News & Events

EXPLORE YOUR WATERSHED 2014: A series of walks and talks by local experts.

News Flash -- Updated July 9, 2014

For all walks meet in the Parking Area of the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve, just off Giles St.


Plants of the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve – May 10 - 1 pm
Look for spring flowers in the floodplain and old growth forests along Six Mile Creek. Led by Robert Wesley.

Geology of Six Mile Creek - May 18 – 9:30 am 
Walk along Six Mile Creek with geologist Dan Karig and learn about the forces that have shaped the the course of this water way in both ancient and modern times. 

Bird Watching – May 31 – 7 am 
An early morning bird watching walk along Six Mile Creek led by birder and naturalist Meena Haribal. Bring your binoculars!

Big Trees – June 7 – 9 am 
Joe McMahon will lead a walk to some of the biggest and oldest trees in the Six MIle Creek Natural Area. Prepare to be amazed!

Watershed Walk – July 12 – 9 am (postponed due to illness)
Do you know where your water comes from? Join Roxy Johnston, Ithaca's Watershed Coordinator, for a walk along Six Mile Creek, source of the city water supply, and learn how the current rebuild of this important system is progressing

 

Reports from Recent Nature Journaling Workshops (2014). More Workshops in Spring 2014 (see below for schedule)

May 3, 2014

Animal Tracking -  Five eager young naturalists, journals in hand, explored the wilds of the Mulholland Preserve on a wintry day and, with the guidance of Linda Spielman, observed tracks of dog, deer, mouse, and fox. Most exciting was sign of a ruffed grouse bed. In the photo below, note the wing prints that were made as the bird rose from it's nap!.

Stream Safari – A warm, sunny Saturday set the stage for the 2014 Stream Safari, which was attended by 18 kids and their parents. Phil Koons and his able assistant, Jamie Lovett, showed the group the critters they'd already collected and after the kids did some journaling, they went off with nets to see what they could find!


Ruffed grouse bed

Example page of a young naturalist journal

 

Nature Journaling for Kids at Six Mile Creek 2014

February 24, 2014

Ithaca, New York - The Friends of Six Mile Creek and the Natural Areas Commission of the City of Ithaca announce the second annual educational series for children aged 7-12. Nature Journaling for Kids will introduce children to the natural history of the Six Mile Creek Natural Area. Facilitated by Laurie Rubin, participants will observe and learn about animals and plants while they record their impressions in words and pictures.
 
Rubin, retired Ithaca City School District teacher, demonstrates how nature study helped her students become stronger scientists, readers, writers, and mathematicians in her recently published book, To Look Closely: Science and Literacy in the Natural World. Her experience complements the expertise of five naturalists who will each lead one themed workshop: Animal Tracking, Stream Safari, Wonderful Wild Flowers, Native Trees and Land Snails and Slugs. Kids (accompanied by a parent) can participate in one or more of these fun, educational, and free activities in 2014.
 
Each session will start at the parking area of the Mullholland Wildflower Preserve just off Giles Street on Saturdays at 1:00PM and run until 2:30PM. Journals will be provided or bring your own. Contact Laurie (272-8491) or Anna (379-0924) for more information.
 
The 2014 schedule is as follows:
February 15-Animal Tracking with Linda Spielman
There's lots going on outside in winter, but it takes a detective's mind to find and understand the clues. We'll look for tracks, chews, scat, and other kinds of evidence to help us figure out what kinds of wild animals live near us and what they are doing.
 
April 12-Stream Safari with Phil Koons
Did you ever wonder what kinds of critters live in our local streams? Join us on a Stream Safari to learn about the insects, fish and other organisms that live beneath the water’s surface. We’ll collect live samples and explore an exciting new world!
 
May 3-Wonderful Wild Flowers with Betsy Darlington
Spring wildflowers seem to magically rise from the forest floor and then, almost as quickly, disappear, not to be seen again until the next spring. Join us to learn the names (and secrets) of these fleeting flowers of the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve.
 
June 14-Native Trees with Brett Schneiderman
Trees are an important part of the environment around us; they provide us with clean air, shade, food, and materials. We’ll learn about some of the trees in our local forests, how to identify them and what they can tell us about the greater environment.
 
June 28 Land Snails and Slugs (new this year) with Marla Coppolino
Though often overlooked, land snails and slugs play an important role in the health of the ecosystem. We’ll discover their secret hiding places and learn about the different kinds of snails and slugs that live practically under our feet, and why they are a vital part of the food web.

