Nature

My Summer Punch List

I love having a list. A list helps me stay on track and makes me feel like I have accomplished something at the end of the day. On more than one occasion, though, evening will come, and I might not have too many things crossed off my list. But I vow this summer will be different! For the past ...

Put Down The Phone And Cherish The Moment

One of the many reasons people go out into the natural world is to marvel at its raw beauty. Growing up, I have always been blessed with living in rural areas surrounded by forests and creeks. Everyday after school was always the start of a new adventure in the woods behind my house. From a ...

The July Skies

“It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” Carl Sagan, 1934-1996 Little Mercury can be spotted without any optical aid during the first half of July. As the ...

Summer Hummers

As is often the case, hummingbirds have me perplexed this year. A female returned to my feeders on May 3. Throughout the remainder of May, I saw a single hummer just four or five times. I feared it would be a dismal year for hummers here on the ridge. Suddenly about two weeks ago, hummers ...

Making Space For Wildlife

“Build it, and they will come.” It’s a phrase often repeated by dreamers. There are people who have a vision in their head of what the world could be like, if only we could build something or change the way that people think. When I lived Florida, they built a huge aquarium with the ...

The Forest Experience

There is something amazing that happens when you camp in the same place year after year. My family has a Father’s Day tradition of camping in the Allegheny National Forest. Each year, we haul all of our gear to the same campsite in the same campground on the same weekend, and yet it is never ...

Gear Up For Nature

Now that kids are home from school, get them outdoors and away from their electronics. Make this the summer of nature. Exploring fields, woods and streams is a great way to spend quality time with your children. It just requires a few simple tools. First, and most important, bring far away ...

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 ...