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From the December 2013 Conservationist


By Jenna Kerwin and David Nelson

Attention Campers!

Three campers look out at a lake from inside a tent

DEC now offers Camping Gift Cards, just in time for the holiday season. A camping gift card makes the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for outdoor-enthusiast. The cards are redeemable for camping at all DEC Campgrounds, or when reserving a campsite through ReserveAmerica (online and via phone). Gift cards can be purchased for any dollar amount and can be reloaded after the initial purchase. Best of all, gifts at the $50 rate entitle the buyer to a free one-year subscription to the Conservationist, or a one-year extension if they already subscribe! Call 518-457-2500 to purchase a gift card. Reserve a campsite.

ALB in Babylon

A black and white beetle with long antennae on a log
Asian longhorned beetle
(Photo: Jim Clayton)

The invasive Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) was recently confirmed in Babylon, Long Island. This is the first detection of the beetle outside of the existing Suffolk County regulated area. An ALB eradication program is underway; infested trees have been removed, and personnel are carrying out tree survey inspections and placing pheromone traps in neighborhoods to aid in early detection. ALB was first discovered in Brooklyn in 1996; the beetle attacks 13 types of trees including maple, willow, birch and elm. Signs of infestation include round exit holes (3/8 to ½" diameter); frass (wood shavings and coarse saw dust); and pockmarks on tree trunks and branches where females deposit eggs. Check your trees regularly and report any signs of ALB by calling the NYS ALB Eradication Program at 1-866-265-0301 (or 1-877-STOP-ALB), or online at www.asianlonghornedbeetle.com. For more information about ALB, visit: www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7255.html, www.agriculture.ny.gov, or www.aphis.usda.gov.

New Easement Lands

A man paddling a blue kayak
Photo: Susan Shafer

The public can now enjoy new facilities and recreation opportunities on the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands in Franklin and Clinton counties. DEC and partners built new parking lots, opened recreational corridor roadways for motorized vehicle use, and installed information kiosks. Get the details on the new facilities and recreation corridors, as well as directions and usage guidelines of the land,or cll the DEC Region 5 office at 518-897-1291.

Learn About Black Bears

A black bear on top of a green dumpster

Want to learn more about black bears? Check out the new black bear education website. The free site contains a wide array of education materials, including videos and pictures. New York teachers and students may especially enjoy computer programs like "Understanding Black Bears," which can be downloaded for free. Visit the website today to explore the variety of materials available.

First Day Hikes

Celebrate the New Year by going on a hike! On January 1, 2014, state park systems in all fifty states will sponsor First Day Hike Programs. These First Day Hikes allow individuals and families a chance to begin the New Year by enjoying and connecting with the outdoors, at a state park. Visit America's State Parks.org to see pictures from past years, and to plan your First Day Hike.

Arbor Day Poster Contest

DEC is accepting submissions for the annual Arbor Day Poster contest. All fifth-grade students are eligible to design and enter an original poster depicting the 2014 theme, "New York's Forests Where We Live." School contest winners will be eligible to compete at the regional level; regional winners will then compete for the state title. The final winner's artwork will be featured on the official 2014 NYS Arbor Day bookmark. The winner will also receive an invitation to attend the NYS Arbor Day Event in Albany, as well as have a tree planted in his/her name at his/her school. Entries can be dropped off at regional offices until December 17, 2013. See more details.

How Many Deer?

Answer to question in Letters section: How Many Deer? Did you guess four? That's right! In the photograph, three deer can easily be seen. However, if you look closely, you can see that the head and neck of the deer in the foreground do not go with the body of the deer to the right-that deer's head is lowered, out of view.