Join Us at our Chapter Meetings!

Eisenhart Auditorium
Rochester Museum and Science Center
657 East Avenue, Rochester, NY

Click here for a map and directions

Our monthly meetings are open to the public

Our monthly meetings are open to the public. Non-members are cordially invited to attend.

Our meetings are educational and entertaining. You will hear about future activities and have the opportunity to talk to active members (they are friendly) and ask questions about the club. The meetings are free to all. Come check us out.  

Meeting cancellations due to inclement weather will be announced here on our website (, on our information line (585-987-1717), on, and on WHAM 1180 AM radio.

For more club information please call the information line at: (585) 987-1717.

ASL Interpreters for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

A sign language interpreter is available upon request for the deaf and HOH at this month's meeting. Please contact The request must be received one week before the Chapter Meeting.

Upcoming Meetings 

October 14, 2015

The Ongoing Civil War

7:30PM – Eisenhart Auditorium, Rochester Museum and Science Center


Charles Sparnecht leads fascinating courses about the Civil War at RIT’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. I enjoyed his course so much that I asked Chuck to present a program for us — and he accepted my challenge of relating the Civil War to the ADK’s mission! He is very entertaining and I am excited about having him join us this month!
Current environmental and social issues — hydrofracking, carbon emissions, oil transport … to scratch an iceberg — often hearken back to a debate over states’ rights vs. national sovereignty, individual rights vs. the welfare of all, and questions on how to treat our fellow humans. It also reflects who we are and how we see ourselves — as people and as a society.

Perhaps no period in United States history has had such a profound impact on who we are — and how we recognize our land and people — than the Civil War. At our October chapter presentation, we’ll explore the Civil War era and its lasting impacts on our society.

The Civil War, which began in 1861, involved virtually all of America’s population. Towns and counties formed their own regiments such as Monroe County’s own 140th New York regiment. The conflict impacted not only the many men and as many as 200 women who saw combat, but also led to various forms of depravation for its civilian population.

It would seem that the loss of some 700,000 souls plus the destruction done to the material wealth of the nation would have resolved the issues that led to war. That has hardly been case, which may be a large part of the fascination held by many for the Civil War.

Immediately after the war ended, memories and perceptions came to the fore throughout the United States. In the South was a need to reconcile their loss with the sectional pride. The North began to memorialize the conflict as the victors.

This presentation will exhibit some of the ways that post bedlam attitudes emerged. Battlefield monuments, mostly from Gettysburg, forms of art, ways of remembering the war, and associations such as the Daughters of the Confederacy will be viewed and discussed.

Maybe we will be able to predict when the Civil War might end!      Champion: Nancy Donny

Looking back to recent chapter meetings

September 9, 2015 Meeting

The topic for the chapter’s program for September is the magnificent Colorado Trail. Bill Cooke will present information about the trail followed by a 25-minute slide show with music showing photos from his 2011 thru-hike, and answer your questions. 

Bill will also have copies of his book narrating the hike — “Shades of Gray, Splashes of Color: A Thru-Hike of the Colorado Trail” — available for your perusal and purchase.

The 486-mile Colorado Trail wends its way through the Rocky Mountains of the Centennial State, traversing a landscape as changing and diverse as the swirling afternoon clouds presaging the daily summer thunderstorms. In this program, you’ll hear of the challenges such as the struggle of acclimating to high elevations, of hiking long and steep ascents, of coping with a wide range of climatic conditions from freezing cold mornings, to hot baking afternoons, to near daily thunderstorms, to long stretches of limited water. 

You’ll see the rewards and triumphs as Bill and his hiking companion Keith “Northern Harrier” Bance savor the alpine meadows whose wildflowers cover every range of the spectrum, bewitching groves of aspen trees resplendent with the morning glow of the sun, the glistening of snowy peaks, stately conifers including the massive Douglas firs, high mountain passes, dry foothills, sparkling mountain streams, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets where both the skies and the rocks shine like beacons from the low sun alpenglow, and much more.

You need not be an experienced hiker to enjoy this program as Bill explains much of the terminology and peculiar habits of long-distance backpackers such that even those whose experience is confined to short strolls in the park will sense the challenges and the rewards of a trek in the Rocky Mountains.

