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August 24, 2022 - 2:02pm

Press release:

Capture a summer day with a visit to the butterfly meadow and a journey into the world of Monarch Butterflies with the Watching Monarchs program at the Genesee County Park & Forest Interpretive Nature Center on Saturday, Aug. 27 from 1 to 3 p.m. 

See how butterflies are tagged and released as part of a nationwide Monarch Butterfly conservation project.

This program is recommended for ages 4 and up. Kids explore the meadow with nets and bug catchers!

The cost is $5 per person or $10 per family. Pre-registration is required; call 585-344-1122 to reserve your spot.

July 28, 2022 - 11:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deer, Pavilion, news, outdoors, animals.

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Photo submitted by Jeff Maniace.

June 28, 2022 - 10:53am
posted by Press Release in Boy Scout Troop 6650, Boy Scouts, news, Alexander, outdoors.

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Press release:

Scout Dimick was happy to add a new microlite fishing pole with a 6 to 1 ratio reel and cork grip to his outdoor gear. This is the third pole in his collection. He started his collection after earning his Fishing Merit Badge at an Iroquois Trail Council Camp Dittmer Merit Badge weekend where he caught three fish in one, a fish inside a fish, inside a fish.

This year's Polaris Fishing Derby took place at Ellicott Creek Park in Tonawanda. The event took advantage of a DEC free fishing weekend. Scouts and guests were welcome, hosted by Greater Niagara Frontier Council's Troop 824 out of Sanborn, NY. The event provided lunch, bait and had BSA Merit Badge Counselors available to answer fishing questions and assist participants.

The Polaris Fishing Derby was scheduled on a DEC free fishing weekend so parents, grandparents and siblings age 16 and older could participate with youth competitors without purchasing a fishing license. The Derby provided seven competitor prizes consisting of fishing poles, reels and a 4th edition copy of Trout Salmon Steelhead Fishing in Western New York. A non-Scout (guest) won the door prize of a brand new bicycle. First place went to a Cub from Pack 193 for a 17" Rudd.

The Trout Salmon Steelhead Fishing in WNY book was donated by a local Cheektowaga chapter of Trout Unlimited. The book is a compilation of almost thirty fishing enthusiasts, detailing several WNY waterways maps, mayfly hatchings, water depth contour maps, twenty fishing flies, and a slew of fishing and conservation information. Trout Unlimited works to maintain the health of our waterways to protect the future of WNY fishing. The organization conducts presentations and classes about fishing to groups, including Scouts.

Scout Dimick was able to identify his catch using the free annual NYS Freshwater Fishing Guide booklet that is available at many outdoor equipment sales counters, local municipalities or directly from the DEC at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/fishing.html. Sept. 24th & Nov.11th are the two remaining NYS DEC 2022 free fishing days.

National BSA awards require additional Scout accomplishments beyond earning specific merit badges. Participating in the Polaris Fishing Derby meets Scout Dimick's award requirement for the prestigious BSA Angler Award. The award also requires completing the Fishing, Fly Fishing and Fish & Wildlife Management Merit Badges.

Camp Dittmer will be offering the Fishing Merit Badge this summer at Merit Badge Weekends. Information can be obtained by calling the Iroquois Trail Council at (585) 343-0307. Camp Dittmer offers family camping throughout the year.

Submitted photos.

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June 25, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chapins manufacturing, batavia, nature, outdoors, news, notify.

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Mark Volpe loved nature, and as that became apparent to CEO Jim Campbell, Campbell gave him a job only suitable to a conservationist -- manager of the private nature preserve behind the Chapin Manufacturing factory on Ellicott Street in Batavia.

Volpe worked for Chapin for 35 years with much of that time dedicated to the care and maintenance of the 70-acre preserve. He died in November 2018.

In addressing visitors at the conservation area Friday, Campbell stressed the importance of staying on the marked trails while explaining the slice of nature Volpe tended.

