Glimpse of Nature 51. A look at changing fall colors through the branches of an old growth oak tree in Martin Nature Preserve of the Finger Lakes Land Trust in Schuyler County, NY.
I have started a new short video series as part of my YouTube channel, “Walk in the Park.” It’s called, “Gorges TV.” My first episode is called, “Trees Hang On,” and I explain how trees adapt to living on the side of gorge. It’s five minutes long and has lots of pictures of amazing trees in Buttermilk Falls State Park in Ithaca, NY. Here it is…
Check out my other videos on my YouTube channel.
The Cayuga Trail is one of the shorter paths maintained by the Cayuga Trails Club. It begins at the Stewart Avenue Bridge over Fall Creek Gorge just above Ithaca Falls and continues along Fall Creek through the Cornell campus and Cornell Plantations all the way to Varna.
Above Triphammer Falls and Dam is little Beebe Lake.
Beebe Lake closes in to become a small gorge on its eastern end.
Back farther downstream, the Suspension Bridge crosses Fall Creek Gorge, joining the Cornell Arts Quad with the neighborhood on the north side of the chasm. Sorrowfully, in recent years there were several suicides by despairing students who jumped from bridges over gorges on the Cornell campus. Amid much controversy, Cornell administrators decided to put up high fences on the sides of all the bridges over the gorges and along cliffs by the trail.
The fences may have prevented additional distressed students from impulsively “gorging out,” as it used to be called. But they also have put a frustrating aesthetic barrier between pedestrians, motorists and the spectacular beauty the gorges present.
Cornell plans to install safety nets below most bridges over Cascadilla and Fall Creek gorges near its campus. Hopefully these will be effective for their purpose with minimum obstruction of the views, and will permit the removal of most of the fences. See a TV broadcast about the nets.
Meanwhile, Cornell has become a leader among universities in providing students, faculty, and staff with resources to identify and help students who are at risk of suicide.
See the New York Times article last year about the fences.
A small American beech tree adds color to the understory of the forest along the Bear Trail in the upper portion of Buttemilk Falls State Park.
These colorful branches are on a small tree. Can you make out the trunk? It’s not that big tree in back, but the thin trunk before it. Unfortunately, this is an example of the size of beech you are likely to see in our forests these days.
Tragically, the American beech (Fagus grandifolia), a large and stately member of our forest community, has largely succumbed to beech bark disease, caused by the combined effects of an insect and a fungus. Most large trees have fallen, and small trees may emerge for awhile from roots.
The beech scale insect was introduced from abroad into Nova Scotia about 1890. This is just another example of the terrible losses of major tree species in our forests from introduced insects and diseases. Learn more about beech bark disease.
Meanwhile, please enjoy our fall colors nonetheless!