Tag Archives: Environmental History

Environmental Historian Cumbler at Chapman Museum


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This Wednesday, May 25, at 7 pm, noted environmental historian John Cumbler will present a talk entitled Mills, Water Power Dams and the Transformation of the Environment at the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls. The lecture is the first in a series of programs, funded in part by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities, which expand on the themes of the Chapman’s current exhibit, Harnessing the Hudson: Waterwheels & Turbines, a history of waterpower on the upper Hudson River. The program is free and open to the public.

John T. Cumbler, who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, has taught at the Univ. of Louisville since 1975, specializing in United States Environmental History and Economic History. Professor Cumbler is the author of numerous books including: Northeast and Midwest United States: An Environmental History (2005) and Reasonable Use: The People, The Environment, And The State, New England 1790-1930 (2001). In his talk he will explore the impact of industrialization on rivers and the history of how people have responded to that degradation.

The Chapman Historical Museum is located at 348 Glen Street, Glens Falls. The exhibit Harnessing the Hudson will be on view through September 25th. Public hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday, noon to 4 pm. For more information call (518) 793-2826 or visit www.chapmanmuseum.org.

Chapman Opens ‘Harnessing the Hudson’ Exhibit


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The Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls has opened a new major exhibition, Harnessing the Hudson, which explores the history of how people in the region have harnessed the renewable energy of the Hudson River from early sawmills to hydroelectric generators.

In 1903, the Spier Falls hydroelectric dam, located on the Hudson eight miles upstream from Glens Falls, began to produce electricity. Touted at the time as the largest dam of its type in the United States, the dam supplied electricity not only to surrounding communities but also to the large General Electric plant in Schenectady 50 miles away. The dam quickly became part of a network of power plants and transmission lines that supplied power for factories, transportation and lighting in the Capital region.

The brainchild of Glens Falls attorney, Eugene Ashley, Spier Falls was a project that captivated the interest of people far and wide. They were familiar with water power, but electricity was a very new phenomenon at the beginning of the 20th century, and many people were not convinced of its potential. Little did they suspect how much it would change their lives.

The exhibit features archival materials and artifacts principally from the Chapman’s Spier Falls collection but also from other regional archives. Of particular note are photographs provided by the Schenectady Museum and Science Center, which houses thousands of images that document the history of GE and the development of electricity. For those unfamiliar with the physics of water power, a hand-cranked generator and other interactive elements provide greater understanding of the science involved.

In conjunction with the exhibit, which will run through September, the museum plans to hold a series of public programs relating to the theme of Harnessing the Hudson. These will include talks about the history of hydropower on the upper Hudson, the development of the electric grid, a driving tour of mill sites, and kayak tours that explore the river ecology around Spier Falls.

This project is supported by: Brookfield, The Leo Cox Beach Philanthropic Foundation, the Waldo T. Ross & Ruth S. Ross Charitable Trust Foundation, National Grid, the New York Council for the Humanities and general operating support from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.

The exhibit will be on display at the Chapman Historical Museum through September 25, 2011. The museum is located at 348 Glen Street, Glens Falls, NY. Public Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday, noon to 4 pm. For more information call (518) 793-2826

Photo: Construction workers installing a 12’ diameter penstock at Spier Falls Hydroelectric Dam, 1901.

Climate Justice The Focus of John Brown Day


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Climate Justice will be the focus of this year’s annual John Brown Day on Saturday, May 7, 2011. A tradition dating back to the 1930s, John Brown Day is held each year at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in Lake Placid, to honor one of the nation’s most influential abolitionists on the anniversary of his birth in 1800.

Dedicating his life to eradicating slavery, Brown eventually risked all attacking the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, in 1859. Captured by troops led by Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart, Brown’s trial and execution are considered by many historians as a spark that help ignite the Civil War 150 years ago.

Climate Justice is a growing global movement that recognizes that poor and disenfranchised peoples around the world bear the least responsibility for climate change but face a disproportionate burden from its attendant effects, such as compromised health, economic hardship from rising energy costs, and displacement, destruction of property, and death due to extreme natural disasters. Here in the United States, the global campaign for Climate Justice is deeply linked to the Environmental Justice Movement, which is entering its third decade of militant opposition to environmental racism.

John Brown Day keynote speaker and Environmental Justice leader Cecil Corbin-Mark will describe the evolution of the Climate Justice Movement and give voice to the rights and concerns of the people who are usually the first and often the hardest hit by the impacts of global warming.

Corbin-Mark is Deputy Director of the Harlem-based organization, WE-ACT for Environmental Justice. In addition to his work in New York, Corbin-Mark has been active in United Nations and alternative global climate conversations from Copenhagen to Cochabamba to Cancun.
“Like slavery in antebellum America, climate change is one of the most important moral issues of our time,” said Martha Swan, director of the freedom education project John Brown Lives! which organizes the yearly event.

“Brown surely would have recognized that it is the world’s poor who disproportionately bear the brunt of climate change, so it is fitting that Climate Justice will be the focus of John Brown Day 2011. In this Sesquicentennial Year marking the start of the Civil War, we are honored that Cecil will be with us at this critical time.”

Other speakers at the annual event include David Goodman, brother of civil rights activist Andrew Goodman, murdered by the Ku Klux Klan during Mississippi Freedom Summer in
1964, Alice Kesey Mecoy, great-great-great granddaughter of John and Mary Brown, and Brother Yusef Burges. A trustee of the Children & Nature Network and an outdoor educator, Burgess will speak about the power of nature to transform youth. A frequent paddler on Adirondack waterways and former outreach and diversity coordinator for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Burgess works to connect Albany-area youth with the natural beauty and environmental issues of the Adirondacks.

John Brown Day 2011 is possible with the cooperation of the John Brown Farm State Historic Site. The event is free and open to the public, and will be held outdoors under a tent.
For more information, contact Martha Swan, Director of John Brown Lives!, at 518-962-4758 or johnbrownlives@westelcom.com.

Union College to Aquire Adirondack Library


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Union College has entered into an agreement with the private conservation group Protect the Adirondacks! (PROTECT) to purchase a building complex in Niskayuna that includes the former home of the noted Adirondack conservationist Paul Schaefer (1908-1996) and a modern addition that houses the Adirondack Research Library.

The decision to acquire the two-acre property on St. David’s Lane and preserve and expand its use as an educational learning center “reaffirms and builds upon the College’s long connection to the Adirondacks,” college officials said in a prepared statement.

“This is an exceptional opportunity to provide a home for and advance the College’s curricular and co-curricular offerings related to mountains, wilderness and waterways in general and to the Adirondacks in particular,” said College President Stephen C. Ainlay. An anonymous donor has made it possible for the College to purchase the property.

The property is located on a two-acre parcel of land, three miles from the Union College campus, adjacent to the adjacent 111-acre H. G. Reist Wildlife Sanctuary, which is stewarded by the Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club. The complex includes a 2,400 square-foot Dutch replica home built by Schaefer in 1934 used for offices and meetings and a 3,900 square-foot addition completed in 2005 that houses additional offices, conference rooms, and the Adirondack Research Library.

