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The Nature of Things

A blog about nature and the environment

Archive for April, 2007

Cameras for the birds


Want to check in on a barn owl and its young or a couple of bluebirds and their eggs? You can do both, along with checking out two bald eagles trying to have a family, without leaving your computer. None of the bird-cams I’ve found focus in on any feathered friends living in the Lower Hudson Valley. But, for the most part, all the species call Westchester, Putnam and Rockland home at some point of the year.

<a href=”http://www.birds.cornell.edu/birdhouse/nestboxcam/” target=”_blank”>Cornell University</a> has a whole page of peeping bird links.

The eagles can be found <a href=”http://www.briloon.org/” target=”_blank”>here</a>.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Monday, April 30th, 2007 at 3:34 pm |

Money for parks and farms


Think a dedicated fund to create parks and preserve open space is a good thing? Then you might want to read up on the Community Preservation Act. Here’s an <a href=”http://www.eany.org/capitolwatch/memos/2006/001.html” target=”_blank”>explainer</a> from last year. And, if you missed the recent editorial by <a href=”http://scenichudson.org/” target=”_blank”>Scenic Hudson’s</a> Andy Bicking on this year’s effort, you can catch that <a href=”http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007704270332″ target=”_blank”>here</a>.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Monday, April 30th, 2007 at 11:17 am |

County to consider climate agreement


The Rockland County Legislature will consider a request to join the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement when it convenes Tuesday.

The Legislature’s Environmental Committee voted to sign the agreement when it met April 16, and then referred the matter to the full Legislature for consideration.

Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell, D-West Nyack, and Legislator Connie Coker, D-South Nyack, who chairs the environmental committee, pitched the resolution.

More than 400 mayors representing more than 61 million Americans have already committed to the agreement, which seeks to attack the problem of global warming on a local level. The Climate Protection Agreement encourages local communities to reduce their emissions by certain percentages below 1990 levels by 2012.

Clarkstown Town Board member Shirley Lasker has also sought to get her municipality signed onto the agreement, proposing a resolution during an April 10 workshop. The board will discuss the matter May 15 during its regular meeting.

The Legislature will meet at 8 p.m. at the Allison-Parris County Office Building, 11 New Hempstead Road, in New City.

Posted by Laura Incalcaterra on Sunday, April 29th, 2007 at 7:00 am |
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Remembering who?


New Castle lost an owl today.

Chip Fowler, a worker with the town’s DPW, spotted the owl on his way into work this morning. Crows were beating up the nocturnal bird, the story goes. Fowler returned with a box, collected the avian denizen of the night and headed back to DPW HQ on Hunts Lane.

The rescue was related to me by David Rambo, the department’s assistant commissioner. While Rambo was trying to find a wildlife rehabilitator to care for the creature, the owl passed away. Confirmation of his death came from Frank Becerra, a photographer for The Journal News, who stopped by the department this afternoon to photograph the bird.

Rambo wasn’t sure what kind of owl he had in hand. But after an Internet search, he thought it might have been a <a href=”http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Barred_Owl_dtl.html ” target=”_blank”>barred owl</a>.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Friday, April 27th, 2007 at 4:50 pm |
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Grant will continue Lamont-Doherty research


Congressman Eliot Engel announced today that a $143,339 grant has been awarded to <a href=”http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/” target=”_blank”>Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory</a> so it can study the relationship of tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures and a continuing North American drought.

The grant was awarded via the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, according to a statement issued by Engel today.

Engel said the grant will help fund the work of Richard Seager, who is researching the mechanisms of a persistent North American drought and its relation to tropical Pacific and tropical Atlantic ocean temperature variations. Seager will exam sea surface temperatures in different regions of the tropics to determine what is creating droughts in the mid-latitudes, including North America.

The project will use computer models to determine if these patterns in sea surface temperature and drought have occurred over time. The focus will help generate maps of the country, both present and future, of how the Pacific Ocean sea surface temperature influences drought.

“The West is facing a long-term drought that is causing massive fires and a drying of the Colorado River,� Engel said. “These are serious issues that impact on all of us. If we are to solve these problems, we have to know their cause. Dr. Seager’s research could put us on the road to a solution.�

Posted by Laura Incalcaterra on Friday, April 27th, 2007 at 3:59 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Weather going to the dogs?


I woke up in the middle of the night with a dog on my head.
Granted, he’s only a 18-pound Shih Tzu, but you still can’t sleep with a dog on your head.
Roosevelt, the canine in question, needed comfort because of the storm. I needed sleep, but he was having none of it. Whining and moving about, he couldn’t seem to get close enough to his humans to feel safe.
It made me think about the storms we’ve endured in the last couple of weeks and the ones we’re no doubt going to get – and soon if the recent past is any indication.
A year or more ago, I talked to a couple of animal trainers and vets about what to do for our pets during storms.
Here are some tips on pet care during storms, from Steve Diller of The Center for Animal Behavior and Canine Training in Elmsford:
· Stay patient. Don’t overdiscipline or show anger at unusual behavior.
· Don’t confine the animal more than usual.
· Maintain normal food and watering schedules.
· Play with the animal, but don’t coddle it. Let the animal think you’re unaffected by the storm’s noises.
· Use anti-anxiety medicines, prescription or holistic, ahead of the storm if possible.
So, the next time lightening and thunder send your pet into your lap or underneath it, treat it like a game. They’re pretty perceptive, our domesticated friends, and they’ll pick up on whatever you’re feeling.
roosevelt3.jpgGratuitous photo of Roosevelt included: I get paid in tail wags every time I plug his modeling career.

