Public Education

Hug A Tree

One of the most important things any search and rescue organization can do is to help people not get lost in the first place. At LASAR we take that responsibility quite seriously, so we offer a great presentation for kids that we can bring to your classroom, organizational meeting or office for free.

Inspired by a search for a nine year old boy many years ago in southern California, the Hug A Tree program was developed to teach children how to survive in the woods if they become lost. Many children are alive today because they learned how to take care of themselves through the Hug A Tree program.

The program is approximately 30 to 40 minutes long. There are demonstrations on signaling for help using a whistle and reflector, as well as how to stay dry and warm using a simple garbage bag. The program provides children with safety tips such as staying in one place by using trees, and how to be big and be noticed when people are looking for them.

The Hug A Tree program is geared toward children 5 years old and up. It’s ideal for Scouting programs and schools. If you would like us to bring the Hug A Tree program to your organization or school, please email Sally Snowden at .

Cold Water Immersion

The shock of cold water causes one to gasp – it literally takes your breath away! Although most pertinent to kayaking, an on-line Wilderness Connection article on cold water immersion provides an in-depth discussion of the physiological impact of cold water immersion. A 9 minute YouTube video provides valuable information on what to do if you fall through the ice or attempt to rescue an individual who has fallen through the ice.

Tick-Borne Diseases

One of the many great things our region offers us is the opportunity to spend a lot of time outdoors. But that time spent comes with a number of dangers. One of the more common problems we encounter are ticks – small critters that can carry big diseases in their tiny bite.

The most well known disease is Lyme Disease. But tick-borne diseases are not limited to Lyme disease. At the end of July 2011, WNYT-TV broadcasted a report on Anaplasmosis, stating “..The soggy spring boosted their (tick) numbers with an unprecedented spike in a disease rarely seen in the capital region .. anaplasmosis…”.

Unlike Lyme disease, there is not the bullet shaped mark around the tick bite. In addition the disease can be transmitted with the tick dropping off its host shortly after a bite. The health concerns for untreated Anaplasmosis are considered greater than untreated Lyme disease. For more information, google searches of Anaplasmosis (e.g. CDC link) and discussions with your health care provider are recommended.

During 2013, an even more serious tick-borne disease has been identified, namely the Powassan virus. The Powassan virus has been reported in Saratoga and Washington Counties, but should be considered to be in other upstate counties. References include the following-”>

Giant Hogweed

Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is a Federally listed noxious weed and is present in almost all of New York State. Its sap, in combination with moisture and sunlight, can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and blindness. Contact between the skin and the sap of this plant occurs either through brushing against the bristles on the stem or breaking the stem or leaves. For details, see our Giant Hogweed page.

Wild Parsnip

Wild parsnip is an invasive plant from Europe and Asia that has become naturalized in North America. It is well suited for colonizing disturbed areas but can also be found in open fields and lawns. Wild parsnip sap can cause painful, localized burning and blistering of the skin.