The library, which contains more than 15,000 volumes, as well as extensive collections of maps, photographs, documents and the personal papers of some of the region’s foremost conservationists, was the creation of Paul Schaefer. The building is surrounded by award-winning perennial gardens that have been maintained by Garden Explorers of Niskayuna and a bluestone amphitheatre used for public lectures and musical events.

PROTECT was incorporated in 2009 following the consolidation of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks with which Schaefer was associated for many years and the Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks. “PROTECT has elected to focus its activities within the Adirondack Park, prompting the organization to begin exploring appropriate uses for the building and protection of the highly respected library,” the College’s statement said.

President Ainlay noted that Schaefer once taught a course on the Adirondacks at the College and in 1979 was awarded doctor of science degree for his conservation efforts. Union alumni and members of the faculty have been involved in the Adirondacks for well over a century. Numerous faculty members have conducted research in the Adirondacks and incorporated it into their courses. The College also has hosted a number of academic conferences and symposia centered on the Adirondacks, and the six-million-acre Adirondack Park is a destination for student field trips.

The College will explore collaborative partnerships with other colleges and universities involved with the Adirondacks, as well as museums and preservation groups the statement said.

According to David Quinn, treasurer of PROTECT, when the transaction is complete the Adirondack Research Library will be transferred intact to the College on permanent loan, to be managed by Union’s Schaffer Library.

“Union College will provide the quality of stewardship the place deserves,” said Quinn. “The building and library and the history they represent will be associated with a first-rate institution of higher learning and the public and park will be the ultimate beneficiaries.”

Hudson River Viewshed Symposium Saturday


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The Olana Partnership will celebrate the Hudson Valley’s extraordinary natural and designed landscapes in a symposium on Saturday, April 16, 2011. Framing the Viewshed: The Transformative Power of Art and Landscape in the Hudson Valley will take place at Columbia-Greene Community College, just outside of Hudson, New York. The panel discussion will feature three leading experts in the fields of art history, conservation, and landscape design who will discuss the Hudson Valley’s unparalleled viewsheds and their cultural context.

Olana, now the Olana State Historic Site, was the home and creation of Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), one of the most significant artists of his day, and a leader of the Hudson River School, America’s first native school of painting. As a young artist, Church studied under Thomas Cole who lived just across the Hudson River. Church fell in love with the area and, when he became successful he bought a farm, which eventually became one of America’s most important designed landscapes.

Frederic Church designed Olana, planting trees, building a lake, and orchestrating the paths and carriage drives that lead up to the iconic Persian-inspired castle at the top of the hill. From this vantage point, with Church’s 250-acre Picturesque style landscape in the foreground, and the larger, borrowed landscape stretching to the horizon, today’s visitor can enjoy a vista largely unchanged in the 110 years since Frederic Church died.

This vast area comprises the Olana viewshed. (Fittingly, Columbia-Greene College, site of the symposium, is itself part of this viewshed.) “Olana represents a rare American convergence of art, conservation and landscape themes,” said Mark Prezorski, trustee of The Olana Partnership. “It makes perfect sense for the Olana Viewshed to serve as a backdrop for a broader Hudson Valley discussion.”

The panel discussion will be moderated by David Schuyler, the biographer of Calvert Vaux, who assisted Church with the design of the house. Art historian Linda S Ferber will speak on the four Hudsons of Wallace Bruce, the author of a 1901 travel guide: the Hudsons of Beauty, History, Literature and Commerce. Vassar Professor Emeritus Harvey K. Flad will discuss the “Art of Protecting Scenic Views: Nineteenth-century Artists and the Preservation of Modern-day Landscapes.” Landscape architect Laurie Olin, whose designs for public and private landscapes have won him international acclaim, will speak on the use of contemporary design in historic settings.

The concept of viewsheds is one in which many organizations are involved, several of which are participating in this symposium by either helping sponsor the conference or having representatives on hand to talk about their work. Sara Griffen, President of The Olana Partnership, said, “Partnerships are key to understanding and preserving views. The Olana Partnership is pleased that the Hudson Valley Greenway and National Heritage Area are sponsors of the symposium, and that representatives of Scenic Hudson, the Open Space Institute, and the Columbia Land Conservancy will be available to describe their respective roles in the preservation of views. The Olana Partnership also acknowledges the critical work of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation as well as the Estuary program of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of State, and the support of our partners at the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Cultural Landscape Foundation.” WDST is the media sponsor of the symposium.

Citing some reasons why his organization with its partners have preserved more than 2,000 acres in the Olana viewshed, Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan said, “These vistas are good for the soul and the economy. The land that inspired Frederic Church’s art today lifts the spirits of all who see it. Keeping this treasured landscape intact helps Olana bring $8 million to the local economy each year and contributes strongly to Columbia County’s tourism industry, which generates $105 million in spending annually and is responsible for 1,500 jobs. I applaud Olana for holding this symposium to have more people appreciate and support preserving the valley’s natural beauty.”

The symposium will be held from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, at Columbia-Greene Community College, 4400 Route 23, Hudson, NY. Registration starts at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 each for members of The Olana Partnership, $50 for non-members. Continuing Education Credits, LACES 3.5 Non-HSW (NYS) will be available for registered landscape architects. From 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon, Olana is offering tours of the Bell Tower (which is not usually open to the public) to symposium participants. The tour is free to members, $40 for non-members; space is limited so guests must pre-register. For additional information or to reserve tickets, go to the Olana website, www.olana.org or call (518) 828-1872, extension 103.

Another feature of this symposium is a collection of statements on the subject of viewsheds that will be provided to attendees. In addition, these statements are posted on Olana’s website, along with an opportunity for the public, through Facebook, to create their own statements about views.

Following the symposium, participants can enjoy the sunset by attending a Viewshed Benefit Party with wine and hors d’oeuvres, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Oak Hill in Hudson, NY (town of Livingston). Oak Hill was built around 1793 by John Livingston (1750-1822), son of Robert Livingston, the third Lord of Livingston Manor. Grandly sited on a Hudson River bluff, it commands intimate river and mountain views, as well as a singular view up toward Frederic Church’s house and painting studio. Oak Hill is one of more than a dozen family homes built along the Hudson River and has remained in the Livingston family since it was built. Sponsor tickets for the benefit are $250, members $90 and non-members $100 and are available by calling (518) 828-1872, extension 103 as well as via Brown Paper Tickets.

Photo: Peter Aaron/Esto.

Sixth Annual Canal Clean Sweep, April 15-17


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In recognition of Earth Day 2011 and in preparation for the upcoming 187th consecutive navigation season on the New York State Canal System, the New York State Canal Corporation is partnering with Parks & Trails New York, and the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) to sponsor the Sixth Annual Canal Clean Sweep during the weekend of April 15th-17th, 2011.

