Tag Archives: Cracker Box Palace

L.O.V.E. = LAKE ONTARIO’S VALUED ECOSYSTEMS

14 Jun

L.O.V.E. = LAKE ONTARIO’S VALUED ECOSYSTEMS.

BY KRISTEN MOORE

Sun shines over Lake Ontario from Scott's Bluffs

A sunny afternoon glimmers from the eastern edge of Scott’s Bluffs.

When winter seemed like it would never end, this acronym came to me. Clean water has always been important to me, especially growing up beside Lake Ontario.

The lands along Lake Ontario’s southern shore are abundant with wildlife ranging from Bald Eagles, Ospreys and Great Blue Herons to turtles, trout and trillium. As an adventure educator, I hope experiential learning will captivate people and foster healthy behaviors including outdoor exercise, recreation and stewardship.

The Red Creek Marsh Unit is an area I’ve enjoyed exploring for years. Reading books in the shade of tall oaks, kayaking, picnicking, clearing litter and invasive species; I know it well. Mute swans and Canada geese rely upon these waters, as do turtles, beavers, raptors and others.

Still marsh waters foster huge reflection of sky and greenery

Still waters create a mirror of the sky, with a single lily pad showing off in the foreground.

Sunlight and white, puffy clouds reflect upon a marsh's waters beside the nose of a green kayak

White, puffy clouds and sunshine reflect from the waters of the Red Creek Marsh Unit.

Water chestnut is due to grow in here soon. Hydra algal blooms have been a problem in the past. Poison oak here has harmed me, along with wild parsnip? This wild area is a treasure to marvel and care for.

Sodus Bay, with Chimney Bluffs to the east and Crackerbox Palace/Alasa Farms to the south; the bay and lake have defined life in this area for quite a long time! Historic Huron and the Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum both have artifacts and information about our local families and culture that demonstrate great richness of people and environment.

A black horse named "Double" looks over the fence at the photographer.

“Double” looks at the camera, perhaps wondering if baby carrots are to be enjoyed today.

Stone Bench and View at Alasa Farms

This stone bench sits beside the eastern pastures at Alasa Farms. An animal sanctuary and Genesee Land Trust property, Cracker Box Palace is a gift to many species.

What can we do for L.O.V.E.? We can participate in invasive species removal events. We can clean spaces of litter, take pictures & video-while posting on social media. We can conduct watershed education with events like kayaking with local historians and conservation leaders. We can explore the geology of our beaches and bluffs, igniting people to learn about our glacial history and earth sciences. We can help Randy maintain trails at Crackerbox Palace/Alasa Farms. We can raise pints from Lunkenheimer’s to support the Genesee Land Trust and Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum!

These spaces thrill me with their variety, rhythms and life. To me they are L.O.V.E., Lake Ontario’s Valued Ecosystems.

Oh, ho, ho December!

14 Dec

The holiday bells are ringing and I’m squeezing a post in while I wait for my car to be serviced. Festive gatherings are making me jubilant and inspired!

As sugary delights taunt me, I’m adding in additional exercise and fun. Socializing and being physically active increase energy unlike the negative effects of too many holiday treats.

At a recent party, another guest revealed that he had followed my blog but he had never received it! It was a friendly reminder to get back here.

Joining the National Audubon Society as an environmental educator this spring has been an exhilarating realization of my work and education. Working with Audubon to achieve our mission to conserve habitats for birds in the face of climate change is tangible work of great value for so many reasons. Delivering educational programming to children and adults at the Seneca Meadows Education Center and Wetlands Preserve is a true delight and honor. Audubon’s work teaching people about birds and how to help them directly achieves the goal I’ve state here; to connect people to the places where we work and play.

A volunteer potluck dinner at the Montezuma Audubon Center this month surpassed my expectations. Guests were surprised with a feast of venison and veggie chilis, chicken french, ordeurves, mashed potatoes and numerous desserts; including cream puffs shaped as swans! We talked about rare bird sightings and favored nature preserves, how fun our field trips are and the latest environmental news. Volunteer work ranges from gardening flower beds, running a store register to setting up and breaking down for events. The opportunities to meet others sharing the same interests and to learn are abundant. MARSH works in the Montezuma Wetlands complex area, while I often arrange events along Lake Ontario’s shore, cleaning beaches and collecting water chestnuts, for example. Working alongside others interested in helping birds, increasing positive feelings of engagement and widening our understanding of issues is proactive.

Many volunteer opportunities are in the warmer seasons but there may still be opportunities to contribute and get outside. Researching these organizations and learning about their work can help us remember Spring will come again!

Another place that protects water quality and provides habitat for wildlife and rescued domestic animals is Cracker Box Palace at Alasa Farms, on the southern shore of Sodus Bay on Lake Ontario. An animal sanctuary situated on a Genesee Land trust property, this historic farm is comprised of diverse lands beside the bay. Over 200 rescued farm animals call this property home, relying on three or four staff members and numerous volunteers. A network of trails is available for visitors to experience protected lands including bay views, forest paths and waterfalls in a stream salmon rely upon.

Amazing places surround us, ripe for our discovery and stewardship. Wild, silly, creative people are all around, yearning to engage-to be involved, be valuable and valued-to share joy. These gifts of the season, I wish for us all.

For those who might need a tangible gift, South Shore Artisans in Fair Haven, NY is full of locally made creations. Drop in to find durable pottery, colorful, joyous paintings, and much more throughout the co-op’s three rooms. Avoiding waste and supporting local artists are actions with more benefit than we may remember. Happy Holidays!