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Adirondack Explorer

Friday, April 20, 2018

Make A Simple Leopold Bench

One of the most memorable occasions I have had with my children is an afternoon workshop at the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) in Newcomb. The day was spent skiing the free AIC trails, sipping hot chocolate while counting birds at the window feeder, and building a Leopold bench. The workshop was a celebration of Aldo Leopold, a man many consider a father of wildlife ecology. One of his most popular ideas, The Land Ethic, is an essay tying together our responsibility for the natural world. Extending values to go beyond respect for human life, Leopold included the earth, water, » >>More


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Forest Pests: Velvet Longhorn Beetles

Some 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 >>More


Saturday, April 14, 2018

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

In 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 >>More


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Northern New York Audubon Invites Public Comment

Northern New York Audubon (NNYA) is seeking public comment and input into the organization’s future goals and activities. A non-profit organization solely focused on bird-related conservation and education, NNYA is one of 27 New York State Chapters of the National Audubon Society. NNYA serves North Country habitats and communities with birding field trips, a conservation grant program, a birding newsletter, and more. If interested, click here to complete a brief, 7-10 minute survey. This survey will be available until April 25, 2018. For more information on Northern New York Audubon, visit their website, or email nnya@nnya.org. View original post.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Cornell Researchers Advancing Industrial Hemp

As farmers across the state get ready for the 2018 growing season, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is preparing to oversee a second year of industrial hemp field trials across New York State. Cornell has been funded to develop, support, and advance the best management practices for optimal growing and processing of industrial hemp. Cornell scientists and research technicians are continuing to study and evaluate potential production barriers (e.g. disease and insect pests) and to » Continue Reading. View original post.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Radar-Based BirdCast Tracks Migratons In Real Time

Most songbirds migrate in darkness, usually when weather conditions are favorable. Tailwinds can produce massive migratory movements. Rain can shut down flights entirely. “Knowing when and where a large pulse of migrants will pass through is useful for conservation purposes,” says Benjamin Van Doren, a former Cornell undergraduate and now Ph.D. candidate at the University of Oxford. “Our forecasts could prompt temporary shutdowns of wind turbines or large sources of light pollution along the migration route. Both actions could significantly reduce bird mortality.” “This is the most significant update since we first began using radar to study bird movements,” notes >>More


Monday, April 9, 2018

A Porcupine’s Salt Cravings

When I was growing up, my family rented a vacation home on a mountain in southern Vermont. One night we were awakened by our dogs barking. Soon we heard a persistent gnawing on the outside of the house. My Dad went to investigate. His flashlight beam revealed a large porcupine with black, beady eyes. My father scared it away, but it returned other nights. Why would a porcupine chew on a house? It’s not so much the wood they’re after; it’s the finish. Most paints, stains, and wood glues contain salt. And porcupines crave it, just as we humans crave >>More


Friday, April 6, 2018

Adirondack Fish Hatchery Springtime Visits

Though trout and salmon season may have opened on April 1st, the fluctuating temperatures have not made anyone in my family interested in early season angling. Though fishing may not be on my children’s agenda, a visit to the Adirondack Hatchery is always a springtime tradition. Each of the 12 DEC operated fish hatcheries raise specific species of fish, with the Lake Clear hatchery’s specialty being landlocked Atlantic salmon. It was much to my surprise that in addition to the state-run facilities, two additional fish hatcheries reside within the Blue Line. Instead of being managed by the NYS Department » >>More


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Critter Crossings: Amphibians In April

There’s a myth environmental educators like to tell, and it goes something like this: after every long northern winter, spring returns. Days lengthen, temperatures rise, the snowpack slowly disappears, and one afternoon, it begins to rain – a soaking, 45-degree rain that continues well into the night. On that one big night, all of the wood frogs and salamanders and spring peepers clamber out of their winter burrows and migrate – up to a quarter-mile, on tiny feet – to their breeding pools. An explosion of life, all on that one big night. We call this myth: Big Night. In >>More


Monday, April 2, 2018

Let Them Eat Wood: Woodland Mushrooms

Nearly all historians agree Marie Antoinette probably never coined the phrase “Let them eat cake,” a saying already in popular culture before her time. The phrase was ascribed to her by opponents to bolster her reputation as callous and arrogant. She would have seemed far more benevolent if she had said “Let them eat wood.” From remote villages to five-star urban restaurants, people around the world consume all manner of delectable dishes featuring second-hand wood. Although that is not generally how it’s featured on the menu. Mushrooms such as inky cap, oyster and shiitake have a voracious appetite for wood, >>More