The Canal Clean Sweep highlights the growing significance of the Canal System and the Canalway Trail System as a recreational and tourism destination across the state by encouraging communities, not-for-profit organizations and volunteers to engage in cleanup and beautification activities along the Canal System and the Canalway Trail.

More than 90 communities, service groups, and businesses across the New York State Canal System are participating in the Canal Clean Sweep by hosting local clean up activities in Canal parks, along public promenades and on Canalway Trail segments in their region.

The New York State Canal System is comprised of four historic waterways, the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Spanning 524 miles across New York State, the waterway links the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes and the Niagara River with communities rich in history and culture.

For more information on the Sixth Annual Canal Clean Sweep or to help coordinate an event in your community, please visit www.ptny.org or contact Wally Elton with Parks & Trails New York at 518-434-1583 or welton@ptny.org.

Youth Mini-Camps at John Jay Homestead


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From Monday through Thursday, April 18th through 21st, John Jay Homestead State Historic Site will host Spring School Break Mini-Camps for children aged 5 to 10. Each day’s activities will be two hours long, and be operated as a drop-off program.

The first mini-camp, starting at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, April 18th, will be Here, There, and Everywhere! How did people get around 200 years ago? What types of transportation did they use? How did travel expose people to new and fascinating discoveries? Children will answer these questions while exploring the bedrooms of John Jay and his daughter, Nancy. They will then make a shell craft to take home.

Starting at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 19th, the program will be The Artist in You! Do you like art? Do you know the difference between a painting and a print? Or how long it took to have your portrait painted 200 years ago? Children will explore the extensive art collection at the Homestead, and then try their hand at printmaking.

Beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 20th, the morning will be devoted to Birds of a Feather. Calling all birdwatchers! Come and explore the Homestead’s beautiful grounds and learn about the birds that live here. See how many different types of birds you can find. Children will then make something to help the birds that live in their own backyards.

Starting at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 21st, the program will be Clean As a Whistle. How did people keep clean, bathe, and do their laundry 200 years ago? How often did they take a bath? If there was no indoor plumbing, where was their bathroom? Children will tour William Jay’s bedroom and the cellar kitchen to learn about personal hygiene 200 years ago, and make their own soap.

The cost of the mini-camps is $15 per child per day; members of the Friends of John Jay Homestead will receive a $3.00 discount. Reservations are required, and can be made by phoning John Jay Homestead’s Education Department at (914) 232-5651 x101.

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site is located at 400 Route 22 in Katonah, N.Y. (Westchester County). It is one of six state historic sites and 13 parks administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation—Taconic Region. For more information about New York State Parks, log onto www.nysparks.com.

Former Northern NY Military Rifle Range Inspections Set


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The National Guard Bureau will surveying old National Guard rifle range in Ticonderoga, Malone, Glens Falls, and Saratoga Springs for the presence of environmental poisons this summer. The ranges are among 23 former New York Army National Guard training sites used between 1873 and 1994 that the National Guard Bureau will be inspecting for potential environmental hazards.

The program is being conducted worldwide to address human health, safety, and environmental concerns at former non-operational defense sites. This includes over 400 sites in 48 states and two territories formerly used by the National Guard. The training sites in New York vary in size from 3.7 to 939 acres.

Currently, the New York National Guard has three training sites located in Guilderland, Youngstown and at Camp Smith, near Peekskill. Soldiers also train regularly at Ft. Drum, near Watertown.

Current property owners are in the process of being asked to allow contractors on their property to conduct this check which although mandated by the Department of Defense Military Munitions Response Program, will only include soil samples from a depth “less than two to three inches.” The survey will also a visual inspection and checks with hand-held metal detectors. According to a press release issued by the Guard, “the inspectors will collect the samples with disposable plastic spoons, which are about the size of an ice cream scoop.”

A preliminary assessment to identify locations, research historical records, land usage and past incident(s) in the area was completed in 2008; this summer’s site inspections are expected to collect additional information, data and samples necessary to determine if following actions are warranted.

About the sites:

The Malone Small Arms Range was used from about 1895 to 1985. The range was approximately 43 acres; the range layout and boundary are unknown, as are the types of ammunition used there. The former range is located on state land, redeveloped for a correctional facility, northwest of Malone.

An older Ticonderoga Small Arms Range measured about 406 acres and was used from about 1950 to 1973; the newer one measured 105 acres and was used from about 1986 to 1994. The layouts and boundaries of the ranges are unknown, as are the types of ammunition used at them. The former ranges are located between Vineyard Road and Corduroy Road.

The Glens Falls Small Arms Range was used from about 1878 to 1955. The range was approximately 876 acres; the range layout has been verified, but the types of ammunition used there are unknown. The former range is located on forested, municipal property north of Peggy Ann Road.

The Saratoga Springs Small Arms Range was used from about 1878 to 1951. The range was approximately 100 acres; the range layout has been verified, but the types of ammunition used there are unknown. The former range is located on residential properties and forested land east of Weibel Avenue.

Anyone who has documents, records or photographs of the range are encouraged to contact Master Sgt. Corine Lombardo at corine.lombardo@us.army.mil or (518) 786-4579.

Photo: New York Army National Guard Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry, conduct weapons training at the Guilderland Weekend Training Center.

Women and Conservation History at Adirondack Museum


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March 2011 marks the centennial celebration of International Women’s Day. Although women have long been dedicated and progressive history makers, their actions were slow to receive international attention. Adirondack Museum Educator Jessica Rubin will offer a presentation entitled “Women and the Conservation Movement” as part of the museum’s popular Cabin Fever Sunday series on Sunday, March 27, 2011.

Rubin will discuss the role of women and female-centered organizations in the early conservation movement, excellent examples of historic female activism. Groups such as the National Federation of Women’s Clubs and individuals like journalist Kate Field and botanist Lucy Bishop Millington will be highlighted in the presentation to illustrate the unique ways women interacted with and advocated for the American wilderness at a time when most were confined to the “private sphere.”

Rubin will show that women were instrumental in the creation of state and federal conservation legislation and protections long before they had the right to vote. From the Adirondacks to California women were outspoken players in the national conservation crusade.

Held in the museum’s auditorium, the program will begin promptly at 1:30 p.m. Cabin Fever Sundays are offered at no charge to museum members or children of elementary
school age and younger. The fee for non-members is $5.00. Refreshments will be served. For additional information, please call the Education Department at (518) 352-7311, ext. 128 or visit the museum’s website.

Jessica Rubin holds a B.A. in Politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz and will receive a M.A. in Public History from SUNY Albany in the spring of 2011. She joined the staff of the Adirondack Museum in 2008. She previously taught at the Conserve School, a college-preparatory school with an environmental and outdoor focus in northern Wisconsin. Her love for and interest in the environment was greatly influenced by four summers of work in Yosemite National Park.

Photo: Photo by female photographer Katherine Elizabeth McClellan, 1898. Collection of Adirondack Museum.

