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Museum gives Jerry Jenkins top Adirondack award

‘Adirondack Atlas’ author honored at ceremony

“Adirondack Atlas” author and botanist Jerry Jenkins gives remarks at the Adirondack Museum Aug. 4 after he was awarded the museum’s annual Harold Hochschild Award.

“Adirondack Atlas” author and botanist Jerry Jenkins gives remarks at the Adirondack Museum Aug. 4 after he was awarded the museum’s annual Harold Hochschild Award. Photo by Andy Flynn.

— “Out of that came Jerry’s explanation of mosses and grasses and liverworts and things that most of us don’t even look at, and that brought the attention of not only the APA ... but eventually the Nature Conservancy into helping protect that area,” Barnett said.

Jenkins reflected on that project during the award ceremony. He was 38 years old at the time.

“I went in there, and I was just amazed,” Jenkins said. “I barely knew the Adirondacks at that time. I found a mile-long bog filled with wonderful, wonderful things. I came back out after a week or so camping next to it, my eyes were spinning. I went in to the agency that hired me and said ‘You’ve got a mile-long bog filled with wonderful rare stuff. How many others have you got?‘ And they said, of course, ‘We have no idea.’”

Jenkins was intrigued. APA staff suggested he visit naturalist “Greenie” Chase at his home near Saranac Lake. And he did, spending a couple of days picking his brain and looking at maps and photographs. There was no biological map of the Adirondack Park. But Jenkins was in luck; Chase had the map in his head.

“And I started to put that down on paper,” Jenkins said.

Now, almost 30 years later, Jenkins noted two major accomplishments in the Park. First of all, about 1 million acres of land that was previously unprotected is now under conservation ownership or easement.

“But the other equally amazing achievement ... is that simultaneous with that we built a much more detailed map of the Adirondacks that we had ever had before,” Jenkins said. “We helped to know what we had, how it was arranged, why people thought it was important ... We’re still learning. We have that map in amazingly good shape.”

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