Posted by Greg Clary on Friday, April 27th, 2007 at 12:16 pm |


More than talkin’ trash – actually doing something about it


Ossining and Briarcliff Manor are hosting a party for residents between 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Saturday (April 28th) and the theme is trash.

Trash, as in pick some up, clean up the community and then come celebrate.
The 16th annual “Stash the Trash� event is powered partially by the Interact Club of Ossining High School.
Supriya Mishra, the group’s president and a senior at OHS, and says all the food for the “success party� at the end of effort has been donated by businesses in the community.
The meeting areas are Market Square, the Ossining Historical Society on Croton Avenue, Jug Tavern, and the Briarcliff Youth Center.
Ossining’s party’s at the Community Center, where there will also be a “green� conference to let participants know what is going on in Ossining to keep it environmentally friendly. Briarcliff Manor’s party is at the youth center.
Mishra’s friend and fellow senior, Maria Victoria Abrenica, created the flyer that you see here.

Nice job ladies. Now let’s hope folks in your neighborhoods and beyond agree that a clean community is a happy community.
Good luck.
For more information, contact Mishra at supriya.m@gmail.com or call 914-960-3648.

Posted by Greg Clary on Thursday, April 26th, 2007 at 4:17 pm |
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Valley champion honored


The Open Space Institute today honored Barnabas McHenry with its 2007 Land Conservation Award.

“Barney McHenry has worked to protect the Hudson River Valley – its landscapes, heritage and culture – for more than four decades. As counsel to DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, founders of Reader’s Digest, he was the principal architect of the Wallace Funds, which have contributed to the arts, education, humanities, and the environment throughout the Hudson River Valley. He demonstrated his commitment to the region as a Member of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, Chair of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Communities Council, Co-Chair of the Hudson River Valley Natural Heritage Area, President of Boscobel (in Garrison), and Trustee of both Friends of the Hudson Valley and the Open Space Institute,” according to <a href=”http://www.osiny.org/home.asp” target=”_blank”>OSI’s</a> announcement.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Thursday, April 26th, 2007 at 3:19 pm |
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And in rhino news


Granted, you’ll never see a rhino wandering around Westchester, Putnam or Rockland counties (now that I’ve written that, some zoo-transport truck will roll over on 287 tomorrow).

If you do see one, chances are it won’t be a <a href=”http://www.rhinos-irf.org/rhinoinformation/sumatranrhino/index.htm” target=”_blank”>Sumatran rhino</a>, said to be the most endangered of all the world’s rhinoceros species. So that’s what makes this <a href=”http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070424/ap_on_sc/malaysia_rhino_sighting” target=”_blank”>video clip and news from Borneo</a> all the more interesting and cool.

The link for the video is on the left. It took a few minutes to load, so stick with it.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Thursday, April 26th, 2007 at 11:29 am |


River research group taps DEC veteran


The former director of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regional office for the Lower Hudson Valley has taken a top job with The Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, the environmental research center in Beacon.
Marc Moran was announced today as the institute’s new chief operating officer, a position that oversees daily operations and future development of a laboratory on Denning’s Point and other satellite facilities along the Hudson River.
“Marc understands the intricacies of applying science to policy and he understands the challenges of building a dynamic global organization in the 21st century,” said John Cronin, the former Riverkeeper who now runs the institute. “ Marc will bring important leadership and vision to the Beacon Institute as we continue our mission to become a global center for interdisciplinary research, policy-making and education.â€?
Moran said he was looking forward to his new position with “enthusiasm and optimism.�
As a regional director for the DEC, Moran oversaw the work of the agency in a seven-county, 4,500 square-mile region which includes the lower and mid-Hudson River Valley, from the New York City line to the Catskill Mountains. The area is home to about two million people.
Moran, a former reporter for the Gannett newspapers that combined to become the Journal News, also held a number of senior staff positions in the administration of former Westchester County Executive Andrew O’Rourke.

Posted by Greg Clary on Wednesday, April 25th, 2007 at 5:01 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

About this blog
The Nature of Things provides a chance to talk about the wild denizens that share the Lower Hudson Valley with us and the natural settings that make this place home for everyone. From Long Island Sound to the Hudson River to the Great Swamp and beyond, almost anything related to the environment is fair game in this blog.


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About the authors
SBenischekJournal News staff writer Greg Clary writes Earth Watch, reporting on environmental issues in the lower Hudson region. Clary has been a reporter, editor and columnist at the Journal News since 1988 and has covered police and courts, transportation, municipal government, development and the environment in the Lower Hudson Valley, among other topics.
Laura IncalcaterraLaura Incalcaterra covers the environment, open space and zoning and planning issues for The Journal News. A Boston College graduate, Laura grew up in Rockland, attended East Ramapo schools and has worked for The Journal News since 1993. Laura has written features and covered North Rockland, crime, government and a host of other issues.
SBenischekMike Risinit covers Patterson and Kent in Putnam County, as well as environmental topics touching on the Hudson River and the Great Swamp. Risinit has been a reporter at The Journal News since 1998.
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