5 Places To Hike Near Syracuse This Fall

5 Places To Hike Near Syracuse This Fall

A short list of some of the prettiest places to hike in Upstate New York to get all the fall, Instagramable views.

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One of the best things of Upstate New York is undoubtedly the fall foliage and totally Instagram worthy views. If you're looking to get away from campus for a little and enjoy all that the beautiful state of New York has to offer, look no further for a brief list of some of the most photogenic hikes and views.

1. Watkins Glen State Park

Located just a little over an hour and a half from Syracuse, Watkins Glen has picturesque waterfalls and moderate hiking trails that allow you to relish in all the beauty fall has to offer.

2. Buttermilk Falls State Park

Buttermilk Falls, located in the cute town of Ithaca, is one of the many beautiful waterfalls in the Ithaca region. A relatively easy hike, you could complete this in a day and go check out Ithaca or some of the other waterfalls nearby!

3. Bald Mountain

Located in the Adirondacks, Bald Mountain is an easy and popular hike. It gets pretty crowded during this time of year, so make sure to get there earlier if you want a peaceful hike away from lots of people.

4. Letchworth State Park

Known as the "Grand Canyon of the East," Letchworth State Park follows the Genesee River. Although the park itself is around 17 miles, there are shorter trails throughout and the views are gorgeous.

5. Fillmore Glen State Park

Within the Finger Lakes region, Fillmore Glen State Park is like a slightly smaller Watkins Glen. The waterfall is the first sight, and then you have choices of multiple different hiking trails.

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.
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The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.


2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.


3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.


4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).


5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.


6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.


7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.


8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.


9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.


10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.


11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.


12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.


13. Goblin Shark


This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.


14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.


15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.


16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.


17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.


18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.


19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.


And finally....


20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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It’s More Than Just High And Low Tides In Florida

Wildlife is dying. Businesses are failing. Emergency rooms are filling. Here's everything you need to know about Red Tide.

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Unless you're a Floridian, it's highly unlikely that you've heard about the state of emergency that is spreading across southwest Florida. On Tuesday, August 14, 2018, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for seven counties that are home to beaches that line the Gulf of Mexico.

Want to know more? Whether you're the Floridian who avoids the news outlets for particular reasons, those that shall not be named, or an out-of-state inquirer who is questioning why Grandma said not to visit this summer, here's some info that'll help you to understand what exactly is going on down south in this crazy state.

1. What the hell is happening?

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Each year, toxic algae grow hundreds of miles off of the coast of southwest Florida. These microscopic single-celled organisms, known as Karenia Brevis or K. Brevis, grow in what are known as algae blooms that are red in pigment and cause the water to turn brown, leading to the phenomenon's title, Red Tide. These algae can only grow in salt water and are nourished by the nutrients that come from common land fertilizers.

This year, the algae came to shore due to winds and currents in the Gulf of Mexico. Its toxicity increases as it reaches the coast. As waves break, the toxins to enter the airstream, increasing health risk for humans. Whether consuming as food or simply ingesting through breathing, marine life is severely affected by these toxic algae. Florida is enduring its tenth month with Red Tide killing the marine life and deteriorating the economy. The recently increased intensity of this outbreak has caused Gov. Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency.

2. Uh…what’s a state of emergency again?

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A state of emergency is a period that is declared by government officials after a disaster that often suspends constitutional law and request funding for damages. Ranging from Tampa Bay to the tip of the Everglades, "Scott promised $1.5 million in emergency funding" (The Washington Post, 2018). These funds will contribute to clean-up, the tourism economy, and wildlife research and rescue. This state of emergency is established to prevent the potential collapse of an entire community.

3. Oh! It's that green slime goop from the lake!

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You may have also seen another Florida body of water experiencing some unusual discoloration. Lake Okeechobee has become covered in what looks like Nickelodeon slime. Located in the center of the state near significant farmlands, Lake Okeechobee also experienced an influx of microscopic algae caused by nutrients found in fertilizers. The blue-green algae growing in this major lake is not the same as K. Brevis and it is not what caused Red Tide. As previously stated, the growth of red algae is a naturally occurring phenomenon. It is possible, however, that the run-off of Lake Okeechobee into the Gulf of Mexico has contributed to the growth and recent intensification of Red Tide.

4. Hold on – did you say that wildlife is in danger?

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Yes…grab your Kleenex. Thousands of fish, hundreds of sea turtles and manatees, many dolphins, one whale shark, and now even birds have died from this toxic alga. The algae both suck up the oxygen from the water and get stuck in gills, making it impossible for fish to breathe. More marine life is dying from the ingestion of the algae. Manatees, for example, come to the surface to breathe, the area that is most densely populated by K. Brevis. What makes matters worse? Sea turtles are members of the endangered species list and manatees were just moved from endangered to threatened last year. Unfortunately, there is no way to stop these animals from suffering the effects of Red Tide.

5. I guess I may as well ask…how are the people?

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Marine life is not the only thing that is crippled by Red Tide. The economies of the seven counties lining the currently affected coast of the Gulf of Mexico has plummeted. Tourism has reached level lows. From the declared state of emergency, "Florida's tourism agency will receive $500,000 to create an emergency grant program to help communities promote travel to the affected areas" (USA Today, 2018).

Additionally, residents are suffering from health issues. Breathing in the polluted air can cause tearing, burning, and itching of the eyes, nose, and throat. Ingesting contaminated shellfish can cause severe gastrointestinal issues. Many residents have chosen to leave town to avoid these health damages and any further consequences that may come of Red Tide.

6. Alright, I’m in! How can I help?

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Unfortunately, there is not much that people can do to stop Red Tide. Since it is naturally occurring, the algae growth will occur each year. In its current state, however, as one of the most significant occurrences seen throughout history, 2018's Red Tide is continuing to spread and continuing to alarm scientists, experts, and locals of the affected areas.

While there are predictions that Lake Okeechobee water run-off has fueled the fire, no data is proving this predicted correlation. Regarding causation, global warming and last year's devastating hurricane season have also been considered in causing a particularly bad case of Red Tide this year. With global warming comes higher water temperatures, inviting algae and bacteria growth. The hurricane season could have also caused shifting wind patterns and adjusting tides. It is crucial to continue reducing, reusing, and recycling. Additionally, protect marine life by eliminating your use of plastic straws!

I think it's easy to tell, but, I've got to say, it's a pretty bad situation. My family and I have been fortunate to spend summers on the southwest coast of Florida for a total of thirty-five years. This year, however, was a completely different experience. Lacking tourism, out-of-business shops, and eye-tearing scenes of dead sea life – for more reasons than one! What strikes me most is how little there is that we can do. This year's Red Tide is perplexing scientists and confusing experts. All in all, no one is certain how long this will last and how harmful the ending effects will be.

Watch out, Miami! It might be coming for you!

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