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The Nature of Things

A blog about nature and the environment

Archive for September, 2010

Lamont-Doherty’s ‘giant science fair’ is Saturday


The theme of this year’s open house at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is “Earth on Alert.”

The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Route 9W campus in Palisades.

Here’s some information from the LDEO press release:

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a global leader in studying the natural world, opens its doors once a year to the public for demonstrations, talks and exhibits detailing its work — a giant science fair for all ages featuring top researchers.

This year, many scientists will discuss natural and manmade hazards they studied in 2010, including the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

• Tsunami layers in the Hudson River from one or more impacts of extraterrestrial bodies (11 a.m.)
• Earth Institute director Jeffrey D. Sachs on the outlook for next month’s world climate summit (11:15 a.m.)
• Lecture on hurricanes and climate change (11:30 a.m.)
• Haiti earthquake: panel on geology, socioeconomic impacts and prospects for recovery (noon)
• Latest findings on volume and consequences of the oil spill, from scientists now working in the Gulf (2 p.m.)
• Earthquake prediction in the shadow of chaos (2:30 p.m.)
• Tripling crop yields in rural Africa (3 p.m.)

Check out the complete schedule because the event offers loads of hands-on activities and other interactive opportunities.

Above right, a postcard announcing the open house (Provided by LDEO)

Posted by Laura Incalcaterra on Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 at 6:30 pm |

Putnam County’s Rain Garden Demonstration Project


<a title=”View Rain Garden Dedication Sept 10 on Scribd” href=”http://www.scribd.com/doc/38005982/Rain-Garden-Dedication-Sept-10″ style=”margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block; text-decoration: underline;”>Rain Garden Dedication Sept 10</a> <object id=”doc_706513867166577″ name=”doc_706513867166577″ height=”600″ width=”100%” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” data=”http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf” style=”outline:none;” >        <param name=”movie” value=”http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf”>        <param name=”wmode” value=”opaque”>         <param name=”bgcolor” value=”#ffffff”>         <param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”>         <param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always”>         <param name=”FlashVars” value=”document_id=38005982&access_key=key-kisl66tr2188hmb4y19&page=1&viewMode=list”>         <embed id=”doc_706513867166577″ name=”doc_706513867166577″ src=”http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf?document_id=38005982&access_key=key-kisl66tr2188hmb4y19&page=1&viewMode=list” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true” height=”600″ width=”100%” wmode=”opaque” bgcolor=”#ffffff”></embed>     </object>

Posted by Mike Risinit on Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 at 10:54 am |

A shad from the Hudson


There was no recreational or commercial fishing for shad in the Hudson River this year in an effort to help the dwindling fish population recover. But my daughter, along with a handful of others on Saturday, got a glimpse of some of this year’s young shad as they made their way out to the Atlantic Ocean.

Tom Lake, an estuary naturalist with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, netted a few during a Hudson River Valley ramble session. He figured the young fish born this year would be out in the ocean by the end of the month.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 at 1:44 pm |


Biodynamic farming conference


The Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association will hold its national conference at Threefold Educational Center, 260 Hungry Hollow Road in Chestnut Ridge, from Sept. 30 through Oct. 3.

The keynote speakers include Fred Kirschemann, president of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Westchester County, and Sister Miriam MacGillis, co-founder of Genesis Farm in Blairstown, N.J.

Conference workshops will cover a range of topics, from biodynamic farming to making raw sauerkraut to the honeybee crisis. A benefit biodynamic food and wine tasting will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 2 and include a special screening of “Queen of the Sun,” a new documentary on the honeybee crisis.

The cost to attend the full conference is $195 per person; the cost to attend the benefit is $25 for conference registrants and $50 per person for walk-ins; the cost to attend the conference as a walk-in on Oct. 2 or 3 is $90 per day. Visit www.threefold.org/bda for more information or to register.

Posted by Laura Incalcaterra on Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 at 6:49 pm |

Kids can learn more about Hudson River Estuary


A free program to help children ages 5 to 11 learn more about the Hudson River Estuary will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 26 at Memorial Park in Nyack.

The goal is to help kids gain a greater knowledge of the river and to foster a sense of environmental stewardship.

Activities will include beach combing, using seine nets then seeing what was caught, and studying fish to learn how they adapt.

The sponsors are the Nyack Park Conservancy and Clearwater. Space is limited and registration is required. Send an email to HudsonRiverKids@gmail.com or call Diana Cutt at 845-596-6631 to register or for more information.

Right, Eli Schloss, director of Tide Line programs at Clearwater, shows Ryan Gross a fish caught as the group used a seine net in the Hudson River at Nyack Memorial Park. (File photo by Kathy Gardner)

Posted by Laura Incalcaterra on Thursday, September 16th, 2010 at 4:49 pm |

Gardening therapy classes


The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland will offer a conference from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sept. 23 on therapeutic gardening, horticultural therapy and adaptive gardening techniques.

