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.
Particularly after receiving several inches of snow earlier in the week, Saturday’s 60-degree sunshine was perfect as we celebrated the United Way of the Adirondack Region’s 2021 Day of Caring with some spring cleanup at Riverview Cemetery in Chazy.
We first participated in the annual Day of Caring event – which promotes community service and volunteerism – in 2019. The 2020 event was cancelled due to the pandemic, and the 2021 event was billed as semi-virtual and encouraged donations to local charities, giving thanks to frontline workers, promoting mental health and wellness, and helping neighbors. The Institute partnered with The Alice T. Miner Museum and followed in our 2019 footsteps with cleanup at the cemetery.
Besides its location right on Route 9 in the village of Chazy, Riverview Cemetery has great significance to the Miners. In 1926, William Miner built a chapel and then a mausoleum the following year at the cemetery property. The mausoleum is the final resting place for William and Alice Miner, their infant son William Jr., and Alice’s three sisters. Additionally, William Miner’s grandparents Clement Miner and Lydia Dominy are buried at Riverview Cemetery, along with their infant daughter Mary Miner. William Miner’s Uncle John Miner and Aunt Huldah Fisher are also buried there. Land for the cemetery was donated in 1811 by Dr. Nathan Carver and the older section of the cemetery includes markers that are nearly 200 years old.
We are always looking for ways we can give back to the community as it certainly is a great way to honor William and Alice Miner’s generosity and commitment to the North Country. We hope that events such as the Day of Caring are back to fully in-person for 2022.
Schenectady High School’s 2400 students are all learning remotely for the 2020-2021 school year. Creative minds in the science department decided that they needed ways to engage and excite their students. They came up with Science Fridays, which have been ongoing since the start of the school year.
Each Friday, the ninth-grade science teachers visit a location or offer a livestreamed science experiment and fit the trip into the curriculum as best they can. Because their students would miss out on the dissection lab that typically happens in ninth grade, the teachers did a livestream dissection for their students. They have visited an apiary, a llama farm, the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, and The Wild Center, among other places.
On March 26, Danielle Budlong and Jennifer Insull hit the road at 5 am and traveled up to Miner Institute for a Science Friday in our dairy barn. Research Scientist Dr. Sarah Morrison talked to Budlong and Insull and their students at home about how we use cannulated cows in our research program. Both teachers were able to reach into the cow’s rumen. Budlong informed her students that it felt warm and that she could feel the stomach contracting and could feel the rumen lining, which has a shag carpet-like texture.
Dr. Morrison squeezed some rumen fluid into a small beaker and placed some on a slide under a microscope so that the students could see the bacteria and protozoa that are active in the rumen and are critical to the cow’s digestion and overall health. She also discussed how cows are great recyclers and are able to consume by-products that would otherwise be discarded such as beet pulp, a by-product of the sugar beet industry.
“We had a blast,” Budlong said. “The kids from our live stream could not stop talking about it in their other classes.”
We were thrilled to be able to offer this unique educational experience to students in the Capital Region, more than two hours away!
A very "intimate" celebration took place in the Miner Institute dairy barn on February 19. After successfully surpassing the stated goal of $5000 for the United Way, targeted specifically for homelessness prevention in our region, a team of cow kissers -- United Way of the Adirondack Region President and CEO John Bernardi, Assemblyman D. Billy Jones (D, Chateaugay), University of Vermont Health Network Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital President and COO Michelle LeBeau, Chazy Central Rural School Superintendent and Jr./Sr. High School Principal Scott Osborne, and Northern Insuring Agency, Inc. President and CEO Deena Giltz-McCullough -- held up their end of the bargain and puckered up to 4-year-old Miner Institute Holstein, Alice.
Alice, also known as 3103, is an apt name representing both Alice Miner and the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) families that the United Way and its partner agencies in the North Country serve. Alice stood relatively calmly while she was kissed first by Bernardi, who still has fond memories of a cow kissing event with Pepsi the cow in 2015. She seemed mostly unfazed by her admirers until Deena Giltz-McCullough stepped up. Alice actually stepped toward Deena, seeming to willingly accept the incoming smooch!
“United Way’s funding supports programs designed to help those in need in our local community, and the cow kissing event was a fun time for a great cause," said Miner Institute President Rick Grant.
The event drew plenty of public attention as it was covered well in the media, and livestreamed over Facebook. Bernardi coupled the event with a press conference closing out the 2021 campaign season with the positive news that they raised $675,000 surpassing the 2020 fundraising total by $25,000 and solidifying the notion that the North Country is incredibly generous and knows how to pull together, especially during the toughest of times.
The $6,700 raised as part of the Kiss the Cow campaign combined with the $3,946 in employee contributions and funds raised through our annual charity auction at Christmas brings Miner Institute's 2021 campaign total to $10,646.
We have never been so pleased to see a year in the rearview mirror. 2020 was a year full of challenges, but it demonstrated to us that our team is one of a kind as they rose to the challenge and were able to carry on the important work that makes Miner Institute what it is. Cheers to 2021 and THANK YOU endlessly to the incredible Miner team. We certainly hope that a return to things in a more usual fashion is in store at some point this year.