A collaboration between Miner Institute and SUNY Plattsburgh brought together area middle and high schoolers interested in science with chairs from the biology, chemistry, and earth and environmental science departments on campus as well as President Dr. Rick Grant from Miner Institute and President Dr. Alex Enyedi from SUNY Plattsburgh on a recent Saturday to learn about opportunities for study and careers in science.
Science Saturday was held on April 2 at Miner Institute and provided students and their parents an opportunity to learn about science programs at SUNY Plattsburgh and speak directly with the department chairs. Dr. Grant was also on hand to talk about careers in animal science to interested students.
Opening remarks were made by Dr. Grant and Dr. Enyedi and then time was given to Dr. Neil Buckley who chairs the biology department; Dr. Ewa Pater who chairs the chemistry department, and Dr. Ed Romanowicz who chairs the earth and environmental science department. Students were able to converse with the professors and ask questions. After a lunch break, interested participants were led on a tour of Miner Institute's Lake Alice research site and the dairy research barn and horse barn.
We look forward to collaborating with SUNY Plattsburgh to make Science Saturday an annual event!
After a pandemic hiatus, we were so pleased to bring back our Beat the Boredom program for elementary-aged kids during February break in collaboration with our friends at The Alice T. Miner Museum. The program offers activities at Miner Institute one day and at the Alice T. Miner Museum on another day during the week.
On Thursday, Feb. 24, we hosted a group of enthusiastic kids for some 30-minute mozzarella making; building birdfeeders with the help of Point Au Roche State Park Naturalist Kristin Collins; and an educational tour around the Joseph C. Burke Education and Research Center.
A snow storm dropped nearly 12 inches of snow on Chazy on Friday, Feb. 25, forcing us to cancel the afternoon event at The Alice, but plans are underway for a program during April break!
We are so grateful that we were able to bring back this great program and for our team that pulled it together – Librarian Amy Bedard; Director of Lab Studies and “Mozzarella Man” Steve Kramer; R&D Project Leader with Lallemand Animal Nutrition Ricky Scuderi; Research Technician Mark Haney; and Research Technician Maggie Carter and her 15-year-old granddaughter Rylee.
We look forward to more programs like Beat the Boredom which allow us to interact with the community in meaningful ways and to better inform the public about what we do.
The Miner team truly is the best team and we had the opportunity to be reminded of this on the slopes and tubing hill at Titus Mountain on Feb. 19 for the first -- of what hopefully becomes an annual event -- Miner Skiing/Tubing Day! The Institute rented the maple room, which is adjacent to Titus Mountain's sugarhouse and offers a warm place to gear up and to warm up! Titus offers discounted rates for large groups, so everyone who participated was able to enjoy a day on the mountain at a discount!
We had lots of snacks and drinks and most notably a fire pit that Dan Belrose built for the occasion. Mike Lemza and his wife Colleen transported the fire pit and plenty of firewood along with the fixings for s'mores to feed a small army!! It was so great to gather around the fire and enjoy the company of our great team and some highly-sugared children!
The only drawback to this incredible day was the snow squalls and whiteout conditions that made travel to and from the mountain pretty treacherous. We are so grateful to be part of an organization that knows how to have fun and to show appreciation to the most valuable assets -- our team!
The August 5 Strawhatters Community Band performance on the lawn by the Farm Office truly felt like the type of event that William and Alice Miner might have hosted. The weather was absolutely beautiful as was the music and it felt so good to bring people back to the Institute.
The Alice T. Miner Museum co-hosted the event with the Institute and we attracted at least 70 attendees in addition to the 40 band members. It was truly heartwarming to see kids dancing and families and friends enjoying an evening of live music.
The Strawhatters Community Band have been performing in the North Country for more than 60 years. Band members are from across the North Country on both sides of the border, although for this show our Canadian friends were not able to participate. The Strawhatters play an array of music including patriotic tunes, popular marches and ragtime.
We are so grateful that Hometown Cable was here to record the show, so even if you weren't able to attend, you can watch the performance at the link below. We hope to bring The Strawhatters back again to the Institute and The Alice for more live music!
