Nature

Taking The Offensive On Erosion: Rain Plus Bare Ground Equals Mud

Mud is the largest non-point source pollution problem facing our lakes, rivers and streams. When soil gets washed into our waterways, it smothers fish habitats, transports dangerous pollutants that threaten water quality and provides the fertile conditions that favor excessive growth of ...

Reason, Season, Lifetime

There are always a few children who love Audubon so much that they can’t stay away. There is something about what happens at an Audubon camp that draws them, year after year. I understand. Camp is fun. Kids take nets and dip in ponds. They build forts. Games are played and adventures ...

Inordinate Fondness For Beetles

Since my wife brought home that spectacular eastern Hercules beetle I described a few weeks ago, I’ve embraced beetlemania. Given the sheer number of beetles that inhabit the planet, it’s understandable. Beetles, members of the insect Order Coleoptera, occupy virtually every habitat on ...

Kayaking The Conewango

The Conewango Creek has always intrigued me. Every time I travel on Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren, I think about the creek as it and the road meander along together. Where did that water come from and where is it going? From what I have read in the Roger Tory Peterson ...

Hummingbird Numbers Reach Peak In August

If you feed hummingbirds, you should be seeing lots of activity right now. Ruby-throated hummingbird numbers peak in August. Young of the year have left the nest (fledged) so late summer populations easily double. Whether you see two or three hummers visiting a single feeder or can brag ...

Ornamental Flowers?

If mosquitoes, gnats, black flies and no-see-ums are driving you buggy, then consider cozying up to some lavender, marigolds or basil. Scientists question their overall effectiveness, but many fragrant ornamental flowers and herbs grown around the home have properties that can repel ...

Wild Plants Thrive In WNY

I have always been fascinated by the topic of wild edible and medicinal plants. There is something truly freeing about the ability to collect food and medicine from the wild, without money and without a prescription. Not to in any way impinge on the many benefits of modern medicine, but ...

Survival Camp

When I found out I was instructing Survival Camp 2019, I didn’t realize how much we’d be trying to “survive.” I imagined it being like any other day camp. Now, imagine heat waves beyond measure during the hottest part of the day. The heat melted the sunscreen and bug spray off ...

Snake Season Is Upon Us

Snakes love warm summer days. As reptiles, their body temperature mirrors air temperature. That’s why snakes are most active this time of year. It’s also why snake complaints peak in July and August. When people ask how to deal with unwanted snakes in the backyard, I offer my standard ...

Lush Growth

Summer is in full swing and our local meadows, woodlands and wetlands are alive with the lush growth and green goodness of solar-powered warmth, light and renewed life. Songbirds fill the air with calls and melodies signaling territoriality, courtship and connection with mates and ...

Global Change

As a kid, there was nothing more exhilarating than walking down the dirt road adjacent to my aunt and uncle’s house, hunting for monarch caterpillars under the warm August sun. I would walk hand in hand with my mother as she pulled my brother along behind in a red wagon, my cousins would ...

‘The Greatest’ Environmental President And His Legacy

Most Americans who remember President Richard Nixon probably associate his name with the Watergate break-in and his abbreviated presidency. Despite Nixon’s self-inflicted problems, I remember him as the greatest environmental president of my lifetime. Among Nixon’s environmental ...

Yard Waste, The Issues Of A Natural Pollutant

Have you ever seen your neighbor push a wheelbarrow full of grass clippings to a nearby empty lot and, without hesitation, dump the load over the edge of the streambank? What about seeing someone rake his or her yard clean of fall leaves and then pile them behind some shrubbery along the ...

A Faster Look

There are many ways to look at a trail, but I have never looked at how to make a trail exactly 3.1 miles before. Last fall, Audubon started looking at ways to create a new course for the Wild 5K that showed off more of the property, avoided parking lots, and was easy to follow. The ...

Grow Gardens, Not Grass

This summer, if you’d like to save some money (and blood, sweat, and tears), convert a portion of your grassy backyard to native vegetation. Maintaining turf is expensive, unhealthy, and to many people, boring. With less grass to mow, you’ll save time and money. American homeowners spend ...

Summer Is Finally Here

Did you hear the story about the conversation between two friends? The one said to the other, “I love summer in Chautauqua County!” “Really?” said the other. “Yep,” the first one replied. “It was on a Sunday last year!” All kidding aside, I thought this joke was going ...

Natural World

I’ve always said that my favorite thing about being a naturalist and an environmental biologist is the fact that there is always more to learn about nature. In my experience every time I answer a question or discover something new about the natural world I am left with even more unanswered ...

Introduce Children To The Cool Side

Relief from the dog days of summer is as close as the nearest spring-fed stream. With just a facemask, a snorkel, and an old pair of sneakers, you can observe aquatic life on its own terms — underwater. Snorkeling is a great way to introduce children to the cool side of nature. First, just ...

Are You Fertilizing The Lake?

Is lawn fertilization contributing to Chautauqua Lake’s algae blooms? Chautauqua Lake has experienced seasonal algae blooms for decades. It has always been a relatively fertile lake, with abundant plants and algae contributing to very productive panfish, muskellunge and smallmouth and ...

A Blank Book

As a child, summer vacation meant no classrooms and often, no walls. The world was like a blank book, open to a page where you could write that day’s adventure as you lived it. I remember bike rides down to the creek, bike convoys down to the tennis courts, or magical lands created around ...