1001: TR at ILM


That’s Teddy Roosevelt Day on Isle La Motte. Every September, the inhabitants of this little island on Lake Champlain celebrate our 26th U.S. President, lifelong naturalist and champion conservationist. As the story goes, TR, while serving as Vice President, visited the island in September of 1901. While there, a phone call came for him (on the island’s only telephone at the time) informing him that President McKinley had been shot.

An important event in local history certainly, but it’s the “conservationist” issue that resonates with the island’s residents. Their tireless efforts to save and preserve Chazy Reef for all of us continues today as it has for the past twenty years. The island’s bedrock is formed by the oldest known fossil coral reef in the world – nearly a half billion years old! And scientists from the world over visit the site to peer into the planet’s deep past.

This year’s events, ranging from apple picking, cider pressing, demonstrations at the Historical Society, hayrides, etc. all culminated in a parade, led by TR himself, that ended at the newly refurbished Goodsell Barn, The barn, pictured below, was formally introduced to the public as part of the day’s festivities, and will serve as a nature center and education space.


I was honored to be asked to display a show of my Chazy Reef fossil images at this opening. And, I am happy to say that this work will reside there permanently and serve as a backdrop for future events educational and otherwise.


TR showed up and praised the local conservation efforts. He best described the importance of the day, stressing the importance of our collective role as caretakers of the planet.


And it was a message well received and appreciated by all those present.


It was a great turnout. Seems like the whole island showed up. It was a wonderful experience – small town America at its finest. Neighbors working together for a common (and very important) good. They should be proud of their efforts. Their desire and ability to preserve and maintain Chazy Reef deserves our great thanks.


The day ended, as all good small town events do, with a potluck dinner back at the Fisk Farm compound, where the indefatigable Beth and Larry Welton (otherwise known as Tin Penny) provided additional entertainment. It was a very special day.


In my free moments, while wandering through the neighboring Fisk Quarry, I came across more and more gastropod fossils Here are a few of the new ones.






More information about Chazy Reef and its importance may be found at the ILMPT website



Aside from the trip to Isle La Motte I’ve been on the road a lot lately. But I did find a little time to crack some rocks back at the studio. This one rather small rock had an interesting yield. Here are three images from that rock.






And, one last note that I couldn’t resist including. From a recent stay on Paradox Lake in the Adirondacks – views from the porch on Sunday night and hours later the following morning.


Thanks for the visit,

0917: Chazy Reef This Saturday


This trio of gastropods was found at the site of a barn on the Goodsell Ridge Preserve on Isle La Motte, Vermont. The Preserve, an 81 acre nature and geologic preserve, is home to Chazy Reef, a remarkable and unique 480 million year old fossil reef formation. And on Saturday (Sept. 19) the aforementioned barn, now newly renovated, will open as part of the island’s annual Teddy Roosevelt Day festivities.


The barn will be a multipurpose space for the Preserve, a site used for everything from nature center to exhibition and event space. And I have been asked to provide the opening art exhibit. This first set of images, as well as others I had posted two weeks ago, will be part of the show – all images of the various fossils I encountered during my visits to Chazy Reef.


As for Teddy Roosevelt, this yearly event pays tribute to this most famous conservationist, who had visited this island in September of 1901. Various events will be taking place across the island. The final event of the day will be a reception at the Goodsell Ridge Barn at 4:00 pm. The exhibit will be open all day beginning at 11:00 am.


There are plans currently to keep the show up permanently or, at least, indefinitely. Hopefully, the prints will encourage visitors to take more time to explore the reef and recognize and appreciate its importance.




One more note about ILM – On my last visit I walked all the way to the far side of Fisk Quarry (the other part of the Land Trust) and found this. It is one of two very large stromatoporoids in the quarry. Known as “reef-formers” these invertebrates are classified as sponges.


These are a few close-ups of the stromatoporoid that measures roughly 5’x5′.


I’ll try to have more images next week of the island and all the festivities.




Last week I brought you images from the rocks along the Kaaterskill Creek. This week I have a few more to share. In the interim, one long night of a 5″ rainfall has filled the creek once again. So it may be a while before some of these fossils reappear.


These next two images tell an interesting story. As I mentioned last week, fossils down here appear as the cherty rock surfaces ever so slowly dissolve (thanks to enviromental effects, i.e. the flow of the creek).


The image above was taken in September of 2007. I found it again last week. Take a look at the image below to see the changes that have occurred during the last eight years! Amazing to me, given that this coral has been around for hundreds of millions of years!


And, finally, these little things again! I still have no idea what they are but I do find then strange and interesting. They remind me of aboriginal art!


IMG_3209_01_LR_12 IMG_3198_01_LR_12

Thanks for the visit.

0910: Along the Kaaterskill


I’ve been busy printing a show that I just delivered to my friends on Isle La Motte on Lake Champlain – all in relation to an event on September 19th. I’ll have more on that next week. But before leaving I had time to visit a favorite place of mine along the Kaaterskill Creek.