"This 70 acres encompasses meadows, hardwood forests, lowlands, wetlands, and actually open water," Campbell said. "It's quite a diverse ecosystem."

Volpe's dedication to the preserve was marked today with a ribbon-cutting by his widow Louise Volpe on a bridge that now ties together the east side and the west side of the property. 

Volpe's children and grandchildren were also present to walk with Louise across the bridge for the first time.

"He just enjoyed coming out here," Louise said. "I would come out here with him. He loved nature, the earth, and everything about it. He was just that kind of person who is an outdoorsman. He loved it. That's why he jumped at the opportunity to take over out here when Jimmy asked him, so I think that was kind of special what Jim did."

The bridge was actually Mark Volpe's idea.  The property is divided by a wide, shallow stream, so to access the conservation area, one would have to come in either from the east or west side and not be able to cross over.

"Mark did plan this before his passing," Campbell said. "He was working with his good friend Jeff McGivern. Jeff and his crew actually built this bridge. This bridge is actually a repurposed dragline. For those who don't know what a dragline is, it's really like a big crane. This was the boom of a dragline that Jeff repurposed. It's 110 feet long. Maybe it doesn't look that great, but it actually can hold probably about seven or eight tons. So it's very safe."

Mark's brother is John Volpe, who is also active locally in environmental causes.

Volpe's daughter Melissa Miller closed the private ceremony with a thank you message for Campbell and everybody at Chapin.

"We would like to thank everyone at Chapin's who created this memorial in honor of my dad," she said. "As you all know, he devoted his life to his family and his job here at Chapin's. He also had many hobbies and activities that he loved. One of his favorites was spending time outdoors with nature. He was extremely passionate about it and found profound meaning in all things relating to nature. We are extremely grateful and honored that you are remembering him in such a beautiful and special way in a way that embodies who he truly was, and in a place that he loved so much. This tribute means so much to all of us. And I know my dad would be honored and so happy to be remembered this way."

Employees of Chapin's are welcome to visit the conservation area at any time. The rest of the public is allowed to hike the property with the company's prior permission.  There is no hunting or fishing permitted on the property.  Visitors are required to stay on trails, both to protect the environment and for their own safety.

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May 7, 2022 - 9:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in outdoors, animals, batavia, news, colonial boulevard.

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This little guy is a resident of Colonial Boulevard in Batavia.  One of his two-legged neighbors found him with a string around his neck so she removed it and nursed him back to health.  He's a friendly little tyke, even amenable to petting and hanging out with other neighbors.

Photo by Lisa Ace.

May 4, 2022 - 4:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in birds, outdoors, news.

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Judy Schildwaster submitted these photos of a Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a Baltimore Oriole at her feeder in her backyard.

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May 2, 2022 - 5:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in birds, animals, outdoors, batavia, news.

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A grackle nibbles on seeds at a backyard feeder in Batavia. 

Photo by Howard Owens

April 4, 2022 - 4:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, outdoors, news, Alexander.

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Christine Loranty shared these photos of a fox den in a gravel pit near her house in Alexander.

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July 26, 2021 - 2:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in birds, songbirds, outdoors, news.

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There is concern among wildlife experts throughout the Northeast about a mysterious disease that killing songbirds and while there's no confirmation that the unknown pathogen has reached Genesee County it has been reported in the Southern Tier.

Close enough that bird lovers might want to exercise caution, which could include taking down birdfeeders.

Birdfeeders and birdbaths are places that encourage songbirds to congregate, which could help spread the disease.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is asking state residents to report any unusual bird deaths.

The Audobon Society reported in early July:

In April, scores of birds in the greater Washington, D.C., area began displaying strange symptoms. Their eyes were swollen and crusty; some became disoriented, started twitching, and died.

“They were having a hard time seeing,” says Nicole Nemeth of the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study. “Sometimes they don’t seem to be able to use their hind legs.” 

By the end of May, similar reports were rolling in from across Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. By June, sick birds had turned up in Delaware, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, Florida, Indiana, and Pennsylvania according to the U.S. Geological Survey Wildlife Health Information Sharing Partnership.

