Pets & Conservation 09.12.19

Plateau People at Work Lecture series kicks off with Rensselaer Plateau Alliance

Sept 12, 2019, Sand Lake Town Hall, 7 PM– The Rensselaer Plateau Alliance’s 2019 – ‘20 lecture series, Plateau People at Work, kicks off with a talk by Matt Zema of Zema’s Nursery and Garden Center, Stephentown. Matt will talk about the nursery’s use of Integrated Pest Management, about fall flowers, and about getting our gardens ready for winter. Zema’s Nursery and Garden Center has provided annuals, perennials, vegetables, trees and landscaping services for over 40 years. Matt and his family started their nursery business in 1975. They built their first greenhouse in 1978.

$5 suggested donation goes directly to support land and water conservation on the Rensselaer Plateau.

10th Annual Rensselaer Plateau Traverse

Saturday, September 14-Sunday, September 15

Rensselaer Plateau Traverse Hike

Pineridge Cross Country Ski Center, 1463 Plank Road, Petersburgh NY

Co-sponsored by Rensselaer Plateau Alliance, Rensselaer Land Trust, Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center, Friends of Dyken Pond, and Pineridge Cross Country Ski Area.

Join the company of enthusiastic hikers and nature lovers for one or both days of this fun annual adventure!

Saturday, Sept 14: We’ll meet at Pineridge Cross Country Ski Area at 7:30 am and take shuttle buses to our starting point just below the plateau escarpment. We will spend the day hiking back to Pineridge (about 16 miles – mostly on trails, but with some bushwhacking). Participants are welcome to pitch a tent and spend the night. We will have a potluck dinner after the Saturday hike. Sunday, Sept 15: We’ll leave Pineridge by 8 am on Sunday to hike to the other half of the Plateau (about 16 miles on trails, logging roads, and some bushwhacking). Shuttle buses will bring participants back to Pineridge at the end of the day.

Learn More/Register by contacting Dan at or calling the RPA office at 518-712-9211. Please register by Sept 12. $10 suggested donation covers the cost of the event and supports conservation in Rensselaer County.

Mindful Nature Walk to welcome Autumn

Sunday, September 22, 8:30 – 10:30 pm — Rensselaer Plateau Alliance’s Poestenkill Community Forest, 200 Legenbauer Rd, Averill Park (in East Poestenkill). Nature has the ability to calm, inspire, and restore us, free of charge, and in all seasons. RPA’s Community Forests were established to serve you – our community members – in every way possible. Let Molly help you connect to the forest and your own sense of peace and well-being. Molly will offer Mindful Nature Walks on a monthly basis, making use of her training as a Kripalu Certified Mindful Outdoor Guide. Ages 12 and up. Any questions? Reach out to Molly: or 978-239-8105

$5 – $10 suggested donation goes to support RPA’s conservation work.

Join the Arbor Day Foundation in September and Receive 10 Free Trees

Everyone who joins the Arbor Day Foundation in September will receive 10 free trees as part of the Foundation’s Trees for America program.

Through Trees for America, everyone is encouraged to plant trees, which benefit the environment and improve the quality of life. With nearly 1 million members and supporters, the Arbor Day Foundation is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees.

Everyone who joins this month will receive one of the following tree packages based on their location: 10 Arizona cypress, 10 live oak or 10 mix trees including eastern redbud, white pine, sugar maple, white flowering dogwood, pin oak, red maple, river birch, silver maple, northern red oak and Colorado blue spruce.

“These trees are carefully selected to yield year-round benefits, including beautiful spring flowers, cool summer shade, spectacular autumn colors, winter berries, and nesting sites for songbirds,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation.

“These trees will also add to the proud heritage of your state’s Tree City USA communities.” Harris continued. “For the past 43 years, Tree City USA has supported effective urban forestry management across the country and planting these trees will enhance this tree-planting tradition.”