 

Nature Journaling for Kids at Six Mile Creek 2013

The Friends of Six Mile Creek and the Natural Areas Commission of the City of Ithaca announce an exciting new educational series in 2013 for children aged 7-12. Nature Journaling for Kids will introduce children to the natural history of the Six Mile Creek Natural Area.  Facilitated by Laurie Rubin, participants will observe and learn about animals and plants while they record their impressions in words and pictures.  

Rubin has introduced second and third graders to nature journaling as a teacher at BJM and Cayuga Heights schools. Her experience complements the expertise of the four naturalists and teachers who will each lead one themed workshop: Animal Tracking, Stream Safari, Wonderful Wild Flowers, and Native Trees.  Kids (accompanied by a parent) can participate in one or more of these fun, educational and free activities in 2013.  

We’ll meet at the parking area of the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve just off Giles Street. Journals will be provided or bring your own. Contact Laurie (592-0835) or Anna (379-0924) for more information.

The 2013 schedule is as follows:

April 131 - 2:30 pm   Stream Safari with Phil Koons
Did you ever wonder what kinds of critters live in our local streams? Join us on a Stream Safari to learn about the insects, fish and other organisms that live beneath the water’s surface. We’ll collect live samples and explore an exciting new world!

May 41 - 2:30 pm   Wonderful Wild Flowers with Betsy Darlington
Spring wildflowers seem to magically rise from the forest floor and then, almost as quickly, disappear, not to be
seen again until the next spring. Join us to learn the names (and secrets) of these fleeting flowers of the
Mulholland Wildflower Preserve.

June 11 - 2:30 pm   Native Trees with Ethan Dropkin
Trees are an important part of the environment around us; they provide us with clean air, shade, food, and lumber. We’ll learn about some of the trees in our local forests, how to identify them and what they can tell us about the greater environment.

First Installment of our Nature Journaling Workshop a Success
February 9, 2013

Five eager young participants and their parents attended the first Nature Journaling workshop, Animal Tracking, on February 9. Despite the few inches of new snow, our guide, Linda Spielman, was able to point out some interesting features of canine footprints, and interpret other signs and patterns in the snow that indicated that deer and a fox had been active in the Wildflower Preserve not long before.  Laurie Rubin shared her nature journal with the kids, and they paused often to draw what they observed and make notes in their own!

A great time was had by all. Bring your own 7-12 year old to one or more of these upcoming workshops!!

Riley
Riley Taylor (age 7) enjoying the journaling workshop

Hannah
Hannah Kraus keeping track

 

Celebrate Six Mile Creek!

Sunday, September 30, 2012, 2-4 pm

Mulholland Wildflower Preserve, just off Giles St.

You’re invited to join the Friends of Six Mile Creek and the Natural Areas Commission as we welcome and get reacquainted with friends and neighbors, new and old! 

            Why do you visit Six Mile Creek?

Participate in an informal survey that will help us develop new and exciting learning and volunteer activities.

            Explore Your Watershed

Begun in 2009, this series has included such topics as Birdwatching, Geomorphology, Spring Flora, and Big Trees, and “tours” of the city water supply.  Meet previous walk leaders and take a guided nature walk.  Suggest topics for the upcoming 2013 series.

            NEW in 2013! Nature Journaling at Six Mile Creek

A preview of an exciting new series for kids, ages 7 and up, and their parents. Spend a Saturday afternoon learningabout the natural history of Six Mile Creek and keep a journal of your observations. A different theme each month: Animal Tracking, Stream Insects, Wildflowers, Trees.

            Volunteer Opportunities

Trail maintenance, invasive species control, invasive species mapping, tree inventory, plant collecting. Become a Friend and steward of your natural area!

Contact Anna: ams15 AT cornell.edu

 

April 23, 2012

2012 Explore Your Watershed Series of Walks and Talks in the Six Mile Creek Natural Area

Six Mile Creek Geology and Stream Geomorphology. Saturday, April 28 (10 am). Learn all about the forces that have shaped the course of Six Mile Creek in both ancient and modern times. Led by geologist Dan Karig. Meet in the parking lot of the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve.

Spring Flora. Saturday, May 5 (10 am). Led by botanist Robert Wesley. Meet in the parking lot of the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve.

Birdwatching at Six Mile Creek. Saturday, June 2 (8 am). Led by Meena Haribal. Meet in the parking lot of the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve. Bring binoculars!

