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Adirondack Explorer

Archive for the ‘Natural History’ Category

January, 2014

Adirondack Weather: Rain, Sleet or Snow?


Many years ago, I lived in San José, California where the weather forecast went something like this: Sunny for three weeks, one day of rain, followed by many more weeks of sun. There was a sameness to the weather that bordered on the banal and never made me wonder what was going on. Not so here in the Northeast. The mercurial nature of our weather keeps us wondering from day to day – often hour to hour – when it’s going to change. The uncertainty is never more present than in the winter, when at times we’re blessed with that >>More


January, 2014

Adirondack Weather: Rain, Sleet or Snow?


Many years ago, I lived in San José, California where the weather forecast went something like this: Sunny for three weeks, one day of rain, followed by many more weeks of sun. There was a sameness to the weather that bordered on the banal and never made me wonder what was going on. Not so here in the Northeast. The mercurial nature of our weather keeps us wondering from day to day – often hour to hour – when it’s going to change. The uncertainty is never more present than in the winter, when at times we’re blessed with that >>More


January, 2014

Psychrophiles: Some Organisms Like It Cold


We humans tend to cringe at winter temperatures. We put on extra layers, crank up the thermostat, and wait impatiently for the tell-tale drip of spring thaw. However, there are plenty of tiny organisms all around us that aren’t just biding their time; they’re thriving in the bitter cold. If you could listen to as well as watch them under a microscope, you wouldn’t hear a single complaint about the temperature. Psychrophiles, literally “cold lovers,” are organisms adapted to live at extremely cold temperatures. These are single-celled life forms, most often bacteria, but also blue green algae, yeasts, and fungi >>More


January, 2014

Adirondack Ice: When The Lake Goes Boom, Boom, Boom


It started on the Eve before Christmas Eve, if a natural process can ever be said to have started.  Better said it was a turning point in continuing events.  Despite an early ice-in and mounds of lake effect snow only recently, for the weekend we’d had wet days with heavy rain and overnights above freezing. Jokes at the Fire Department were that Santa Claus would arrive across the ice on water skis pulled by snowmobile to Sunday’s annual kids’ party.  (Instead he came by fire engine as he always does.)  But Monday as the afternoon ebbed, the slow drizzle grew >>More


January, 2014

Ed Kanze: Coming And Going On Well-Trodden Paths


Whose woods are these I think I know—-they’re ours, although the bank that holds our mortgage might qualify the claim. Out in them for a winter walk, I enjoy seeing signs of the comings and goings of wild neighbors. Their tracks and mine overlap, and the thought of it gives me pleasure. Listen to my thoughts after coming in out of the snow in this week’s edition of All Things Natural with Ed Kanze. The podcast is produced by Mountain Lake PBS’s Josh Clement. “All Things Natural” has been published continuously since 1987 . It currently appears in the Bedford, >>More


January, 2014

Adirondack Wildlife: Black Bear Bones


Deep in the winter-dark woods, beneath the roots of a fallen tree, a mother black bear hibernates with her two yearling cubs. In the spring, they will wake up in a near starvation condition, their fat reserves depleted. The mother bear’s bones, however, will be as strong and as thick as the day she lay down, and her young may even have added bone mass over the winter. Bears are the only animals known to maintain their bone mass during prolonged periods of inactivity. To consider what a feat this is, consider humans’ susceptibility to bone loss: astronauts who spend >>More


January, 2014

Proposed Regs Aimed At Controlling Wild Boar


New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner (DEC) has announced the proposal of new regulations that would prohibit hunting or trapping of free-ranging Eurasian boars in New York. The proposal is designed to ensure maximum effectiveness of DEC’s statewide eradication efforts. Public comments on the proposed regulations will be accepted until January 25, 2014. Eurasian boars were brought to North America centuries ago and wild populations numbering in the millions now occur across much of the southern U.S. In recent years, wild boar populations have been appearing in more northern states too, often as a result of escapes from >>More


December, 2013

Finding Snowy Owls in the Adirondacks


The vast expanses of wilderness forests that cover the Adirondacks serve as home to many forms of wildlife adapted for survival in areas where visibility is limited by trees and grasses, and grains are nearly non-existent. Large open areas scattered throughout the Park serve to support the collection of creatures that require much greater visibility and food sources that exist on the soil’s surface. Among those animals drawn toward these open spaces is the snowy owl, which regularly migrates southward from its arctic breeding grounds in autumn to establish a winter hunting territory in more hospitable surroundings. The snowy owl >>More


December, 2013

Our Arctic Cold Weather And The Frost Line


Winter seems to have come early to the Adirondacks, as below zero temperatures and periodic bouts of measureable snowfall have been a part of our weather pattern since the last few weeks of November. The arctic air that has regularly swept across the region has made a sizeable dent in everyone’s wood pile, placed a strain on car batteries and forced many to wear Christmas sweaters on a daily basis. The intense cold has also pushed the frost line down in numerous spots, which greatly impacts the existence of those creatures that attempt to survive this season by burrowing into >>More


December, 2013

Ed Kanze: The Strange Case of The Frozen Frogs


This is a story of fire and ice in which the ice comes first. Two frogs are found by a class of school kids, the amphibians frozen in the ice covering a pond. Were the frogs alive, and if so, what came of them? Listen here as I tell a tale of joy, sorrow, and irony in this week’s edition of All Things Natural with Ed Kanze. The podcast is produced by Mountain Lake PBS’s Josh Clement. “All Things Natural” has been published continuously since 1987 . It currently appears in the Bedford, NY Record-Review. Listen to past episodes by >>More




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