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The Nature of Things

A blog about nature and the environment

Archive for March, 2007

Rabid raccoon found at Hilltop Hanover Farm in Yorktown


Westchester health officials are warning residents of the Yorktown area that a rabid raccoon has been found at Hilltop Hanover Farm.

The animal, sick and injured, was found in a barn on the property on March 7. It was sent by Westchester County Health Department staff to the New York State Rabies Laboratory, which confirmed it had tested positive for rabies.

“Anyone who believes that he or she, or a pet, may have had contact with this raccoon should contact the Westchester County Department of Health immediately at (914) 813-5000 to assess the need for life-saving rabies treatment,” said Dr. Joshua Lipsman, Westchester County Commissioner of Health. “Anyone bitten by a rabid animal, or having contact with its saliva, may need to receive immediate rabies vaccination treatments.â€?

County health officials said rabies treatment is 100 percent effective when administered early enough and before symptons develop. Once symptons show up, the disease is fatal.

Unusual behavior may be the first sign of rabies in an animal. A rabid animal may become either abnormally aggressive or unusually tame. It may lose fear of people and become excited and irritable, or, conversely appear particularly passive and lethargic. Staggering and frothing at the mouth are sometimes noted, county officials said.

For more information about rabies and its prevention, residents can also call the RABIES INFOLINE at (914) 813-5010 or visit the Health Department’s “Web site.”:http://www.westchestergov.com/health

Posted by Greg Clary on Monday, March 12th, 2007 at 2:30 pm |
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Robin on the lawn


It was sunny, snow was melting and, sure enough, there was a robin on my front lawn this morning. Long a traditional harbinger of spring, robins actually hang around for the winter. You can find that fact <a href=”http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/American_Robin.html” target=”_blank”>here</a> and more on robins <a href=”http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/Infocenter/i7610id.html” target=”_blank”>on this page</a>.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Sunday, March 11th, 2007 at 4:51 pm |

New Rochelle acts locally


New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson signaled the other night that he wants to his city on board the effort to fight global warming.

In his second State of the City address the other night, Bramson announced that the city had joined the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection effort.

The idea is that each city signed on — there are more than 300, according to the program’s Web site — should do its part by preventing sprawl, protecting and restoring “urban forest,” getting the word out and doing anything else that helps.

Bramson’s announcement came with a list of environmental measures the city has taken, from the passage of a law protecting trees to the use of energy efficient LED lights in 170 traffic signals.

Posted by Ken Valenti on Friday, March 9th, 2007 at 5:59 pm |


What can YOU do about global warming?


Westchester County has a new section on its “Web site”:http://www.westchestergov.com/4051.htm to focus attention on what people, governments and businesses can do to decrease greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

Noting that “climate change is the greatest environmental challenge facing the world today,â€? the new Web pages are part of County Executive Andy Spano’s 2006 initiative to produce a countywide action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable development in Westchester.

In October, Spano appointed the Climate Protection: Westchester Global Warming Task Force, which has begun work to develop this plan.

“Our new Web site will be a resource for the task force and for all or our residents and businesses that care about the environment,â€? Spano said in his announcement e-mail. “It is a way to share ideas and information. I hope people reading these pages will see what ‘action steps’ of their own they can take.â€?

Posted by Greg Clary on Friday, March 9th, 2007 at 4:52 pm |

Coyote on the Saw Mill


A reader, Paul Volpicelli, wrote to LoHud yesterday because he saw “a pretty big coyote standing along a grassy area just south of the sign for the Roaring Brook Road Exit on the Saw Mill Pkwy, southbound.”

Volpicelli said the animal was about 30 inches high at the shoulder and appeared “pretty heavy which means it is very healthy or it is pregnant.”

He said it was standing still, as if it was sunning itself in the grassy area. Volpicelli said he was surprised to see the canine in such an exposed, busy spot and was wondering if anyone else spotted it? This was about 11 a.m. on Thursday.

Well, blog readers, did anyone else see the coyote on the Saw Mill yesterday?

Posted by Mike Risinit on Friday, March 9th, 2007 at 12:07 pm |

Big cats


As my colleague Laura points out in a post below, we live in the Lower Hudson Valley. One of our neighbors in said valley is <a href=”http://www.savethejaguar.com/jag-index/jagappeal/alanbio” target=”_blank”>Alan Rabinowitz</a> of Mahopac, who has spent almost 30 years studying and protecting tigers and jaguars around the world.

