August 26, 2009
- Family Fun
- Upcoming DEC Events
- Hudson Valley - Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center
- Capital District - Five Rivers Environmental Education Center and Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center
- Adirondacks - Adirondack Park Agency Visitors Interpretive Centers at Newcomb and Paul Smiths
- Central New York - Rogers Environmental Education Center
- Western New York - Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center
Almost everything we make or use contains minerals--food, water, highways, cars, buildings, appliances and even medicine. New York State's minerals and some of the products that they are used to create include garnet (sandpaper), calcite (paint and paper), sphalerite/zinc ore (tires, nails, fireworks and sunscreen), halite/salt (food manufacturing), clay (bricks, ceramics), limestone (cement), quartz (glass, watches and televisions) and wollastonite (billiard balls, car parts and match heads). New York is known for a special type of quartz crystal called a Herkimer diamond that has points on both ends. They're fun to collect!
New York ranks among the top states in production of a variety of minerals. Mining companies remove the minerals from the surface or underground. When mining operations are done, the company must restore or "reclaim" the land. Farmland is the most common reclamation goal, but former mines can also be turned into community recreation areas, nature trails or wildlife habitat.
DEC's website has more information about New York's minerals (pdf - 3.2Mb).
Send us an e-mail and tell us what you think about Outdoor Discovery.
Mine Your Own Business
To better understand how mining works, get a bag of birdseed mix that contains sunflower seeds and other seeds. Buy some small, gold-colored, silver-colored and blue beads and medium-size white beads from a craft store. Give each person a pie tin or other shallow pan, and pour about one pound of the birdseed into each pan. Mix two gold beads, four silver beads, eight blue beads and three white beads into the birdseed pans. Search through the mixture and "mine" or separate the beads and sunflower seeds from the other types of seeds. Give each person about 5-10 minutes to complete their mining.
Now calculate the earnings from your "mining business" according to the following: Gold beads (gold - $5.00 each); silver beads (silver - $4.00 each); blue beads (copper - $3.00 each); sunflower seeds (iron - $2.00 each). Other seeds are "waste" and are worth nothing. White beads represent the cost of reclamation or making the land useful again. Subtract $100 from your total for each white bead. How much money did your mine make?
Fossils are traces of ancient plants or animals that have been preserved in the earth. When a plant or animal dies, minerals fill the spaces that are left after it decomposes and crystallizes. The shape of the original plant or animal is preserved as rock.
To make your own fossil, you will need an old sheet or towel, white polymer clay (to represent mud), plastic wrap, a rolling pin, aluminum foil and tweezers or a plastic knife. Go on a hike to collect treasures to use for your fossil art--pine cones, shells, leaves. Have an adult preheat an oven to 275 degrees while you lay out the sheet or towel on your work surface. Put the clay between two pieces of plastic wrap, and use the rolling pin to flatten it. Remove the plastic wrap, and press your "art" into the clay firmly. Cover with plastic wrap again, and gently flatten your art with the rolling pin.
Remove your "art" from the clay using the tweezers, and trim the edges of the clay to any shape that you want using the plastic knife. Place the clay on a baking sheet lined with foil, and bake for 8-10 minutes. Let your artwork cool, and paint it if you like.
Read Conservationist for Kids for more information and activities!
Nature Discovery After-School Programs
4:00 to 5:00 PM, each Thursday from September 3 through November 19
Attention kids of all ages! Bring a parent or other adult and discover the outdoors at Stony Kill together.
Saturday Morning Guided Walks
10:00 AM each Saturday during September
Join a Stony Kill naturalist as we take an easy, leisurely stroll along the Woodland Trail.
11:00 AM to 1:00 PM each Saturday during September and October
Come meet the livestock-cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens and turkeys-up close.
Hudson River Ramble Hike: Verplank Ridge
Saturday, September 5 at 2:00 PM
This leisurely 1.5-mile hike goes through wetland, meadow, thicket and forest habitats. It's a great trail for birding.
Saturday, August 29 at 2:00 PM
Wild berries are important food sources for wildlife at this time of year, and the competition is keen. Join us on an outdoor survey of nature's bounty and see who's eating what.
Autumn Trail Walk
Saturday, September 5 at 10:00 AM
Welcome fall by exploring Five Rivers' trails to enjoy the beauty of the first fall colors and look for signs of wildlife getting ready for winter.
Albany Pine Bush Ramble
Saturday, September 5 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
"Ramble" with us over the ancient sand dunes of the Albany Pine Bush. As we hike over dunes formed thousands of years ago we'll explore the unique pine barrens habitat of the Albany Pine Bush and the diversity of species that call this landscape home. Call 518-456-0655 to register.
Adirondack Park Agency Newcomb Visitors Center
Saturday, August 29 at 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Wetlands come in many styles. Rich Lake sports several wetland habitats, including flooded shorelines and marshes. Join a staff naturalist in a search for life in our pocket wetlands. Call 518-582-2000 to register.
Adirondack Park Agency Paul Smiths Visitors Center
Introduction to Ferns
Saturday, August 29 from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM
Come for a naturalist-led walk around the two-mile Forest Ecology Trail as we focus on ferns. How many different ferns can we spot? Call 518-327-3000 to register.
Rexford Falls Gorge
Saturday, August 29 at 10:00 AM
Hidden east of the village of Sherburne, this waterfall provides a fine example of gorge geology and ecology. Take a look at fossils, as well as ferns, mosses and other plant life that grow in this unique environment.
Paddle Ninemile Swamp
Saturday, September 5 from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM
The Sangerfield River meanders gently through lush greenery of the swamp, providing a perfect place to paddle and explore. Call 607-674-4017 to register. Cost: $5 per paddler.
Advance registration is required. Call 716-683-5959.
Thursday, August 27 at 10:00 AM
Dive into the world of aquatic organisms, and see what is living in our ponds. For children ages 6-12 and a parent or guardian.
Family Ice Cream Social Fundraiser
Saturday, August 29 at 1:00 PM
Enjoy tasty frozen treats and entertainment as you help support Friends of Reinstein Nature Preserve. For ticket information, call 716-683-5959.
Full Corn Moon Walk
Friday, September 4 at 7:30 PM
Come out and enjoy a walk on the trails as we view this month's full moon and the planet Jupiter. Bring binoculars if you have them.
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