New York State’s Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force, established by the Randy Preston Road Salt Reduction Act in 2020, has been released. The Task Force was charged with conducting a comprehensive review of road salt contamination and roadway, parking lot, driveway, and sidewalk management best practices within the Adirondack Park, and making recommendations for enhancements. [Read more…] about Adirondack Road Salt Report Issued: Some Data & Recommendations
Road salt pollution in Adirondacks lakes has been well documented over the last three decades and spotlighted for political action over the last decade. Contamination of residential and small business drinking water wells in lands downslope of heavily salted roads have also been documented, and in some communities is on the rise. [Read more…] about NYS Road Salt Plan Still Stalled While DOT Plans Another Season of Polluting Adirondack Waters
Native to Asia, the hemlock woolly adelgid, or HWA, is an invasive, aphid-like insect that attacks North American hemlocks. Juvenile HWA, known as crawlers, search for suitable sites on the host tree, usually at the base of the needles. [Read more…] about Winter Cold Snaps Help Control Hemlock Wooly Adelgid
With spring creeping closer, our year-round avian residents such as cardinals and titmice are already raising their voices. But there’s more than one way to make music, and birds have evolved means for using everything at their disposal to fill our forests with whistles, twitters, and booms – no voice needed. [Read more…] about The Unsung Music of Birds
To survive the cold of winter, some animals take advantage of protected habitats, such as wooded areas or under a blanket of insulating snow. Ruffed grouse, for example, fly into piles of loose snow and create roosting cavities to rest in when not foraging. Mice and other small mammals remain active in tunnels under the snow. [Read more…] about How Animals Stay Warm In Winter
A few winters ago, I snowshoed along a trail that led below a series of cliffs with rows of huge, hanging icicles. These icicles were up to 40 feet long, with colors ranging from blue-green to yellowish-brown. In some spots, the icicles extended from clifftop to base, forming thick columns of ice. This spectacular display was created by water from melting snow and underground seeps dripping off the cliffs, refreezing, and building up over time. Minerals leached out of rock and soil can contribute to the colors of icicles. [Read more…] about Icicles, Snow Doughnuts, and Hair Ice
I can’t help but think about the forest pests and diseases that I work with, and how they fare in winter weather.
We know that monarch butterflies migrate to avoid our cold winters, but what about the insects that stay put? Many of our forests pests and diseases have adaptations and strategies to survive the cold. [Read more…] about How Do New York’s Pests & Diseases Survive Winter?
A flash of orange streaks across the meadow – a red fox, like a starburst in the snow. Its fur shimmers in the early morning light, and I, bundled in my winter layers and still shivering cold, envy the fox’s luxurious coat. [Read more…] about There’s More To Animal Fur Than Meets The Eye
If you get a chance this winter, take a peek through the icy window of a pond surface. You may see water boatmen (order Hemiptera: Family Corixidae) clinging to the pond floor.
Long oar-like hind legs propel these insects, inspiring their common name. Shorter, scoop-like front legs are used for feeding and singing. [Read more…] about Water Boatmen During Winter
Mammals and birds are endotherms, which means they generate their own body heat through relatively high metabolic rates. That high metabolism requires energy, which these animals garner from food. We typically think of endotherms as warm-blooded; however, some of them are not warm all of the time.
Most active birds and mammals maintain relatively high and stable body temperatures – often around 100 degrees. But they also lose heat to the surrounding environment, especially during the cold winter months. [Read more…] about Hibernation: How It Works