The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting between October 15 and December 10. The 6- to 12-inch trees are guaranteed to grow or they will be replaced free of charge. Easy-to-follow planting instructions are enclosed with each shipment of trees.

New members of the Arbor Day Foundation will also receive The Tree Book, which includes information about tree planting and care.

To receive the 10 free trees, visit or send a $10 membership contribution by September 30 to:

Arbor Day Foundation

Ten Trees

100 Arbor Ave.

Nebraska City, NE 68410

Howl’een in the Park Oct 13 12-4

Come join the Sand Lake Dog Park and Open Spaces Committees for a SPOOKTACULAR fun time and help raise funds to meet our goal of $25,000 for construction of the

Sand Lake Dog Parkat the Sand Lake Walking Trials on Eastern Union Turnpike. We will have a photographer, vendors, community groups, and live music but the

highlight of the event will be the Costume Parade with town officials judging various categories of dog and dog/handler teams based on originality, showmanship and detail. Registration for the costume parade will be $20/dog in advance or $25/dog at the event. All dogs must be leashed. All costume parade registration fees must be received by October 10 to be eligible for pre-event discount. Community groups and vendors are invited to set up booths at the event, but donations to the Sand Lake Dog Park will be greatly appreciated. Local businesses and interested community members are invited to make donations and become sponsors of the Sand Lake Dog Park. Costume Parade registrations and SLDP donations can be made by check payable to Town of Sand Lake (write Dog Park on the memo line) and mailed to Dog Park Treasurer, 110 Edgewood Drive, Averill Park, NY 12018 or purchased online at the Eventbrite website or on the Sand Lake Dog Park Facebook page event link. SLDP donations (not Costume Parade registrations) can also be made online by visiting the Sand Lake Dog Park gofundme page at

Mushroom Identification Series

Rensselaer Land Trust (RLT) and Rensselaer Plateau Alliance (RPA) are partnering to bring our communities unique opportunities to get outside this fall. More information and registration at

September 28 • 10 a.m.–noon Mushroom Walk with John Wheeler.

John Wheeler from the Berkshire Mycological Society will lead us into the woods at one of our Preserves or Forests on the Rensselaer Plateau. Participants will have a chance to develop their field skills in mushroom identification.

October 19 • 10 a.m.–noon Mushroom Walk for Beginners with Sue Van Hook Mycologist.

Sue will lead us into the woods at one of our Preserves or Forests on the Rensselaer Plateau. Participants will have a chance to develop their field skills in mushroom identification.

October 19 • 1–3 p.m.: Learn to Key Mushrooms with Sue Van Hook, Mycologist. Sue will guide us in the use of books and keys to identify some of our local mushrooms.

September Programs at Grafton Lakes State Park

Saturday, 9/14 —Dickinson Fire Tower Hike 1pm. Preregister*

Saturday, 9/14—Full Moon Hike 7pm—Preregister*

Saturday, 9/21—Bark & Brew 11am-3pm— It’s a match made in heaven: a day full of dogs and craft beer tasting! Come enjoy a day in the park with your furry friend and help support local rescue organizations!

Saturday, 9/28— Beach Yoga 9:30am. Ages 16+. Bring own mat. $5/person. Preregister*

Saturday, 9/28 – Nature Hike w/ Friends of GLSP 2pm. Meet at Welcome Center.

Saturday, 9/28—Soundwalk w/ Friends of GLSP Soundwalk 3pm. Join a meditative Autumn Ramble soundwalk: focus on listening rather than just looking. Meet at the welcome center.

Saturday, 9/28—Friends of GLSP Potluck 4–7pm. Current member and prospective members welcome at the annual Friends of Grafton Lakes State Park potluck!

Saturday, 9/28 — Evening Explorers 6:30pm. Ages 8+. Preregister*

Preregister by calling 518-279-1155, ext 2.

