Graphic design by Jake Sporn Photography.
In May of 2016, the AWI assisted in two separate interpretive sessions at the Paul Smith’s College VIC. On two separate days, fifth-grade students from Peru, New York participated in various outdoor and indoor activities, all of which revolved around a theme of wilderness knowledge. After arriving, the students were split into groups and informed of a few rules (don’t pick anything, don’t leave anything you brought with you – trash, et cetera – in the woods, please don’t throw pinecones at each other).
After being split into their groups, the students were encouraged to use their senses (primarily sight and sound) as they learned some basic identification skills of local flora and fauna. Two watershed stewards led some of the outdoor activities; namely, helping the children find several different aquatic plants and animals in the Heron Marsh with dip nets and buckets as well as taking them on a scavenger hunt on the trails.
The students rotated through the activities on a half-hour schedule. By 1:30 PM, they were headed back to Peru on their bus, having learned the difference between a fox and a coyote track, made plaster casts, played a wilderness-themed game of twister, scooped snails from a muddy marsh, and taken quite possibly thousands of iPhone photographs of everything from one another to various leaves. The day was a success.
Steward Mike Vail at Piseco Lake
My name is Mike and I’m a boat steward on Piseco Lake. This is my first season and I can say that it’s been great. The Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith’s College has assembled a team of educated, sensible individuals who share the same passion and ideas as the rest of us: love and protect the Adirondack waterways.
The decision to become a boat steward was an easy one. My grandparents first started coming to the Higgins Bay area of Piseco Lake in 1929. For a long time, I assumed they only visited Piseco for a few weeks in the summer, but home movies taken in the 1930’s and 1940’s tell me otherwise. They came to camp, fish, and be adventurous during every season (with the exception of ‘mud season’). When they had children, they towed them along as well; my father spent a good portion of his childhood summers at Piseco, enjoying his youth and forging life-long friendships on the lake. When he met my mother and brought her there, she fell in love with it, too. Once my brother was born, they decided to buy their own land there.
` My parents were both teachers; thus, my brother and I spent every summer, Christmas vacation, and long weekend at camp. After we graduated from college and my parents retired, the camp at Piseco became our home. As I spent more time there, I realized how much Piseco meant to us. Now that I’ve been a resident for some time, I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
I plan to write a few more of these blogs, so consider this an introduction to me and what I’m doing this summer. I’ve been spending time at Poplar Point and Point Comfort so far and boat traffic is increasing. Our weekly team meetings have been cohesive and positive. I’m confident that our group and all of the other stewards in the park will have a successful summer combatting aquatic invasive species. Have a great summer everyone!
By: Mike Vail
Our Stewardship Program has had some great success in the early days of the 2016 boating season! From May 27th to June 4th we inspected nearly 3,500 boats at 42 locations throughout the region. Stewards removed 104 Aquatic Invasive Species from watercraft: 20 Curly-leaf pondweed, 58 Eurasian watermilfoil, 19 Variable leaf milfoil, 1 Spiny waterflea, and 6 Zebra mussels.
Our most notable catches were intercepted on watercraft launching into lakes uninfected with that particular species:
Curly-leaf pondweed at Fourth Lake on May 27th.
Curly-leaf pondweed at Upper Saranac Lake on June 3rd.
Zebra mussels at Long Lake on June 4th.
We look forward to continued success at protecting our beautiful waters for the rest of the year!
By: Amelia McDonnell
This year for National Trails Day, the Adirondack Watershed Institute contributed to various trail work projects in the area. One group of stewards helped begin the cleanup of a trail near Cranberry Lake, collaborating with local professor and activist Jamie Savage. The path – known as the Lost Pond Loop – is poised to become a medium-distance interpretive opportunity, or a detour from the well-known Cranberry 50 trail (which it is directly connected to).
Elsewhere in the Adirondacks, another group of stewards convened at Heart Lake, camping near The Adirondack Loj for a night before working on project sites in the surrounding wilderness. Over the course of the day, the stewards – along with over a hundred and thirty other people from various organizations, most of whom were volunteers – completed many tasks necessary for trail maintenance, including alpine vegetation protection, lean-to resurrection, and strategically placing rocks to keep the trails from eroding due to overuse.
One other group set up an information table – complete with pamphlets and displays – at the National Trails Day Festival near the head of the Northville Placid Trail in Waterfront Park (which included over eighty vendors, exhibits, and attractions), where they talked to the public and handed out educational material.
Thanks in part to the AWI stewards, participants in the activities of National Trails Day helped perform labor essential for the beautification, continued utilization, and sustainability of local recreational areas.