The reservoir's historic structures & ecosystems are an opportunity to create a unique environmental education center for our children & their future.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Getting in Touch with Nature

The following is from an article in today's New York Times. You can read the entire article here.

January 28, 2008
In the Woods and Streams of New York State, an Artemis for Modern Times

By Lisa W. Foderaro

WATERFORD, N.Y. — Patricia Riexinger, the new director of New York State’s Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, stood in the falling snow here and peered through her binoculars, looking for bald eagles. Suddenly, a bird leapt from a tree and soared out of sight, and Ms. Riexinger, visibly excited, set off in pursuit, traversing streams and sloshing across muddy slopes.

A wildlife biologist who has spent more than 30 years in the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, Ms. Riexinger was appointed last fall to lead the agency’s largest division. She is the first woman to preside over the agency, which, with a staff of 425, regulates all fishing and hunting in the state.

Ms. Riexinger (pronounced REX-in-jer), 53, a lean woman with silver-streaked hair pulled back in a clip, is also responsible for protecting an incredibly diverse array of animal species: 1,100 vertebrates and countless invertebrates, many of them increasingly threatened by habitat loss and the incursion of invasive species.

One of her goals, Ms. Riexinger said, is to restore a sense of wonder to a public that is increasingly out of touch with nature.

She asks a visitor: Did you know that New York is home to sea horses? Or that the most harvested fish, pound for pound, in the state’s ocean waters is squid? Or that the hognose snake lives only in sandy pine barrens from Saratoga to Long Island and feasts exclusively on toads?

“One of the biggest threats to conservation over time is from people losing contact with the natural world,” Ms. Riexinger said.

“Most kids, when they think of outdoor recreation, think of playing soccer on a mowed field. They’re not in the woods flipping over rocks and looking for salamanders or watching a squirrel root around.”

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