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Nature

A Poem For The Holidays

Every December, readers make two requests: please reprint your Christmas poem and your suet recipe. I’m happy to oblige. First published in 1988, the poem is an attempt to instill in younger family members a sense of the wonder and fun that backyard feeder birds provide. My hope is that ...

The Longest Night

There is something about the solstice that captures my imagination. The winter solstice is the longest night of the year and the official beginning of winter and generally occurs on or around Dec. 21. From that day forward, the days will get longer and the nights shorter. Even as winter is ...

Enjoying A Christmas Eve To Remember

It was the night before Christmas, 1993. Nora was barely 10 years old, and Emma would not start kindergarten for another eight months. We had just gotten home from an early Christmas Eve church service. About two inches of snow had fallen the day before, and it was about 25 degrees, so a ...

Winter Cacti Are Hard To Name But Easy To Grow

Years ago, I had one of those spineless cacti that once a year splash colorful flowers out the ends of their flat, arching stems. Such plants are usually named for when they are supposed to bloom: Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter cactii. I just call them “holiday” cacti because they ...

This Fungi I Know…

‘Tis the season of death, or at least a long rest, in nature. The trees are bare, the grass has stopped growing, and the stems of plants brown, shriveled, and lifeless. Many in New York state find the season dreary and mundane. Yet we are all guilty of not realizing how important this time ...

Walking In A Winter Watershed

The holidays can be a fun and joyful time, but for many, they can also be a hectic and stressful time. If you find yourself needing a break from the chaos this season, bundle up, get outside and let nature give you a reprieve. Although hiking might not be your first thought when the snow ...

Do Pets Make Good Holiday Gifts?

My wife and I adopted our first pet while still in college. Herman, a tabby cat, lived for almost 20 years. When we moved to West Virginia, Linda visited an animal shelter and came home with Jenny, a two-year old lab/spaniel mutt. It was a sad day when we put her down 15 years later. Daisy, ...

The World Around Us

On a rare, sunny day in late November, Karen Hansen from Samsara Yoga Center in Jamestown led a reflective walk for the Audubon Remembers event. It was one of those days that is truly a gift in late fall. The clouds and rain predicted never materialized. Bright blue sky was visible above, ...

Winter Landscapes That Prove Berry Good For Birds

Winter arrived early this year, rushing nature to snuggle in for the cold months ahead. As we enjoy the last few leaves of fall and remaining sprigs of goldenrod and aster, we also hurry to clean up and put our gardens to bed for the winter. Although we will lose our orioles and ...

Books To Find For Nature Lovers

Great books make great gifts. Here are some titles worthy of consideration for nature loving family and friends on your holiday gift list. Birds in Winter: Surviving the Most Challenging Season by Roger Pasquier (2019, Princeton University Press, $29.95) has been incubating in the author’s ...

Graceful Branches

Without the leaves on many of the trees and shrubs, sightlines are longer, that which is hidden forms shadowy outlines and lurking forms. Sometimes it is a downed tree, with roots now reaching toward the sky. Other times it’s a gnarled apple tree, the last of its grove, encased by ...

Encountering An Owl Can Be Wonderful

The sound startled my daughter and I as we walked through the mid-afternoon forest. A loud echoing hoot shot across the valley. The sound was coming from a dense patch of hemlock trees up the hill. It was close, very close. Scary close to someone who didn’t know what they were hearing, like ...

A Turkey’s Disappearing Act Is Impressive

Thanksgiving has just passed, so let’s talk turkey. Anyone who has ever tried to get a good look at a wild turkey knows they have incredible eyesight. One moment you’re looking at a big bird; then you blink your eyes, and it’s gone. You swear you didn’t move a muscle, but obviously you ...

Take A Hike

Winter isn’t the time of year most people associate with hiking, but if you’re properly prepared and equipped with some basic knowledge, it’s a fine time to take a walk in the woods. What you wear on a winter hike can really make the difference between a miserable or even dangerous ...

Being Curious is A Good Reason To Stay Outdoors

I can clearly remember the first time I found myself in a grove of giant sequoias. On the first night of a camping trip, a group of us went out on a night hike under an almost full moon. We had the trail to ourselves and the entire experience was overwhelming in the best possible way. I also ...

Shoot Game With Cameras, Not Guns

According to data from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, hunting is fading as a recreational activity. In 1980, Americans bought 16.3 million hunting licenses. By 2018, that number had dropped to 15.6 million. During that same time period, the total U.S. population grew from 227 million to ...

Mud Can Be Another Form Of Pollution

When I first heard Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy Executive Director John Jablonski say that “mud is pollution,” I was completely confused. The word pollution brings to mind Love Canal, acid mine runoff, Erin Brockovich and the Cuyahoga River burning in the 1960s. But not mud. ...

The List Is Endless

Most, if not all of us, have experienced some sort of internal hardship at some point in our lives. It could be depression, anxiety, nervousness, grief, or overworking. The list is endless. These feelings are not easy to talk about and many issues get put on the back burner. Having such an ...

Enjoy November’s Secrets

November. Each day the sun rises a few minutes later and sets a few minutes earlier. Days grow chilly. Nightly frosts become the rule. It’s just a matter of time until the first snow falls. Yes, it’s November. By month’s end, the whole world seems on the brink of death. The few ...

Misunderstood

Algae are not plants but, rather, simple photosynthetic protists which are typically aquatic. “Blue-green algae” are not true algae at all but photosynthetic bacteria called cyanobacteria. They form a large diverse group that ranges from seaweeds like kelp to pond scum to freshwater lake ...