Nature

Seeing Our Home Through Different Eyes

Sometimes we need the vision of a “first-time” guest to open our eyes. We become desensitized to our surroundings and begin to take the wonders of our region for granted — seeing the familiar but not really seeing the unique. This happened to me recently when we took our house guests from ...

A Walk In The Woods Reveals Diverse Plant Life

I sat at the table as the student while a fellow educator modeled a lesson. We first made observations of different tree leaves. Words poured out. Smooth, zig-zag, oval, pointed, thin, fuzzy, bumpy, green, symmetrical, not symmetrical, dark green, even darker green. She then asked, “Why are ...

Catching Aquatic Turtles

I’ve always loved turtles. Since I was about 10 years old, I spent many summer days on foot or on my bike exploring streams and farm ponds near my home in southeastern Pennsylvania. Some days I’d get home for lunch, some days not. I loved getting wet on hot summer days; catching aquatic ...

Insignificant Events In The Life Of A Tree

Have you ever sat next to a tree and felt insignificant? There are trees in our area that are older than the country. They were growing when settlers moved in from afar and had been rooted in place as horses came in, were slowly replaced by steam engines, then cars. These ancient trees towered ...

New Discoveries

One of the most important things that I’ve learned since being at the Audubon Community Nature Center is you should never lose your sense of wonder. No matter what age you are, there’s always something incredible to discover. At Audubon, true curiosity is easy to observe when working with ...

Great News Arrives From Presque Isle

For the second consecutive year, a pair of federally endangered piping plovers are raising chicks on Gull Point at Erie, Pennsylvania’s Presque Isle State Park. Adding to the excitement is news that a pair of state-endangered common terns also nested on the same beach. Unfortunately, the ...

Greenprint For Conservation

Land conservation (any conservation project, really) can be complex at times. It is rarely as simple as buying land and turning it into some sort of publicly accessible parkland, although that is one of the many benefits. In addition to the costs of acquisition, land trusts like CWC must find a ...

The August Skies

“There is no great invention, from fire to flying, which has not been hailed as an insult to some god.” — J. B. S. Haldane Use binoculars to help locate Mercury in the east-northeast predawn sky during the last week of August. Its disk is just over 40 percent lit. Venus shines ...

Creepy Crawlies Or Cutie Critters?

People can be categorized in many different ways: those that love sun versus those that love snow; people who prefer biking over driving, eating cookies with or without milk. Now, after working at the Audubon Community Nature Center and other outdoor environments, another categorization of ...

Summer Is Insect Season

Summer is a fascinating season for anyone who enjoys insects. For those who hate mosquitoes, wasps, hornets and flies, not so much. Today, we’ll examine some basic information about these familiar, ubiquitous creatures. Insect numbers peak during warm weather, and they’re easy to find ...

Monarch Butterflies Can’t Survive Without Milkweed

Editor’s Note: This column inadvertantly was previously printed Saturday under a different name. We are reprinting this column today with the correct name. Our region’s milkweeds, including the common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), swamp milkweed (A. incarnata) and butterfly weed (A. ...

What’s The Fuss About Storm Water?

Storm water is just rainfall – how could this be an environmental problem? In natural landscapes, most rainwater typically soaks into the ground, which acts like a sponge by absorbing and filtering impurities in the water. When that land is developed with buildings, roads and parking ...

Monarch Butterflies Can’t Survive Without Milkweed

Our region’s milkweeds, including the common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), swamp milkweed (A. incarnata) and butterfly weed (A. tuberosa) are amazingly complex and beautiful plants best known perhaps for their interesting pods, delicately plumed wind-borne seeds, and critical role in the life ...

Homes With Wells Should Test Water On Regular Basis

Many people do not give much thought to their drinking water or where it comes from, only paying mind if the color, taste or pressure is unusual or if warnings are issued in the event of a water main break or flood. Water for homes and businesses comes from municipal water sources, but ...

There Are Good 4-Letter Words

The phrase “four-letter word” has a naughty connotation. But there are good four-letter words, too. Here are a few four-letter verbs that guarantee year-round outdoor fun. Bird Bird activity may peak during spring and fall migration, but there are birds to see and hear all year ...

Deer Won’t Touch Jack-In-The-Pulpit Plant

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, ...

Timely Tips For Summer

In just a few weeks young hummingbirds will leave their nests, and females will introduce them to backyard nectar feeders. Nonstop action will ensue and entertain for as long as you care to watch. To raise the bar a bit, try hand-feeding hummers. With just a little patience, you can bring ...

Heal Your Habitat for Healthy Waters

Your home is probably the largest investment you will ever make, so you invest your time and money in its upkeep by making repairs, landscaping and remodeling. The quality of the Chautauqua watershed is also related to the value of your home. A clear blue lake, beautiful streams, and healthy ...

Fresh Blackberries

Editor’s Note: This is a reprint of a column that first appeared in The Post-Journal in 2015. As a little girl, I can remember — perhaps less vividly then I would like — hot and humid August afternoons, impatiently swinging a white plastic bucket by its flimsy handle down a freshly-mowed ...

Nature’s Fireworks

The first firefly of the year appeared in my yard in late April. Since then, numbers have increased until they are now more common than I’ve seen in years. It seems appropriate that as Independence Day approaches, nature’s fireworks are getting hard to ignore. First, though, a few ...