June 10, 2015

7:30 Program - Members' Night

Well, here we are getting ready for our last ADK-GVC meeting before we take a break for the summer. As many of you know, we reserve the June meeting for presentations by fellow members and we have two excellent programs this month.

First, we will hear from our own Sue Dougherty, who will share her experience of hiking and backpacking in Patagonia at the southern tip of Chile and on the border of Argentina!

The second half of our program will feature Will Soles, who will awe us with spectacular photos as he recounts his 2013 trip to Milford Track, one of the most famous of New Zealand’s great walks.

6:30 Workshop - Annual Gear Swap

And don’t forget … preceding the meeting is our annual Gear Swap! Bring any gear you’d like to sell, and plenty of cash if you’re looking for great deals.

May 13, 2015

7:30 Program - Martha Gallagher presents: The Mountains Are Calling - Songs & Stories Celebrating Nature and Life in the Adirondacks

With the beauty and wilderness of the Adirondack Mountains as her muse, Martha Gallagher creates a vibrant, living tapestry of song, story and in-the-moment inspirations. With two “voices” — her own voice and that of her unique Orphan Harp — she infuses this one-woman show with artistry, compassion for her Adirondack surroundings, spontaneous sense of humor and a delight in the wonders of nature.

Martha sings songs of everyday life in the Adirondacks, recounting comical tales of the composition of bear scat and bringing to life poetry that celebrates breathtaking natural beauty. She weaves these Adirondack musings together into a program that is imaginative, entertaining, moving and uplifting. Affectionately known throughout the region as “The Adirondack Harper,” Martha’s performances hold true to her reverence and wonderment of the power and beauty of nature as well as the people who choose to call the mountains their home.

Audiences delight in the diversity of musical styles that Martha coaxes from her one-of-a kind instrument, the Orphan Harp. Martha quickly and decisively dispels the limiting stereotypical impression that harp music is snoozy. Martha’s music dances exuberantly from swing jazz to contemporary folk, from blues to country, from Celtic to flamenco, star-dusted with a sprinkling of classical melodies and Latin grooves.

Making her home in the heart of the High Peaks of the Adirondacks, Martha lives each day with an awareness of the power, fragility and beauty of nature. She lives in an area where natural resources are strongly protected from wanton waste. So it was not surprising that when she saw beautiful pieces of wood left unused in a harp maker’s workshop, she conceived an inspired idea for their use. Prompting reclamation of discarded wood to be put to good use, she suggested that the makers build a harp from these “orphan” pieces of maple, Bubinga and black walnut. The craftspeople rose to the challenge and created the Orphan Harp, a stunning looking and gorgeous sounding harp — the only one of its kind in the world.

You can hear samples of Martha’s music at

April 8, 2015

7:30 Program: Discovery of HMS Ontario – Presented by Co-Discoverer Jim Kennard

In the early evening hours of October 31, 1780, the British sloop of war HMS Ontario sank with over 120 men, women, children and prisoners on board during a sudden and violent gale. HMS Ontario is considered to be one of the few "Holy Grail" shipwrecks in the Great Lakes.

For years many divers and shipwreck hunters have searched the lake for the Ontario without success. The most historic shipwreck ever to be discovered in the Great Lakes lay lost for 228 years before being located by Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville in 2008.

Spring into 2015 waterways season with this exciting presentation of a legendary piece of history in our own Great Lake Ontario! See you there!

You can read about the Ontario discovery at

March 11, 2015

7:30 Program: Geology of the Finger Lakes – Presented By Timothy McDonnell
The Finger Lakes of New York are a gift from the Ice Age. They are unique in many ways. The conditions that made them are not found anywhere else. Before the glaciers invaded New York from Canada, the landscape was very different from what we find today. Where we find lakes today, there were only river valleys. This includes the Great Lakes as well as the Finger Lakes.

Geologists can only make intelligent guesses about what the pre-glacial landscape looked like. In Central New York there were a series of north-south trending streams, tributaries to a large river located somewhere in the middle of what is now Lake Ontario.

