What's Your Nature?

Become a Nature Up North explorer to share your encounters with wild things and wild places in New York's North Country. Post your wildlife sightings, landscape shots, photos from your outings, and even you organization's events!


More than 25 students and community members came out to the St. Lawrence Sustainability Site on Saturday Sep. 30th to spend the afternoon discovering the various flora, fauna and fungi present on the 33.5 acre farm. The afternoon's back-to-back naturalist walks included a wild edible plant walk with Paul Hetzler (Cornell Cooperative Extension), a fungi expedition with Claire Burkum (SLU), a hunt for reptiles and amphibians (herps) with Tom Langen (Clarkson), and a bird walk with ornithologist Susan Wilson (SLU).

Tons of Painted Ladies! Once I got closer a variety of bees (some of which my be types of flies?) At least 6 distinct buzzing insects. And one Monarch.

During a nature walk on the Kip Trail one of the girl scouts from the Nikentsiaki Service Unit in Canton-deKalb spotted this little garter snake slithering across the trail. This one is an Eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis), a subspecies of the common garter - or garden - snake. 

Last night was the first hard frost at my house in Canton and at camp in Pierrepont.  Layer of ice on the windshield and beautiful ice crystals outlining so many things.  Lovely.

This even started at 2pm and went until ~6pm. Each walk had a specific topic and had presenters from either St Lawrence, Clarkson or the Cornell Cooperative Extension. The topics included edible/medicinal plants, fungi, herpatology and ornithology (birding). It was very informational and really fun. During our bird walk we got to see a young bald eagle and a large amount of ravens. The fact that this event was free makes the experience even better.

Friday the 15th of September our Intro to Environment and Society Class met with Professor Tim Messner from Suny Potsdam for a bow drill demonstration. A bow drill is a prehistoric fire starting tool. There are several steps that are very important when using a bow drill. The main pieces are a hearth board, the bow, the spindle, and the bearing block. I, Summer Scovil, was unsuccessful creating fire with the bow drill even after working all period to attempt to make fire. It is very exhausting physically after a while of work. I, Ariel Garvin, was successful creating fire.

Another fun trip to Wellesley, this time with the kayak. I stopped at the nature center to get some info on where to go. After talking with the volunteer I knew exactly where to go and how to get there. She also gave me a map, a kayak ID sticker, and reflective stickers for my paddle (for free!). She was extremely helpful and made the whole trip that much nicer. The water was so clear I could see the fish swimming underneath me. The weather was great and the water was not rough at all (granted I stay very close to shore). I plan on going back several more times.

The launch point for this lake is about 12 miles from the nearest paved road. This means that for the most part the lake is undisturbed. This is a great place to paddle along in a kayak when you have no where to be and plenty of time to get there. The water was very calm and quite clear. You can see the bottom in most places. One thing we did notice was the lack of large fish and waterfowl. After exploring around more we discovered that there was not a lot of aquatic vegetation so this is likely the reason. After a quick lunch we went to the stone dam farther up the road.

This is the fourth sixer that I have done. It is comparable to St Regis in the fact that it start out very easy then gets steep rapidly. The views are not 360 but they are still good. You have to hike a ways in before you get to where the trail splits into two directions, Haystack on the left and McKenzie on the right. After heading on the trail you come to a damn that is very easy to cross. A nice hike with moderate effort.

I am doing the Saranac 6 challenge and this is the third one I've done. It is the shortest one so I used it as a warm up for Haystack. Although it is not a long hike it is a bit steep. The false summit has more of a view than the actual summit. I was on the summit for a few minutes trying to find the trail to go on before I realized I had reached the end of it.