Nature

The Spirit Of Bentley Sanctuary

Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy’s new Bentley Nature Preserve embodies an extraordinary legacy of local environmental stewardship and an enduring love of nature, thanks to generations of foresight which have conserved and protected a much-beloved wetland forest rich in history and lush with ...

Phragmites

Peace and mud surround me as I stand in the middle of Audubon’s Big Pond. A Northern Harrier, also known as a Marsh Hawk, dips and glides over the cattails. Rails call like monkeys from the reeds. The water and mud come up to my thighs as we walk, plop, and sink through the pond to get to ...

It’s Time To Molt

Birds face three major energetic challenges over the course of a year. Nesting and all its associated behaviors dominate spring and early summer. Parents must build nests, defend territories, and feed their constantly hungry broods. Migratory species travel great distances, often over ...

The October Skies

“Nature composes some of her loveliest poems for the microscope & the telescope.” — Theodore Roszak, 1972 This is not a good month to view the small planet Mercury but it can be spotted just above the western horizon during the last week of October. Use binoculars and look for ...

Starve The Algae, Save The Lake

The Chautauqua County landscape is already vibrant with the colors of fall. Goldenrod and purple aster highlight open fields, and trees are just starting to turn from green to yellow, orange and red. Our focus turns to harvest time, a new school year or winter home preparations. Soon, the ...

Puzzle Of The Past

When I drive back and forth to my parent’s house in North East, Pa., I pass an old homestead on the ridge. Now, all that remains are old trees, roughly in the shape of a square. When I was growing up there, a house and barn were part of the footprint. Now the trees stand stoically, alone, ...

Thoughts From North Carolina

You may have noticed that my United States Postal Service mailing address has changed from West Virginia to North Carolina. We relocated back in August, primarily to be closer to our three grandchildren, and all is well. Last week, however, Hurricane Florence gave us quite a scare. ...

It’s Everywhere, Unfortunately

Have you noticed the tall, bamboo-like plants with the heart-shaped leaves and delicate white flowers growing along many of our roadsides? Once you start noticing them, you’ll soon see them everywhere. They have been growing along my road, Lakeside Boulevard in the Town of Ellicott, for about ...

The Moment I Knew

There are some people that can remember the exact moment they knew what they were going to do with the rest their life. Me, I think I’m one of those people. I remember the exact moment I knew I was meant to be a naturalist. Growing up my sister, Clare, and I spent a lot of time catching ...

Fall Planting Season Is Here

When fall colors begin to reveal themselves, it’s time to plant woody vines, small trees, and perennial wildflowers. Being in the ground for five or six months allows plants to acclimate to local conditions and leads to vigorous spring growth. Furthermore, nurseries, garden centers, and ...

New Tourist Eyes

The flashlights bounced along as we walked through the pitch black of night, with only the bright lights of a distant town lighting things up. The round spots of light glowed as kids searched excitedly across the ground, looking for the slightest motion. Then, there it was — a blob that ...

Passing Clouds

We talk about nature quite a bit at Audubon. But what is included in that broad category? Obviously plants and animals that live on this planet — trees and flowers, insects and birds. It could also include a whole array of non-living materials and systems that support the living flora and ...

Ruffed Grouse News

For nearly 25 years, unpredictable fluctuations of ruffed grouse populations in the Appalachian region have frustrated wildlife biologists in many states. Known for five- or six-year population cycles in northern states characterized by evergreen and aspen forests, ruffed grouse populations in ...

Fall — An Optimum Time To Plant

Like it or not, the fall season is quickly approaching! To many, this may be a reason to cry out in foreboding trepidation at the thought of winter sneaking in. To me, this is the time of year to start planning for the burst of greenery and life that comes after winter’s end. It may seem ...

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 ...