The creek makes a dogleg turn through a large section of chert – a fine grained sedimentary rock that can contain fossils. I’ve climbed these particular rocks many times in the past and always seem to come back with a few surprises. This last visit did not disappoint.


This slab (above), approximately 8 ft. in length, shows the irregular, hard edged scalloping that I assume comes from weathering and constant (or near constant) flowing water. In the bottom left is a tight cluster of colonial coral.


Finding fossils here is a very different experience than the usual hammer and chisel approach. The rock is incredibly hard – as I found out a long time ago. Hitting it with a hammer only results in some impromptu Wyle E. Coyote impersonation – hammer holds steady as entire body shakes uncontrollably!


So the fossils only appear as the rock surface ever-so-slowly dissolves away. And the fossils remain attached as they dissolve at a slower rate. I have a couple of comparisons that I’ll bring you next time.












This last one I couldn’t resist. I’m not sure what it is. But it made for a nice picture. Actually, I found a number of somewhat similar objects in the immediate vicinity. Something makes me think that they are something much more recent than any fossils – some kind of growth?? If you have any thoughts I’d be happy to hear.



So, after delivering the show to the folks at Chazy Reef I had time for a stroll along the Lake Champlain shore. More fun with rocks!




I’ll have more information next week about the upcoming events on Isle La Motte on the 19th. More images from the show and a few new discoveries.


Thanks as always for the visit.

0903: Maine Color


I’m sure this is not what usually comes to mind when thinking about Maine colors.


Usually, it is Fall foliage or maybe blueberry patches in the fields – all of which are certainly beautiful.


As you can see, mine is a completely different take.


These images are the result of my climbing around on the coastal rocks and rock walls on the shores of the northernmost coast of Maine.


Footing was generally slippery and rather treacherous, but in the end well worth the risk!












Since the topic is color today, I thought I’d add some images of New York fossils set against a rapidly deteriorating metal can that survived a fire.


A fresh look at some of the usual characters that often inhabit this blog!






Thanks for the visit.

0827: Chazy Reef Revisited


On our recent trip to Maine, Cindy and I stopped first in Vermont to visit friends on Isle La Motte, a beautiful island near the top of Lake Champlain. We were first drawn to the island a few years ago when we sought out the world famous, 480 million year old Chazy Fossil Reef. That visit, which resulted in a show of my Chazy Reef fossil images, also began several friendships that grow warmly with each passing year.


So it was time for a visit. Dinner with friends, old and new; a visit to a terrific exhibit “A Walk Through Time” at the Goodsell Ridge Preserveand,of course, another chance to photograph some of the oldest fossils I’ve ever had the opportunity to encounter.


The Preserve, one half of the Isle La Motte Preservation Trust, is an 81 acre reef site with a Visitor’s Center and Museum. Also, there sits a newly revived and revitalized barn that will soon formally open and serve as a nature center. It’s an old beauty brought back to life by the skilled hands, strong commitment and deep love of the local folks. They are as much a treasure as is the actual reef. For it is only due to their efforts that this world-important science site remains preserved as a National Natural Landmark.


The formal dedication and opening of the Goodsell Barn is set for September 19. I have been asked to produce a show for that opening. It is an honor and a pleasure to take part in the event. I’ll have more information on the show and related events soon. In the meantime, this is a selection of images, all taken at Chazy Reef, that I am busy printing and prepping for the show.











And now, on to Maine.


A few more images taken of the rock walls – those that are assaulted every day by the ocean tides.


It seems like every day I was drawn to these rocks…


…and every evening to our favorite place at sunset.


We’re already planning for our trip next year! Thank you Eric and Betty!



Once darkness fell we had company! They were no problem. They hid in the dark and didn’t eat much!


Thanks for the visit.

0820: Maine Rocks


I’m just back from a week on the Maine coast, an absolutely stunning setting. Point the camera or, better yet, point your gaze in any direction and it’s instant visual nirvana.


My camera focused on the rocks – all the rocks from paving stones…


…to art on the beach…


…even to an abandoned granite quarry.


But it was the shore rocks, the rock formations that meet the ocean, that left me awestruck!


I’m not the first person to have discovered their beauty.


I certainly won’t be the last.


But I do find them compelling.












Many more to come in the weeks ahead.



And the trees often grow over and around the rock bluffs creating amazing root systems.

Thanks for the visit.

0805: Taking Off


I was remarking to Cindy the other night that we had not seen any luna moths this year. And then I remembered that she found this one dead in our driveway last year. So I retrieved it from the baggie I had originally placed it in and set it against one of my many rocks.


This week I’m mixing a few things I’ve been playing with. We are leaving for vacation tomorrow so I’m a day early with this post and not real focused. These three images involved the fossils I  found on my last trip to Tuscany.


I’ve been drawing a lot lately, so the old weathered pastel box seemed to fit the mood.




Whenever I can’t focus I can always go to my default place – hammer and chisel in hand – cracking rocks open.


All three from the same rock from the quarry.




And, last for today (and until I return in a couple of weeks), a few shots of the neighborhood.


Thanks for the visit.