Being Green in the 1700s at Fort Montgomery


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“Green” in the 1700s at Fort Montgomery: Eco-lutionary: Unintentionally will be a free program presented on Saturday, February 26th, at 1:30 PM at Fort Montgomery State Historic Site, 690 Route 9W in Fort Montgomery, NY (Orange County).

In this slide presentation and hands-on show and tell, Fort Montgomery State Historic Site Interpreter Peter Cutul will present some of the numerous and innovative ways our colonial ancestors reduced, re-used, and recycled. Cutul will demonstrate how the colonials were on the cutting edge or even ahead of the curve of many of today’s green practices. The program will conclude with practical tidbits we can start at home, as well as those practices perhaps better left in the past!

For more information, please call the site at (845) 446-2134.

Fort Ti Education Center Wins LEED Certification


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The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) has recently granted Fort Ticonderoga’s Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center at Fort Ticonderoga Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDtm) certification. The prestigious certification is a national accreditation honor given to buildings that have been rated as “green” for their efforts to minimize negative impacts on the environment, and that actually make a positive contribution through their structure and design.

The LEED certification is awarded after the successful completion of a rigorous two-year evaluation based on environmental factors including reduced site disturbance, energy efficient lighting, water conserving plumbing fixtures, and indoor air quality management.

According to Beth Hill, Executive Director, “The biodiversity and natural significance of the Fort Ticonderoga peninsula were just as important to the armies who occupied the site more than 250 years ago as they are today. We are dedicated to programs rooted in all aspects of Fort Ticonderoga’s history and its relevance to today’s issues. By educating our visitors on these matters in a space that clearly reflects our commitment to responsible environmental stewardship, we hope to emphasize the importance of preserving and respecting the natural world for future generations.”

Andrew Wright, the building’s architect said that the feature of the building with the largest reduction in energy use is the geo-thermal heating and cooling system. which takes advantage of the energy in water from three deep wells. The heating and cooling needs of the entire building is met through sophisticated heat pumps. The design and construction team for the Mars Education Center was lead by Tonetti Associates Architects and Breadloaf Corporation with careful oversight of the Fort staff. The certification was achieved through careful selection of materials and building practices.

The building, constructed on the site of the original French magazin du Roi, is a faithfully reflection of the warehouse that preceded it. The interior is a 21st century Mars Education Center providing visitors with new opportunities to understand the Fort’s rich history and includes two classrooms, offices for education and interpretive staff, the Great Room which accommodates 200 guests, and a state-of-the-art exhibition space. The education center opened in 2008.

Hudson Crossing Park to Host Global Work Party


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On Sunday, October 10th between 2pm and 6pm, visitors to Hudson Crossing Park, at Lock 5 in Northumberland, NY will join in the world-wide 10:10:10 Global Work Party – green gardening,
climate solution activities and eco-fashion show.

Participants can start NOW with a Countdown to 10:10:10 Denim Recycling Drive and be part of the solution by donating your old denim clothing to be repurposed for the
10:10:10 Fashion Show and activities. Current drop off locations are The Ice Cream Man in Greenwich, Schuylerville Public Library and Greenwich Public Library. Email info@.hudsoncrossingpark.org subject denim drive or call Valerie Munson at 518.695.3104 to plan individual, business or organization collections.

Then, on Sunday October 10th there will be a 10:10:10 Global Work Party event. It’s a ”Day of doing.” When you arrive be a part of planting over 1,000 bulbs in the HCP gardens. See Master Gardener Martha Haynes demonstrate ‘green’ gardening and putting the garden to bed while she works. Help out if you’d like. Learn about Clothing Choices for Climate Solutions. There will also be interactive projects such as designing a t-shirt or apron to promote climate solutions. Displays, speakers and vendors will offer solutions as to how we can all take part to reduce our carbon foot print. Entertainment will include the premier of a music video inspired by the Park. The event comes to an end with the 10:10:10 Eco-“Jeanious” Runway Fashion Show on the Labyrinth at 5:30.

For more information about world-wide 10:10:10 Global Work Parties go to
www.350.org. For more info about Hudson Crossing Bi-County Park, call Marlene Bissell at 518.859.1462 or visit: www.hudsoncrossingpark.org.

Hudson Crossing is a bi-county educational park project centered on and near the Champlain Canal Lock 5 Island of the Hudson River.

Adirondack Fire Towers History and Lore


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A few years ago I made a list of the Seven Human Made Wonders of the Adirondacks. Taking a look at Martin Podskoch’s two-volume Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, I feel like I left one wonder off that list. Podskoch’s endeavor to chronicle the history and lore of each of the nearly 60 Adirondack fire towers deserves a spot on the shelf of not just those interested in the history of the Adirondacks (where it’s an essential volume), but also those with an interest in the history of forestry, conservation, wildfires, rural labor and community life in remote places. Podskoch’s extensive interviews with those familiar with the towers serves as an important Adirondack oral history of New York’s leadership in wildfire suppression.

After the great fires of 1903 and 1908, when the fire tower system was young, spotters in their lofty perches reported the majority of Adirondack fires, and Forest Ranger set out to put them out. “Times changed for both fire towers and rangers,” Podskoch writes “With advances in telephone communications and a greater awareness of the dangers of fire, more and more fires were being reported initially either by a passerby or by the person who caused the fire.” A 1987 study confirmed once and for all that the fire towers were no longer necessary compared to cheaper overflights. In the previous four years, observers had reported just four percent of the state’s 2,383 wild fires.

Today we don’t generally think of Adirondack forest fires as a threat (that much), but in the early 1960s, dry conditions fostered thousands of fires – 1,532 in 1962. New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller closed the Forest Preserve completely on three occasions during 1963 and 1964. More visitors and second home owners in the late 1960s meant more fires, but at the same time better spotting and reporting using aircraft meant better control.

Still, damaging forest fires seemed so threatening as late as 1971 during the debate over creation of the Adirondack Park Agency (APA), that Chair of the Essex County Board of Supervisors James DeZalia could argue against the APA by saying that “these proposals call for the removal of fire spotting towers, exposing the property and homes of the people in the Adirondacks to destruction by fire.” Thirty years later the debate continues over whether to remove long abandoned fire towers (see Almanack pieces by Dave Gibson and Phil Brown).

There had once been 57 fire towers in the Adirondacks (public and private). In the 1970s and 1980s the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) closed more than 40. In 1990, when the DEC closed the last of the Adirondack fire towers – Bald (Rondaxe), Blue, Hadley, and St. Regis mountains – just 26 remained standing. During the 1990s historic preservationists, local community boosters, and other began organizing to save their local fire towers. Although the Whiteface mountain tower was moved to the Adirondack Museum in 1974, the Blue Mountain tower was the first of the abandoned towers to be restored in 1994.

The two volumes of Adirondack Fire Towers, covering the southern and northern districts, are filled with pictures, memories, and stories, but also hard facts about the origins, locations, and life of the observers who lived and worked them.

