Nature

Neighborhood Nature

I recently visited several of Utah’s National Parks — Capital Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce and Zion. I know I will not do them justice in the few words here. In short, they were extraordinary in their grandeur and their uniqueness, especially compared to the eastern habitats that I’m ...

Earth Day: 2018

On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day, 20 million Americans launched the modern environmental movement. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962 sowed the seeds that triggered a national environmental consciousness. Today, 48 years later, we stand on the threshold of environmental disaster. ...

State Algae Summit Report

I was fortunate to represent the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy at the New York State Harmful Algae Bloom (HAB) Summit for Chautauqua, Conesus and Honeoye Lakes held in Rochester on March 26 along with several other area agency representatives. CWC Conservationist Claire Quadri was also in ...

April Can Fool You

There has been a lot of grumbling about the weather this month, though I cannot say if it is really any more or less than usual. The temperatures go up, it gets sunny and we get lulled into a false sense that spring is here. Next morning, we’re scraping frost or brushing a few inches of snow ...

Time To Learn A Few Bird Songs

Each week a new group of birds passes through the yard as they wing their way north. Some stay to nest, while others continue their journey. So far, I’ve welcomed killdeer, woodcock, phoebes, field sparrows, chipping sparrows, and purple finches. They are familiar old friends. I recognized ...

Protecting The Preserves

Over the years, I have listened to people complain about land being designated as preserves and coming off the tax rolls. They feel they are being hurt financially because now they must shoulder more of the tax burden. When land is deemed tax exempt, those tax revenues disappear, but the bills ...

Other Perspectives

The five River Otters plunged into the water and swam away, sleek as seals. To me, it was an awe-inspiring sight, the culmination of decades of clean water laws and a successful reintroduction effort to restore local animal communities to what they should be. That sounds pretty exciting, ...

Too Much Stuff

My journey with stuff began as a child, when I looked through catalogs with longing eyes, dreaming of all the things that could fill my life with joy. In reality, most of that stuff was probably junk and it rarely arrived in my world regardless. Stuff fills our world. There are phones, ...

Easter Bunnies

Last week a friend sent me a photo of a baby cottontail small enough to fit into the palm of his hand. It had been lying, lifeless, on a welcome mat by the front door, courtesy of a neighbor’s cat. It reminded me that baby season, for better or worse, is under way. Like many small mammals, ...

The April Skies

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” — Nelson Mandela The planet Mercury goes from inferior conjunction with the sun on April 1 to a greatest western elongation on April 29 but all in all, this is a poor apparition for the little ...

Gateways To Nature

By Jonathan Townsend CWC Lands Manager The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy is the only organization in Chautauqua County that works to proactively address the root causes of water quality degradation, habitat fragmentation and environmental pollution. We do this through land conservation. ...

Gateways To Nature

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy is the only organization in Chautauqua County that works to proactively address the root causes of water quality degradation, habitat fragmentation and environmental pollution. We do this through land conservation. For nearly three decades, the CWC has ...

Maple Sugar

I have started the early seeds inside – onions, leeks, celeriac. The indoor herbs are started too, and the lemon tree I got last year opened its first flower. Remarkably fragrant, one flower perfumed the entire room. Spring is just around the corner, but one of the favorite activities of ...

Garek’s First Nest Box

“Poppi, did you bring the birdhouse?” Garek asked. When I arrived at my daughter Nora’s house in western North Carolina last week, my 5-year old grandson Garek was bubbling with excitement. He obviously remembered my promise to bring him a bluebird box. When I visited back in ...

Today’s Houseplants Do More Than Look Pretty

Houseplants have been a mainstay of indoor decor item for generations, but their selection and use has changed over time, particularly with urbanization. People no longer are wedded to placing a few potted African violets on sunny window sills to add color and texture to small spaces. ...

Beavers: Extraordinary Architects

Last October, I was both delighted and dismayed to discover the handiwork of beavers in a nearby wooded wetland, where the furry little engineers had constructed a barrier of aspen and birch branches and mud across a narrow culvert, damming the small stream and creating a lovely wetland in its ...

Signs Of Spring

During this slow transition between seasons, I look for the first signs of spring. The return of Red-winged Blackbirds, Canada Geese and Turkey Vultures. The start of “see saw” territorial calls of Black-capped Chickadees and early spring blooms. But it is early yet. Mostly life looks ...

Be A Responsible Spring Gardener

The onslaught of seed and garden catalogs has begun; it must soon be spring. During the annual season of renewal, we are often tempted to invest a fair amount of time and money getting our yards and gardens ready for another growing season. If this sounds familiar, you have taken the bait ...

Algae, Nutrients And Aquatic Plants — A Delicate Balance

Algae and aquatic plants are two very visible and significant concerns with Chautauqua Lake. Potential remedies to these concerns are as complex and interconnected as the ecology of the lake itself. The factors that cause a problem and those that may solve the problem are part of a delicate ...

Algae, Nutrients & Aquatic Plants — A Delicate Balance

Algae and aquatic plants are two very visible and significant concerns with Chautauqua Lake. Potential remedies to these concerns are as complex and interconnected as the ecology of the lake itself. The factors that cause a problem and those that may solve the problem are part of a delicate ...