The Batavian checked with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County and the DEC, and while neither agency reported local incidents, the DEC did issue the following statement.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has received social media reports about bird deaths in Western New York, as well as the reports of bird deaths documented in other Eastern states.

DEC wildlife personnel have received about two dozen calls from the public reporting a dead bird, usually in their yard. There are typically many dead fledgling birds on the landscape during this time of year; normal nestling/fledgling mortality rates are high with only 25 to 50 percent of songbirds surviving their first year.

Because of the documented issues involving mass bird deaths -- mostly of fledglings of starlings, grackles, blue jays, and robins with neurologic signs and/or eye lesions -- in the mid-Atlantic states, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, DEC wildlife staff are on alert to look out for dead birds. However, there are no confirmed links between the local bird deaths and what's happening in other states. 

The help of the public is appreciated to determine the nature of these unusual mortality events, which may affect the eyes and neurological system of birds. If saving a bird carcass for DEC, gloves should be used to pick up the bird. The bird should be placed in a plastic baggie, kept on ice and in the shade.

Anyone handling birds, even with gloved hands, should thoroughly wash their hands afterward. Only freshly deceased birds should be saved, due to how quickly carcasses degrade in the heat. Those collecting birds should also provide DEC with their name, address and phone number. Contact the wildlife staff at the nearest DEC regional office (https://www.dec.ny.gov/about/558.html

DEC is also working with avian experts from Cornell Wildlife Health Lab. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.

May 19, 2021 - 5:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in outdoors, animals, batavia, video.
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May 4, 2021 - 5:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, outdoors, batavia, news.

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Reader Paul Barrett shared this photo of a wandering beaver waddling down East Main near Liberty in Batavia.

December 27, 2020 - 1:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in birds, outdoors, news, corfu.

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A reader from Corfu submitted this photo.

December 22, 2020 - 11:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in South Main Street, batavia, news, Bald eagles, outdoors, wildlife.

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John Spyropoulos spotted a pair of bald eagles feasting on a deer carcass this morning along the Tonawanda Creek along South Main Street in Batavia. He submitted this photo where you can see one of the eagles at the top of a tree.

November 25, 2020 - 6:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in bergen, news, outdoors, animals.

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While hunting with her dad yesterday, Novalee Pocock, 14, from Bergen, had a close encounter of the raccoon kind. While in a wooded area, a raccoon came up to her and jumped in her lap. 

According to her mother, the raccoon cuddled right up to her to stay warm.

"She will never forget this encounter with the wildlife while hunting for deer with her dad," she said.

Submitted photo and information.

October 13, 2020 - 10:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in DeWitt Recreation Area, batavia, outdoors, news.

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Brandon Payne caught another large pike at DeWitt Recreation Area yesterday.

Submitted photo.

October 6, 2020 - 2:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in outdoors, sports, Le Roy, bowhunting.

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Chris Merica, of Le Roy, shot this nine-pointer on the first day of the bowhunting season. His girlfriend, Jenna Read, who shared this photo, said, "He practiced so hard all summer for this exact deer! He’s been waiting quite some time for his trophy buck. I just wanted to give him a little shout-out, he earned this!"

October 2, 2020 - 5:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in outdoors, corfu, news, bow hunting.

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Sean Akin of Corfu landed this buck yesterday, the first day of bow hunting this season.

September 27, 2020 - 3:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in DeWitt Recreation Area, batavia, outdoors, news.

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Justin Gugel shared this photo of himself and a 34-inch, 11-pound pike he caught yesterday at the DeWitt Recreation Area.

September 13, 2020 - 2:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in outdoors, birds, animals, batavia, news.

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Jason Smith shared this photo of a male cardinal feeding a female cardinal in the backyard of his Batavia home.

August 2, 2020 - 4:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Trail, news, batavia, outdoors.

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Jason Smith shared this photo of a deer he spotted along the Ellicott Trail this morning.

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