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The Nature of Things

A blog about nature and the environment

Archive for June, 2007

Job advice


Are you a college student, a soon-to-be one or a grad student considering a career in a natural-resources related field? If so, and you want some career advice, you can head to the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook in Dutchess County. It’s a bit of a drive, but having visited the place for other programs, I can tell you it’s worth a visit. Read more of this entry »

Posted by Mike Risinit on Friday, June 29th, 2007 at 11:22 am |
| | Comments Off on Job advice

The bear cam


Want to amble with a brown bear through the Alaskan forest? Then check out this clip from National Geographic. I happened to catch the tail end (get it?) of a show on PBS last night called Bear Island. Researchers had tranquilized a bear and then placed this video camera around its neck. It was a neat way to see life as a bear. Here’s more on National Geographic’s “Critter Cam.”

Posted by Mike Risinit on Thursday, June 28th, 2007 at 5:59 pm |

Endangered no longer


The bald eagles we all enjoy along the Hudson River in the winter and their brethren across the country are no longer on the federal government’s endangered species list. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made its announcement today. tjndc5-5b5lbv8ac9drl9oiezi_layout.jpg

The Bald Eagle Protection Act, though, still makes it illegal to kill or disturb bald eagles.

Check out NPR’s report on the delisting, which comes with audio.

Then there was my colleague Greg Clary’s post from earlier in the week.

TJN photographer Joe Larese spied the eagle to the left on the ice of Annsville Creek in Peekskill in 2005.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Thursday, June 28th, 2007 at 11:40 am |
| | 1 Comment »


Bigger and better poison ivy


Increasing levels of carbon dioxide – one of the greenhouse gases credited with trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere and thus leading to climate change – are giving us more lush, more potent poison ivy plants, according to this story in the Wall Street Journal. tjndc5-5b5ki8un3oxtf3xcezi_layout1.jpg

That’s not really new news, though, as far as I can tell. Here’s another story from last year.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, June 27th, 2007 at 5:19 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Hudson Highlands


Some money for preserving parts of the Hudson Highlands could be coming. In case you missed it, we ran this in today’s print edition:

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-Bronx, said (Tuesday) that he was able to put $2 million for protecting the Hudson Highlands into an appropriations bill that is expected to pass the House of Representatives this week and then go to the Senate. The federal money would be used to preserve open space in the Highlands, a region that stretches from Pennsylvania to New Jersey and New York and into Connecticut and includes parts of Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties. The Highlands provides clean drinking water for more than 15 million people, recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat. The money could be doubled, Engel said, by obtaining matching funds from the four states. President Bush signed the Highlands Conservation Act in 2004.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, June 27th, 2007 at 11:31 am |
| | 1 Comment »

Yonkers’ waterfront


For those of you who are interested, my colleague Ernie Garcia wrote an article today (a brief version is already on lohud.com) on Scenic Hudson’s vision for riverfront development in Yonkers. The organization doesn’t control the property, but that didn’t keep them from coming up with ways they think it could look. The full text of the article will be in the newspaper and online tomorrow, but you can get a sneak preview of Scenic Hudson’s plan (contrasted with the developer’s plan) directly from Ernie’s Web “story.”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070626/NEWS02/706260425

Posted by Greg Clary on Tuesday, June 26th, 2007 at 4:44 pm |
| | 1 Comment »


Bad news fish


This is a bad-news fish story but one with a must-see video. The fish are Asian carp, voracious eaters that were introduced as pond cleaners in Arkansas but now threaten the health of the Great Lakes.

Some LoHud readers may recall various lake communities in the area introducing carp into their water bodies to eat the weeds clogging their lakes. Those were/are sterile grass carp – they don’t reproduce.

The Asian carp, though, are rapid reproducers, in the words of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

“Researchers expect that Asian carp would disrupt the food chain that supports the native fish of the Great Lakes. Due to their large size, ravenous appetites, and rapid rate of reproduction, these fish could pose a significant risk to the Great Lakes Ecosystem.”

They’re also bruisers. Check out this video. (Click on “Giant Asian Carp Flying Menaces” in the play list to the right if it doesn’t start playimg. It took a while to load but it’s worth the wait.) There’s also this video.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Tuesday, June 26th, 2007 at 2:39 pm |

Flying high – again



The National Audubon Society is predicting the bald eagle will soon be taken off the Endangered Species Act, a step that the environmental group says will be hailed as “one of the greatest conservation success stories of the last 50 years.”

Audubon says it will be releasing data from its century-old Christmas Bird Count database showing that after having gone nearly extinct in the lower 48 states, bald eagle populations have risen in every state.

Check out a couple of the high-profile and high-living birds, as photographed by my colleague, Peter Carr. Apparently they like Haverstraw.

For more on the bird, log onto Audubon.org along with photos and other multimedia.

Posted by Greg Clary on Monday, June 25th, 2007 at 1:58 pm |

A bolt from above


In cartoons, getting struck by lightning leaves you as a charred, smoking mess. Brush yourself off and you’re better than new – ready to get squashed by an anvil or turned into a human sprinkler by a jab of a pitchfork.

In real life, if it doesn’t kill you, getting hit by lightning can leave you with memory loss, attention deficits, sleep disorders, numbness, dizziness, stiffness in joints, irritability, fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms, depression, and an inability to sit for long, according to the National Weather Service. Thankfully, we’re in Lightning Safety Week, which comes with a bunch of safety tips.leonsoccerposter.jpg

Posted by Mike Risinit on Monday, June 25th, 2007 at 12:41 pm |


Snort in the woods


Ever hear a deer snort? I was watering my vegetable garden this morning (insert plea for thunderstorm here), a few minutes after 7 a.m., when I heard this snorting/wheezing in the woods along the edge of my yard. Looking up, I could see a deer through the brush and trees. The deer would snort every once in a while, sounding a bit like a horse, and stamp its foot.

Apparently, the noise is meant to be a warning to other deer that danger is nearby (in this case, man with garden hose). Read here, too, about what the foot stomping means.

The animal then ran further up the hill behind my house and broke into another snorting-foot-stomping routine before disappearing.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Monday, June 25th, 2007 at 11:21 am |

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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