Winter 2017 #185
Winter is "snow" much fun at Mohonk Preserve!
Legacy Climber Advances Conservation and Connectivity
Keeping a Weather Eye
As winter continues, the weather becomes a major topic of discussion. At Mohonk Preserve, we’ve been focusing on the weather for the past 120 years, collecting daily data on the temperature, precipitation, fog, and even rainbows.
Now including more than 43,000 days of weather observations, these records comprise the collection of the Preserve’s Mohonk Lake Cooperative Weather Station, established in 1896 by the U.S. Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service).
These weather readings began in the mid-1880s, taken by Dan and Keith Smiley of Mohonk Mountain House, and are now continued by Mohonk Preserve Conservation Science staff and volunteers. Beginning in the late 1970s, data collection expanded to include regular monitoring of the pH of precipitation, lakes, and streams. The Mohonk Lake dataset is one of the most consistent, continuous climate records available in North America.
One of Mohonk Preserve’s popular Citizen Science programs is Climate Trackers, a dynamic group of volunteers who assist our Conservation Science team by taking weather readings and honing their skills in data collection and weather science. For more information on the Climate Trackers program, click here.
The latest addition to the Preserve’s weather monitoring efforts is the installation of a Mesonet automated weather station at the Preserve’s Spring Farm Trailhead in High Falls in partnership with SUNY Albany. Part of the New York State Early Warning Weather Detection System, New York State Mesonet is a network of 125 weather stations across the state measuring temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, pressure, radiation, and soil information.
A mesonet is a particular type of observing network, with weather stations spaced close enough together to adequately sample "mesoscale" weather. The prefix "meso" refers to weather phenomena that range in size from less than a mile to hundreds of miles long and last a few minutes to hours.
"The fact that this program is coordinated by SUNY Albany and New York State Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services made this process quite straightforward for us, and we were very happy to have the chance to work with them," said Mohonk Preserve Director of Conservation Science Dr. Elizabeth Long. "The equipment used in this project is top-notch and provides very high-quality data, and being part of the network makes the data much more powerful than an isolated station would be."
"The Mesonet site requirements are pretty specific, so when I heard that they were looking for a site in our area, I immediately contacted our Director of Land Stewardship Emily Hague to see if she thought we might have anything that would work," Elizabeth noted. "She was able to work with the Mesonet team to identify the best options among our open fields, choosing a site that not only fits the requirements for collecting high-quality weather data, but also has limited impact on Preserve lands and our visitors’ experiences. We used a "balloon test" (flying a balloon at the same location and height as the proposed weather station, and then monitoring from different vantage points to see whether or not it is visible) at several points around Spring Farm and found a great field that’s out of the way for almost all Preserve activities."
Paul Huth, Mohonk Preserve’s Director of Research Emeritus, has been involved in weather recording since 1974. He sees the addition of the Mesonet station as a tremendous step forward for our area. "For the first time, we are able to look at real-time weather as it develops locally on the Shawangunk Ridge."
To view real-time weather reporting from the High Falls Mesonet station, click here.
First Time Fifty Milers
Ridge Rockers Terri Fortuna and Carol Brandmaier-Monahan are no strangers to Rock The Ridge at Mohonk Preserve. For the last three years they have completed the course three times over as a relay team. This year, they’re taking on the full 50 miles.
"Since we've done the course three times now as relays, I figured it was time for a new challenge," Terri said. "I also want to see the entire course. I've only done Leg 2 and Leg 4 of the relay and my friends have raved about their parts of the course."
Terri and Carol come from different running backgrounds. Before training for her first Rock The Ridge relay, Terri hadn’t run more than a 5K. Since then, she’s completed two more relays, a half-marathon, and now enjoys running 7-10 miles. "This race has meant so much to me over the past few years," she said. "I've gained the confidence to run longer distances than I ever thought I would."
Carol has participated in sprint triathlons, but had stopped due to injury until participating in the Rock The Ridge relay with Terri. "I have had my best run/walks ever during Rock The Ridge," she said.
Their running backgrounds exemplify a unique aspect of Rock The Ridge. "It draws in all kinds of people, no matter their fitness or training level," Terri said. "You have serious ultra marathoners and people who walk it with a three-foot Subway sandwich stuffed in their backpacks – and everything in between. We're all just people who want to enjoy the outdoors and challenge ourselves on an adventure. It's truly a great experience."
"I love this race because it doesn't feel like a traditional race. I've created new friends and built on friendships with older friends while getting to enjoy this great preserve," Carol added.
When asked why they’ve decided to come back year after year, the team cited the course and venue as a huge draw. "I just love Mohonk Preserve," said Carol. "It is gorgeous!" "Something speaks to me about Rock The Ridge," Terri added. "I love the venue. The course is just beautiful – spectacular views and trails."
Both agreed that they would like to finish within 12 hours, hoping to complete their 50 miles without needing headlamps.
Join Carol and Terri and accept the challenge. Take on all 50-miles or enlist some friends and tackle the course as part a relay team. Either way, sign up today to Rock The Ridge and support Mohonk Preserve's Conservation Science, Outdoor Education and Land Protection and Stewardship programs!
GET INTO NATURE. See a full list of upcoming programs including Thursday Tales at Ten: Story Time at Mohonk Preserve and The Shawangunk Ridge Biodiversity Partnership (SRBP) Lecture Series.
IN APPRECIATION. Go to our listing of Memorial and Honorary Gifts, Premium Members, and Business Members received October 1 through December 31, 2016.
CHECK THIS OUT. Legacy Society member Meme Hanley explains why Mohonk Preserve is special to her in this short video. Legacy Society members help us with our mission of protecting the Shawangunk Mountains region for future generations to enjoy. To learn more, contact the Development Department at 845-255-0919 or firstname.lastname@example.org.