BIG TREES! Saturday, May 19 (9:30 am). Some of the largest local specimens of red and white oak, tulip poplar, and hemlock can be found in the city's Natural Area surrounding Six Mile Creek. Come see these large and interesting trees in the forest on the south side of the creek. Be prepared for some steep trails, just over two miles, lasting about two hours. Meet at the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve on Giles St. Saturday, July 9 at 9:30 am. Led by Joe McMahon.

Ithaca's Water Supply: Past, Present, and Future. Sunday, June 24 (10am-1pm). A walk along the woodland trails that parallel Six Mile Creek, the source of Ithaca’s drinking water, led by Watershed Coordinator Roxy Johnston. Meet at the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve parking lot to carpool to the starting point at Commonland. This walk is fifth in the 2012 “Explore Your Watershed” series of natural history walks sponsored by the Friends of Six Mile Creek and the Natural Areas Commission. For more info, contact Roxy:roxannaj@cityofithaca.org

General information on the Explore Your Watershed series can be directed to Anna (ams15 AT cornell.edu).

 


Explore Your Watershed: The Natural History of the Six Mile Creek Natural Area
A series of walks and talks Spring & Summer 2011

Upcoming:

Birdwatching at Six Mile Creek. Saturday, May 21. 7 - 9 am. Led by Meena Haribal. Meet in the parking lot of the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve. Bring binoculars!

Ithaca’s Water Supply: Past, Present and Future. June 4. 10 am - 1 pm. An informative walk along the woodland trails that parallel Six Mile Creek, the source of Ithaca’s drinking water, led by Watershed Coordinator Roxy Johnson. Participation limited to 20. Call or e-mail Roxy to register: 607-273-4680; roxannaj@cityofithaca.org. Meet at the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve parking lot to carpool to the starting point at Commonland.

BIG TREES! July 9. 9:30 am. Some of the largest local specimens of red and white oak, tulip poplar, and hemlock can be found in the city's Natural Area surrounding Six Mile Creek.  Come see these large and interesting trees in the forest on the south side of the creek. Be prepared for some steep trails, just over two miles, lasting about two hours.  Meet at the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve on Giles St. Saturday, July 9 at 9:30 am.  Led by Joe McMahon.


Completed:

Invasive Plants. Saturday, April 16. 10 am - noon. An introduction to the natural history of invasive plants. Learn about mugwort, honeysuckle, garlic mustard, knotweed, Norway maple and swallow-wort, all found in the Six Mile Creek Natural Area. Led by plant ecologist Tom Whitlow.  Meet in the parking lot of the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve.

Six Mile Creek Geology and Stream Geomorphology. April 30. 10 am - noon. Learn all about the forces that have shaped the course of Six Mile Creek in both ancient and modern times.  Led by geologist Dan Karig.  Meet in the parking lot of the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve. 

 

Older News -- Last updated May 2010

Explore Your Watershed: The Natural History of the Six Mile Creek Natural Area
A series of walks and talks Spring & Summer 2010

Unless otherwise noted walks begin in Wildflower Preserve Parking Lot

Topic Walk Leader Date
Spring Flora Robert Wesley May 8 (10am-12pm)
Birds Meena Haribal May 29 (7-8:30am)
Geology & Stream Geomorph. Dan Karig June 19 (10am-12pm)
Ithaca's Water Supply: Past, Present, and Future Roxy Johnson July 10 (10am-1pm)
Big Trees! Joe McMahon Sept 25 (9:30-11:30am)
Water Works Walk Roxy Johnson October 16 (10am-1pm)*

*Group size limited to 20. Please RSVP to Roxy: roxannaj@cityofithaca.org.

For more information on the walks and talks contact Anna Stalter.

 

May 28, 2010

New Roots School Helps Out in the
Wildflower Preserve

New Roots Charter School students after their 4th weekly visit to the Wildflower Preserve. The group has been working to maintain trails and pull invasive species this spring. The Friends of Six Mile Creek and City of Ithaca Natural Areas Commission thank these eager volunteers for their hard work and good spirit!


May 6, 2007

Ithaca Comes out to Celebrate Local Plants at Wildflower Appreciation Day

Ithacans love their native species. Six Mile Creek Natural Area proudly dislayed its native wildflowers to participants in Saturday's Wildflower Appreciation Day organized by Friends of Six Mile Creek and the City of Ithaca Natural Areas Commission. The gorgeous, sunny day featured guided walks by local experts, homemade garlic mustard pesto, a plant scavenger hunt and, to the delight of local kids, a garlic mustard pulling contest. Photos can be viewed here. The Ithaca Journal did a nice story on the event here. Sophie and Diego Payne Inigo, after hours in the Natural Area scouting invasives, came out holding one of the prize winning garlic mustard plants like a trophy fish. Their prize winning root measured 11 inches. A huge thank you to Anna Stalter, member of the Natural Areas Commission and tireless volunteer and Jess Langan-Peck, our intern for their creativity in designing activities and hard work organizing the event.

