I don’t think there’s a more magnificent forest tree or more glorious shade tree than the sugar maple (Acer saccharum); a deciduous tree that matures in 30-50 years, generally growing to between 70 and 90 feet tall, with a crown that turns a brilliant, fiery yellow, orange, or red at summer’s end. The sugar maple is the official state tree of New York, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. It’s also the national tree of Canada. And the maple leaf is the Canadian national emblem. [Read more…] about Maple Sugaring Has A Long History
Historic Huguenot Street is set to host four seasonal nature walks in 2019 at the Nyquist-Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary and the Mohonk Preserve led by ethno ecologist and founder of Wild Hudson Valley Justin Wexler, who specializes in folklore and land use among the native people of the Hudson Valley, thanks to a gift from the Thomas and Corinne Nyquist Foundation. [Read more…] about Historic Huguenot St Planning Seasonal Nature Walks
An environmental educator is set to lead a woodpecker walk at the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site on Wednesday, August 8th at 5:30 pm. Attendees can learn about the different woodpeckers that call the area home and some of their special characteristics.
Attendees will meet at the Visitor Center and take an hour-long walk around the site. This program is open to all ages, but has been designed for families with children ages 5 and up. The hike is a less than two mile round-trip and is weather dependent (will be cancelled in the event of heavy rain or thunderstorms). [Read more…] about Woodpecker Walk at Schoharie Crossing
Historian Tom Riley is set to give a power point presentation on the return of the American Eagle and other raptors on Sunday, March 4th at 2 pm, at the Time and Valleys Museum in Grahamsville.
“Return of the Eagle” traces the history of the American Eagle and other raptors from their near extinction in the 1960s as a result of the devastating effects of DDT and other chemicals, to today when eagles can be found in almost every state. [Read more…] about Catskills: Return of the Eagle, Raptors History Talk Mar 4th
When stuff doesn’t work, we either play Mr. Fixit or call someone. Whether it’s a job for your auto mechanic, furnace repair technician, or electrician, the expert usually has a good idea of what’s causing a particular problem. But sometimes malfunctions are real puzzlers.
From the 1870s well into the 1900s, mystery surrounded many incidents where faucets or pipes were opened but the water didn’t flow. When that happened, there were real consequences: a factory couldn’t operate or a school might close. For citizens lucky enough to have running water in their homes, it meant going without — or, if it were available, hauling water from community wells.
For a plumber, the natural assumption was that a clog was the culprit — a piece of clothing, a collection of sediment, or an accumulation of greasy materials. When nothing of the sort was found using the usual tools, a difficult search ensued — unless plumber was experienced. In that case, he might have suspected eels. [Read more…] about A North Country Eel Story That Will Leave You Squirming
Recently, the federal government of the United States relaxed land-use restrictions designed protecting the greater sage-grouse, hoping the change might spur economic development via increased oil and gas excavation and expansion of cattle grazing areas. The grouse, a strange chicken-sized bird known for its flamboyant displays of plumage and bizarre, warbling vocalizations, once made its home on the great western prairies of the United States and numbered in the millions. Where settlers once encountered birds blanketing the landscape, today a mere five-hundred thousand remain.
A similar bird once inhabited the more eastern portions of the United States. The heath hen, a sub-species of grouse, exhibiting a similar appearance and familiar behaviors, extended along the coast as far North as Massachusetts, South to Virginia, and East to Pennsylvania. In New York, an environment of scrub oak and pine trees made Long Island an attractive home for the hens. Their habitat stretched from the pine barrens of Suffolk County west to the Hempstead Plains. (John Bull in his Birds of New York State notes that they may have also appeared in the scrub and sand plains west of Albany). As in other locations, it is generally assumed that here, a combination of hunting and habitat change led to the hens extinction. Still, it is only an educated assumption – the the Long Island heath hen and the causes for its extinction have gone largely unexplored. [Read more…] about The Extinction of the Long Island Heath Hen
One of the greatest landscape photographers during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century was William Henry Jackson (April 4, 1843 – June 30, 1942). A native son of the Adirondacks Jackson was born in Keeseville, New York to George Jackson and Harriet Allen. Harriet was a talented water-colorist and William inherited her artistic flair. His first job as an artist in 1858 was a re-toucher for a photography studio in Troy New York.
In 1866 after serving in the Civil War, Jackson boarded a Union Pacific train to the end of the line in Omaha, Nebraska. There he entered the photography business. The Union Pacific gave him a commission in 1869 to document the scenery along their routes for promotional purposes. It was this work that was discovered by Ferdinand Hayden who invited Jackson on the 1870 U.S. government survey (predecessor of the U.S. Geologic Survey) of the Yellowstone River and Rocky Mountains. He was also on the 1871 Hayden Geologic Survey which led to the creation of Yellowstone as America’s first National Park. It was Jackson’s images that played an important role in convincing Congress to establish the Park in 1872. [Read more…] about William Henry Jackson’s Early Adirondack Color Postcards
This week on “The Historians” podcast, Gloversville Leader Herald columnist Peter Betz has stories about animals making history, an attempted bombing of a Fulton County deputy sheriff’s car and a nostalgic look back at the introduction of television in the 1940s and 1950s. You can listen to the podcast here. [Read more…] about Animals Making History in Fulton County
The Connect Kids to Parks Transportation Grant Program is available to K-12 classrooms in Title 1 schools across the state to connect New York public school children with nature and New York State history by providing reimbursement grants to public schools for visits to a New York State park, nature center or historic site, a Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Education Center or Fish Hatchery, or the SUNY ESF Adirondack Ecological Center in Newcomb. [Read more…] about Connect Kids to Parks Transportation Grant Program