As the glaciers moved slowly southward, they gouged out deep basins that later flooded to form the five Great Lakes. Pushing toward Pennsylvania, the elevation of the land increases, so the ice had to move uphill. They deepened those north-south river valleys, in some cases below what is now sea level. Then around 20,000 years ago, the climate slowly warmed, and the glaciers receded. At one point in the Southern Tier, they paused long enough to dump hills of debris, a glacial moraine. This wall of dirt and rock blocked any escape of water to the south. Instead water collected in these deep valleys, creating the Finger Lakes. Their outlets today are to the north, especially the Seneca River and then the Oswego River.

As their name suggests, they really do resemble fingers, long and skinny. The farther south you go, the steeper the sides of the valleys. The slopes are ideal for growing grapes for the Finger Lakes famed wineries. Streams flowing into the Finger Lakes from the east or west are left "hanging" over the valleys. These are the glens and gorges of the region: Watkins Glen, Grimes Gulf, Enfield Glen, and Taughannock Falls.

Although the Finger Lakes are young from a geologic perspective, the rocks found there are not. They were laid down around 350 to 400 million years ago in a warm inland sea. These deposits came from eroding mountains in New England. Buried in the layers of rock are fossils from the Devonian world - brachiopods, trilobites, corals, eurypterids, and even primitive fish. (Sorry, no dinosaurs - they came later!). The Finger Lakes Region is one of the best places to find fossils from this distant period of the past.

We should also be proud of the people who have called the Finger Lakes their home. It was the territory of the Haundenosaunee (Iroquois) people for centuries, especially the Seneca and the Cayuga. They devised a system of governing themselves that inspired our Founding Fathers. Later, after we won our independence settlers came from New England and from countries in Europe to farm the fertile valleys. The Erie Canal was built just north of the lakes and this brought prosperity to the region. This was a hotbed of new ideas in the 19th century: temperance, abolition, women's rights. The first convention advocating suffrage for women was held in Seneca Falls in 1848. The people valued education and they founded institutions of higher learning like Hobart and William Smith, Wells College, and Cornell University.

Today the Finger Lakes is a popular place for tourists, hikers, and paddlers. To appreciate them better, you need to know about their history and geography. Tim McDonnell hopes to share his love for this special region with the members of the Adirondack Mountain Club of the Genesee Valley on March 11th.

Timothy McDonnell is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Geosciences at Monroe Community College. He is also the Coordinator of the New York Geographic Alliance, a group of educators aligned with the National Geographic Society that promotes better geography in our schools.

February 11, 2015

7:30 Program - Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time

Aldo Leopold is considered one of the seminal figures in America’s environmental movement. His classic work, “A Sand County Almanac,” is considered basic reading for ecology and environmental science students, and has been read by countless others, not only for the accuracy of Leopold’s perceptions about the natural world but also for the eloquent and poetic way in which he describes what he has observed. Unlike John Muir, whose primary focus was on the preservation of wilderness, Leopold emphasizes the need for man to live in harmony with nature.

At our February chapter meeting, Genesee Valley ADK members Jim and Carol May will present the Emmy® award-winning film, “Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time,” which describes and celebrates the life and work of the man whose writings during the ’30s and ’40s helped awaken America to the notion that land is not simply a commodity to be exploited but is worth protecting because it is part of a community to which we all belong.

6:30 Workshop - Make a Survival Bracelet

A survival bracelet is a knotted bracelet made out of approx. nine feet of paracord. The unique characteristic of the bracelet is if you are in a survival situation, or any situation for that matter where you need rope, you can untie the bracelet and ... viola! You will have a continuous nine-foot piece of paracord.

Come to this workshop and learn how to make a survival bracelet. This is a hands-on very-active workshop vs. a presentation. To cover the materials needed to make a bracelet $1 will be collected per person. Workshop presenters are Barb Brenner and Lydia D'Amato. Barb and Lydia have conducted this workshop at the DEC's weekend-long BOW (Becoming an Outdoors Woman) workshop.

Note: Due to the length of the workshop there may be a limit to the number of people who will be able to create their own survival bracelet. Everyone is welcome to watch and learn.

