Nature

Other Perspectives

The five River Otters plunged into the water and swam away, sleek as seals. To me, it was an awe-inspiring sight, the culmination of decades of clean water laws and a successful reintroduction effort to restore local animal communities to what they should be. That sounds pretty exciting, ...

Too Much Stuff

My journey with stuff began as a child, when I looked through catalogs with longing eyes, dreaming of all the things that could fill my life with joy. In reality, most of that stuff was probably junk and it rarely arrived in my world regardless. Stuff fills our world. There are phones, ...

Easter Bunnies

Last week a friend sent me a photo of a baby cottontail small enough to fit into the palm of his hand. It had been lying, lifeless, on a welcome mat by the front door, courtesy of a neighbor’s cat. It reminded me that baby season, for better or worse, is under way. Like many small mammals, ...

The April Skies

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” — Nelson Mandela The planet Mercury goes from inferior conjunction with the sun on April 1 to a greatest western elongation on April 29 but all in all, this is a poor apparition for the little ...

Gateways To Nature

By Jonathan Townsend CWC Lands Manager The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy is the only organization in Chautauqua County that works to proactively address the root causes of water quality degradation, habitat fragmentation and environmental pollution. We do this through land conservation. ...

Gateways To Nature

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy is the only organization in Chautauqua County that works to proactively address the root causes of water quality degradation, habitat fragmentation and environmental pollution. We do this through land conservation. For nearly three decades, the CWC has ...

Maple Sugar

I have started the early seeds inside – onions, leeks, celeriac. The indoor herbs are started too, and the lemon tree I got last year opened its first flower. Remarkably fragrant, one flower perfumed the entire room. Spring is just around the corner, but one of the favorite activities of ...

Garek’s First Nest Box

“Poppi, did you bring the birdhouse?” Garek asked. When I arrived at my daughter Nora’s house in western North Carolina last week, my 5-year old grandson Garek was bubbling with excitement. He obviously remembered my promise to bring him a bluebird box. When I visited back in ...

Today’s Houseplants Do More Than Look Pretty

Houseplants have been a mainstay of indoor decor item for generations, but their selection and use has changed over time, particularly with urbanization. People no longer are wedded to placing a few potted African violets on sunny window sills to add color and texture to small spaces. ...

Beavers: Extraordinary Architects

Last October, I was both delighted and dismayed to discover the handiwork of beavers in a nearby wooded wetland, where the furry little engineers had constructed a barrier of aspen and birch branches and mud across a narrow culvert, damming the small stream and creating a lovely wetland in its ...

Signs Of Spring

During this slow transition between seasons, I look for the first signs of spring. The return of Red-winged Blackbirds, Canada Geese and Turkey Vultures. The start of “see saw” territorial calls of Black-capped Chickadees and early spring blooms. But it is early yet. Mostly life looks ...

Be A Responsible Spring Gardener

The onslaught of seed and garden catalogs has begun; it must soon be spring. During the annual season of renewal, we are often tempted to invest a fair amount of time and money getting our yards and gardens ready for another growing season. If this sounds familiar, you have taken the bait ...

Algae, Nutrients And Aquatic Plants — A Delicate Balance

Algae and aquatic plants are two very visible and significant concerns with Chautauqua Lake. Potential remedies to these concerns are as complex and interconnected as the ecology of the lake itself. The factors that cause a problem and those that may solve the problem are part of a delicate ...

Algae, Nutrients & Aquatic Plants — A Delicate Balance

Algae and aquatic plants are two very visible and significant concerns with Chautauqua Lake. Potential remedies to these concerns are as complex and interconnected as the ecology of the lake itself. The factors that cause a problem and those that may solve the problem are part of a delicate ...

Early Migrants Are Enough

Longer days trigger a northbound wanderlust in migratory birds. Back in January the first hints of migration appeared when a few turkey vultures sailed over the house. Ruby-throated hummingbirds have already reached the Gulf Coast. Follow their return at www.hummingbirds.net. On Feb. 28 an ...

First Flowers Of Spring

Looking out my window this morning it’s hard to believe that just a few days ago I was walking around Audubon looking for fiddleheads and spring buds. Just last weekend I found my first crocuses and snowdrops of the year. Today, those flowers are under a foot of snow. Finding ...

An Oak From A Different Acorn

For those of us who grew up in Western New York, the mighty oak has been a common sight and something we take for granted. Our forests are filled with these magnificent trees. If you are out hiking in our Chautauqua Watershed, the white, red and black oaks are easily recognized because of their ...

Spring Dreams

March is a time for dreaming. It is the in-between time that is not quite spring, though some days feel like it, and not quite winter, though many days feel like that as well. It is a time when the world is transitioning from one season to the next, seesawing between winter and spring on an ...

Wildlife News Briefs

The Wildlife Society (an international organization of professionals trained in wildlife science, management, and conservation), recently released some short summaries of wildlife research that provide food for thought. ¯ When shale gas development began in 2008 in West Virginia, ...

On Building A Cocoonery

There is a somewhat misshapen box with a wide mesh front that is sitting on my dining room floor. It is put together with screws and nails and staples that reflect my son’s interest in pounding or drilling more than any real purpose or planning. Inside the box are three brown packages. Two ...