Trees, Falls, and Trails

Episode 71 of Walk in the Park, our Ithaca, NY public access cable TV series, begins showing this evening at 9:00 p.m. on Ithaca cable channels 13 and 97.3. More showings will take place this weekend (10:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday) and next Tuesday, April 1, at 8:00 p.m. Or you can watch it here ONLINE! (see below)

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MrHeli4444′s view over the lip of Taughannock Falls from his remote controlled aerial device, featured in this episode of Walk in the Park.

This time, we learn about the coming assault on ash trees in our forests by the invasive beetle, the emerald ash borer, and what we can do to insure the long-term survival of ash tree species. You can watch this short segment separately at “Responding to the Emerald Ash Borer Invasion.”

Then we look at Taughannock Falls State Park in different times in history through photographs. This is followed by a spectacular aerial video around the top of the great falls itself. Thanks to Steve Knapp of Keuka View Photography and Bill Hecht for some of the photos in this segment, and to MrHeli4444 for the video.

Finally, we look at the dangers involved in hiking on closed trails in our state parks this spring before residual winter ice conditions and rockfall hazards have been dealt with and the trails declared open.

Watch the show now here!

Walk in the Park is a public access TV series in Ithaca, NY. Check for times and channels.

Saving Our Hemlock Forests

In episode 70 of Walk in the Park, we look at the attack by an invasive insect on our eastern hemlock trees in our forests and gorges and we find out what is being done in response. The schedule for cablecasts is below, along with the show online. And see the appeal for volunteers below!

This eastern hemlock tree at Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca, NY is infested with the hemlock woolly adelgid and has been marked for possible treatment. The needles on the branches in the canopy of the tree are already heavily thinned.  If all the needles and twigs die, the tree will die. Hemlock trees are an important ecological and aesthetic component in our forests, particularly in our gorges.

This eastern hemlock tree at Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca, NY is infested with the hemlock woolly adelgid and has been marked for possible treatment. The needles on the branches in the canopy of the tree are already heavily thinned. If all the needles and twigs die, the tree will die. Hemlock trees are an important ecological and aesthetic component in our forests, particularly in our gorges.

We join Cornell forest entomologist Mark Whitmore in the Six Mile Creek Natural Area in the City of Ithaca, NY, in the watershed for the water supply for the city. Mark explains and illustrates how the hemlock woolly adelgid, an aphid-like invasive insect, is killing the hemlock, a “keystone species” in our forests, and what larger impacts this has in our forest and stream ecosystems. But it’s not hopeless. Mark explains the biological controls that are being implemented to save at least some of our trees and set the stage for our forests’ recovery from this disaster over the long term. See how YOU CAN HELP below.

We wrap up the show with two short, beautiful videos of Taughannock Falls this winter and last.

This episode of the show will be cablecast beginning tonight (Thursday, March 20, 2014) at 9:00 on PEGASYS public access television channels 13 and 97.3 in the Ithaca area; and it will repeat on Saturday and Sunday (3/22-23) at 10:30 a.m. and the last scheduled cablecast will be next Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. Or, you can watch it anytime ONLINE right here!

VOLUNTEERS WANTED!

Come help survey for Hemlock Wooly Adelgid in the 6-mile creek watershed

 Saturday March 29th (inclement weather date March 30) at 10am

Meet at South Hill Rec Way at Burns Rd crossing.

We will break up into smaller groups and survey trees on the SW side of the city reservoir
Be dressed for the weather, we will be out for about 2 hrs. Wear good boots, the trails are sometimes steep. Bring GPS unit and binoculars if you have them. No experience needed!

 Have questions about this event? Contact Jeanne Grace, City Forester, 607-272-1718,  jgrace@cityofithaca.org

ALSO, Cornell Plantations isn’t organizing any formal volunteer surveys this year, but instead will be assessing winter mortality of the insects in various priority preserves and focusing on treatment. Plantations is still maintaining a reporting tool for positive and negative sightings, to enable anyone who chooses to survey anywhere to get that info to us, and then on to NYS and USDA.  That website is at:  http://www.cornellplantations.org/hwa.

For more information about hemlock woolly adelgid, emerald ash borer, and other invasive species threats to our lands, forests, and waters, please go to the New York Invasive Species Clearinghouse.

Six Mile Creek, Trees and Water

Walk in the Park, episode 62, is now playing on Ithaca’s public access cable TV channel 13 (or 97.3)! Watch it Thursday night, 11/21/13, at 9:00, Saturday or Sunday at 10:30 a.m., or finally Tuesday, 11/26, at 8:00 p.m. Or here online!

