Tag Archives: Wayne County

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.

Sharing Concerns and Joys Helps Us All

15 Aug

Nature feeds me.  To run up a steep wooded trail and emerge high on a bluff overlooking an enormous inland sea, mere miles from my home, has been a great joy to me since I began high school.  Listening to the waves crash in consistent rhythm and to watch the sun as it sets upon the day brings me to the present moment and the wonder around us.  I’ve watched a solar eclipse with friends in these woods and spent many happy times with dogs and friends alike.  Each season offers something different, from snow covered beaches, to springtime melt and wildflowers, to summertime fun and vibrant Fall; our shore of Lake Ontario is an amazing location to be protected and savored.

An increase in news coverage and facilities, as well as the prevalence of social media has brought untold numbers of visitors to this fragile environment.  A local treasure, it is a fascinating place to witness quick changes in the landscape brought upon by erosion.  “Bluff mud or dirt” is a unique, colorful type of soil that can cake one’s shoes.  Pebbles beg for closer inspection and pockets or buckets often become filled with the rounded stones.  Visitor’s are directed not to remove stones from the beach but they often have a strong pull.

Sun shines upon Lake Ontario's blue waters as a dog walks along the varied shore, leaving paw prints in the clay.

Sun shines upon Lake Ontario’s blue waters as a dog walks along the varied shore, leaving paw prints in the clay.

Though I am happy to clean the beaches and shore, I’m bored by pictures of garbage myself! So, I’ve dug into my archives for some photos celebrating special times in varying spots in this stunning place.

Two dogs run in a happy play-date at water's edge. This was not taken at Chimney Bluffs where dogs are not allowed on the beach.

Two dogs run in a happy play-date at water’s edge. This was not taken at Chimney Bluffs where dogs are not allowed on the beach.

We impact others with purpose and by accident.  This balloon may have brought cheerful wishes to someone, but it came to rest upon the beach.  Balloons become tangled in nature and create traps for wildlife and clutter up the outdoors. Please use them with care if you must!

Balloons oftentimes get away from their owners and end up where they don't belong.

Balloons oftentimes get away from their owners and end up where they don’t belong.

Many people become overwhelmed by negative conditions or circumstances.  Sharing these troubles can be helpful.  This worry box was seen in Ithaca, NY at Gimme! Coffee two years ago.  A fourth grade class made it to gather coffee patrons worries and ease their discomfort.  How sweet!

Created by a class of fourth graders in Ithaca, NY, this worry box encourages coffee shop patrons to leave their worries behind.

Created by a class of fourth graders in Ithaca, NY, this worry box encourages coffee shop patrons to leave their worries behind.

"Join us in transforming this weight into hope."

“Join us in transforming this weight into hope.”

How does the worry box relate to Lake Ontario? Many of us DO worry about the lake and how the water affects us both positively and negatively.  Our behavior affects our environment.  We can change our behaviors for the better and share our concerns and successes.

Limiting use of plastic, in beverage bottles and shopping bags is a great place to start to change one’s own habits. Bottle caps, juice box straw sleeves and beverage containers are some of the most frequent debris left on beaches.

Join me August 20 at Chimney Bluffs at 9 am for a morning paddle and hike, before we clean the beaches of debris.  Contact me to reserve a kayak ASAP.  Great Lakes 2016 will be occurring on all of the Great Lakes as teams simultaneously test for micro plastics and clean shorelines.  Susan Peterson Gately‘s film, “Lake Ontario: A Quest for Hope” will also be showing in Fair Haven on August 20 at The American Legion from 4-7 pm.  Guest speaker Jean Siracusa of Happy Bee Heirloom Farm will be there.

Many people do care about the environment we share and each other.  Ursula Gaul Graf was one of those people.  Her legacy continues. A bench bearing her name invites visitors to sit on the west end of Chimney Bluffs State Park and to “Please Enjoy the View.”   This brass plate made me wonder who she was and led me to read about her life well-lived.  Please read her obituary and consider accept her invitation.

A brass nameplate shares Ursula Gaul Graf's wish for visitors to enjoy the view at Chimney Bluffs.

A brass nameplate on a bench beside Lake Ontario shares Ursula Gaul Graf’s wish for visitors to enjoy the view at Chimney Bluffs.