 

2007 Wildflower Appreciation Day Announced

Friends of Six Mile Creek is happy to announce that the second annual Wildflower Appreciation Day will be held Saturday, May 5, 2007 (10am-3pm). Tours of the Six Mile Creek Natural Area by local experts will be given every half hour on the half hour. There will also be many more activities for kids and adults including wildflower (and invasive species) identification activities.

Below we have an excerpt from last year's wildflower check-off list. Identification "stations" throughout the Natural Area help plant identification novices to find these biologically and culturally important plants.

This year's check-off list can be downloaded by clicking here (be careful, it's a large file 2.7 mb). The plant descriptions can also be downloaded.

Intern Helps Organize Garlic Mustard Pulls

April 16, 2007

In Fall 2006 a group of five Ithaca College students in a grantwriting class chose the Six Mile Creek invasives species management project as their focus. They developed several documents, including a draft grant proposal that we will use in our continuing fundraising efforts. Thanks to Shea, Jakki, Andy, Jess and Kyla for their hard work! One of those students, Jess Langan-Peck, has been serving as an intern to Friends of Six Mile Creek and the Natural Areas Commission this semester. Jess has been working closely with the Invasives Subcommittee to write and submit one grant application (with no fewer than 2 additional submissions forthcoming), and to assist with the organization of volunteers and events. Working on an Environmental Studies minor, Jess will initiate invasives monitoring plots in the next few weeks.

Volunteer work days were held on March 31 and April 14, 2007. Students and other community members turned out to pull garlic mustard and spruce up the trails. The garlic mustard collected on April 14 was donated to Bernd Blossey, a Cornell Professor who is conducting research to develop biological methods of garlic mustard control. The garlic mustard we picked will be food for beetles that are being reared in experiments to determine their suitability as garlic mustard herbivores. Perhaps the end of the garlic mustard invasion is truly in sight!

See story here.

Community Joins Friends of Six Mile Creek for Wildflower Appreciation Day 2006

More than 50 people participated in walks and scavenger hunts at Wildflower Appreciation Day this past Sunday including Ithaca's Director of Planning and Development Thys VanCort and Common Council member Mary Tomlan. Friends of Six Mile Creek and the City of Ithaca Natural Areas Commission sponsored the events highlighting the human and natural history of the area and pointing out the threats posed to wildflowers from invasive species. The Ithaca Journal did a nice story on the event (note that this link will likely only be active until Sunday, June 1).


A young participant in the Plant Scavenger Hunt double checks his
list. These native violets are nearly surrounded by invasive
garlic mustard.

NEW: Wildflower Appreciation Day -- May 21, 2006 (10am-3pm)

Learn more about the Six Mile Creek Natural Area through guided tours provided by the Friends of Six Mile Creek, a native and invasive plant "scavenger hunt", and other activities for kids and adults held throughout the day. Learn how the creek got its name, how to identify the wildflowers and trees that grow in the Natural Area, and about the Friends' efforts to protect this resource for future generations. Park at the entrance just off Giles St. Contact Anna Stalter for more information.

May 19, 2006

Invasives Committee Releases Report on Threats to Six Mile Creek

In a report presented to the City of Ithaca's Natural Areas Commission (NAC), a committee of experts outlined the grave threats facing native plants in the Six Mile Creek Natural Area. The Six Mile Creek Invasive Plant Advisory Committeee (SCIPAC), convened by the NAC, used the report to highlight priority areas in the Six Mile gorge and summarize the invasive plants that threaten these areas and proposed plans for addressing the threats. Click here for more information and to download a copy of the report.

Photos courtesy Daniel Otis

April 26, 2006

More Than 25 Volunteers Help Maintain Trails and Pull Garlic Mustard

Despite cold weather and a constant drizzle more than 25 hardy volunteers from Phi Kappa Tau and Delta Chi fraternities attended the most recent Friends of Six Mile Creek work day. Delta Chi volunteers joined the us thanks to the generous help of On Site Volunteer Services. Volunteers helped with trail improvement and pulled more than a dozen garbage bags of garlic mustard from a particularly ecologically sensitive area of Six Mile.



