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Nature

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 ...

Water Is A Magnet

Water is a magnet for children. They like to dam little creeks to create pools and whirlpools. Sticks are tossed into creeks from bridges to see how long it takes them to float underneath. Rocks are splashed and skipped through the water. Water is an attraction. I have to confess that I ...

Gardening Trends For 2020: Unconventional, Sustainable

Gardeners in 2020 will veer from the beaten path, opting for unconventional varieties and eco-conscious surroundings, according to a plant trends study by horticulturalists with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). Their forecast is based largely ...

New Deal With Mining Company To Protect Rare Nevada Plant

RENO, Nev. (AP) — An Australian mining company has agreed to a moratorium on new activities at a planned lithium mine in Nevada in exchange for conservationists dropping a lawsuit to protect a rare desert wildflower they say doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. The Center for ...

Ramble Through The Woods

On Monday, the weather was gorgeous though odd for December. I was not unhappy though, as I had visitors from England and the warm day provided an opportunity to spontaneously ramble through the woods. Visiting with my oldest childhood friend provided highlights at the end of a year that was ...

A Tale Of Tails

Animal tales often occupy this space. As the year comes to an end, thoughts of animal ends also come to mind - their tails. So, here’s a tale of tails. Animal tails are fascinating appendages that come in a variety of forms and serve a variety of functions. Tails help animals move, ...

Consider More Sustainable Alternatives To Peat Moss

It may be time to say goodbye to Pete in the garden. Peat Moss, that is. Peat has been a great helper for years, especially with seedlings. It’s made our potting mixes better able to hold both water and air, so important for confined roots, and it’s helped grab onto some nutrients that ...

Into A New Year

As we steadily creep through winter and into the new year, the focus will eventually begin to move from the calm of night toward a season of increased light and activity. Every day we gain a couple more minutes of light in the evening and eventually more motivation and activity. As those longer ...