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Friday, February 23, 2018

New York State Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Initiative

Hemlock Wooly Adelgid
This past weekend, I attended a workshop on the hemlock woolly adelgid sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension in partnership with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The workshop held at the Warrensburg DEC facility, covered "the importance of hemlock trees in northeastern forests, the threat presented by hemlock woolly adelgid, and what you can do to identify and manage infestations." Charlotte Malmborg from the New York State Hemlock Initiative based at Cornell University gave a very informative presentation.

Hemlocks, the third most populous tree in New York State, are threatened by the invasive forest pest, the hemlock woolly adelgid. It has left hemlock tree stands, such as those on the Rensselaer Plateau, devastated in the Smokey Mountains and other areas of the country. I looked into the problem several years ago and was disturbed to learn the lack of resources and effective measures to combat this destructive aphid-like insect. That is rapidly changing -- chemical measure and, increasingly , biocontrol insect measures are available. The key is early detection and notifying the proper authorities.

Click here for the New York State Hemlock Initiative website which is chock full on information on this subject.

Click here for a Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Identification Guide.

Click here for the New York State Hemlock Initiative Facebook Page.

Fortunately, the Rensselaer Plateau has been spared to date. The current character of the Rensselaer Plateau would be totally destroyed with a hemlock woolly adelgid infestation. So it is incumbent upon us all to learn to identify this culprit and to promptly report any findings to the DEC. They make a a small white fuzz on hemlock branches. It is light and soft, like wool, and collects around the base of the needles. This has been compared to the kind of artificial snow from holiday snow aerosol spray cans. These masses of wax are about half the size of a cotton swab. The insect itself is about the size of a sesame seed, and can be found within the white mass of wax. Overwintering females are black (2 mm long). Newly hatched nymphs -- also known as crawlers -- (less than.5 mm long) are reddish-brown. They attach themselves to the base of needles and suck out the sap of the tree.

For areas that have been hit, chemical measures can be taken. The New York State Hemlock Initiative is focused on researching and breeding biocontrol insects to serve as predators. If you spot hemlock woolly adegids, immediately contact the DEC's forest pest information line at 1-866-640-0652. 

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid - Full Education Documentary

See Also 
Click here for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Hemlock Woolly Adelgid website.

Click here for a map of New York State towns with confirmed Hemlock Woolly Adelgid indentifications.

Click here for the Rensselaer County Cornell Cooperative Extension Hemlock Woolly Adelgid webpage.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

That Reddish Glow in the Sky...

Sustainable Aquafarm Facilty (SAFE) - Berlin, NY 
Driving back from the Williams College hockey game Sunday, we noticed a reddish glow in the night sky off in the distance as we crossed the Petersburgh Pass. We tracked it down to the SAFE (Sustainable Aquafarm Facility) plant in Berlin. The LED (light emitting diodes) greenhouse grow lights focus on a spectrum that promotes optimum growth.
The facility, at the site of the former Seagroatt Roses property, just north of the village of Berlin, produces hydroponic lettuce and, I understand, eventually fish and caviar. The annual production of heads of lettuce at this plant is expected to be in the millions.
The following clip is from the Lemnis Oreon B.V. website page on case studies of their grow lights. Oreon is a Dutch company that manufactures the LED grow lights. I must say, until reading this, I didn't realize Berlin, New York was a "federal state.":
"In the federal state Berlin (New York, USA) a renewed greenhouse (where various types of lettuce is grown) is fully installed with a LED lighting system of Lemnis Oreon. In the last weeks of 2016 the lettuce was planted in the 1,5ha greenhouse. From the 2nd week of 2017 all LED lamps are fully operational, this means 16 hours per day. The cultivation system is provided by Dry Hydroponics, PB Techniek has taken the entire installation on its behalf.
The greenhouse in installed with 150 uMol/m2. With this lighting system, the grower can get in winter almost the same production as in the summer period. In addition, the selected spectrum contributes to a perfect quality of the crop with a beautiful color.

