AsRA announces spring series of guided watershed tours
WILMINGTON — The Ausable River Association has announced the schedule for its free, guided interpretive outdoor programs in the northern Adirondacks this spring.
“We are excited to grow our popular guided watershed tours this year,” AsRA Executive Director Kelley Tucker said. “We’re offering guided tours in all seasons this year, and our spring tours will focus on native wildflowers, birds, bats and other Adirondack species.”
Three spring programs kick off the season. The first is a birding walk in a private preserve along the West Branch Ausable River. Dr. Larry Master, conservation biologist/zoologist and past Ausable River Association board chair, and Derek Rogers, ace birder and Stewardship Director with the Adirondack Land Trust, will lead this tour.
“This year’s programs include 15 guided trips to locations in the Ausable, Boquet, and Saranac River watersheds,” said Tyler Merriam, AsRA donor outreach manager.
The second tour is a wildflower identification walk and drawing workshop at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center. Cris Winters, a full-time artist from Saranac Lake with a scientific background in conservation biology and botanical illustration, will lead this tour. AsRA will provide some supplies for this drawing workshop.
“Hopefully people will continue drawing on their own after this experience,” Winters said. “For me, it’s meant to be a skill you can take home with you and use forever.”
The third tour is a moth and bat research night at John Brown Farm State Historic Site outside of Lake Placid. Master will also lead this tour, drawing on his experience as a bat researcher for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. He will use a bat detector hooked to a computer so that participants can listen to and view bat echolocation calls and learn how to identify bats that might be passing nearby. He will also set up a mercury vapor light behind a large sheet to attract some of the many species of night flying moths and other insects. The sheet keeps the insects safe and allows closer inspection for those attending.
“Some of our 2022 tours are back due to their past popularity and other tours are brand new,” Merriam said. “We’re excited to try new locations and bring in additional guest naturalists to further connect residents and visitors to our wild places and leave them with a better understanding of how to protect our biodiverse habitats.”
AsRA’s programs begin the weekend of May 21. Program dates, registration and additional information are available at www.ausableriver.org/events.