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Summer Jun 2013 - Aug 2013 In this issue:

Pleasure Beach Osprey 1 The Curators Journal 2 Finding Citizen Science - 3 Preserve News 6

Pleasure Beach Osprey

by Zaac Chaves The oyster shells audibly 'clinked' as we plodded over the copious piles along the shoreline. Beneath these particular waters hides a true wonder of Earth. For millennium a unique ecological niche has sustained a natural oyster bed with an astoundingly high population. Today many of these heirlooms have been intentionally replaced with more manageable oysters from elsewhere; 'planted' here like Midwestern corn to maximize production. Perhaps that is what those strange ships were up to as they patrolled these waters, all with phantasmic ease that revealed as much as they left out of sight, beneath the water. This spectacle provided backdrop to a nightmarish landscape before us. My grade school friend Nick and I were exploring a remote land of sharp points. Behind the skin-pulling thorns of rose hid an occasional patch of eastern prickly pear cactus. A menacing plant called devil's walkingstick jutted up like pikes driven deep into the sand. Decorating each of these were hard and elongated thorns which will sink through the sole of the fortuitously-placed shoe. However we were already watching our feet to avoid the partially buried boards, protruding from which were nails that at times were hidden in the sand. Many of these boards are artifacts of a recent past. A lone bridge lured recreationseekers to an amusement park as well as providing a small beach community access to the main land. When a 1997 fire destroyed the bridge, humans would never so conveniently visit this land again. While some lowly humans have miraculously achieved a remote livelihood here, they have also become quite familiar with the land and are not seen when they do not want to be found. Along with them an engineer comes by on occasion to service the radio towers. And (Continued on page 4)

Cranberry Creative Corner 7 Cranberry Word Search 8 Calendar of Events 10

Photo by Zaac Chaves

CRANBERRY L AKE PRESERVE Westchester County Parks Dept. 1609 Old Orchard Street, West Harrison, NY 10604 (914) 428-1005

The Curators Journal

Here are introductions from the Cranberry Lake Preserve camp staff:
Nicole: I am going into my sophomore year at Fordham University. I am currently majoring in Biology. This is going to be my second year working at Cranberry Lake, and I am most looking forward to learning more about the preserve and working with all the kids again. Alyssa L.: I just graduated from SUNY New Paltz. I majored in elementary education. I am looking forward to implementing lessons and activities with the campers that are lots of fun! Christine L.: Im a student athlete at SUNY Purchase, I run cross-country and play softball and am doublemajoring in environmental studies and economics. I am most looking forward to engaging with children and teaching them about the environment. George M.: I recently finished my freshman year at Plymouth State University studying criminal justice and adventure education. I am an Eagle Scout and I love the outdoors. I look forward to teaching kids about what I love, the outdoors and nature. Nicolette V.: In the fall, I will be a junior at the Ursuline School. This summer, I look forward to showing the campers the beauty of nature and I hope to instill a love for the outdoors in them. Maureen F.: I am a graduate of Pace University. I have experience working with birds of prey at Paces Environmental Center. This summer, I am excited to introduce young naturalists to the Cranberry Lake Preserve and to all of the wildlife within it. Nick S.: I am an Eagle Scout and have always enjoyed the outdoors. Currently I play hockey for the University of Delaware and study Environmental and Resource Economics. I expect this summer to be lots of fun and I look forward to working with campers and enjoying the preserve.

Welcome to the Summer edition of the Stewards of Cranberry Lake Preserve Newsletter!
We hope you enjoy our newsletter. Please consider contributing to future issues. Send articles, artwork or photos to Please include the author/artists name and write Stewards Newsletter in the subject line. You can also mail or drop off your submissions at Cranberry Lake Preserve, 1609 Old Orchard Street, West Harrison, NY 10604

Genna G.: Im going to be a freshman in college and Im looking forward to a fun filled summer and learning more things about nature with the kids. Jared: Im an environmental policy major at Champlain College and love teaching people about the outdoors. Looking forward to spending every day outside having fun.

Welcome to all of you! Enjoy your summer at Cranberry!


Finding Citizen Science

by Karin Lane

Citizen Science, according to wikipedia is public participation in scientific research, or crowdsourced science. Recently Ive participated in a few projects. Some newer ones are targeted to recording ad-hoc observations, such as Audubons Hummingbirds at Home website, where anyone can enter hummingbird sightings, or Westmoreland Sanctuarys Wild Suburbia website for recording coyote, fox, fisher and bear sightings, which are fun ways to share exciting glimpses of animals. Ive tried some projects that are remote and can be done at any time entirely from a computer: listening for whales on Whale FM for example, helps scientists sort through many hours of audio recordings of whales. But my favorite projects have been local ones that take me outdoors: collecting water samples for Riverkeeper, and listening for frogs with NAAMP. A few springs ago I found the North American Amphibian Monitoring Project (NAAMP). NAAMP volunteers learn to recognize local frog and toad species by their calls, and then head out on an assigned route 4 times a year to record what they hear. The program is a long-term, continent-wide study tracking where and when amphibian populations appear, and when they become active each year, which is pretty amazing scope. The first step was to learn the local frog calls by listening to samples online -- the only call I knew at the beginning was the classic bullfrog jug-o-rum call -- but there were only about 10 species to learn. I listened to sample calls for each and worked on my cheat sheet with notes for each species -- the long gentle trill of the American toad, the sharper variation of Fowlers toad, and the thumb-over-comb-teeth of the boreal chorus frogs, and others. Next step was to watch for the right night to sample within each sampling time period.

