Our eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), monumental in a number of important ways, is now imperiled throughout much of its range south of the border. Unfortunately, we can expect that to become the case in Canada in the near future. [Read more…] about White Pines at Risk
I imagine there was a lot more hand-wringing prior to the Covid-19 lockdown in Switzerland as compared to other countries, because since 2008 it has been a federal crime there to isolate social animals. Makes you wonder if Swiss authorities have brought charges against themselves yet, or whether they’re waiting until after the crisis lets up. [Read more…] about Social Isolation: Live Long and Prosper Together
One of the perks of having trees nearby is that social-distancing rules don’t apply – you can hug as many as you like without risk of contracting Covid-19. Another benefit, of course, is shade.
When the heat’s on and you need to lie low for a while, it’s great if some of your friends are shady characters. Especially if they’re tall, mature types with solid builds. Yeah, trees are cool. [Read more…] about Shady Business: Trees and Drought
You’ve probably seen these little fourteen-legged chimeras at some point, though you may not have paid them any mind since you were a kid.
Part shrimp, part kangaroo, and part armadillo, the ubiquitous pill bug (Armadillidium vulgare) is a harmless, if sometimes annoying, critter which scuttles about at night feeding on dead vegetation.
Also known as potato bugs or roly-polys, these are the guys that pull themselves into a tight little ball for protection when disturbed. [Read more…] about Pill Bugs: A Primer
I’ve been wary of lawns since about 1970 when I saw a public-service TV ad which featured a leafy green bundle dropping into an eerily vacant playground. A baritone, God-like voice issued a dire warning, something like: “Grass. We think it’s bad for kids. Stay away from it.”
My five-year-old mind rejected Mom’s account that some grass was bad but ours was OK, because she wouldn’t give any details about the bad stuff. It was a few days before I ventured onto the lawn again. [Read more…] about Keeping the Grass High
Its immense reproductive capacity, ability to skulk about on dry land, and avid appetite for all manner of aquatic life (as well as a few terrestrial species) has earned this invasive fish some apt monikers, chief among them Fishzilla and Frankenfish.
The northern snakehead (Channa argus) is a fierce apex predator which hails from southeast Asia, and breeding populations are known to be established in Delaware, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and downstate New York. Individual specimens have also been found in eight other states. [Read more…] about Northern Snakeheads In New York State
Although it’s possible dandelions arrived on the Mayflower, they do not get the esteem they deserve as plucky immigrants that put down firm roots in a new land, or as a vitamin-packed culinary delight, or as a multi-purpose herbal remedy. [Read more…] about Call the Dogs off the Lions
The old saying “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” has been a great comfort to me over the years, since I figure that means the road to heaven is paved with bad thoughts, which are usually easy to come by.
Since ancient times, we have built all manner of roads, highways, byways, boulevards, terraces, turnpikes, tow-paths, and bike paths. But given the astonishing pace at which our native pollinator populations are dwindling, it’s a critical time to blaze a new kind of road. A pathway, to be specific. [Read more…] about Pollinator Pathways Stamp Out Neatness
The high school I attended was too small to have football or track-and-field, which was no great loss, as the only sport I have ever been good at is jumping to conclusions.
We all know correlation does not equal causation, but when appearances point to a culprit, it’s hard to resist. If a baseball just smashed through your window and there’s a kid with a ball glove out in the yard, most of us would not feel any need to investigate further. [Read more…] about Lichens Only Look Guilty
Probably everyone has a sound they associate with high summer. For me, nothing says “holy cow, it’s hot” like the drone of cicadas, their song is a miniature buzz saw that cuts across a hot afternoon, undulating a bit and then dropping off near the end of its arc.
Cicadas are stout, ancient-looking bugs with bulgy eyes and clear wings. While the largest species is about three inches long and has a seven-inch wingspan, the ones in our neck of the woods range from 1 to 2.5 inches in length with a wingspan of three inches or so. [Read more…] about The Natural Sounds of NY Summer: Cicadas