Podskoch is now working hard on a new book about Civilian Conservation Corps camps in the Adirondacks.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

SUNY ESF Students Launch Olana Nature Walks


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Olana State Historic Site interns Danielle and Jessica Zeller will launch three self-guided nature walks on Sunday, June 27th. Each of the three experiences will focus on a different part of Olana’s landscape; the lake, meadows and forests.

“Did you know Olana State Historic Site is one of only five known locations in the state where you can see Shrubby St. John’s Wort, a threatened species in New York? Or that Olana’s lake is home to invasive Chinese Mystery Snails?” ask the interns. “You can find out more about these species and others in the area on the nature walks.”

Starting on Sunday, visitors can pick up a map and guide in Olana’s Visitor Center or Wagon House Education Center, then venture out to learn more about the site’s natural history. On Sunday, June 27th, Danielle and Jessica will be at Olana’s Visitor Center between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. promoting the new guides and seeking feedback on their content.

Danielle and Jessica are 2006 alumni of Cairo-Durham High School and 2008 alumni of Columbia Greene Community College. Both are now enrolled in the Natural History and Interpretation program at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse.

Olana, the home and studio of Hudson River School artist Frederic E. Church, is a New York State Historic Site and a National Historic Landmark. It is located at 5720 Route 9G in Hudson. Olana is one of six historic sites and 15 parks administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Taconic Region. The Olana Partnership is a private, not-for-profit organization, which works cooperatively with New York State to support the preservation, restoration, development, and improvement of Olana State Historic Site. Call 518-828-0135, visit www.nysparks.com or www.olana.org for further information.

Photo: Danielle and Jessica Zeller exploring Olana’s Lake Road, Image courtesy Olana State Historic Site, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Civilian Conservation Corps Program, Reunions


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On Friday, June 25th, 2010, the Schenectady County Historical Society will host a reunion of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) alumni, family, & friends, from 10:00 am to noon at 32 Washington Avenue, Schenectady, NY. Marty Podskoch, CCC researcher, will give a short presentation and will invite participants to share memories of the camps.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began on March 31, 1933 under President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” to relieve the poverty and unemployment of the Depression. Camps were set up in many New York towns, state parks, & forests. Workers built trails, roads, campsites, dams, fire tower observer’s cabins & telephone lines; fought fires; stocked fish; and planted millions of trees. The CCC disbanded in 1942 due to the need for men in WW II.

A part of the history of the CCC was saved recently by the daughter of a man who was in one of the camps. She donated a CCC Schenectady District yearbook for 1937 to the Historical Society. The yearbook has a history of the District, along with photos of officers and the men at the camps. Many men from Schenectady were in Company 219 (Cherry Plain, NY); and Company 222 (Middleburg, NY).

Marty Podskoch is a retired teacher and the author of five books: Fire Towers of the Catskills: Their History and Lore, two Adirondack fire tower books: Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, the Southern Districts, and Northern Districts and two other books, Adirondack Stories: Historical Sketches and Adirondack Stories II: Historical Sketches from his weekly illustrated newspaper column.

Presently, Marty Podskoch is conducting research on the Civilian Conservation Camps in the Adirondacks and Connecticut. He is interested in meeting individuals who may have CCC stories to contribute to his next book. Marty Podskoch will have all of his books available after the presentation for sale and signing. For those unable to attend this reunion, Marty Podskoch has planned five other reunions:

June 22 6:30 pm Oneida Historical Society, 1608 Genesee St., Utica (315) 735-3642
June 23 6:30 pm Franklin Co. Hist. Society, 51 Milwaukee St. Malone (518) 483-2750
June 26 1 pm Fulton Co. Hist. Society, 237 Kingsboro Ave., Gloversville (518) 725-8314
June 27 2 pm Bolton Landing Hist. Society, Bolton Free Library (518) 644-2233

For more information on the reunion in Schenectady, contact Katherine Chansky,Librarian/Archivist, Grems-Doolittle Library at: (518) 374-0263, librarian@schist.org. The Schenectady County Historical Society is wheelchair accessible, with off-street parking.

If any one has information or pictures to share of relatives or friends who worked at one of the CCC camps, please contact, Katherine Chansky (518) 374-0263 at the Grems-Doolittle Library, or Marty Podskoch at: 36 Waterhole Rd., Colchester, CT 06415 or 860-267-2442, or podskoch@comcast.net

Wild Center Museum Puts Money Where Its Mouth Is


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The Wild Center, the innovative natural history museum in the Adirondacks, demonstrated its commitment again to sustainable practices by making components of the building part of the exhibition. A new heating and hot water systems, fueled by renewable resources and part of the ‘New Path’ exhibition, will explore and test the technology that decreases our dependence on fossil fuels. First announced in July 2009, the highly efficient wood pellet boiler is integrated with a solar hot water system that will supply much of the hot water required to heat the 54,000-square-foot facility in Tupper Lake.

The new boiler system is the first highly efficient, commercial-sized, gasification wood-pellet boiler of its kind and size manufactured and installed in New York State. Additionally, the solar hot water collection system is the first of its kind used in a commercial application in the Adirondack region. The project just won the Best Building Integrated/Innovative category in the 6KC Awards, recognizing the best and brightest solar projects and industry champions in the Empire State, by the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA).

The project is supported by a $350,000 contract award by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) in response to a competitive solicitation, “Energy and Environmental Performance of High-Efficiency Wood-fired Heating Equipment.” Francis J. Murray, Jr., NYSERDA President and CEO, noted NYSERDA’s interest in this demonstration installation: “We commend The Wild Center for its commitment to incorporating renewable energy into its operations. Their use of pioneering made-in-New York technology will help promote high-efficiency, renewable-fuel boilers that reduce harmful emissions, burn local fuel, and further New York’s efforts to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, while helping to build New York’s clean energy economy. We look forward to the installation’s benefits, savings and economic efficiency,” he said.

A key component of the project is that Clarkson University will conduct a rigorous scientific evaluation of the energy-efficiency and emissions performance of the boiler as well as the integrated heating system and report its findings to NYSERDA. It is anticipated that this evaluation will provide objective scientific information to be used by decision makers developing renewable energy strategies. It will also serve as a model for others looking to evaluate ways to heat with renewable fuels in an efficient manner.

“We are eager to see the results of Clarkson’s evaluation,” said Stephanie Ratcliffe, Executive Director of The Wild Center. “We know that since the system has been online our propane consumption has decreased, but we’re very interested to see how much of our heating and hot water needs will be met by this system. Positive results could prove to be immensely beneficial for the Adirondacks, New York State and the country, encouraging others to implement similar technology.”

In New York State, renewable energy for heating is gaining increased interest as it addresses the goals of reducing fuel costs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, stimulating local economic development and reducing dependence on foreign sources by replacing imported fossil fuels with locally available renewable fuels. In the Adirondacks, the most abundant and inexpensive renewable fuel is wood. However, traditional wood burning stoves, some common commercial wood boilers and, more recently, outdoor wood boilers suffer from low efficiency and high levels of pollution from incomplete combustion. The planned project offers a very clean-burning, highly efficient alternative use of wood fuel.

