to go orchid hunting (and this is visual “hunting” – orchids are all protected by law, so do not collect or pick them) is mid-July through early August. Visit a wetland or roadside ditch near you, or go for a drive to a public wetland, like the Boreal Life Trail at the Paul Smiths VIC (white fringed orchids, rose pogonia, and grass pinks await you there, although the latter two are at their best late June into early July). I recommend taking along Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide to help you identify your discoveries. » Continue Reading.
There I was, cruising the VIC’s Sucker Brook Trail in search of spring wildflowers (translation: staring at the ground as I walked along), when to my left I heard a rustle of vegetation. “Ruffed grouse,” I thought, and turned my head, anticipating the explosion of wings as the bird made a hasty retreat towards the treetops. What I saw, however, was no ruffed grouse. It was black, it was furry, and it was galloping away from me a high speed.
My next thought was “someone’s black lab is loose.” Then it dawned on me: this was no lab, it was a bear. A small bear, probably a yearling, but a bear nonetheless. What I saw was the typical view I have of bears in the Adirondacks: the south end of the animal as it’s headed north. If I’m lucky, I’ll see the face before the animal turns tail. And this is how bears are – they fear people. Many people fear bears as well, but unlike the bear, people really have little reason to be afraid of these normally placid animals. » Continue Reading.
Seven years ago Brian McAllister, then volunteer coordinator at the Paul Smiths Visitor Interpretive Center, had an idea: why not host a birding festival in the Adirondacks? After all, birders are committed hobbyists who will travel great distances to add new birds to their life lists, and this would be a great way to promote the Adirondacks and the boreal birdlife that makes the Park special. Fast forward to 2009: the Great Adirondack Birding Celebration (GABC) is still going strong and has a line-up of speakers and field trips that will appeal to bird (and outdoor) enthusiasts of all abilities.
This year the GABC, which will be held June 5-7, is hosted by the Adirondack Park Institute (API), the Friends Group of the Visitor Interpretive Centers. One of the changes for 2009 is a registration fee ($35 for individuals, $50 for families), which not only includes entry to all the programs and field trips, but also to the Dessert Reception and Owl Prowl at White Pine Camp (June 5), the BBQ lunch at the Paul Smiths VIC (June 6), and a one-year membership to the API. » Continue Reading.
After more than six years, Saranac Lake resident Andy Flynn’s weekly “Adirondack Attic” column is no more. Flynn, the Senior Public Information Specialist at the NYS Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center in Paul Smiths, wrote regular pieces on Adirondack history centered on artifacts from the Adirondack Museum.
At its height Flynn’s column had run in five northern New York newspapers but in the last post to his Adirondack Writer blog, Flynn reported that his column had been cut by the Lake Placid News and Adirondack Daily Enterprise to biweekly. “In November 2008, the Plattsburgh Press-Republican cut my column,” Flynn told readers, “In 2006, the Glens Falls Post-Star also cut my column. The publishers and editors all cited the economic situation for their decision.” In a letter to publishers this week Flynn wrote, “Effective immediately, I am discontinuing the ‘Adirondack Attic’ newspaper column. Due to the declining number of newspapers that carry the column, and with the economic forecast uncertain, it is no longer a financially feasible product for me to produce. There is simply not enough income to cover the time and cost of production.”
Flynn had written more than 300 columns and collected them in a series of books published by his own Hungry Bear Publishing; part of the proceeds were donated to the Adirondack Museum’s Collection Improvement Fund.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, March 12 and Friday March 13, 2009 at the APA Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY. The Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) amendment related to Lows Lake in the Bog River Complex Unit Management Plan was postponed to give DEC and APA staff additional time to complete the Final Environmental Impact Statement and consider public comments. Review of the proposal will be rescheduled for the Agency’s April meeting. » Continue Reading.
Brian McAllister of Saranac Lake conducts bird surveys for environmental groups and wind-power companies, teaches ornithology lab at Paul Smith’s College and is one of the founders of the annual Great Adirondack Birding Celebration.
