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Nature

What Is A Watershed?

The staff and board of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy get asked numerous questions about our region’s watersheds and water quality. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers. WHAT IS A WATERSHED A watershed is an area of land where all surface water and ...

Nature Is In Supply

Here’s the thing. There are many fewer excuses now. Maybe you’re home. Maybe you’re kids are home. Maybe you’re working from home, on limited hours, or in quarantine. Even though the toilet paper may be in short supply, nature isn’t. And it is a glorious time to be outside. Yes, ...

‘Re-Wilding’ Your Lawn Takes Work, Especially At First

“Re-wilding” is the trend toward diversifying traditional lawns by putting in native plants that flower and fruit, boosting wildlife populations. It returns more control of the home landscape to nature. But such conservation landscaping involves more than simply quitting pruning or ...

Small But Significant

Late last fall, the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, along with the Chautauqua Watershed Management Alliance, concluded work on CWC’s Ball Creek Preserve for a wide-ranging water quality improvement project. This project was primarily funded through the New York State Water Quality ...

March Is A Great Time To Prune Many Shrubs, But Not All

Don’t prune your forsythia, lilac or mock orange yet. Anything you cut off now will result in that much less of a flower show this spring. Except for these and many other spring-flowering shrubs, however, March is a fine time for pruning many trees and shrubs. It’s easy to see what to ...

Spring Dances North

Winter is a monster with icy claws, wrapping itself around the roof of the earth for months at a time. Winter’s icy breath chills the bones and chases animals and retirees to the south to escape. Trees drop their leaves in fear and hunker down. Animals fall asleep or grow thick fur as armor ...

Leave A Legacy

Our planet’s journey around our star has carried us through the longest nights of the year, and spring is just around the corner. Life’s wondrous tapestry weaves its story of beauty, mystery, and miracle in the fabric of seasons, time, and space, and here we are in the midst of it all. ...

Seasons And Holiday Joys May Be Tied Together

Many of our holidays seem tightly tied to season. Whether their origins are based on the cycles of the natural world or religion or history, they at least seem to “fit in” with the time of year. I write this article on Valentine’s Day. A day that seems to be more tied to ...

While It May Seem Early, Wood Frogs Rush The Season

It may seem a bit early to be listening for frogs, but wood frogs rush the season. They emerge from beneath forest leaf litter in late winter, and as soon as the ice melts, they sing. A wood frog’s voice is hardly frog-like. One field guide describes a wood frog chorus as sounding, “like ...

Early Signs Of Spring Bring Anticipation

Early signs of spring put smiles of anticipation on the faces of nature lovers. Longer days, warmer temperatures, and lawns slowly turning from brown to green are hard to miss. But the very first harbingers of spring are more subtle. If your daily travels take you along a stream that meanders ...

Uniquely Attracted

Recently, many people have become aware of the issues that our pollinating insects face. Insects have been in a general decline for some time now, which is worrisome as they help prop up the food chains that support just about everything else on the planet. There are over 400 species of native ...

Deer Are Simultaneously Amazing And Destructive

There is something magical about seeing deer, especially with a group of children. Perhaps it is because they are so large compared to other animals likely to be seen. A deer sprinting away through the forest, leaping high with its white tail wagging, is inherently more impressive than the ...

How Wildlife Escape The Worst Winter Has To Offer

In temperate areas, late January usually brings the coldest weather of the year. When temperatures plunge below zero as they do some winters, wildlife must adapt to survive extreme weather conditions. Fish, for example, simply slow down and use less energy. Many birds migrate. And some ...

Porcupines Can Be Particular Creatures

Porcupines have always been such an elusive creature to me. While hiking, more often I see signs they are nearby like scat, bark missing on trees, or wood chips scattered on the ground instead of the real creature. They always seem to evade detection, which is interesting seeing as they ...

Use Your Computer To Experience The Joys Of Birding

People keep asking if we’re going to skip winter this year. I don’t know. There have been a few snowstorms here and there; rain and high winds have replaced snow and frigid temperatures in many places. Here in Western North Carolina at an elevation of 2,000 feet, I’ve only recorded one ...

Some Climbers Enjoy Faster Pace For Hike

There is a large contingent of the hiking community that lives for hiking fast. Often I am also one of those people. Pushing your physical limits and testing that mental stamina to keep your legs moving, to climb that mountain or to make it through those next few miles focuses me and ...

The Advantages Of A Flock, Birds Of A Feather

On a cold March afternoon in 1983, I sat in a blind on the banks of the Platte River near Kearney, Neb. and watched seemingly endless lines of sandhill cranes, Canada geese, snow geese, and many species of ducks descend into the shallows to roost for the night. The parade continued well past ...

Outdoor Adventures

For outdoor adventurers, the list of places to go is usually long. New discoveries, experiences and challenges, mountains to climb, rivers to paddle, and sights to see. Or secret spots to come across and relax. I count myself as one of those adventurers. I love to go new places, but ...

Meet The Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers And Its Relatives

On a recent episode of Jeopardy, the correct question to an answer was, “What’s a yellow-bellied sapsucker?” My ears perked up because I notice when birds get favorable attention on national TV. And it’s a great question. To the uninitiated, yellow-bellied sapsucker may sound like a ...