The cows pantry with corn silage under plastic and tires on right
and dinosaur eggs on left - they are actually baleage, wet hay wrapped in plastic.
The cover photo of the Snowy Mountain Range is by Daniel Way
The Adirondack Atlas is a project of the Wildlife Conservation Society. It was published in 2004 and it's an amazing piece of work. Information is presented in maps, charts and text and what mountains of information there is. Want to see a map of all the newspapers and radio stations in the Adirondacks? Check pages 184 - 187. How about the damage swath of the 1995 Derecho storm? That would be on page 109. Wondering about the (approximate) location of nuclear armed intercontinental missles in the Park? So were the Russians back in the Cold War era but now you can easily find out by thumbing thru the Atlas. Even secretive, some say mythic, big cats have a page with a list of cougar sightings on page 51.
Maps, charts and text - a page from The Atlas
Jerry Jenkins and friends
Many of us know him for another gift - The White Creek Field School. It ran off and on from the late seventies into the nineties. Best described as an occasional school of field biology and geography, run by Jerry and friends, it was loosely based out of his farmhouse in the Taconics near the Vermont border. But the school mirrored Jenkins wide ranging curiosity and often traveled to New England, the Adirondacks and even Canada. Some class titles from the schools newsletters include: Short Course about Stuff in Ravines, Excursion to the Lost Spruce Stand in Cornwall Swamp and A & G Marathon (that would be asters and goldenrods).
Those were the days - A WCFS newsletter from the 1980's
From a 1989 White Creek Field School newsletter:
Alumni news: Debby & Everette have announced that they
are getting married on the 27th of August. Field school is
giving the bride, who has not learned grasses yet, a bouquet
containing all the genera of grasses that occur in Vermont.
Married or not it is never too late. If you want to help gather
them give me a call.
Many spiders in the grass, maple flowers falling,
bluebirds and field sparrows, clear low streams, my hill
all hepaticas and bloodroots. First ginger today.
Joy to you in a dry, flowers-coming, spring. J.
I don't know if the White Creek Field School is on a long recess or just a fond memory. The world has a way of claiming someone of Jenkin's talents and he's certainly been busy. Maybe he just needed to earn a decent living. The tuition at the school was so modest it qualified as a public service more than a for-profit enterprise. While at the Wildlife Conservation Society he has produced an impressive canon of published work. The Adirondack Atlas was followed by books on acid rain and climate change. He also authored reports on conservation easements and hardwood regeneration and provided notes for a book of Nathan Farb photographs.
Several years ago I heard him talk at the Curiosity Forum in Cambridge, where he drew from his book Climate Change in the Adirondacks. He was insightful, relaxed and entertaining, surrounded by his friends and neighbors. I remember thinking that Jenkins has to be the most accessible, down-to-earth scientist most of us will ever meet.
Recently Jenkins unwrapped another gift when the Northern Forest Atlas came on-line. The Northern Forest is a region stretching from the edge of the prairies eastward to Maine and the Maritimes, including the Adirondacks. The Atlas is a collection of images, videos, diagrams, charts and posters. It's been four years in the making and continues to be a work in progress. Jerry gives credit to a long list of naturalists and photographers who have contributed to the project. Ed McNeil did much of the aerial photography, Sue Williams added her expertise as a field bryologist and Zoe Smith of the WCS Adirondack Program was deeply involved among many others.
You can visit the Northern Forest Atlas website here. The following images are just a small sample of what you'll see:
Hitchen Pond Bog, Adirondacks, from the AirCam
Ice-meadow vegetation, Hudson River, Warrensburg, NY
All images from The Northern Forest Atlas
One of the pleasures of a relationship with place is becoming attuned to its natural cycles. The turning of the seasons, the arc from bud to bloom to setting seed, the coming and going of wildlife and the sky's reassuring rhythms. Maybe Jerry Jenkins has his own natural cycle - one that had its germination in the early days of the White Creek Field School, blossomed with his work at the Wildlife Conservation Society and the publication of regionally important books and websites and finally, hopefully, matures to a mellow homecoming to Washington County and a second life for the field school. Another chance to sort out those confusing sedges, then celebrate with savory potluck, homespun music and good people. What a gift that would be.
Illustration from Jerry's facebook page.