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Looking back to recent chapter meetings

January 2013

LOOKING BACK TO JANUARY 9th Chapter Program: Touring Glacier National Park with Ken and Margaret Reek

By Mary Warchocki

Ken and Margaret entertained a packed audience with spectacular photography from their 2006 trip to both Glacier National Park in Montana and across the border to Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park. Their trip included a 4 day luxurious, guided backpack, a river rafting trip and several scenic day hikes. While the glaciers are rapidly receding every year, Ken, an avid photographer, captured the grandeur of these parks with his new (at the time) camera. Both parks are home to some pretty amazing wildlife including mule deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and yes - BEARS (both Black Bears and Grizzlies). We learned how many of the lodges were were built by the railroad, which still runs to today, designed to bring in adventurous tourists. We thank Ken and Margaret for another spectacular presentation of one of the many adventures!

April 2012


By Gretchen Schauss

At our April 11th Chapter Meeting, Tom Jasikoff, Refuge Manager of Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, gave an enlightened talk on Montezuma Wildlife Refuge. He started the program with a multimedia show highlighting various Wildlife Refuges with background music which he composed and sang. Wildlife refuges, unlike National Parks, are set up for the benefit of enhancing wildlife. Montezuma is an important stopover for migrating birds in the Atlantic flyway. Because of abundance of wildlife in Montezuma, the refuge attracts 150,000 visitors a year.

The majority of the work at Montezuma is to maintain, enhance and restore the wetlands. A project has identified the original wetland, and the agencies involved are now in the process of getting approval to acquire and restore the wetlands. Historically, there were vast stretches of wetlands in the area of the current refuge. When the Erie Canal was enhanced in the early 1900s, it lowered the water table 10ft. This effectively drained the wetlands.

In the 1930s Montezuma Wildlife refuge was established, and restoration began. Much of the original wetland is farmland today. When available, farms are purchased and restoration work begins. When the NYS Thruway was built, it bisected the wetland. It blocked the flow of water through the refuge causing sections of the wetlands to age faster. Invasive species must also be controlled. These are problems faced and dealt
with in the management of the wetlands.

Besides the managing of the wetlands, the refuge has been or is involved in the following activities: restoration of bald eagles to NYS, monitor and banding of bird, sponsoring researchers, and working with local universities and schools.  Various agencies work together to run and sup- port the Wildlife refuge. The NYS DEC is responsible for part of the refuge. The Audubon Society has a visitors center in the northern part of the refuge. Ducks unlimited and the Nature Conservancy are also involved. Their combined effort will insure that future generations will be able to enjoy the wildlife supported by the refuge.

March 2012


By Bill Schweinfurth

At our March program entitled “Inspirational Stories of the Outdoors,” Leo Roth, who has covered a wide variety of sports teams and big events during his nearly 30 years with the Democrat and Chronicle, provided an entertaining program filled with unique stories of the outdoors. Leo, who took over the outdoor beat from Gary Fallesen in 2007, said he got the job because he was the only writer in the department at the time who owned a boat, a shotgun and fishing pole. Needless to say, after almost 300 “Do It” columns on Sundays in the Democrat and Chronicle, Leo had a lot of material to work with.

Just a few of the 30 short stories Leo shared with us included a man who walked around the perimeter of Lake Ontario, a woman who swam the width of all 11 Finger Lakes, a man who continued to hunt after a devastating stroke left him locked inside his body, a couple who drove cross country and wrote about the state parks they visited and the birds they photographed, a man who is a double amputee and also an accomplished sailor, a man who built his own canoe going from Cooperstown to the Gulf of Mexico and hiking the Appalachian Trail for his return trip north.

"The expertise and passion people have for the outdoors in our city truly has no boundaries,'' Leo said.  He expressed his gratitude for the help and expertise he’s received from the Genesee Chapter over the years to make his column a success. “Remember, if you have an interesting, inspiring, weird or wacky story, please pass it on.” If you have an idea, contact him at

February 8, 2012

Stewart Weaver - Fallen Giants: The History of Himalayan Mountaineering from the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes.

Stewart Weaver has long been fascinated by mountaineering – specifically mountaineering in the Himalaya. As a teen, living in India with his family, he lived and trekked in the shadows of those majestic peaks. After the 1996 Everest disaster which claimed the lives of veteran mountaineering guides, Rob Hall and Scott Fischer (Fischer had been one of his instructors at the NOLS Outdoor Leadership school), he wanted to understand more about the history of Himalayan exploration and mountaineering. Stewart took us back in time to help understand why conquering these peaks were so important to the British, the Germans and others. And he talked about how many of today’s adventure-seekers of average skills, but above average wealth, have aspirations of scaling those peaks as well.

Following Stewart’s presentation, we met an amazing gentleman, Samba, who left Tibet in 1993. Samba, a wood carver by trade who has carved objects for the Dalai Lama, shared his details of his extremely dangerous walk to escape from Tibet to Nepal after being imprisoned for his activity in the Free Tibet movement.
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