The Wild Center is the first museum in New York to receive a LEED certification, with a Silver distinction, from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). The LEED standard is considered to be the international benchmark for green building. In selecting The Wild Center as the site for this project, backers pointed to the Center’s position as a leader in sustainable operational practices.

The successful installation and usage of the boiler system has the potential for a positive economic impact on the Adirondacks. By harvesting the “waste” in logging and sawmill operations to create wood pellets and then selling that back to local institutions the money that is currently sent abroad for the purchase of fossil fuels is kept in the Adirondacks where it can potentially lead to job creation.

The 1.7 million BTU boiler unit is in The Wild Center’s basement boiler room, next to the Museum’s existing propane boiler. The pellets are stored in an outdoor recycled shipping container next to the Administration wing of the Museum. The storage vessel also supports the solar thermal array to preheat water for the system. Pellets are augured through a series of pipes into the basement and directly into the boiler. Hot water from the solar thermal array is piped into the boiler through underground pipes.

The Wild Center’s high rate of visitation means the new project will be explained to a large audience that will be able to see the heating technology up close. Visitors will be able to see the pellets on their journey from the storage vessel to the boiler. The interpretation of the system will be added to the Museum’s ‘New Path’ Exhibit, which showcases elements of green design and how these features benefit the health of the human and natural world.

The wood gasification boiler was fabricated by Advanced Climate Technologies of Schenectady, NY. The solar thermal heating system was designed and installed by E2G Solar and APEX Thermal Services. Similar projects, supported by NYSERDA, are taking place within the Saranac Lake Central School District and North Country School.

Earth Day: A Revolution 40 Years In The Making


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On Earth Day 1970, people around the country, mostly college students, demonstrated on behalf of environmental causes. Forty years later, the environmental movement has come into the mainstream and secured state and federal agency leadership positions. More importantly, the movement has significantly improved the quality of our rivers, lakes and forests and in doing so has provided for the proliferation of local wildlife. While there are certainly challenges that remain – invasive species, inappropriate development, toxic exposures, nitrate and storm water management, climate change, the plight of amphibians, migratory birds, and bats – the environmental successes of the last 40 years should not be underestimated.

By and large, the first Earth Day was much like those that have followed: politicians, celebrities, concerts, environmental fairs, and the like. But Earth Day 1970 was a radical proposition in a time before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was founded, and before there were state sanctioned bodies like the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to protect the environment. At Boston’s Logan Airport, where a few hundred demonstrators had gathered in what a CBS reporter called a “thoroughly peaceful and non-disruptive demonstration”, police charged the crowd and arrested 13.

In the 40 years since that first Earth Day the Adirondack region has seen a revolution in the way we interact with our environment. Sure, we can point to the founding of DEC (1970), the establishment of the EPA (1971), the Clean Air Act (1970), and the Clean Water Act (1972), State Environmental Quality Review Act (1980), the Superfund Law (1980), and the Environmental Protection Fund (1993) but there has been a leadership revolution as well. Today, Pete Grannis, who was part of the first Earth Day demonstrations, is now the head of the DEC. Judith Enck, the state’s leading environmental activist in the 1980s, is now the Administrator of EPA’s Region 2.

Changes in the natural environment have been extraordinary. The Hudson River, once an open sewer where no one dared to boat, never-mind swim or fish, now bustles with recreation activities in summer. According to the DEC, the number of seriously polluted waters in the state has fallen by 85% and Sulfur Dioxide pollution is down by 90%, with a corresponding improvement in Acid Rain.

Successes we don’t typically consider include the closure of outdated and poorly located landfills (more than 100 in Adirondacks alone), the elimination of the tire dumps (including more than 27 million tires statewide), the cleaning up of Superfund and brownfield sites (1,800 statewide) and the thousands of water bodies large and small around the state that have been cleaned-up in the last 40 years through waste-water management.

We may not consider those victories as much as we should, but local wildlife certainly has. In 1970 there was just one occupied Bald Eagle nest in New York State, in 2010 there are 173. Eagles and other raptors we rarely saw in the 1970s and 1980s, birds like the peregrine falcon, are now fairly frequent sights; ravens and osprey have returned to the Adirondacks. Wild turkeys have exploded from about 25,000 in 2010 to 275,000 today, and so turkey hunting has returned to the Adirondacks. Native trout have been returned to more than 50 ponds according to the DEC, and the average number of fish species has increased by a third offering increased angling opportunities. Beaver, fisher, and otter have flourished in cleaner, more diverse waters and so trapping seasons have returned for those species. In 1970 there were no Moose in the Adirondacks, today there are 400 to 500 in the region.

Clean water, clean air, and open spaces were the demands at the first Earth Day in 1970. Those demands were met by legions of combative corporations, industry alliances, business groups, chambers of commerce and their attorneys. A look at a local paper on any given day shows that those battles continue, but 40 years has shown that the environmental movement has been an enormous success. Despite the attacks and “enviro-nazi” insults, the former hippies, political greens, organization environmentalists, and wildlife conservationists who have made up the environmental movement have much to be proud of.

Illustration: Earth Day 1970 Poster

10th Annual Algonquian Peoples Seminar Program


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The Native American Institute of the Hudson River Valley and The New York State Museum have announced the program for this year’s 10th Mohican/Algonquian Peoples Seminar to be held at the NYS Museum in Albany April 17, 2010.

This year’s featured speakers will include keynote speaker Tribal Council President Kimberly M. Vele, Mohican historian Shirley Dunn, Mohican military historian and veteran, JoAnn Schedler, Department of Environmental Conservation wildlife pathologist Ward Stone, noted archaeologists, and more.


Here is a complete schedule:

9:00 – 9:30 Registration -Clark Auditorium -Please take the escalator or the elevator# 8 to the left of the security desk (behind the front desk) in the main lobby to the lower or Concourse level.

9:30 – 10:00 Welcome & Board Introduction: Mariann Mantzouris

Presentation of Colors by the Mohican Veterans

Morning speaker introductions: Lisa Little Wolf

10:00 – 10:20 President Kimberly M. Vele: “Family Circles”

Keynote speaker, President Vele’s presentation is “Family Circles”. She will be speak on reflecting on the past and what it means for the present in the context of families. Ms. Vele was elected to serve as President of the Tribal Council in the fall of 2009. Ms. Vele also served as an Associate Judge for the Tribal Court from 1996-2007 at which time she began serving as a Council member for the Tribal Council. She served as General Legal for the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe in Bowler, Wisconsin for several years before starting a private practice which involved representing numerous Tribes throughout the country.