December 10, 2005

Beloved Conservationist Dr. Richard Fischer, Dies

In August 2005 Ithaca lost a devoted conservationist and distinguished member of our community. As a lifelong activist and environmental educator, Dr. Richard B. Fischer engaged his students and the community as a whole in a wide range of conservation activities. While Dr. Fischer was recognized nationally for his contributions to environmental education, it was Ithaca that benefited most directly by his inspiration. Dr. Fischer dedicated countless hours to the protection of Ithaca’s natural areas, he taught numerous environmental education courses and he served on many of Ithaca’s advisory boards including the Natural Areas Commission. Dr. Fischer’s greatest contribution to the community, however, may be his hands-on work to re-establish the Eastern bluebird, New York’s state bird. Along with enthusiastic volunteers, Dr. Fischer built and installed hundreds of nest boxes which he would monitor in summer, paint in the fall and clean out in the spring. From April to August he would monitor up to 100 houses – visiting active houses at least once a week. In honor of Dr. Fischer’s contribution to the natural areas of Ithaca, the City of Ithaca Natural Areas Commission will be installing several blue bird boxes at the lower reservoir overlook in the Six Mile Creek natural area. If you are interested in helping with this effort please feel free to contact me or any member of the Natural Areas Commission (contact information at www.sixmilecreek.org).In August 2005 Ithaca lost a devoted conservationist and distinguished member of our community. As a lifelong activist and environmental educator, Dr. Richard B. Fischer engaged his students and the community as a whole in a wide range of conservation activities. While Dr. Fischer was recognized nationally for his contributions to environmental education, it was Ithaca that benefited most directly by his inspiration.

Dr. Fischer dedicated countless hours to the protection of Ithaca’s natural areas, he taught numerous environmental education courses and he served on many of Ithaca’s advisory boards including the Natural Areas Commission. Dr. Fischer’s greatest contribution to the community, however, may be his hands-on work to re-establish the Eastern bluebird, New York’s state bird. Along with enthusiastic volunteers, Dr. Fischer built and installed hundreds of nest boxes which he would monitor in summer, paint in the fall and clean out in the spring. From April to August he would monitor up to 100 houses – visiting active houses at least once a week. In honor of Dr. Fischer’s contribution to the natural areas of Ithaca, the City of Ithaca Natural Areas Commission will be installing several blue bird boxes at the lower reservoir overlook in the Six Mile Creek natural area. If you are interested in helping with this effort please feel free to contact me or any member of the Natural Areas Commission (contact information at www.sixmilecreek.org).

To assist with the bluebird boxes please contact Zev Ross.

August 11, 2005

City of Ithaca Natural Areas Commission seeks new member

The City of Ithaca Natural Areas Commission is looking for one new member. The NAC was established to support conservation and monitor threats in the City's natural areas including Six Mile Creek. The volunteer positionis open to anyone with an interest in the City's natural areas. The commission meets on the second Monday of every month from 5:30-7:00pm. If you are interested or are interested in learning more contact NAC Chairperson Zev Ross at zevross@earthlink.net.

Work Day 2005 A Success

Two dozen volunteers worked to remove debris
from trails and pick invasive species April 17, 2005.

Phoebe Lakin, 9, picks garlic mustard Sunday in the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve. Lakin worked with other volunteers to help remove the nonnative plant that can crowd out native flowering plants. Friends of Six Mile Creek, a citizens' organization that works to preserve and restore the natural character of the Six Mile Creek Natural Area, organized the work project.

Zev Ross, left, Dan Karig and Anna Stalter remove debris from a flood-damaged trail Sunday along Six Mile Creek in the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve. The group, Friends of Six Mile Creek, organized the trail repair work. Other volunteers worked to remove garlic mustard, a non-native plant that can crowd out native flowering plants.

Photos and Captions from Bill Warren, Ithaca Journal

Click Here for Photos of the Trail Damage

Last Year's Activities

Click Here for Photos from last year's clean-up activities.

About Us
Formed in 2003, Friends of Six Mile Creek is a citizens organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of the Six Mile Creek Natural Area in Ithaca, NY. We are committed to conserving and restoring the natural character of the area. At the same time we recognize the many human uses and social importance of the area to the Ithaca community. Friends of Six Mile Creek was originally founded by members of the City of Ithaca Natural Areas Commission and is an assembly of concerned citizens throughout the Finger Lakes region. The only membership requirements are a commitment to the Natural Area and willingness to volunteer at least one hour per year in maintenance or restoration activities.

Contact
Anna Stalter
Friends of Six Mile Creek
Member, City of Ithaca Natural Areas Commission
E-mail: ams15 AT cornell.edu

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