Ausable River Association Announces Spring Series of Free Guided Watershed Tours –

The Ausable River Association (AsRA) has announced the schedule for its free, guided outdoor interpretive programs in the Northern Adirondacks this spring.

“We are excited to expand our popular Watershed Tours this year,” said Kelley Tucker, CEO of AsRA. “We are offering all-season tours this year, and our spring tours will focus on native wildflowers, birds, bats, and other species of the Adirondacks.”

“This year’s programs include 15 guided tours in the Ausable, Boquet and Saranac River watersheds,” said Donor Outreach Manager Tyler Merriam.

Three spring programs kick off the season. The first is a private game reserve birding walk along the West Branch Ausable River. Dr. Larry Master, Conservation Biologist/Zoologist and Past Chairman of the Ausable River Association, and Derek Rogers, Ornithologist and Stewardship Director of the Adirondack Land Trust, will lead this tour.

The second visit is a Wildflower Identification Walk and Drawing Workshop at Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center. Cris Winters, a full-time artist from Saranac Lake with a scientific background in conservation biology and botanical illustration, will lead this tour.

“I hope people will continue to draw on their own after this experience,” says Winters. “To me, it’s meant to be a skill you can take home and use forever.” AsRA will provide some supplies for this drawing workshop.

AsRA Watershed Tour participants marvel at one of nature’s wonders on a previous visit. Photo courtesy of AsRA.

The third visit is an evening of moth and bat research at John Brown Farm State Historic Site outside of Lake Placid. Dr. Larry Master will also lead this tour, drawing on his experience as a bat researcher for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

It will use a bat detector linked to a computer so that participants can listen to and visualize the echolocation calls of bats and learn to identify bats that may pass by. He will also install a mercury vapor lamp behind a large sheet to attract some of the many species of moths and other insects. The sheet protects insects and allows closer inspection for bystanders.

“Some of our 2022 tours are back due to past popularity and some tours are brand new,” Merriam said. “We’re excited to try new places and bring in additional naturalists to further connect residents and visitors to our wild places and give them a better understanding of how to protect our biodiverse habitats.”

AsRA’s free, guided programs begin the weekend of May 21.

This project was funded in whole or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under an Assistance Agreement (LC 00A00707-0) to NEIWPCC in partnership with the Lake Champlain Basin Program.

Christy J. Olson