Hunting Licenses Town of Schodack

Debra L. Curtis, the Schodack Town Clerk, wishes to remind hunters that hunting licenses went on sale August 1, 2019. For hunting and trapping licenses, the license year runs form September 1, 2019 – August 31, 2020. Annual fishing licenses and recreational marine fishing registration are valid for 365 days from date of purchase.

Deer management permits (DMPs) will be available via an instant lottery from August 1, 2019 through the close of business on Oct. 1, 2019.

We also have a limited supply of Federal Duck Stamps available at a cost of $26.00 ($25.00 plus $1.00 revenue for the town).

The Town Clerk’s Office is open Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Please be sure to have your driver’s license or an old hunting license to expedite processing of your new license.

Hiking & Rensselaer Naturalist Series Programs

Rensselaer Land Trust (RLT) and Rensselaer Plateau Alliance (RPA) are partnering to bring our communities unique opportunities to get outside this fall. More information and registration at

Mushroom Naturalist Series

September 28 • 10 a.m.–noon

September Mushroom Walk with John Wheeler.

October 19

10 a.m.–noon: Mushroom Walk for Beginners with Sue Van Hook

1–3 p.m.: Learn to Key Mushrooms with Sue Van Hook

Taconic Crest Trail Hike

September 7 • 9 a.m.: Robinson Hollow to Madden Road in Hancock, MA 6 miles. Leader: Nick Conrad

October 5 • 9 a.m.: Potter Road in Hancock, MA to south end near New Lebanon, 10.5 miles. Leader: Nick Conrad

Attention Dog Owners in the Town of Schodack

Debra L. Curtis, the Schodack Town Clerk, wishes to remind residents that under NYS Agriculture and Markets Law Article VII, §109, all dogs are required to be licensed by four months of age and under Town Law §109-5, all dogs, when not confined to the property of their owner, must be under control and on a leash not in excess of 12 feet in length. Leash length is reduced to 6 feet when walking within the Town Park.

To obtain a dog license, a copy of the current Rabies Certificate, which must be valid for more than 30 days prior to licensing and must be signed by a licensed veterinarian, and proof that the animal has been altered, must be provided. The cost for a spayed/neutered dog is $7.00 and an unspayed/ unneutered dog is $15.00. One tag is issued for the lifetime of the license; however, in the event of loss, it can be replaced at a cost of $3.00. A renewal letter will be sent on an annual basis, based upon the anniversary of the license.

If you have any questions, please visit the Schodack Town Clerk’s office, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Schodack Town Hall, 265 Schuurman Road, Castleton, NY 12033 or please call 518-477-7590.

Attention Dog Owners in the Town of East Greenbush

Kim Carlock, the East Greenbush Town Clerk, wishes to remind residents that under NYS Agriculture and Markets Law Article VII, §109, all dogs are required to be licensed by four months of age and under Local Law §NO 4 1971, all dogs, when not confined to the property of their owner, must be under control and on a leash not in excess of 8 feet in length.

To obtain a dog license, a copy of the current Rabies Certificate and proof that the animal has been altered, must be presented to the Town Clerk’s Office during office hours. The cost for a spayed/neutered dog is $15.00 and an unspayed/unneutered dog is $20.00. A renewal letter will be sent on an annual basis, based upon the anniversary of the license.

In the Town Park, dogs MUST be on leash at all times. This includes while in the park and on the trails, unless they are in the Dog Park. You MUST have a permit for the Dog Park.

Dog Park Permits may be purchased at the Town Clerk’s Office for $15.00 for Town Residents. The Rules for the Town Dog Park can be found on our web site at

If you have any questions or need to obtain a license or a permit please visit the East Greenbush Town Clerk’s office, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 225 Columbia Turnpike, Rensselaer NY 12144. Our contact info is 518-477-7145 or Enjoy the rest of the summer!!

Kimberly Carlock, East Greenbush Town Clerk

It’s the Law!