Six Mile Creek has been the City of Ithaca’s water supply for more than 100 years. Two reservoir dams were built upstream in the watershed, but only the upper reservoir (“Third Dam” or “60-foot Dam”) now supplies municipal water. Join us as Roxy Johnston, the City’s Watershed Coordinator, takes us on a walk and talk tour in the Six Mile Creek Natural Area, telling us of the history of the watershed and the major rebuilding and renovation that is taking place now.

Construction of reservoir dam in Six Mile Creek watershed, Ithaca, NY Finger Lakes

In 1903, workers build one of the two dams in Six Mile Creek that have supplied the City of Ithaca's water supply. Photo courtesy of Roxy Johnston, City of Ithaca

We also join Mark Whitmore, forest entomologist from Cornell, as he explains the immense threats to our forests and our watershed from two invasive insects that attack major trees in our woodlands and gorges, including the eastern hemlock and all species of ash. Last episode, Whitmore explained the huge challenge forced upon us by the hemlock woolly adelgid, which we found in the Six Mile Creek Natural Area. This time, he addresses the emerald ash borer which is advancing toward us and will wipe out nearly all of our ash trees in our countryside and in town. Find out what we can do to respond to these inevitable assaults on our environment. [PLEASE NOTE: Late in the program, I mention, mistakenly, that there had been a report of the occurrence of emerald ash borer in Watkins Glen State Park. In fact, there is no record of any such report. My bad. Please ignore!]

Watch the show online here!

And, by the way, our popular book, ITHACA–THE CITY, GORGES, AND COLLEGES, is now out as an ebook. Check out the sample pages!

Gorge Tree Killer!

Walk in the Park TV episode 61

In the past few years, an alien invader has arrived in our forests in the Finger Lakes region, particularly in our gorges, and has begun to kill the eastern hemlock, one of our most beautiful species of trees. The culprit? A tiny, aphid-like insect called the “hemlock woolly adelgid.” It’s been found in Robert H. Treman State Park, it’s at Taughannock Falls, at Cornell Plantations, in Watkins Glen State Park, and at other sites.

This eastern hemlock tree at Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca, NY is infested with the hemlock woolly adelgid and has been marked for possible treatment. The needles on the branches in the canopy of the tree are already heavily thinned. If all the needles and twigs die, the tree will die. Hemlock trees are an important ecological and aesthetic component of our forests, particularly in our gorges.

In this show, we join Mark Whitmore, forest entomologist at Cornell University, and the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network to look for this deadly invader from Asia in the Sixmile Creek Natural Area. Will we find it? What can be done about it? See the show to find out!

You can watch the show in the Ithaca, NY area on public access cable TV channel 13 (or 97.3). The first showing is tonight, Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 9:00. See the full schedule of showings.

Or watch it right here!

For more information on this and other invasive species in New York State, please visit the New York Invasive Species Clearinghouse website.

And, by the way, our popular book, ITHACA–THE CITY, GORGES, AND COLLEGES, is now out as an ebook. Check out the sample pages!

Land Trust Preserves and Monarch Butterflies

New England aster wildflower, Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve, Finger Lakes Land Trust, near Ithaca, NY in the Town of Dryden

New England aster at the entrance to the Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve near Ithaca, NY.

In episode 58 of Walk in the Park TV, we visit two Finger Lakes Land Trust Nature Preserves: Ellis Hollow Preserve in the Cascadilla Creek watershed east of Ithaca, NY and the Baldwin Tract of the Roy H. Park Preserve in the upper Sixmile Creek watershed between Dryden, NY and Slaterville Springs and next to Hammond Hill. While there, we take a close look at a monarch butterfly and consider its life cycle and reasons for its serious recent decline.

Watch this episode this week on Ithaca’s public access cable TV channel 13 (or 97.3) at the following schedule, or right here online!

Waterfront Parks in Ithaca: Cass Park, Treman Marina, and East Shore Park

Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on Ithaca’s public access cable channel 13 (or 97.3), next Tuesday, September 17 at 8:00, and right now, below, online!

South end of Cayuga Lake, Ithaca NY, Finger Lakes, aerial

The south end of Cayuga Lake. Photo by Bill Hecht

This week on Walk in the Park TV (episode 55), we visit Cass Park and Allan H. Treman State Marine Park, in the city of Ithaca and along Cayuga Inlet and Cayuga Lake. We also look at the new interpretive sign at East Shore Park in the Town of Ithaca, the only public access to Cayuga Lake in the Town.