Adelaide “Adie” Steinfeld is excited to be immersed in the Miner history for a couple days a week for the next two months. Adie is the inaugural Burke Scholarship recipient and will be spending one day a week working with Amy Bedard on projects related to the Miner Institute archives and one day per week at The Alice T. Miner Museum.
Adie grew up in Champlain. She graduated from Northeastern Clinton Central School in 2016 and graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in the History of Art and Design from Pratt Institute in 2020. Adie hopes to begin graduate school for art conservation in 2022. Adie said she was looking for an internship where she could work with archives this summer and she’s excited for the opportunity to get some archival experience while also receiving the Burke Scholarship. The scholarship provides the financial support for Adie’s stipend.
Dr. Joseph C. Burke served as the chair of Miner Institute’s Board of Trustees for nearly 30 years. Dr. Burke also tirelessly researched and wrote the biography of William Miner, William H. Miner: The Man and the Myth. Dr. Burke’s wife, Joan T. Burke, served as the chair of The Alice T. Miner Museum for nearly 20 years. Both Dr. and Mrs. Burke were passionate about preserving the legacy of William and Alice Miner and carrying on their tradition of philanthropy in the North Country. Dr. Burke passed away in 2018 and his family established a scholarship fund to help honor both Dr. Burke and Mrs. Burke’s commitment to the Miner legacy and their service and dedication to Miner Institute and The Alice T. Miner Museum.
“The history is so rich up here,” Adie said. Her first project at Miner Institute will be to organize and catalog the collection of approximately 200 Welte-Mignon and Welte Philharmonic Orchestration rolls. The mignon – which translates to “small and pleasing” – rolls were used in the Steinway Welte-Mignon reproducing piano that is now found in the library. The piano was made in 1907 and is considered rare. We hope to someday have it restored. The larger Welte Philharmonic Orchestration rolls are 15 3/16” wide and likely would have been used with the pipe organ that was located in the Harmony Hall auditorium.
The Harmony Hall orchestrion was a Welte Brisgovia. It was salvaged by a local radio announcer in 1962 and sold to someone in Georgia. It was leased to the Smithsonian in 1976 for a Centennial Exhibition. It’s current location is unknown. The orchestrion from Heart’s Delight Cottage is installed in a private home in Wisconsin. The orchestrions in Harmony Hall and in Heart’s Delight Cottage were encased with removable walls on the first floor. The pipes and chest would have been located there, with the lower part of the chassis on the ground floor.
Over at The Alice T. Miner Museum, Adie will be assisting Director Ellen Adams to rearrange and create finding aids for the museum’s archival collections. They will also locate all the material related to Frank Gunsaulus and come up with a plan for housing the collection. Adie will create a finding aid and a detailed description of all the items in the Gunsaulus collection.
We are so excited to have Adie helping with projects both here at Miner Institute and at The Alice. We are also thrilled to be putting the Burke Scholarship fund to good use and look forward to many more recipients in the years to come.
It has been two years since we celebrated June's dairy month with a friendly baking competition of delicious treats made with one or more dairy ingredients. It was pretty exciting to get "back in the saddle" with a June 29 dairy bakeoff in 2021. We had about a dozen or more entries including four different types of cheesecake; layered red, white, and blue jello; chocolate cream pie; whipped ricotta with balsamic strawberries; carrot cake and more!
Additional caffeine is often necessary after ingesting so much sugar, but it is one of our favorite events of the year -- celebrating dairy, eating, friendly competition, and gathering together are some of our favorite things!!
This year we had a tie for first place -- Research Technician Sheila Mousseau's Chocolate Cookie Cheesecake and Summer Experience in Ag Research Intern Courtney Groom's Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars. Dairy Outreach Coordinator Wanda Emerich tracked them down and had them sign the Miner apron and got this photo of the two of them.
We also scored their winning recipes! :)
Congrats to Sheila and Courtney and thanks to everyone who participated in the bakeoff.