New York State Law requires that all dogs to be licensed annually. The State requires that all Town Clerks’ office process them in their local municipality. Before a license can be issued or renewed, current proof of rabies vaccination must be provided. The NYS Dept of Agriculture & Markets & NYS Health Dept. requires all dogs FOUR months of age or older to be vaccinated for rabies. This information is crucial for the general public’s well-being. The Town of Sand Lake does have a Leash Law. In addition, if your dog is lost, stolen or dies, New York State law requires you to notify the Town Clerk’s Office. Failure to comply with this law can result in court appearance tickets. Unlicensed dogs are subject to seizure on or off the premises of the owner under Art. 7 117(b). Check the Town’s website for additional information regarding the Town’s Dog Laws. For more information call Barbara Biittig, Sand Lake Town Clerk @ 518-674-2026 ext 122 or Animal Control Officer @ 518-477-8230.

Sand Lake Garden Club continues to celebrate their 25th year with more hints for your Garden

• Give your summer-blooming roses some fertilizer for a continuous show.

• Due to the rain and humidity, powdery mildew can become an issue. A fungicide spray may be needed to battle powdery mildew on plants.

• Mulch your gardens to conserve moisture and discourage weeds

SLGC celebrating 25 years in the town of Sand Lake

Please enjoy these gardening hints from the Sand Lake Garden Club

• Sharpen lawn mower blades, since dull blades can damage grass. Set your mower to mow at 3 inches high to encourage the development of a deep root system.

• Keep an eye out for pests by watching for yellowing leaves, wilted new growth or twisted foliage. A close look (especially at the underside of a leaf) might reveal mites, aphids or something else!

• Enjoy your garden. Step back and look at all your successes. Have a garden party and share your garden with others.

Sand Lake Garden Club – Hints for you Garden

As our growing season continues so do the garden hints from Sand Lake Garden Club, celebrating their 25th anniversary.

• It’s harvest time! The fruits of our labor are starting to show! Some cold crops ready for harvesting are peas, lettuce, early beans and summer squash. As space is made in the garden, one can consider using the space for a second crop.

• Be sure your plants get at least one inch of water per week. It is better to water in the morning or the evening and avoid the heat mid-day when a lot of water would be lost in evaporation.

• Don’t prune or fertilize trees and shrubs now. Any growth stimulated will likely not harden before winter and may kill the plant.

DEC Asks Public to Report Moose Sightings

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is asking the public to report moose sightings and observations. DEC and its research partners use these public sightings as indices of moose distribution and abundance in New York. This is part of a multi-year research project to obtain information on the status of New York State’s moose population, health of the moose, and the factors that influence moose survival and reproductive rate.

Most moose sightings occur within the Adirondacks, but neighboring states Connecticut and Massachusetts also have moose populations, resulting in observations in the southeast portion of New York.

The moose, a protected mammal in New York State, is the largest member of the deer family and the largest land mammal in New York. Bulls weigh from 600 to 1,200 pounds and stand up to six feet tall at the shoulder. Cows weigh anywhere from 500 to 800 pounds.

DEC reminds the public to respect wildlife by viewing from a distance, at least 50 feet away. Keep quiet, move slowly, and do not approach moose. Drive cautiously at dusk and at night in the Adirondacks.

Have you seen a moose? Let DEC know by reporting your observations using the online form. Share your moose encounters by mailing in or e-mailing your photos to us.

DEC Announces Proposed Changes to Protect New York Deer and Moose from Chronic Wasting Disease

Public comments accepted through October 6

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that DEC is proposing several regulatory changes to further protect New York’s wild deer and moose from Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

“CWD poses a real and substantial threat to deer, elk, and moose populations across North America, and we take that risk seriously in New York,” said Commissioner Seggos. “Currently, there is no evidence of CWD in New York, and we want to keep it that way. With these proposed changes, DEC is reducing the potential that hunters or owners of captive deer may inadvertently bring this disease into New York.”