Conditions had to be right: temperature above a certain baseline, wind speed below another, rain only within certain amounts. I found a website Weatherspark where I could see a calendar with all of my weather variables and waited for the perfect night. On a sampling night, after sundown, Id make 10 stops, listening at each for short period, and checking off the species I heard and how many -- from lone individual to full chorus. Some would be a full racket of spring peepers; another stop a single american toad; another a handful of tree frogs trilling above my head. This project was a great experience -- being outside listening to frogs at night is pretty wonderful, participating in a big project is satisfying, but most of all, now I know how to identify frogs, and when to listen for them.
Karin Lane lives in Sleepy Hollow and has been coming to Cranberry Lake for years. She is chair of the membership committee of the Stewards of Cranberry Lake.

Links to Citizen Science NAAMP Hummingbirds at Home Wild Suburbia Whale FM And others...


Pleasure Beach Osprey (Continued from page 1)

recently environmental managers from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) have began liberating small parts of the beach from human activity, seeking to build habitat in the shadows of the past, apparent in those ubiquitous boards, now readily floating with the tide and emerging from the sand. All at once in the distance we spotted an unusual commotion of wings and our curiosity beckoned us closer. We approached a wooden pillar, thirty-five feet high with a small platform on top, built by CT DEEP seeking to increase nesting habitat. Indeed, on that platform was a nest. However, just below that nest dangled a distressed bird, an osprey, hanging from a fishing line with wings outstretched and swaying with the wind. This particularly grim fate is a common expiration of many ospreys that share habitat with rod and line fishers, also called anglers. The commonality of this occurrence is depicted in CT DEEP's 2013 Connecticut Angler's Guide with a photograph of a dead osprey hanging by a line. "Discarded fishing line, which is often picked up by ospreys to place in their nests was wrapped around the birds neck," reads the adjacent caption. The only thing uncommon part of this particular situation was to have found an osprey still alive and struggling.

Photo by Zaac Chaves

When we approached, this osprey shot a fearfully glance toward us, proceeded to flap those wings, earnestly intending to escape our intrusion. A futile effort. Just after the lift, the osprey was painfully yanked back, the wicked line now mockingly swinging this body to-and-fro. "Stay calm," Nick called up to the osprey. "There must be a ladder somewhere nearby..." I suggested with a distracted glance toward the grey barbed wire fences. Nick then finished my thought process, "...quick...this is important," and we went to our task. We first found the partially collapsed carousel. The center post was leaning and split, precariously holding a few tons of metal roofing and awaiting a final crash. Hopefully a few more nails removed wouldn't provoke the fall and Nick sought a way to pull these free. Meanwhile I had found a dark abandoned theater. All the while I took care to avoid ubiquitous upturned nails. After a thorough search I found a hidden six-foot ladder that went up to a well-hidden mattress. "Anyone here?" I called out, waiting a moment before I began prying this short ladder from the nails that secured it to the wall. Once again we found ourselves at the base of that towering, thirty-five foot pillar from which the osprey still hung in agony. I propped the short ladder on the utility pole while Nick utilized a granite rock to nail two twelve-foot boards together. With the same rock we fashioned a shard of glass with a new edge, which we then affixed to the boards using an old roll of plastic tape that miraculously retained some stickiness. We held the other end of this twenty-two-foot-slicer, and Nick started to climb the six foot ladder just barely reaching the line. Together we hoisted the apparatus above us and it bowed heavily, nails holding strong while imparting strong torque on us below. I steadied the board, taking most of the weight and stabilizing the sway as best I could while Nick calculatingly guided the glass edge a few feet above the bird. Using the energy of the sway we rocked this apparatus so the glass shard would catch the lines. After about a minute the lines were cut and the osprey tumbled down with a thud. (Continued on page 5)