President Kim Vele is a member of the Federal Bar Association; State Bar of Wisconsin; Wisconsin Indian League of Lawyers and was a former member of the Wisconsin Tribal Court Judges Association; former Treasurer for the National Tribal Court Judges Association; and past Chairperson of the Management and Oversight Committee for the National Tribal Justice Resource Center. She is a faculty member at the National Judicial College and has given presentations at numerous Bar Association and Judicial Conferences.

10:25 – 10:45 Shirley Dunn: “River Indians: Mohicans Making History”

In her book, The River Indians: Mohicans Making History. Ms. Dunn stresses the often- overlooked importance of the Mohicans to New York history and pre-history. The new book presents a rare look at historic events in which the Mohicans (called “River Indians”) should get credit. Leaders among the native nations on the Hudson River, Mohicans welcomed explorer Henry Hudson, who visited them for 13 days, longer than he stayed with any other Indian nation. She will explain how Mohicans initiated the upriver fur trade and continued in it for a century. Mohicans were close friends with the Dutch leader Arent Van Curler, and helped save the farms of Rensselaerswyck. There is a surprise here. Did he have a Mohican daughter? There is new information about the Mohican leader Etowokoaum, who went to England in 1710. We know that Mohicans fought beside English soldiers in wars against Canada from 1690 to 1765, protected Albany from attack from Canada on more than one occasion, and enlisted in the Revolution on the American side at George Washington’s request. (After the Revolution, they were refused soldiers’ grants of their own land.) The land where the State Museum is located was once in Mohican territory.

Further, the information is valuable to archaeologists because it identifies Mohican areas taken over by the Mohawks after 1629. So, whose artifacts are being found? These overlapping locations will be explained, as well as the connections of Arent Van Curler’s grandson with the Mohicans. He ran a fur trade in Washington County in the 1700s, and lived to be 106 years old! An explanation of Mohican place names will conclude the talk.

Shirley Wiltse Dunn, a holder of Masters’ degrees in English and History, has worked as a teacher, museum interpreter, and historic preservation consultant. A scholar of the Mohicans and early Dutch, she is the author of The Mohicans and Their Land, 1609-1730 (1994), The Mohican World, 1680-1750 (2000) and co-author of Dutch Architecture Near Albany: The Polgreen Photographs (1996), and The Mohicans (2008), a booklet for young readers. (All have been published by Purple Mountain Press.) She also has edited a book of family stories, Pioneer Days in the Catskill High Peaks (Black Dome Press, 1991) and three bulletins, each containing Native American Institute seminar papers, for the New York State Museum. She became interested in the Mohicans two decades ago while studying Indian deeds for early properties in the Albany, New York, area.

10:45 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 11:20 JoAnn Schedler “Mohican/Stockbridge Military History”

Ms. Schedler will review Mohican/Stockbridge military history and present information on individuals as it relates to their military service in various wars and conflicts from our homelands to Wisconsin. She will share the projects the Mohican Veterans are working on to preserve this history and honor our ancestor’s military service.

Ms. Schedler, BSN, MSM, RN, is a life member Reserve Officers Association, Mohican Veteran Officer founding member, 1996-present, American Legion post # 0117, 2004-present, Tribal Historic Preservation committee for Stockbridge-Munsee Community, 2004-present, Constitution committee for the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, 2005-present, Peacemaker, Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Court 2005- present Nursing Instructor for Associate Degree Program at College of the Menominee Nation 2008/ 2009, Officer in the US Army Nurse Corps Reserves 1984, served over twenty years with the 452 Combat Support Hospital (CSH), retired as a Major from the Army Reserve in July 2004, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nurses since 1992, National Alaska Native American Indian Nurses Association # 10179.

11:25 – 11:45 Ted Filli: “The Importance of Exploring Waterways Flowing To and From the Hudson River in Relation to Locating Contact Period Mohican Sites”

This presentation will cover from the early 1600′s – mid 1700′s newly discovered Contact Period Mohican sites that have not been documented before in Columbia county. Physical evidence will be shown demonstrating trade and interaction with the early European settlers in the Claverack / Greenport areas of Columbia County. The objective of this presentation is to encourage more research in this area and to demonstrate a larger need to study these waterways.

Ted Filli has lived his entire life in the town of Claverack, NY and as a young man was mentored by the well known advocational archaeologist, Ken Mynter, who excavated the with Claverack rock-shelter the results being included in the Recent Contributions of the Hudson Valley Prehistory by Robert Funk. Ted is a former town historian and is still active in Native archaeological research.

11:50 – 12:10 Matthew T. Bradley: “Reconstructing the 17th century path across the Berkshires”

This presentation presents the first rigorous reconstruction of the course of the 17th century path connecting Springfield and Albany which was documented at least as early as the foray into the Berkshires lead by Major John Talcott in August of 1676. Evidence for the reconstruction will include textual accounts (including those related to the Talcott foray and the Knox Expedition of 1775–76), early cartographic records, archaeological site distribution, and topographic features.

The reconstruction will add to already existing work on regional transportation networks such as the Mohawk Trail and as such will aid scholars concerned with the broader historical geography of New England and the Mid-Atlantic. It will also be of interest to descendent communities of the indigenous peoples of New England and the Mid-Atlantic as well as to all current residents of the Berkshires and the Capital Region.

Matthew Bradley is a graduate student affiliated with the Indiana University Anthropology Department and currently residing in the Berkshires. His interests include the culture history of the Iroquoian peoples, north/south interaction within the Eastern Woodlands culture area, and the history of the discipline of anthropology as it relates to the study of American Indians.

12:15 -1:15 Seminar Luncheon: Buffalo Loaf (“Thunder Rumble”), Maple Roasted Turkey, Wild Rice with Nuts and Berries, Succotash, Maple Squash, Corn Bread and Strawberry Desert- Fresh Brewed Coffee, Decaf, Hot Tea and Water

Afternoon speaker introductions: Larry Thetford

1:15 – 1:35 James C. Davis: “A Brief Look at the Links Between the Prophecies of the Algonquin People and the Ongoing Elimination of Ancient Sacred Ceremonial Sites in the Hudson Valley Region”

This presentation will include original footage from the “Cry of the Earth: The prophecies of the First Nations at the United Nations” in November 1993 as well as, a reading of a portion of Grandfather William Commanda’s statement on The Seven Fires Prophecy Belt. He will also speak about the damage currently being done to the sites that may have been used for millennia, including the Ulster Ridge sites and the lack of any Native American review of such sites. This work is an outgrowth of Grandfather Commanda’s statement of 2008, “Respecting the Sacred in the Land:”Inherent in the prayer of the Indigenous Nations of Turtle Island is the deep knowledge that we are all connected –my people in the east say GINAWAYDAGANUC. The prayer is a celebration of the profound knowledge that we are connected with the each other, as well as with the chief elements–Mother Earth, Water, Air and Fire–the animate and inanimate, the plants and animals and the larger universe, connected energetically.

Spirit embraces and unifies us all~ Inherent in the prayer is a deep respect for both Mother Earth, the penultimate provider and nurturer, and all her children. The prayer is a constant reminder to honor this connectedness, and walk gently in the places of our differences, for those are the places of co-creation.”

