Nature

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 ...

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. ...