MILTON – Margaret Kinosian stood in a meadow bordering the Kayaderosseras Creek at Gray’s Crossing, cradling a baby snapping turtle she found. The baby got tossed ashore during the previous evening’s thunderstorms.
“Isn’t he so cute?” she asked.
Some people would find it hard to agree, given the knowledge that the baby will grow to be pretty ferocious, but Kinosian was undeterred. She walked over to a more gentle branch of the creek and carefully let the turtle go.
A self-proclaimed life-long outdoor enthusiast, Kinosian is very excited about the nature walks she is offering during the month of June, beginning on June 1. She’s been a member of Friends of the Kayaderosseras Creek (FoK) almost since its inception in 2004.
“I got involved by coming to cleanups and was soon recruited to be on the board,” she said.
Kinosian is head of the Education and Outreach Committee at FoK. She got the idea for the nature walks through the committee.
“The walks will be in parks where Friends has been active,” Kinosian said. “They will raise awareness of the creek and promote conservation and protection. It will be a fun form of education.”
There will be a nature walk every Saturday in June.
On June 1 the first walk will be in Boice Family Park in Milton, where Milton Planning Board member Larry Woolbright will show how to recognize many of the tree and shrub species growing along the banks of the Kayaderosseras.
At the June 8 walk in Kelley Park in Ballston Spa, Kinosian will introduce some wild edible plants growing in the area. She promises the group will be able to sample such delicacies as roasted dandelion root coffee and sumac tea.
The June 15 walk will be at Gray’s Crossing in Ballston Spa, which is a canoe launch site on the creek. The walk, led by Jackie Donnelly, will identify invasive species like Japanese Knotweed and Wild Chervil. Also identified will be ferns, dogwoods, jewelweeds, and the rare Giant Ragweed, which can reach heights of 15 feet or more.
During the June 22 walk in Kelley Park, Judy Esposito will discuss the different types of animals, birds and insects which depend on the creek. Kinosian said this particular walk is especially good for kids.
Kinosian will make a second appearance at the June 29 walk, which will again be at Gray’s Crossing. Kinosian has a bachelor’s degree in geology as well as a master’s in Urban and Environmental Studies, and she will explain basic stream geology and point out examples along the creek. She will also discuss erosion, sedimentation, meandering and “stream piracy.”
Stream piracy occurs when the main branch of the stream overflows during flooding and creates a new branch, Kinosian said. The branch will sometimes then take over the original branch.
Participants should bring water and insect repellant on the walks, Kinosian said. She encourages people to also bring binoculars and cameras if available due to the large variety of wildlife that can be found along the creek.
Kinosian said a lot of activities the Friends participate in are work related.
“This one is for fun,” she said. “I hope to enhance people’s enjoyment of the creek by learning about it.”
This is the first year for the walks, and Kinosian promises the same program next year if enough interest is shown this time around. She is confident that will be the case.
“This is a fun way to enjoy the creek,” she said.
According to their brochure, Friends of the Kayaderosseras is best known for its cleanups of the creek, which include cleaning up fishing access areas, wading for tires, and removing debris from the creek banks.
Last year alone the FoK removed 1,500 tires, Kinosian said. The organization expects even more this year.
“It’s unbelievable what people will do to the environment,” Kinosian said.
The FoK also creates and maintains nature trails along the creek, such as the Burl Trail at Gray’s Crossing on Northline Road and Kelley Park in Ballston Spa. The organization is now working on trail development at Boice Family Park and Trieble Park in the town of Milton.
For information, visit the Friends of the Kayaderosseras website at www.kayaderosseras.com.
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