Looking back to the January 14, 2015 chapter meeting

Wow, what a wonderful presentation we had at January 14th’s meeting. John Solberg’s photos and Louise Paulsen’s journal gave great insight Into what it was like to journey 500 miles over 34 days on the Camino de Santiago trail. They provided a short history of the thousand year old trails, a few typical days of the journey with incredible panoramic views of the of the countryside and the old cities along the way. Their route was the “French route”, starting from St. Jean Pied de Port in France, over the Pyrenees and across northern Spain until they arrived in the city of Santiago de Compostela.

They managed the journey with each carrying a pack of less than 20 pounds , rain gear, a change of clothes, sleeping bag and joined hundreds of Pilgrims from all over the world. Those that travel the Camino are provided hostels ,called albergues, and meals . There was never a moment where they felt unsafe or threatened or in need of shelter.

The trip was arduous at times, cold and wet at times, and had long strenuous climbs followed by steep descents into beautiful, flower filled fields and plains. John took thousands of pictures that captured the ancient cathedrals, the flowers, the trail and the spirit of the trip. He has since had several shows , one at the Williams Gallery at the First Unitarian church and one at Image City Photography Gallery. He has also produced a small booklet for purchase, with pictures of some of the many beautiful sights on the Camino. His photos can be purchased from his website,

The evening was concluded with beautiful photos set to music, showing us the many moods, and settings of their adventure. This was followed by many questions of interest and excellent answers.

Once again I thank my friends, John and Louise, for sharing this journey with all of us that were able to attend the meeting. Thank you!

By the way: On September 1-15, 2015, there will be an ADK led trip for this very same route. Information can be obtained from, and the Adventure Travel.

Submitted by Jan Abernethy

Next meeting -- January 14, 2015

Camino de Santiago: Story and Photographs by John Solberg and Louise Paulsen

John's photo site is

In the spring of 2013 my wife, Louise Paulsen, and I walked the Camino de Santiago. It is also known as the Way of St. James, and is one of the three major pilgrimage routes of the Middle Ages together with Rome and Jerusalem. Its history extends back to the 9th Century. According to tradition, the bones of the Apostle James are buried in Santiago de Compostela, the end point of the pilgrimage.

Our own personal journey was not motivated by religious beliefs or even a spiritual quest. We had seen and enjoyed the movie “The Way” and the idea of walking across Spain was the kind of adventure we got excited about. We both love hiking, and had both walked the Rochester Marathon, so we knew we had some serious training to do. We gathered the equipment and clothing we would need, minimizing weight the best we could.

Finally, four months after we started our preparations, we were off. We walked the “French Route” from St. Jean Pied de Port in France, over the Pyrenees and across northern Spain, arriving at our destination 500 miles and 34 days later in the city of Santiago de Compostela. The Camino was a walk through the present reality and a thousand years of history. The openness of the countryside filled us with wonder, and the narrow, winding streets of the old cities were filled with echoes of the past. There were days of sunshine, rain and snow; days of long and strenuous climbing and steep descents; and days on the plains.

It was a journey of the feet and a journey of the heart. It was also an experience shared with other perigrinos from all over the world; a deeply personal experience and at the same time, a collective one of community. Many of the towns and cities we walked through were first established to provide shelter and food for the many people who first made the pilgrimage to Santiago. The tradition of providing for those who travel the Camino continues in the form of special hostels, called albergues, and meals prepared especially for the “pilgrims.” We really had very few concerns about where we would stay — the tradition is that if there is “no room in the inn” that room will be made somewhere! On one such occasion, we joined another dozen pilgrims in a gymnasium equipped with mats, a gym floor, a shower and bathroom facilities. What more could you want?

Over the course of the days on the Camino, I took thousands of photographs, trying to capture some of the history and the beauty we experienced, and the ever-present Camino itself. Back in Rochester the long process of selecting and processing the photographs has resulted in two exhibitions — one at the William Gallery at First Unitarian Church and the other at Image City Photography Gallery. We’re pleased now to be able to share both our story and also a collection of photographs from the Camino.

Champion: Jan Abernathy

March 11, 2015

The videos of the March ADK meeting (3/11/2015) are available at the links below.

Workshop- March 11, 2015

Business Mtg-March 11, 2015

Main Presentation-March 11, 2015

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