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “All New Yorkers have a stake in keeping both our wild deer population and our deer and elk farms free of Chronic Wasting Disease. We will continue to coordinate and work with the Department of Environmental Conservation, hunters, and our state’s deer and elk farmers to ensure these populations are healthy. Our deer farmers understand the importance of keeping New York CWD-free, and these updates will provide our veterinarians and veterinary technicians with additional assistance from DEC and allow for expanded testing abilities.”

CWD is a fatal and untreatable nervous-system disease affects deer, elk, and moose and is believed to be caused by abnormally shaped proteins called prions. CWD prions are shed through saliva, urine, and feces of infected animals. A healthy deer, elk, or moose can pick up the disease by direct contact with the infected animal’s body fluids or by eating contaminated sources of food or water.

DEC and the Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) recently finalized the New York State Interagency Chronic Wasting Disease Risk Minimization Plan, which includes recommendations to strengthen protection of New York’s wild white-tailed deer and moose populations, as well as captive cervids (deer and elk) held at enclosed breeding and shooting facilities.

Proposed changes include:

Expanding the prohibition on the importation of carcasses and carcass parts of CWD-susceptible animals to include all jurisdictions outside of New York;

Clarifying that the only parts of CWD-susceptible animals that may be imported into New York are deboned meat, cleaned skull cap, antlers with no flesh adhering, raw or processed cape or hide, cleaned teeth or lower jaw, and finished taxidermy products;

Modifying the list of species referenced in the regulations to only include known CWD-susceptible species;

Increasing the ease with which DEC’s Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) can enforce DAM regulations to ensure owners of captive-bred, CWD-susceptible animals comply with DAM’s captive cervid health requirements;

Clarifying disposal requirements for taxidermists that process CWD-susceptible animals; and

Removing text associated with feeding wild deer and moose, as that prohibition is being established in a separate rulemaking.

Public comments will be accepted on these proposals through Oct. 6, 2019. For more detailed explanations of these proposals and for instructions for submitting comments, visit DEC’s website.

Along with regulation changes affecting hunters, DEC biologists and DAM veterinarians will be conducting joint inspections of captive deer and elk facilities and improving record-sharing among agencies to increase compliance with cervid health requirements. DEC and DAM will also explore several potential oversight and CWD-testing improvements for captive cervid facilities.

DEC issued the following advice to reduce the likelihood that CWD will come into New York.

Hunters, taxidermists, and deer processors are directed to:

Not import whole deer, elk, moose, or caribou carcasses into New York;

Avoid natural deer urine-based attractants and use synthetics forms instead; and

Dispose of carcasses and carcass parts properly at approved landfills.

All New Yorkers are encouraged to:

Report sick or abnormally behaving deer;

Not feed wild deer or moose; and

Report violators.

DEC also recently announced that new proposed regulations for the feeding of wild deer and moose and the use of 4-PosterTM devices are available for public comment until Sept. 1, 2019. The measure is needed to strengthen and clarify the existing prohibition on the intentional feeding of wild deer and moose. Prohibiting the feeding of wild deer and moose is a best management approach to reduce risks associated with communicable wildlife diseases like chronic wasting disease, minimize conflicts with deer, and protect wildlife habitats. More information can be found on DEC’s website.

To learn more about CWD and DEC efforts to protect wild deer and moose in New York, visit DEC’s website.

New York State Hunting and Trapping Education Courses Now Available

Training Required before Purchasing a Hunting License

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today reminded all new hunters and trappers that registration for required hunter education classes is now open. Courses fill quickly and interested hunters and trappers are encouraged to register early. Each year, more than 45,000 New Yorkers take DEC’s hunter and trapper education courses.

Commissioner Seggos said, “Hunting in New York is a proud tradition that helps us manage our state’s incredible natural resources. Before getting their license and going afield, all new hunters and trappers must complete a hunter, bowhunter, or trapper education course. I encourage all prospective hunters and trappers to sign up for one of the hundreds of courses offered across New York over the next several months by our dedicated volunteer instructors. We’re proud of our hunting safety record in New York, in part because of DEC’s Hunter Education Program, which teaches the principles of safe, ethical hunting.”