There we stood, silently watching. We had originally hoped that the release would end our encounter. The osprey would hastily fly away to recover and we would depart. But rather than seek refuge the osprey lingered, tattered and exhausted. What could this bird be feeling? Maybe frustrated, wanting to escape in a body that could not. Perhaps concern regarding untended eggs. All we could be sure of is that we had relieved this osprey from an otherwise merciless fate. Blood had partially dried across one side of this ospreys body, dying the white feathers a maroon red. The wing had a wound deep enough to recognize contours of bone. Protruding from this spot also was a fishing hook, surrounded by an almost scarlet pool of blood. Fish hooks are designed to impale while resisting backward movement. When backward removal is attempted the end barb will anchor into the soft surrounding tissue. Hence when accidentally hooked onto large debris or heavy seaweed anglers have little option but to illegally abandon some of their gear. Along the north shore of Long Island Sound, there is an estimated 260,000 lbs. of lost recreational and commercial fishing equipment (NYs Cornell Cooperative Extension, read in Sound Health 2012). Trailing from this hook was a metal fishing line which attached to a plastic bag knotted with the plastic lines that we had sliced from above. These wire lines are used by anglers seeking striped bass in what is ultimately considered a source of amusement. While the osprey lingered we furiously seized the moment to cut this wire line, still believing the osprey would recover and soon be flying without a trailing streamer of garbage that would painfully tug on that hook. At the time I was thankful for the nature preserve visitor who never claimed their lost knife because we destroyed that blade cutting through this wire line. However after this line was severed the osprey still lay there and stared at us, with piercing eyes contrasting strongly with that stiff and tumbled body. A few weeks later I would find anglers illegally fishing at Cranberry Lake Preserve. "Can't you give us a break buddy?" the angler pleaded, "I know this is your job, but you know, we work too." Behind his words I sensed a reckless entitlement to participate in an activity that I now personally understood to have widespread and merciless effects. Many anglers claim to love wildlife, particularly large predatory birds such as osprey. However a necessary part of angling is that some gear will be lost and contribute to a growing buildup of perpetually deadly debris. As I called the county police these three anglers turned round, gathered their equipment, and fled. I am confident they will not be returning to this preserve. As I picked up their cigar wrappers, a beer bottle, along with a tangle of fishing line and lures the sharp gaze of that osprey came to me. Reflecting upon my past year at Cranberry lake Preserve I have only deepened my understanding of how very important this place is. Increasingly so, Cranberry Lake Preserve stands as a model of what can happen when a places utility is excluded from human entitlement. Here fish, birds, and other animals live their own lives for their own purposes. In this place people can most readily explore and truly wonder about similar places being lost, while reclaiming a needed sort of recreation that develops consciousness and builds compassion.

Photos by Zaac Chaves


Volunteer Day 65 volunteers from Xylem gave a combined 350 hours of service to Cranberry Lake Preserve. Volunteers repaired boardwalks, cleared debris from Hurricane Sandy, renovated the butterfly gardens and built a woodshed for the preserve. On behalf of the Stewards of Cranberry Lake, thank you Xylem volunteers for all of your hard work! Meet the counselors July begins another exciting year of camp at Cranberry Lake Preserve! Check out the Curators Journal on page two for introductions written by this years camp counselors.

Birds of Prey James Eyrings presentation on May 18 was a huge success, with over 60 attending. James commented that we were the best audience ever! because of the great questions the audience asked. In The Nature Center On June 5, the nature center released cecropia moths that were being raised in protective captivity. North Americas largest moth, the cecropia moth has been adversely affected by defoliation caused by the invasive gypsy moth, as well as by well-meaning efforts to eradicate the gypsy moth.

Cecropia Moth

photo by Cristina Ramos-Payne


Cranberry Creative Corner

I like the bullfrog at Cranberry Lake and African American settlement at Silver Lake Preserve where I saw a foundation of a house. ~by Leo (Leo participated in homeschooling classes at Cranberry Lake, which included a trip to Silver Lake Preserve)

Above: A screech owl named Pearl visits the nature center during the Birds of Prey event in May. Top Right: gyrfalcon Elvis the

Right: James Eyring with Merle the Harris Hawk

Photos by Sierra Payne, age 11


Cranberry Summer Scramble

Whats happening at Cranberrys summer camp? Unscramble the words to find out! OGNPDIN MEPRACFI ARTFCS DRIB AWNTCHIG ESLERTH GLUNDIBI KINHIG ANTURE AMSEG INBLD LOD LOW ETP DOLM

Shhh! Answers:




Cranberry Staff
Curator Danniela Ciatto Naturalist Zaac Chaves Conservation Division of the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation

Newsletter Staff
Managing Editor: Cristina Ramos-Payne Assistant Editor: Mindy Swope-Quintero Staff Photographer: Sierra Payne

The Stewards of Cranberry Lake Preserve is dedicated to promoting a better appreciation and understanding of the natural world and the value of Cranberry Lake Preserve. The Stewards provide financial and volunteer aid for exhibits, educational programs, and science equipment. The Stewards also encourage citizen participation in local and state government actions related to the future of the Preserve and nature center.

Photo by Sierra Payne

Become a Member Today!

2012 Stewards Board Members

President Mindy Swope Quintero Vice-President C. Ramos-Payne Treasurer Catherine McGibney

Your membership will enable the park to offer special events, publish a newsletter, have its own website, and more.

Name(s): ____________________________________________________ Address: ____________________________________________________ Email: _______________________________________________________ Donor level*: Peeper: $5 _____ Spotted Salamander: $10 _____ Box Turtle: $20 _____ River Otter: $50 _____ Animal and donation of your choice: $_____ * Checks are payable to Stewards of Cranberry Lake, 1609 Old
Orchard West Harrison, NY 10604 ** We are currently filing for non-profit status memberships will not be tax deductible at this point but our appreciation is unlimited!


cut along dotted line and return with payment

Stewards of Cranberry Lake Preserve

Cranberry Lake Preserve 1609 Old Orchard Street West Harrison, NY 10604 USA ADDRESS CORRECTION REQUESTED

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