Nature

Baby Robins Open Wide For Summer

A pair of baby robins pictured at the Paradise Bay Campground in Findley Lake. The photograph was taken in late June at the campground. Photo by Craig Schertzer

Inch-By-Inch

The neighborhood gang of kids sat in a circle on the grass looking at a huge caterpillar. It was green, with odd bumps coming out of it. The big debate was over whether the caterpillar was good or bad. This debate ended quickly when one boy said, “bad!” and stomped on it. That happened ...

Helium-Filled Balloons Are Disastrous For The Environment

When I was a kid, helium balloons signaled that a party was special. Ordinary balloons filled with ordinary air were ordinary. Helium balloons could fly high, and helium itself could make anyone speak in a funny voice. I’ll bet many of you have similar memories. Little did we know that each ...

Autumn Shows Its Beauty

As late August days grow cool and crisp, the soft green lushness of summer’s splendor gives way to autumn’s golden fields and exuberant floral tapestry. Flamboyantly splashed along sunny roadsides and stream banks and throughout the countryside, a profusion of flowers invites us to ...

When It Rains

On Saturday I taught some wonderful children about nature. On Sunday I built a dam in my garden. On Monday I picked dead fish out of my yard. Sunday afternoon: We (my parents, brother and I) were playing a dice game by candlelight because the power was out. This was nothing out of the ...

Migration To Begin

Shorter days and chilly mornings signal curious naturalists that certain predictable natural phenomena are about to unfold. Brilliant goldenrod turns old fields into seas of sunshine. Tree leaves have begun to morph into their fall colors glory. Look for red maples, sassafras, and poison ivy to ...

The September Skies

"America is the only country where a significant proportion of the population believes that professional wrestling is real but the moon landing was faked.” — David Letterman During the first week of September, the small planet Mercury can be seen very low in the east-northeast for a ...

Goose Creek Water Quality Improvement Project

As you drive on Route 394 and cross Goose Creek in the Town of Busti, you can see for yourself that significant improvement has been made to reduce erosion and improve water quality along this section of the creek. Before work started, this stream bank was severely eroded. There were no trees ...

Don’t Feed The Bears

This past week I had the chance to visit one of my favorite places in the entire world, the Adirondack High Peaks, a section of the Adirondack Park that is home to forty-six mountains that reach around 4,000 to 5,000 feet above sea level. After climbing my first high peak in 2011, I fell in ...

Insects are Hidden In Summer

Insect population size is directly related to environmental temperatures. As springtime temperatures warm to reach summer highs, insects become increasingly abundant. Recall the drone of cicadas on hot summer days. Most insects thrive in summer, and many are conspicuous and familiar. Myriad ...

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 ...