Getting a Haendel on Cayuga Lake

For ten years, the tour boat/floating classroom MV Haendel has chugged up and down Cayuga Lake revealing the lake’s stories, taking its vital signs, and expanding our awareness of this dominant, beautiful body of water in New York’s Finger Lakes region. I have worked on the Haendel since late in its first season in 2003, mostly as an interpreter of the natural and cultural history of the lake on the boat’s tours out of Cayuga Inlet in Ithaca. The company, Tiohero Tours, has changed its name now to Ithaca Boat Tours, and we look forward to the new season sharing Cayuga’s waters with thousands of visitors, residents, and students.

The tour boat MV Haendel in Cayuga Inlet, Ithaca, NY

The MV Haendel heads down Cayuga Inlet toward Cayuga Lake on another tour from the Ithaca Farmers Market.

The other part of the Haendel’s mission is the Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom, where the crew takes school groups, college classes, camp groups, public eco-tours, and scientific monitoring teams out on the water to probe and learn more about what is happening below the surface. Besides teaching thousands about lake science, the Floating Classroom has played a vital role in assessing the health of the lake; most notably in discovering the aggressive, and potentially disastrous, exotic, invasive, aquatic weed hydrilla in Cayuga Inlet, setting off a major institutional and governmental response to try to control and eradicate the infestation.

Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom public eco-tour

Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom director Bill Foster instructs a public eco-tour participant during a lake sampling outing.

In this week’s episode of Walk in the Park TV, we take a visual tour of Cayuga Lake on the Haendel, from the Ithaca Farmers Market to Wells College in Aurora, as if we were on the boat itself. There is a lot to see from the water (and from the air in this case as we integrate Bill Hecht’s amazing aerial photography.) You can watch the show on Ithaca’s public access cable TV channel 13 (next scheduled showings: Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m., and Tuesday, March 5, at 8:00 p.m., and at other times the station may add).

Or you can watch it online right here!

Headwaters of Cayuga Lake

See it here or see it on TV!

In this episode (#39, 2/20/13) of Walk in the Park TV (Ithaca, NY public access cable channel 13), I take you on a tour of the major tributaries and subwatersheds of Cayuga Lake, in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Using beautiful aerial photography by Bill Hecht, we visit Cayuga’s Inlet Valley; the Lindsay Parsons Biodiversity Preserve of the Finger Lakes Land Trust; Enfield Glen and Lucifer Falls in Robert H. Treman State Park; Buttermilk Falls State Park; Sixmile Creek Nature Preserve; Cascadilla Gorge; Cornell University; Fall Creek and its gorge and Ithaca Falls; Salmon Creek and Myers Point in Lansing, NY; Taughannock Falls State Park; and the rest of Cayuga Lake including the Seneca River and Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. Finally, we trace the flow of Cayuga’s waters through the Seneca and Oswego River system to Lake Ontario, the Great Lakes, and the St. Lawrence River. Watch it here!

This show can also be seen on Ithaca’s public access TV channel 13 this Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and next Tuesday, 2/16, at 8:00 p.m.; and at other times the station may decide.

 

Jobs in Parks

For the second year, I was asked to come to DeWitt Middle School in Ithaca to be a speaker during their “Looking to the Future Day,” their annual career day for 8th grade students. So, on November 30, I used my Powerpoint to explain the broad range of parks, preserves, and similar sites and organizations where one might pursue a career in “Parks and Recreation.” After fumbling for several minutes with wires, I hooked up a lapel mike to myself and started my video camera and recorded my talk for Walk in the Park TV (episode 31). Later, I exported all the Powerpoint slides as jpegs and then imported them into my video editor to illustrate my talk. 95% of the show is the slides with my voice beneath, while I navigate across each image on the screen as I discuss the topic. This is essentially a version of a talk I gave at Wells College last winter. You may find it interesting. It also is being shown on Ithaca’s public access cable TV channel 13, with airings scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday, each day at 10:30 a.m., and finally on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m., though the station manager does show it at other times as well.

Below is my description of my talk for the students when they signed up for it:

Mary is a bookkeeper, Doug is a carpenter, Jane is a Jack-of-all-trades, Mike likes working with people, Brittany loves hiking, Sam loves landscaping, Jody loves kids, and Jorge is interested in law enforcement. Which among them could find a satisfying career in parks and recreation?

All of them.

It takes a broad team of professions to run a park, or a park system. Parks are natural places, but parks serve people. Every park has to strike a balance between preserving nature and making it accessible, safe, and enjoyable for the public. There is a career for you in parks and recreation, whether you are purchasing land, making a landscape plan, mowing lawns, or training staff; or constructing and maintaining park trails, roads, campgrounds, buildings, swimming areas, boat launches and marinas, golf courses, and playgrounds; or conducting nature education activities, running a concert series, staffing a recreation center, designing publications and exhibits; or managing a payroll, personnel records, grant writing, or secretarial and administrative work. If you want to be a biologist, geologist, historian, or biological technician, there are jobs in parks and recreation.

Buckroe to Dismal Swamp


Gulls at Virginia Beach

Great black-backed gulls work the surf at Virginia Beach.

In this episode of Walk in the Park TV (#30, Nov. 28, 2012), we return to southeast Virginia, site of the earliest English-speaking settlements in America.  I show you Buckroe Beach in the City of Hampton on the Chesapeake Bay, the first beach I knew as a little kid. What was the unusual hazard discovered on this beach after its sand was replenished in the 1990s?

After a visit to Newport News, we go to Virginia Beach, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and False Cape State Park on the Atlantic Ocean, just two miles north of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. And finally, we follow a boardwalk in Dismal Swamp State Park just over the border into North Carolina, on the edge of one of the largest remaining lowland wetlands in the East. See it all online here

Or, if you live in the Ithaca, NY area and have a cable TV connection, you can see Walk in the Park during the next week on public access cable channel 13 according to the following schedule:

Thursday,  9:00 p.m.

Saturday, 10:30 a.m.

Sunday,    10:30 a.m.

Tuesday,    8:00 p.m.

It also is shown at other times as the station manager chooses.

See all my Walk in the Park TV episodes and short videos by clicking here.