Nature

Nature Preserves, Community Forests And Timber Harvests

We all use wood products — every single one of us in one way or another. Those products must come from somewhere. Fortunately, they literally do “grown on trees.” It may seem antithetical coming from CWC, but we DO support appropriately conducted timber harvests. The issue is not with ...

Monkey-faced Scars On Trees

I once took a workshop that evaluated children’s knowledge of nature based on how they drew trees. As their experience outside grew, their trees went from looking like green lollipops to developing rougher edges, some branches and then some animals in them. The drawings became more and more ...

Northbound Juncos?

Every year as the sun rises earlier and sets later, I get antsy. I’m ready for winter to end and spring to begin. So I keep my eyes on the juncos at the feeders. They arrive each fall in late October or early November and stay the winter. Their return north in April is a sure sign that ...

Evening Adventures

Even in the coldest of winter, getting outside is a possibility and, for some, a necessity. Curling up inside is appealing, but after a time I must go out and “get the stink out”. And this time of year, it often means at night. Outside adventures at night are a choice made more from ...

Monarch Butterflies, The GBBC

There’s good news from the mountains of central Mexico this winter. World Wildlife Fund Mexico and the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve announced on Jan. 30 that 14 overwintering monarch colonies occupied a total area of 14.9 acres, up from 6.1 acres last winter. Counts of individual ...

No Two Are Alike

When I was working as an environmental educator in Syracuse, one of my all-time favorite programs to teach was all about a man named Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley. During our program we would teach first graders how as a boy little Willie Bentley loved snowflakes more than anything else in ...

Get To Know The Sparrows

Among birders, sparrows tend to be disrespected or at least ignored. Most are small, drab little brown birds. Brightly colored show stoppers such as yellow-throated warblers, Baltimore orioles, and scarlet tanagers usually steal the attention on spring bird walks. Sparrows are certainly ...

Storm Water – Is It Just Water?

Storm water is just water, right? How could this be an environmental problem? Because it is not just water. Precipitation and dust deposit atmospheric pollutants on our parking lots, streets, roof tops and yards. In natural landscapes, most rainwater typically soaks into the ground, which ...

Ripples In The Water

Have you ever tossed a pebble into a pond? Or a stick, or a pine cone… anything really. Those ripples that result continue to go out and out and out. And sometimes back in toward the point of origin. The ripple effect is the idea that one action, or word, emotion, event, and so on, can have ...

Jumping Mice Hop Along Fields, Meadows

If during warmer weather you’ve ever seen what you thought was a miniature kangaroo hopping across a grassy field, you weren’t seeing things. It was a tiny rodent with huge hind feet and a long tail called a jumping mouse. I’ve only ever seen them while mowing trails through hayfields ...

Climate Change and More Frequent Downpours Exacerbating Erosion

The vast majority (97%+) of the scientific community’s experts on Earth’s climate agree that our climate is changing, that this change will be enormously disruptive and that it is centered around humanity’s impacts on the planet. It isn’t just fossil fuel use that intensifies the ...

Adapt Or Die

Life in the natural world can be harsh, especially when environmental conditions change. Species that specialize in certain foods or habitats or require particularly large expanses of land become rare or even die out. Passenger pigeons, Kirkland’s warblers, grizzly bears, and hellbenders ...

Mammals In Winter

When it comes to animals, I have a special spot in my heart for every creature. Whether it is a turtle crossing the road or a spider trapped in my bathtub, I have always been one to help an animal in need. Most of my life, I have interacted with mammals; I am fascinated by their diversity yet ...

Warming Worries

Evidence of climate change is all around us. The lack of snow and increasingly wetter, warmer winters here in the Chautauqua region are troubling warning signs. I worry about the trees and the creatures dependent upon them, and about our seasonal economies based on recreation, tourism, ...

Into The Gloaming

The grass, stiff with frost, crunches under my feet as I walk swiftly along the dimly lit trail. The sun isn’t due to come up for a few minutes. The birds are just starting to wake up, with lazy tweets and chirps coming from the trees and bushes nearby. A deer, startled by my early ...

King Of The Woods

About a week before Christmas my wife and I were back on the ridge in West Virginia getting the house ready for new owners. We planned to leave before dark. When we finally got into the car at about 6 o’clock, I cracked a window. At 6:03 a tremulous whistle rose from the woods below. As ...

Chautauqua Watershed Notes: 2019 CWC Initiatives

Once again, the start of a brand new year has come upon us. It is a time when many of us make new resolutions or recommit to previous goals with renewed energy. For 29 years, the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy has been a leader in Chautauqua County with education and conservation efforts ...

Seed Hoarding Can Explain Empty Bird Feeders

By mid-January I’ll begin getting mail asking, “Where are my birds?” The timing of these queries varies geographically, but by mid-winter some people somewhere will wonder what happened to their birds. Unusually mild weather can be responsible. A January thaw with temperatures well ...

Visiting An Old Friend

Sometimes you lose track of how long it has been since you spent time with an old friend. Work, family and other obligations seem to get in the way. Then, you find the Christmas holidays and the New Year approaching. Your mind goes back to all those beautiful memories you’ve stored in your ...

Bizarre Trees

Trees can be the backdrop to our outdoor adventures. They are key in defining the forest. But how often do we take in the bigger picture and not focus on the individual. Earlier in the year trees get plenty of attention for showy flowers, interfering pollen or delicious fruit and in the fall ...