DEC works closely with thousands of dedicated, DEC-certified instructors statewide to provide these training courses free of charge. Courses are offered for Hunter Education, Bowhunter Education, Trapper Education, and Waterfowl Hunter Education.

DEC’s online registration system makes it easy to view a list of available courses. Students can register from any device—smartphone, tablet, or computer—24 hours a day, seven days a week. Courses are added continuously throughout the year, so those interested should regularly check the online system to find a course near them. To locate a hunter or trapper education course, visit DEC’s website or contact a local DEC office for assistance.

Students must complete homework prior to attending the required classroom and field course. The homework portion of the course provides an introduction to the subject and enhances students’ understanding of the course material. Proof of the completed homework is required to attend the course. Students should register for the course well in advance of the course date to allow time to complete the homework requirement, which can take several hours.

Access to the homework materials and online homework options can be found on DEC’s website or you can follow the guidelines listed in the course announcement when you register for a course. Course manuals and homework sheets are always available from DEC wildlife offices and Hunter Education Program instructors.

Federal Agency Asks Fish and Wildlife Service to Start Over on Crucial Permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline

Reinitiation of Endangered Species Act Consultation Should Halt All Work on Fracked Gas Pipeline

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the federal agency tasked with reviewing and approving interstate gas pipelines, requested that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) reinitiate consultation on its Endangered Species Act permit for the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline. Because the project does not have a valid Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement, all work on the pipeline should halt until a new one is issued. Today’s announcement comes one week after a coalition of conservation groups requested a stay while courts review their legal challenge to the FWS’s approval for the 303-mile pipeline.

In response, Sierra Club Staff Attorney Elly Benson released the following statement:

“We have said all along that there is no right way to build this dirty, dangerous fracked gas pipeline. Mountain Valley Pipeline has already destroyed and degraded the habitat of endangered species, and all construction should be halted immediately. It’s going to take more than half-measures to protect our endangered species, climate, and communities. Mountain Valley Pipeline should read the writing on the wall and shut this project down once and for all.”

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s General Counsel Anne Havemann stated:

“The rush to build this unnecessary and harmful pipeline has polluted drinking water, harmed livelihoods, triggered landslides, and further threatened already endangered species. Despite the devastation that construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline has left in its wake and despite the lack of valid permits, construction on much of this dangerous pipeline continues. FERC must stop work on the entire pipeline — to do otherwise is completely unacceptable.”

David Sligh, Conservation Director for Wild Virginia stated:

“The Mountain Valley Pipeline threatens some of our most sensitive and precious species and must be stopped. Regulators at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have now agreed with advocates that the Fish and Wildlife Service failed in its duty under the Endangered Species Act. Now the Service must go back and do the job right. We are confident that an honest analysis will show that this pipeline cannot be built without harming these species and and it should be abandoned.”

Jason Rylander, Senior Endangered Species Counsel for Defenders of Wildlife stated:

“The Fish and Wildlife Service’s original biological opinion was wholly inadequate to protect imperiled species in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Further construction on the pipeline must cease while the Service conducts this necessary review of its impacts.”

Roberta Bondurant, of Preserve Bent Mountain, stated:

“Under MVP construction we’ve witnessed a financially failing fox assert it could guard the henhouse, while disregarding and flaunting all rules in broad daylight, in plain view. MVP has given new meaning to the word ‘lawless.’ We persevere in seeking a full stay of construction in protection of our fragile species, our great places. For our next generations, we seek the Rule of Law.”

Jared Margolis, of the Center for Biological Diversity, stated:

“There’s no doubt that the Mountain Valley Pipeline is a disaster for imperiled wildlife and our waterways, but FERC needs to do more than simply renew its analysis of those threats. This pipeline should be cancelled entirely to protect the public interest and prevent further harm to our climate. Regulators need to stop putting corporate profits ahead of safeguarding our environment.”

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