James C. Davis is Environmental Director of the Wittenberg Center for Alternative Resources in Woodstock, NY. and a co-founder of the Earth Reunion Project which works with traditional wisdom keepers of Earth traditions from around the world. For the past 30 years Jim has pursued mastery of the wisdom of the Earth and of the earth-based traditions. His primary focus has been the Hudson Valley and the Catskill watershed bio-regions, yet he has travelled extensively to explore the shamanic teachings of many traditions and was adopted as an Elder by the Yuin Nation of Australia. He has written a lexography of the Annishinabe places of the region

1:40 – 2:00 Ward Stone: The Destruction and Contamination of Mohican Ancestral Lands by the Cement Plant Operation in Ravena, Albany County, New York

Ward B. Stone, Elyse Griffin, Elyse Kunz, Amanda Allen, Michael M. Reynolds, and Aaron W. Behrens New York State Wildlife Pathologist, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Delmar New York, Community Advocates for Safe Emissions, Ravena, New York, State University of New York of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill, NY

Since 1962 in Ravena, Albany County, New York cement plant operations have impacted thousands of acres of land with plant operations, quarrying of limestone, and pollution. This extensive environmental damage is within several miles of the site where the Mohican council fire was located on Schodack Island in the Hudson River. Much of this Albany County area has received little study by professional archeologist. Valuable artifacts and Mohican cultural material may still be able to be saved.

It appears that historic preservation studies have been, at least very limited, on this former Mohican land. The requirements were not in place in 1962 on the cement plant and permits have largely been “grandfathered in”. We will present a case for the need of a thorough historic preservation study.

Ward B. Stone, B.A., M.S., Sc. D. (Hon.),Wildlife Pathologist NYS Dept. Environmental Conservation, Wildlife Pathology Unit, Delmar, NY; Adjunct Professor, SUNY Cobleskill; Adjunct Professor, College of Saint Rose.

2:05 – 2:25 Ed Lenik: Mythic Creatures: Serpents, Dragons and Sea Monsters in Northeastern Rock Art

Serpentine images carved into non-portable rock surfaces and on portable artifacts were invested with ideological and cultural significance by American Indian people in the Northeast. These images occur on bedrock outcrops located along the shores of lakes, the banks of river, seaside bays, low hills and mountains. Serpentine images have also been engraved into utilitarian and non-utilitarian artifacts such as tools, ornaments, pebbles, and on small, flat stones. They appear on wood and bark, and as facial tattoos on an 18th century Mohican Indian and on a portrait of a Delaware Indian. These various images are described and an interpretation of their origin, age and meaning is presented.

Ed Lenik has thirty-seven years of fieldwork and research experience in northeastern archaeology and anthropology, specializing in rock art research, documentation and preservation.

M.A. in Anthropology, New York University; Registered Professional Archaeologist.

Proprietor and Principal Investigator of Sheffield Archaeological Consultants, Wayne, NJ Author of these books: Making Pictures in Stone: American Indian Rock Art of the Northeast (University of Alabama Press, 2009) and Picture Rocks, American Indian Rock Art in the Northeast Woodlands. (University Press of New England, 2002) [The first comprehensive study of rock art in the northeast].

2:25 – 2:40 Break

2:40 – 3:00 Paul Nevin: The Safe Harbor Petroglyphs – Research in the New Century

The Safe Harbor Petroglyphs, Lancaster County, PA, are one of three major rock art sites on the lower Susquehanna River and the only one that remains accessible in its original location. Information on the general nature of the site with and emphasis on research conducted there in the past ten years will be presented.

Paul Nevin: Safe Harbor Petroglyph documentation and research, 1982-present; Board Member, Eastern States Rock Art Research Association (ESRARA); President, Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, Inc., 2007-2008; Contributing Author, The Rock Art of Eastern North America (University of Alabama Press, 2004); Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Award, 2003, Safe Harbor Petroglyph Recording Project.

3:05 – 4:15 Panel Discussion:

John Bonafide, Historic Preservation Services Coordinator, New York State Historic Preservation Office

Nancy Herter, Scientist, Historic Preservation Archaeology Analyst, New York State Historic Preservation Office

Charles E. Vandrei, Agency Historic Preservation Officer, New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of State Land Management, Historic Preservation Unit

Jeff Gregg, Indian Nations Affairs Coordinator, New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, Office of Environmental Justice

The Army Corps of Engineers will have two representatives

Representatives from the New York State Historic Preservation Office, the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineers will discuss the process of reviewing potential projects within the State of New York. The focus will be on determining whether it is a federal, state, or SEQR project and how the agencies consult with the Native American Tribes.

***Please note! This panel is here to describe their agency’s criteria for determining sites. Questions will not be entertained on specific sites.

4:15 – 4:30 Closing Remarks and Retreat of the Colors” by Mohican Veterans

For questions or for a copy of the registration form, email Mariann Mantzouris, Seminar Chairwoman at marimantz@aol.com or call

Sugaring Off Sundays at The Farmers’ Museum


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Sugaring Off Sundays, The Farmers’ Museum’s annual event which honors the maple sugaring season, will be held each Sunday throughout the month of March and will also include Easter Sunday, April 4th. The event features historic and contemporary sugaring demonstrations, children’s activities and more. A full pancake breakfast will be served from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with all other activities scheduled 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Visitors will be treated to demonstrations of traditional methods of maple-sugaring. Other hands-on demonstrations will allow visitors to experience the traditions of sugaring in the region.

Children’s activities will take place in the Filer’s Corners Schoolhouse throughout the day and maple cooking demonstrations will be held in the More House. Visitors are invited to have a taste of “jack wax” – hot maple syrup poured over snow! The blacksmith will also be working in his shop – stop in to watch a true craftsman.

The Empire State Carousel, a favorite attraction at The Farmers’ Museum, will also be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Facebook fans receive one free ride.

The Farmers’ Museum Store and Todd’s General Store will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Each offers unique gifts, books and crafts.

Admission to Sugaring Off Sundays is $8 for adults; $4 for children age 7 to 12; admission is free for children 6 and under. Admission includes full breakfast. No reservations are required.

Old NYS Ornithological Association Journal Online


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With a hat tip to the outstanding birding blog The Zen Birdfeeder we point readers to an interesting new online database of 57 years of the New York State Ornithological Association’s (NYSOA) quarterly journal The Kingbird. 229 issues of the journal are currently online, along with 4 ten-year indices; four new issues will be added each year. The journal includes commentary of historic bird lists, natural history field observation reports, an archive of NYSOA development and history, and a lot more.

Here are a few gems I found in the collection – warning – these are all pdfs!

Merriam’s Adirondack List

Stanley Lincoln’s History of the Federation of New York State Bird Clubs

John M.C. Peterson’s Report of the Great 1995 Blowdown from the Bouquet Valley

The Common Loon in New York State