Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Rocks and 'Rooms

     That sucking sound you hear this time of's not a natural phenomenon. It's our children being vacuumed up by the educational - industrial complex. Public schools are back in session and I hope the poor little tykes survive with some of their natural love of learning intact. For students of any age this weekend offers a couple of unique opportunities to learn about our little corner of the world.
     The New York State Geological Association will be holding its annual meeting at SUNY Plattsburg on Saturday and Sunday, September 12 & 13. There's a full slate of field trips in the Adirondacks, Champlain Valley and Vermont. Of particular interest is a Sunday morning outing to view outcrops along Rt. 22 in northern Washington County and discuss recent research on the history of the Adirondacks. Nothing like looking at rocks with a bunch of geologists to totally intimidate and confuse! My idea of big fun and I hope to be there. Check out the schedule here.

     If rocks seem too hard (very punny) then how about some fun fungi. Sue Van Hook, our
(unofficial but much treasured) County Mycologist will lead a mushroom walk at Merck Forest on Saturday, September 12 from 10am to 1pm. It's been a dry summer for mushrooms but that could change by this weekend and Sue's always good at finding interesting stuff. No child will be left behind on these outings.

     On the wild watch beat I've heard people have been seeing eagles along the river at Hudson Falls. Also ospreys down by Hudson Crossing. What a treat to have these magnificent birds of prey in our midst. Speaking of magnificent, how about this photo by Gordon Ellmers? I found it on his Fort Edward Chamber of Commerce site where you can learn about his veterinary practice and see a gallery of his bird portraits. Click here and be amazed.

Gordon Ellmers Photo

     Venus and Jupiter had a hot little affair in the evening sky back in June. But they've gone their separate ways and now she's flirting with Mars above the eastern horizon as night fades. On Thursday morning, September 10 look for Venus, the crescent moon and Mars close together before sunrise. 
     I know it's way late but did anybody see the Perseid meteors about a month ago? I woke up about 1:30 am on August 12 and went out to a dark, clear sky. Perseus was high in the northeast with Cassiopeia's familiar W above and bright Capella below. The Pleiades were prominent off to the side. The summer triangle of Vega, Deneb and Altair were high overhead. There were just a few clouds illuminated with a faint glow, probably from Saratoga, which doesn't know when to turn the lights off. 
     As soon as my eyes adjusted I saw a few little zips and one bright streak that left a faint trail. Tree frogs and crickets provided the soundtrack, surprisingly loud in the dead of night. Our world is so full of energy, movement, and life, even in its quietest hour. Standing naked under the stars, looking and listening, feeling dew beneath your feet and the night chill on your skin is a primal "relationship with place"
experience. Just don't do it in front of a neighbors window or near a street light...    

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