He discusses what to look for during this winter-to-spring transition as warblers and other migrants journey north to their Adirondack nesting grounds, and he talks about tower lights that keep some birds from ever making it back. Q. Can we call you a professional birdwatcher?
A. I guess I’d call myself a field ornithologist. I’ve been lucky to piecemeal a career in birding here in the Adirondacks.
Q. Do you bird-watch every day?
A. I bet I do. I’m constantly tuned in to what’s going on, even if I’m just driving somewhere.
Q. So how was your winter?
A. It’s been amazing. Every year there is some sort of irruption, with one or two species that sort of run out of food up north, so they come down south to the border states and into New York and Southern Canada to find cones or other food. This year it’s been phenomenal because everything came: red crossbills, white-winged crossbills, bohemian waxwings, redpolls, pine siskins, pine grosbeaks, hawk owls. Also, it’s a record year for snow buntings.
Q. What are you looking for now?
A. It’s funny, in March I veer away from the winter up here and focus on what’s happening in Florida and the Caribbean because a lot of migratory birds are starting to jump out of the tropical rainforest and work their way up the East Coast. Last night I was checking the Internet for rare bird alerts in Florida, and they’re seeing a bunch of warblers. They’re on the move. Along Lake Champlain and Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River we’ve got red-winged blackbirds and sparrows coming up from Mid-Atlantic states — also rusty blackbirds, brown-headed cowbirds, anywhere from March 1 on. Some winter birds begin to sing in March in courtship, like golden-crowned kinglets and brown creepers. Owls are on territory now and they’re breeding.
Q. You’ve done some field surveys at potential wind-turbine sites north of the Adirondack Park, but there’s a lot of talk lately about another kind of tower.
A. Yes, communications towers. The most famous tower-kill study was done by Bill Evans of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and he conducted most of his dead-bird counts at television towers in the Boston Hills area of western New York. Tower kills per year are far worse than all wind turbine deaths put together. Outdoor cats kill the most birds, then towers and their guy wires are a close second. But what we have to realize is that these kills only occur on nights of heavy fog or very low cloud ceiling when there’s a heavy migration. The birds see this glow in the fog, and for some reason — we don’t know why — they’re attracted to it. They start circling, around and around and eventually they die of exhaustion or they actually collide into the tower or, more likely, into the unseen guy wires. . . . The solid red lights on top of towers should all be changed to blinking or strobe lights. Researchers have discovered that those are less harmful. When I lived on Averyville Road in Lake Placid there was a tower behind my cabin and on foggy nights it would cast this eery red glow, and I could see how birds are attracted to it.
Editor’s note: According to McAllister’s copy (thanks, Brian) of “Living on the Wind” by Scott Weidensaul (North Point Press, 1999), two to four million birds are killed by towers taller than 200 feet each year in the Eastern United States alone. To sign a petition asking the Federal Communications Commission to minimize tower kills click here. To follow current sightings by Brian and other Northern New York birders, click here. Brian’s own natural-history observations and photographs can be found on his blog, Adirondacks Naturally.
The Adirondack Museum is offering an opportunity to encounter Adirondack raptors close-up as part of their Cabin Fever Sunday series. A Great Horned Owl, a Red-Tailed Hawk, an American Kestrel, and more will be on hand along with Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center Environmental Educator Rynda McCray on Sunday, January 11, 2009. This special bird-of-prey presentation featuring non-releasable education birds. Learn about special adaptations, habitats, and human impact on bird populations. The Newcomb VIC has five birds of prey. They include a great horned owl, a red-tailed hawk, an eastern screech owl, a northern saw-whet owl, and an American kestrel. All of the birds were rescued and received care from wildlife rehabilitators. However, none are able to survive in the wild. The birds work in tandem with Environmental Educators to provide “bird-on-hand” programs for the public. Rynda McCray is Center Director of the Newcomb VIC. She developed the Bird-of-Prey Program and has worked with live Adirondack raptors for the past 10 years.
