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The Nature of Things

A blog about nature and the environment

Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

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 |

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 |




Because continuing high temperatures and lack of rain contribute to increased risk for fire, Westchester County Parks Acting Commissioner Kathy O’Connor announced a ban on open fires at all county parks.

O’Connor said that during the ban, charcoal and propane fires will only be permitted for cooking in permanently fixed grills in the parks. No open fires are permitted. She also asked that patrons to be vigilant in alerting park staff to any potential fire hazards they may see while visiting.

Conditions will be monitored on a daily basis.
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Posted by Greg Clary on Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 at 4:34 pm |

Birding festival is set


The Hackensack River begins flowing in Rockland, with its headwaters located near the Clarkstown-Ramapo border near South Mountain Road. The river is a major source of drinking water for Rockland and communities in New Jersey, helping to fill Lake DeForest in Clarkstown and Lake Tappan on the Rockland and Bergen County, N.J., border, as well as reservoirs in Woodcliff Lake and Oradell.

One group dedicated to safeguarding the river and its watershed is the Hackensack Riverkeeper. The organization is based in New Jersey but advocates for the overall watershed, including the part in Rockland.

Hackensack Riverkeeper is also an organizer of a variety of activities each year and one of the most popular is the annual Birding Festival, set to take place Sept. 11 and 12 in the Meadowlands. There is a fee and you should consider signing up early because some of the programs, which include birdwatching,  pontoon boat rides, paddling tours, and talks, fill up fast.

Get the details on this year’s event by clicking below.

Above, a Northern Mockingbird. Photo by Doug Goodell; provided by Hackensack Riverkeeper.

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Posted by Laura Incalcaterra on Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 at 12:31 pm |

Local residents ured to conserve water to avoid disruptions in service


Despite recent rainfall, water supplies in the lower Hudson Valley are being taxed due to the heat, overall lack of rain and increased water use. Residents and businesses are asked to conserve water. If usage is too high, it could result in reduced water pressure, disruptions in service and possible mandatory restrictions, similar to those put in place in drought situations.
Many other communities have already implemented some mandatory and voluntary restrictions on water usage. Peak water usage each day occurs during the morning hours. Therefore all residents are encouraged to limit their water usage, particularly between 6 and 10 a.m.
to reduce water usage, residents are advised to do the following:
• Follow local lawn watering restrictions and do not water between 6 and 10 a.m.
• Take shorter showers
• Fix leaks
• Avoid unnecessary toilet flushes
• Don’t run water while shaving or brushing your teeth.

Posted by Greg Clary on Friday, July 16th, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
| | 1 Comment »


Part of North County Trailway closing for repairs


North County Trailway users are asked to be aware that the iron bridge over Croton Reservoir in Yorktown will be closed for repairs on Monday, July 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The North County Trailway is a Westchester County Park. Go to the county website or call (914) 864-PARK.

Posted by Greg Clary on Thursday, July 15th, 2010 at 4:41 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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