At Cass Park, we look at severe damage to trees from the Labor Day storm. At Treman Marina, we visit with Allison of the Finger Lakes Institute as she explains how she inspects boats at the marina and educates boaters about “aquatic hitchhikers,” invasive aquatic plants, including hydrilla, that can become attached to boats with the danger that they will be transported to other waters.

We also pop over to Seneca Lake and Schuyler County to look at footage of Hector Falls swollen by the Labor Day rainstorm. And we also enjoy the abstract patterns of rippling water at Buttermilk Falls State Park in Ithaca.

We begin this episode, recorded on Sept. 11, 2013, with a tribute to the people who lost their lives in New York City in the World Trade Center attacks twelve years ago, and visit the National 9-11 Memorial.

Watch it here!

Walk in the Park episode 55 starts tonight!


Taughannock Falls State Park, at the end of the Gorge Trail, Trumansburg, NY, near Ithaca, in the Finger Lakes.

Taughannock Falls

Walk in the Park TV episode 55, recorded on September 11, 2013, will premiere tonight on Ithaca, NY’s public access cable channel 13 (or 97.3) at  9:00 p.m. It will repeat according to this schedule through next Tuesday. And it will be posted on this vidblog soon! Check back at walkinpark.com soon to watch the show online.

 

Getting the Drift on Cayuga Lake


Driftwood and other debris at Stewart Park in Ithaca, NY

Accumulated debris at Stewart Park along the shore of Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, NY

It’s quite a mess, isn’t it? Logs, branches, other plant material, and trash often wash up to the shore at Stewart Park at the south end of Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, NY following heavy rains and flash floods in the watershed. Fall Creek and Cayuga Inlet, the two largest streams entering the lake (with the exception of the Seneca River at the extreme northern end) are channelized through the city and shoot their flood-fed pulses of muddy, debris-laden floodwaters into the lake at the farther end of the scene depicted here. Prevailing winds from the west (the horizon) tend to push floating material to the southeast corner of the lake, making a mess at what might otherwise be a nice beach.

This probably explains why the very aggressive invasive aquatic weed hydrilla has recently been found in this area, formerly thought to be confined to Cayuga Inlet where eradication efforts have been working well. This opens up a whole new dimension to the battle to keep this plant from taking over all the shallow areas of the lake and spreading to the entire Finger Lakes-Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system. Find out more in this week’s current episode of Walk in the Park TV, showing here online and this morning (Sunday, 9/8/13) at 10:30 a.m. on Ithaca’s public access channel 13 (or 97.3), and again finally on Tuesday, 9/10/13 at 8:00 p.m.

Round Goby

The invasive fish round goby has been found in Cayuga Lake.

This small fish from Eurasia may have a big impact on the ecology of Cayuga Lake. Photo by Nate Tessler, from the Ohio DNR

This small species of fish has been found near Taughannock Falls State Park. Though it may feed some on the invasive zebra mussel, it is not likely to have a significant impact on reducing that species. Instead, it will likely cause a reduction of native fish due to habitat competition and it’s appetite for fish eggs. Find out more in this week’s episode 54 of Walk in the Park TV, here online and on Ithaca’s public access channel 13 (or 97.3), showing at 10:30 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

 

Hydrilla and Round Gobies in Cayuga Lake

Episode 54 of Walk in the Park TV is now showing! See it beginning tonight (Thursday, 9/5/13) at 9:00 on Ithaca, NY’s public access cable channel 13 (or 97.3) or right here online!

In our show today:
The aggressive invasive aquatic weed Hydrilla was discovered in Cayuga Inlet in Ithaca a couple of years ago by the Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom. A massive effort to control this plant has greatly reduced its numbers, but recently plants were found in nearby Fall Creek and in Cayuga Lake itself near Stewart Park, an alarming development as this plant could threaten to clog shallow waters throughout the Great Lakes basin. Also discovered in Cayuga Lake for the first time is the invasive exotic fish the round goby, seen near Taughannock Point at Taughannock Falls State Park.
Finally, we go back to Stewart Park for the 30th annual Labor Picnic on Labor Day, sponsored by the Mdistate Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and the Tompkins County Worker Center. Heros in the movement to get more employers to pay a living wage in the county were honored. The Evil City String Band put on a little concert.

See the show here now!  (29 minutes)