The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted the first results of a project evaluating the opportunity to clone high sugar maple trees. The long-term goal is to produce rooted “sweet tree” clones that maple producers can plant to enhance their sugarmaking operations. Cornell University plant pathologist Keith L. Perry conducted the research in collaboration with Joe Orefice, director of the Cornell Uilhein Maple Research Forest in Lake Placid. The concentration of sugar in the sap of maple trees varies year-to-year, by environment, planting site, and the genetics of individual trees. Research » Continue Reading. View original post.
In Grade 3, a brilliant joke made the rounds. We’d hold up a sheet of blank white paper and announce it was a polar bear in a snowstorm. Genius is relative for kids. But the first time I drove into a whiteout made me realize how accurate that “art” project was. Anything can hide behind a veneer of snow. This leads me to ask why February 26-March 3 was chosen as “National Invasive Species Awareness Week.” By this time of year, our awareness has been blunted by a critical shortage of landscape: down is white, up is gray. Right now >>More
Counting birds may not be for everyone, but having an opportunity to be a part of a larger project always intrigues me. My family has participated in the annual Christmas Bird Count as well as FrogWatch USA for years. We have counted loons, released monarchs, and monitored nests. These various citizen science projects all have the same thing in common, asking the general public to provide critical data for future conservation efforts. Some projects require a bit of training while other programs just require being consistent. No matter the project, my family is always » Continue Reading. View original post.
The following comes from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. When male animals compete over mates, it’s often a showy affair: think of elk tangling antlers or tom turkeys strutting and gobbling. But for a Costa Rican hummingbird, it seems mental prowess holds the edge over mere physical flamboyance. New experiments show that dominant male Long-billed Hermits have better spatial memories and sing more consistent songs than less successful males, according to research published this month in the journal Scientific Reports. The benefit of a good spatial memory even outweighs the advantages of bigger body size and extra flight power. “When we >>More
I have been keeping a close watch on my birdfeeders. Not only because I love seeing the juncos and goldfinches that arrive in flocks, and the black-capped chickadees that zip around, and even the blue jays that tend to scare everyone else away, but because I am hoping for some not-so-typical visitors: red crossbills and pine siskins. Both are year-round residents of northern boreal forests, as well as the Rockies and Pacific Northwest. It’s not unusual to see them in the Northeast in the winter, but every few years, large numbers of them arrive in search of food. These sudden >>More
The 21st Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will take place February 16 to 19 in backyards, parks, nature centers, on hiking trails, school grounds, balconies, and beaches across the country. This global event provides an opportunity for bird enthusiasts to contribute important bird population data that help scientists see changes over the past 21 years. To participate, bird watchers count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, then enter their checklists at birdcount.org. eBird collects bird observations globally every day of the year and is the online platform used by >>More
More than 50 species of trees and shrubs from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Saratoga Tree Nursery are now available to public and private landowners and schools. Spruces, pines, shrub willows, dogwoods, high bush cranberry, winged sumac, white cedar, and wetland rose are among the 50 species available from the State’s Saratoga Tree Nursery. The sale provides low-cost, native tree and shrub seedlings from New York seed sources to encourage landowners to enhance the state’s environment for future generations. Mixed species packets are also available. Enhancing habitat in your backyard is made easier with packets of >>More
While driving down from Isle La Motte in early December, my son and I noticed a fine skim of ice floating down the Alburg Passage. As it collided with the Route 2 bridge supports, it broke into rectangular fragments. I wondered if what I was seeing was typical, or a symptom of changing climate? But a single observation tells you only about the current weather, and says nothing about climate trends. To understand long-term patterns requires long-term data. So I reviewed ice formation data on Lake Champlain. I learned that between 1816 and 1916, the lake was “closed” to navigation >>More
Cornell Cooperative Extension in partnership with DEC has announced they will be hosting Charlotte Malmborg of the New York State Hemlock Initiative at Cornell University to present on the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. Hemlocks are one of the most important tree species in New York forests, but here in New York our hemlocks are threatened by an invasive forest pest, the hemlock woolly adelgid. HWA reached New York in the 1980s and continues to spread today, infesting new areas each year. In this talk, Charlotte will cover the importance of hemlock trees in northeastern forests, the threat presented by HWA, and >>More
On the night of December 3, 2017, a moon rose that was unlike any other of the year. Not only was it full, but it was at the closest point to earth during its orbit. Astronomers refer to this orbital proximity as perigee – a word with Greek origins that means “close to the earth” – thus this full moon was a perigean full moon. Of course the phenomenon is more commonly known as a supermoon, a term coined in 1979, not by an astronomer, but by an astrologer named Richard Nolle. By his definition, a supermoon is a full >>More