The presentation will begin in the Auditorium at 1:30 p.m. Cabin Fever Sunday programs are offered at no charge to museum members. The fee for non-members is $5.00. There is no charge for children of elementary school age or younger. Refreshments will be served. For additional information, please call the Education Department at (518) 352-7311, ext. 128 or visit the museum’s web site at www.adirondackmuseum.org.
NEWCOMB, NY – The history and culture of rocks in the Adirondack Mountains will be celebrated on Saturday, Aug. 9 during the Adirondack Park’s first-ever geology festival, Rock Fest 2008, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) in Newcomb.
The VIC staff is teaming up with the Adirondack Museum and SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry’s Adirondack Ecological Center to present this historic event, which will include exhibits, lectures, field trips and children’s activities. Free and open to the public, Rock Fest was designed to be a day-long exploration to increase appreciation and understanding of regional geology. Exhibits and lectures at Rock Fest will focus on the geological history of the Adirondack Mountains and man’s relationship with the natural resources of the Adirondack Park. The human history will be provided by Adirondack Museum educators.
Here are the Rock Fest 2008 lectures and field trips:
-10 a.m. Lecture: Introduction to Geology, with Matt Podniesinski, Division of Mineral Resources, NYS DEC -10:30 a.m. Lecture: Adirondack Geology, with William Kelly, State Geologist, NYS Geological Survey -11:15 a.m. Field trip: Rocks in Place, with Matt Podniesinski and William Kelly -1 p.m. Lecture: Historical Use of Minerals Resources, with Adirondack Museum staff -1:45 p.m. Lecture: Contemporary Use of Mineral Resources, with hris Water, Barton Mines Company -2:30 p.m. Lecture: Shake, Rattle, & Roll: Seismology, Earthquakes and New York State, with Alan Jones, SUNY-Binghamton -3:15 p.m. Lecture: Rocks in Everyday Life, with Matt Podniesinski -4 p.m. Field trip: Of Mines and Men: The McIntyre and Tahawus Mines, with Paul B. Hai, SUNY-ESF’s Adirondack Ecological Center
Exhibitors will include: the Adirondack Park Institute, the Adirondack Museum (making sandpaper with kids), Natural Stone Bridge and Caves, High Falls Gorge, the Rock Shop/Waters Edge Cottages (Long Lake) , the Slate Valley Museum, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The Adirondack Museum, located in Blue Mountain Lake, tells the story of the Adirondacks through exhibits, special events, classes for schools, and hands-on activities for visitors of all ages. For information about upcoming exhibits and programs, call (518) 352-7311, or visit online at www.adirondackmuseum.org.
The Adirondack Ecological Center (AEC), located in Newcomb, is the leader in ecological sciences in the Adirondack Mountains and a major contributor to the science internationally. Established in 1971 by the State University of New York College of Environmental Forestry in Syracuse, the AEC provides the science that underpins the management of Adirondack Park as one of the world’s foremost experiments in conservation and sustainability.
The New York State Adirondack Park Agency operates two VICs, in Paul Smiths and Newcomb, which are open year-round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Christmas and Thanksgiving. They offer a wide array of educational programs, miles of interpretive trails and visitor information services. Admission is free.
The Newcomb VIC is located 12 miles east of Long Lake on Route 28N. For more information about the VICs, log on to the centers’ Web site at www.adkvic.org.
Another announcement forwarded to you from Andy Flynn:
PAUL SMITHS, NY – The increasing need for wind energy in New York state and the exploding moose population in the Adirondacks will top the list of Adirondack Wildlife Festival programs on Sunday, Aug. 10 at the Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) in Paul Smiths. The annual event, held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will also feature children’s activities, live music, wildlife exhibits, food, trail walks and live animal demonstrations. » Continue Reading.
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