He will be speaking tomorrow (Saturday, 3/10) at the Mahopac Library about his travels and his studies. To reserve a spot for his talk, which is at 2 p.m., call 845-628-2009, ext. 100.

You can also read about him in tomorrow’s paper.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Friday, March 9th, 2007 at 11:05 am |
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Where do you live?


You live in the Lower Hudson Valley, right?

Well, yes, but there’s a group of people who want you to know you also live in the “Highlands.�

The Highlands stretch from Pennsylvania to New Jersey and New York and into Connecticut. The region includes portions of Rockland, Orange and Westchester counties, and all of Putnam County. The Highlands provides clean drinking water for more than 15 million people, its forests and other natural features helping to filter rainwater and melting snow, which end up in underground aquifers and in streams, lakes and rivers.

The area is facing increasing pressure from development, but advocates say if more people knew about the Highlands’ important role, more care would be taken to protect the region.

The Appalachian Mountain Club has created the “2007 Highlands Recreational Calendar� to highlight the Highlands’ many recreational opportunities and to further stress a sense of place among the region’s residents and visitors. As a matter of fact, more than 14 million people — more than the number that visit Yellowstone and Yosemite national parks each year — flock to the Highlands annually, according to the Highlands Environmental Research Institute at Sterling Forest.
Log onto www.outdoors.org and click on “conservation� then “where we work� to learn more.

By the way, the first stretch of the Appalachian Mountain Trail, which runs from Maine to Georgia, was cut through Bear Mountain State Park. The original section, from the Bear Mountain Bridge to Arden, in Orange County, was completed in 1923, according to the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, which maintains the AT in both states.

To view this map up close, put your mouse on the graphic, right click and select “view image.”


Posted by Laura Incalcaterra on Friday, March 9th, 2007 at 6:00 am |

Learn how to live with nature


March 17 is a pretty good day to learn more about growing — and going — green.

That’s St. Patrick’s Day, when green seems to abound.

It’s also the day that the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland will host Gardener’s Day, whose theme this year is “Living with Nature.�

You can learn how to prune your trees and shrubs, attract birds to your yard, grow vegetables, and use natural items to decorate your home.deerpic1.jpg

But more importantly, Paul Trader, the agency’s executive director, said, the program will help residents learn environmentally-friendly methods.

“We’re hoping that they will have a better idea of how to take care of their properties, with an eye toward conserving and preserving the environment,� Trader said.

So tips on conserving water and safeguarding its quality, along with alternatives to pesticide use, will be priorities, he said. Information about coexisting with wildlife and new garden products such as deer repellents (yeah, sure) from Cornell University scientists will also be available.

Get details, including fees, by logging onto www.rocklandcce.org/ or by calling 845-429-7085, ext. 117. Register by March 14.

This photo was taken by staff photographer Vincent DiSalvio in November.

Posted by Laura Incalcaterra on Thursday, March 8th, 2007 at 1:42 pm |

Dig this


Here’s one of the more interesting things that have crossed my computer in awhile.

The continuing delays in cleaning up the PCBs in the Hudson River may end up leaving open the possibility that technology can solve the problem.
A team of scientists apparently has come up with something organic that could detoxify the polychlorinated biphenyls that have been one of the biggest environmental stories in the Hudson River for more than three decades.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers say the organism could allow a PCB cleanups without dredging, which is what General Electric is spending millions to do now.
The research is slated to appear in the April 15 issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Check out this “United Press International story”:http://www.sciencedaily.com/upi/index.php?feed=Science&article=UPI-1-20070307-14183200-bc-us-pcb.xml on the discovery. It’s on sciencedaily.com

Posted by Greg Clary on Wednesday, March 7th, 2007 at 5:32 pm |
| | 1 Comment »


Get out your Crayolas


If you’re a kid who likes to draw and likes the Hudson River, put both together for <a href=”http://scenichudson.org/” target=”_blank”>Scenic Hudson’s Art in the Park</a>. The Poughkeepsie-based environmental organization is celebrating young artists and the Hudson Valley with an art contest. Those 18 and younger can submit artwork inspired by a <a href=”http://scenichudson.org/parks/index.html” target=”_blank”>Scenic Hudson park</a> or any Hudson River scene.

Follow the link above for registration and submission information. Fifteen young artists will win a prize on Sun. May 20 at Scenic Hudson’s annual River Champions Picnic.

Anyone can <a href=”http://www.scenichudson2.org/competitions/” target=”_blank”>vote</a> for their favorite artwork.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, March 7th, 2007 at 11:56 am |
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