Nature

Put Chautauqua Lake On A Diet

Chautauqua Lake needs to be put on a diet! The lake’s frequent algae blooms and overabundance of weeds are symptoms of a lake that has been “fed” an excessive amount of nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen, as well as eroding sediments. The prescription for an overfed lake is a ...

A Plant Even The Deer Won’t Touch

Close your eyes and picture your favorite flower. Maybe you see a bright red flower that blooms in your garden in early June, or maybe it’s a sweet smelling purple flower that covers the bushes in your yard in May. When I close my eyes, I see a common, yet odd-looking plant. It’s green, ...

Golden Guides For Young And Old

I’m often asked when and how I developed my interest in nature. The “when” is easy. For as long as I can remember I’ve loved animals of all kinds. As soon as I learned to read, I’d spend hours with encyclopedias and any other books that included pictures and stories about animals. ...

Ants In Your Plants?

Do you have peonies in your garden? If so, you’ve likely seen ants crawling or resting on the unopened buds, and perhaps wondered why they are there. Ants are peony-protectors, and the peonies invite them to come. Young peony buds possess tiny extra-floral nectaries, deliberately and ...

Creature Adventures

This is the time of year for everything – farming, gardening, mowing, planting, harvesting, equipment repairs, house projects, building projects, the list goes on and on. There is so much happening that it is hard to remember to simply take a break and enjoy the world. However, taking that ...

Silk Moth Season

‘Tis the season to enjoy large, winged creatures on the back porch. And I’m not referring to birds. I’m describing some of the more conspicuous giant silk moths. Members of the family Saturniidae, silk moths are large, beautiful, and relatively uncommon. They are probably non-target ...

CWC’s Ball Creek Ecological Restoration Project To Enter Second Phase

For 28 years, the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy has been working to address the root causes of water quality degradation, with a focus on land conservation. We strive to protect properties critical for collecting, storing, and delivering clean water. This in turn protects habitat for plants ...

Play Outside

By Katie Finch I visited my parent’s house this past weekend. Upon arriving, the “S” turn drive leads up to the house and yard carved out of the woods — first made by farmers, who knows how many years ago. Perhaps the towering White Pines would know. This pocket of human settlement ...

The Tonic of Wilderness

Henry David Thoreau, the great Transcendental writer, sage, visionary, came to mind this week when I spent a few fine hours exploring the Audubon Community Nature Park just south of Jamestown in the fine weather. I walked the Orange Trail one day, taking the big loop out and back, and on the ...

CWC Invests In Permanent Actions To Address Lake Challenges

The scenic and bountiful waterways, forests and fields of the Chautauqua region are what make it a special place to live and visit. Healthy waterways are an essential component of the region’s economy and quality of life. Chautauqua Lake’s current problems and controversies stem from ...

The June Skies

“Common sense is not so common.” Voltaire The planet Mercury comes into view at mid-month, just above the west-northwestern horizon during evening twilight. Its visibility will increase each evening as it climbs further away from the sun. At the end of June, Mercury sets 90 minutes ...

Nature Pilgrimage

It’s coming. The 60th Allegany Nature Pilgrimage weekend at Allegany State Park. Dates are June 1-3, when the Red House area of Allegany State Park comes alive with adults, children, nets, binoculars, buckets and professional nature instructors. They both educate and entertain those who wish ...

She’s The Lord Of The Flies

As days get warmer and summer approaches, many natural events are inevitable. Birds nest, bullfrogs bellow, and bats patrol our backyards at night. Another certainty is that insects become a dominant life form. Most are harmless, but a few can make life miserable. Today let’s focus on ...

‘Tis the Season — But Not For Long

After a seven year hiatus, I am a dog walker again. I lost my beautiful yellow labs, Misty and Reilly, in 2010 and 2011 respectively, and emotionally I haven’t been ready to get another dog. But low and behold, today, I find myself babysitting and walking my granddog, Rueben, to help out my ...

Beyond Birds

The name “Audubon” often brings about visions of birdwatchers, those people who inexplicably grab their binoculars and start searching for things with wings. The Audubon Community Nature Center is much more than that. It is a place where classes on plants, gardening, wild edibles, ...

When Litter Kills

A few days ago a post on the Pennsylvania birding list serve caught my eye. It read: Late this afternoon I decided to take one last walk down to the creek at the back of the yard. There I spotted a female Baltimore Oriole dangling from a tree branch struggling to free itself from a tangle of ...

The Ticking Woods

Nature has been a refuge for me my whole life. When I was a child, the fields behind the house were the place where I went to thing when things were going wrong. Many problems were worked out in between sweeping tall goldenrods and under the spreading branches of apple trees. As I grew older, ...

Plant Trees For Multiple Benefits

Spring is finally here! As we begin thinking about landscaping our yards, consider adding more trees and shrubs to your yard, especially native trees and shrubs. Trees and shrubs add beauty, comfort and value to your yard. They provide homes and food for a variety of wildlife. Evergreens placed ...

Another Harbinger Of Happiness

Like its cousin, the female of this species is quite undistinguished. “Drab,” Sibley calls her. He’s right. Even sparrows have more markings to distinguish them than do these little girls. The size is the same: common, average: call it five and a quarter inches. Hear Peterson: ...

Willows

When I was little, I discovered the Flower Fairies. This seemed to be the perfect combination of fantasy and nature, and I was hooked. Still am, actually. I had a figurine of the Beech Fairy that hung from window. Still do. And a calendar of the fairies. And postcards. And a book. All of which ...