The growers have chosen the Oreon Grow Lights because of the efficient water cooling concept. This water cooling concept ensures that the LEDs remain optimally cooled, which is the best guarantee for trouble-free growing for many years. The high quality standard of the lamp also contributes to this. Additionally, the grower has full control over the thermal energy of the lamps, which ensures a more optimal growing climate with a energy conscious cultivation."

Click here for a February Eastwick Press article Aquafarm in Berlin is now in Production.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Williams College Division III Hockey

Williams College Ephs
We drove over the Petersburgh Pass yesterday to watch the Williams College Ephs (2-0) defeat the Colby College Mules (1-1) in men's Division III hockey. Great game and experience: 1) Good hockey, 2) No admission, 3) Non-commercial, 4) Cool retro uniforms, 5) Always fun to go to Williamstown. They made me a fan.
What are the "Ephs" (pronounced "Eefs")? Named after Ephraim Williams, "whose will and determination led to the founding of the college."
Last week, we went to the college and saw Blue Heron, a Boston-based professional vocal ensemble, perform 15th-century English and Franco-Flemish polyphony to a well-attended, 3/4 full Chapin Hall auditorium. Yesterday's hockey game at the Lansing Chapman Rink, as you can see from the photos, was sparsely attended. The College hosts many interesting events open to the community. I've bookmarked the Events page and now check it daily.

Click here to access the Williams College Events Webpage.
Click here to access the Williams College Men's Hockey Webpage.
Click here to access the Williams College Women's Hockey Webpage

Elphs vs Mules at Lansing Chapman Rink
Video Clip: Williams College Ephs vs Colby College Mules

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Merck Forest & Farmland Center

Several days ago, we drove 50 miles northeast to Merck Forest and Farmland Center in Rupert, Vermont. Merck is a non-profit organizaton encompassing 3,162 acres with 30+ miles of trails. A beautiful farm and forest on an A+ Fall day. We drove up New York's eastern border via Route 22 and returned via Vermont's western border through Dorset (really cool village!) and Manchester (home of Northshire Books, the best independent bookstore!) then down scenic Route 7A through Arlington and past the Robert Frost Stone House in Shaftsbury, Vermont.

Click here for a map of the trails.

Click here for a description of the trails.

Pixie in a tree

Stunning vistas

Those are American Chesnut seedlings -- bringing a threatened American treasure back from the brink.

See also
Berlin Mountain Hike
Fitch Trail Hike
Grafton Lakes State Park Hiking Trails
Grafton Lakes State Park Trails

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Ashuwillticook Rail Trail

Earlier this year, I posted (click here) about the Ashuwilliticook Rail Trail, an 11.2 mile, 10-foot wide beautifully paved bike trail that runs from Adams, Massachusetts to Lanesborough, Massachusetts. At that time, we had taken the trail from the norther tip in Adams down to Cheshire. Yesterday, we returned and rode from the southern tip in Lanesborough up to Cheshire. This is a beautiful bike trail, and I strongly recommend it.

Directions to the parking areas

Southern tip (Lanesborough): To reach the Berkshire Mall trailhead, take the Massachusetts Turnpike/Interstate 90 to Exit 2 in Lee, then follow US 20 west to US 7 north for 11 miles to downtown Pittsfield. From the Park Square rotary, follow East Street/Merrill Road for 3.25 miles to the intersection of State Routes 9 and 8. Continue straight through the intersection on SR 8 north for 1.5 miles to the Lanesborough–Pittsfield line. Turn left at the light for rail-trail parking at the Berkshire Mall.

Northeren tip (Adams): To reach the northern trailhead from North Adams, take SR 2 to SR 8 south for 5.5 miles to Adams. Follow the brown Ashuwillticook Rail-Trail signs. Take a left on Hoosac Street then an immediate right on Depot Street. Park at the Discover the Berkshires Visitor Center on the left. The trailhead is behind the visitor center.

Cheshire Reservoir