As the calf manager here at Miner for the past 17 years, I am so pleased to see the new calf barn get started. (Construction officially began in early May). We have had a great success raising our own heifers out of hutches. During that time, we have had some struggles, but this new barn will affect our calves now and project into the future.
This barn will be a benefit to the calves and to staff. This calf raising facility will be able to maintain a stable environment for such things as:
THANK YOU to all involved in the barn construction process!
One in five Americans will be diagnosed with a mental health condition in their lifetime. What that means for your workplace and your family is that there is a strong likelihood that you or someone you interact with regularly will experience mental illness.
The stigma and shame that has long been associated with mental illness is a primary barrier to seeking help. Some people avoid seeking help for years because of the social stigma around mental illness. There are many organizations both locally and nationally that work tirelessly to advocate for mental health awareness and to help decrease the stigma surrounding it.
It is important to understand that mental illness is common – 18.5% of American adults surveyed in 2013 experienced a mental illness. That equates to nearly 44 million people. It is also important to know that wellness and recovery from mental illness is possible and providing hope, support, and access to resources are important components to getting there.
Frankly, it is ok to not be ok and asking for help requires strength and bravery. Someone who asks for help or who seeks treatment for a mental illness is not weak or broken, they are prioritizing wellness. Treating a mental illness should not be viewed differently than treatment for diabetes or kidney disease or cancer or any other medical condition.
Media has played a role in negatively associating mental illness with violent, dangerous people. In actuality, people suffering from mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence rather than perpetrators. It is not uncommon for people to have symptoms of mental disorders that may not be of the severity to warrant a mental health disorder diagnosis.
We strive to provide a work environment at Miner Institute that is supportive and encouraging and we want our staff to feel safe and to feel valued. We understand that this past year in particular has been more challenging and stressful than most and that stress can be a trigger for depression, anxiety and substance use disorders. Our staff is our best asset and it is of great importance that they remain healthy and well, which of course includes mental wellness.
Help is available if you or someone you know is experiencing mental illness.
Clinton County Suicide Prevention Hotline (24/7): 1-866-577-3836
National Suicide Prevention LifeLine: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
For information about Clinton County Mental Health and Addiction Services: https://www.clintoncountygov.com/mental-health-addiction-services
For information about Behavioral Health Services North (BHSN) mental health services: https://bhsn.org/mental-health
The SUNY Plattsburgh Shine On! program is typically an overnight confidence and skill-building event for girls in grades 3-5. The pandemic cancelled the event in 2020 and organizers planned a virtual event in 2021, that was built around a downlink with the International Space Station the program was awarded from NASA. The conference was organized with a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) theme with sessions geared toward students in kindergarten to grade 2; grade 3 to grade 5; and grade 6 to grade 8. The event attracted more than 6500 students from across New York State.
Miner Institute was pleased to be able to participate in this great program. We presented two sessions. The first session was for students in grades 6-8 and looked at respiration and how with increased exercise, the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled increases. This was illustrated by Research Technician Mark Haney (dressed in a cow suit) who exercised for three one-minute intervals with a 10 second rest afterward and then exhaled through a straw into a bromothymol blue solution that changed color when the pH changed, with more carbon dioxide. As Mark got more winded from exercise, the time it took to change the color of the solution decreased, and the amount of carbon dioxide he exhaled increased.
Our second session was presented to students in grades 3-5 and offered a prerecorded tour around Miner Institute with short interviews with staff about what they do. Graduate Student Cari Reynolds was the videographer, director, and editor of the video and she did a phenomenal job! (See video below) Cari then joined Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator Rachel Dutil for a live portion where Cari showed students some of the unusual things that we feed to dairy cows such as citrus pulp, cotton seed, and almond hulls. We also told the students a little bit about William Miner and how Miner Institute came to be.
Big kudos goes out to Colleen Lemza from SUNY Plattsburgh and her extraordinary team of student organizers who were able to put together such a great program. We were honored to be a part of it and hope there are opportunities for future such collaborations.