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Start The Conservation Bloggers

Kristel Guimara Hello everyone and welcome! My name is Kristel Guimara and I currently live in the beautiful northern Adirondacks. I have my Bachelor's degree in Biology with a concentration in Environmental Science from Paul Smith's College located in Paul Smith's NY. Currently, I am in my second year of graduate school pursuing my Master's Degree in Conservation Biology from Green Mountain College in Poultney VT. I am currently researching the effects of black carbon concentration in the Adirondack snowpack which will be compared to samples taken in the Arctic Regions. This I hope will continue beyond my thesis requirement.

I have been blessed to have wonderful opportunities at such places as; Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Wildlife Conservation Society and much more. Yet, my love of the outdoors goes beyond literature, research and endless days spent on top of a mountain; it's a sense of place. I am not here to stand on top of my soapbox and sway you on your own personal opinions and views in topics that I post. I am here merely to open some topics up that will get a conversation going about the on-goings happening in the Adirondacks. So kindly pull up a chair, get your coffee ready and join me in a lively conversation.

A world beneath the snow

The recent snowfall on the landscape brought my attention to the adaptation skills of small mammals. For many small mammals, such as mice, voles, moles and shrews, the presence of sufficient snow cover is critical to their survival.

They are restricted in their ability to add insulating fat and/or fur and depend on sufficient snowpack for winter survival. To maintain a relative heat balance in the face of decreased air temperatures, they minimize body-air temperature differences by remaining under the subnivian layer. The subnivian layer is the area above the soil and below the top of a snowpack that can be several millimeters to several centimeters deep.

Snow reflects the sun's warming radiation and is a thermal blanket under which much biological activity takes place through the winter season. Snow can be a nuisance to those animals that must scratch through its sustenance for food but it is the salvation and protection to many animals and several plant species that depend on it through the cold. Snow separates two distinct worlds; the ours and the world beneath the snow. Therefore, the next time you are walking, hiking, skiing and snowshoeing this season, think about the world under your feet and tread lightly.

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