The program is for staff and volunteers who work with special populations, including people with disabilities and the elderly, in hospitals, mental health and assisted living facilities, nursing and group homes, and health and wellness organizations.

The speakers include Nancy Chambers, a horticulture therapist from the Glass Garden at the Rusk Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine in Manhattan.According to the institutes’s website: “The Glass Garden opened in 1958 as an amenity to Rusk Institute — a place where patients, visitors and staff enjoy the soothing, natural environment of plants, water birds, and beauty as a retreat from the hospital atmosphere.

“In the mid-1970s, one of the nation’s first horticultural therapy programs began in the Glass Garden. Patients of all ages work with trained horticultural therapists on activities that help to rehabilitate physical and cognitive functioning as part of their occupational therapy program. These horticulture activities also help the patients to achieve a sense of personal accomplishment, productivity and self-reliance.”

The cost to attend the Cornell program is $50 per person and includes lunch. Registration is required by Monday. Send an email to rockland@cornell.edu or call 845-429-7085, ext. 117 to register or for more information.

A Painted Lady butterfly enjoys nectar from a flowering Butterfly Bush during a monthly tour of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland’s demonstration garden in Thiells. (File photo by Kathy Gardner)

Posted by Laura Incalcaterra on Thursday, September 16th, 2010 at 4:35 pm |


Learn how to use water-wise landscaping Thursday


A workshop to help people learn how to landscape their yards to conserve water and save money will be held Thursday in Chestnut Ridge.

An optional raingarden tour will be held at 5:45 p.m. to show how to manage stormwater runoff. The main program will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and include information on low water and water-retaining landscaping and water-efficient irrigation techniques.

The event, hosted by the Threefold Educational Center and Hungry Hollow Cooperative, will be led by Bergen Save the Watershed Action Network and other environmental organizations. It was organized at the invitation of Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, D-Suffern.

Visit www.bergenswan.org or call Bergen SWAN at 201-666-1877 or Jaffee’s office at 845-624-4601 for more information or to register.

Posted by Laura Incalcaterra on Monday, September 13th, 2010 at 5:41 pm |

Catching up with roadkill


There is a retired veterinarian in California who is trying to understand what kind of “toll,” (pun, if intended, by NYT’s headline writers) traffic takes on wildlife. The NYT’s story goes on to highlight another effort in California and one in Maine that is trying to make sense out of flattened fauna by using GPS to map the kill sites.

The roadkill maps give researchers a better understanding of the environmental impacts of roads. They intend to use the data to build statistical and Geographic Information Systems models to predict roadkill hot spots and to determine where animal road crossings, culverts and warning signs may be most effective on current and future roadways.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Monday, September 13th, 2010 at 1:38 pm |

Coastal Clean-up Day coming


Mark your calenders and grab a trash bag. September 25th is the 25th annual International Coastal Cleanup.

When:    September 25, 2010
Where:    Beaches of New York State, including Long Island Sound, the Hudson River, Atlantic Ocean, and the Great Lakes, Finger Lakes, and creeks and bays.
Who:    You and thousands of other volunteers, led by Beach Captains from local environmental groups, schools, scout leaders, corporate public service directors, divers, civic associations, etc.

* To clean the beach and document what litters our shores
* To compile data to devise strategies to combat pollution
* To increase public participation in solving the problem of pollution
* To increase public awareness and appreciation of the coastal environment

Go to the above link, click on “Beach Cleanup” (it’s under the crab) and scroll down to find the link detailing local cleanups. You can read more about the event here.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Friday, September 10th, 2010 at 11:28 am |


New head of Westchester Land Trust announced


Westchester Land Trust has tapped Candace Schafer to be its executive director, starting Sept 20.

Schafer comes to the non-profit environmental group, based in Bedford Hills, with experience in land-use policy and a passion and appreciation for the complexities and challenges involved in land preservation in Westchester County, WLT’s board chairman George Bianco said in making the announcement.

Tom Andersen, who has served as interim executive director, will become Schafer’s deputy.

Schafter was trained as an architect and real estate developer, and received her LEED, AP certification last year. Most recently, she was senior vice president at Marcus Partners in Norwalk, Conn and developed two LEED green building projects. For three years, she served as district chair for the Urban Land Institute’s Westchester/Fairfield District Council where she successfully initiated several task forces to encourage partnerships with other volunteer organizations interested in furthering best practices in land use.

Schafer lives with her husband, Rob Mills, in Norwalk, CT. She has six children and five grandchildren.

Posted by Greg Clary on Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 at 4:53 pm |

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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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