Humans take pride in their unique, perhaps exalted, place among creatures. We’re the only animal that can point to triumphs like space travel, nerve gas, for-profit prisons, and plastic-filled oceans. Until recent times, we also thought we stood alone in our taste for addling our brains with drugs. Alas, we can no longer claim that distinction: Dolphins, dogs, wallabies, waxwings, and loads of other species like to get loaded. [Read more…] about Wildlife Gone Wild: Animal Intoxication
Altona Flat Rock is a large area of discontinuous bare sandstone pine barrens that stretches along the Champlain Valley into Quebec. Gazing at the rock formations, visitors to the area can easily imagine the long-forgotten retreat of glacial ice from the Champlain Valley. The area is home to the rare ecosystem of jack pine barrens.
Locals recall wildfires on Altona Flat Rock with anxiety, but the jack pines require fire. The heat of fire opens the pitched covered cones allowing the barren to reproduce. Fire on Altona Flat Rock is a curse and a blessing. [Read more…] about Altona Flat Rock: Fires, Berries and Concrete
On March 27th, 1912, the first two of thousands of Japanese cherry trees were planted along the banks of the Potomac River in Washington, DC by First Lady Helen Taft, the wife of President William Howard Taft, and the Viscountess Chinda, the wife of the Japanese Ambassador to the United States. [Read more…] about New York State & Washington’s Cherry Trees
Nearly everyone has enjoyed the several products derived from the fruit of the cranberry, but few people are familiar with the ecology of this interesting plant or the role it has played in many local economies and histories.
Today the cranberry industry is an important. part of the agricultural economy only in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. But many other parts of the country were at one time involved in cranberry production. [Read more…] about Cranberry Bogs of Long Island: Some History & Natural History
Among summer’s many sweet offerings are wild berries. And among these, blueberries are my favorite. Years ago, I took to carrying large, empty yogurt containers in my car – and smaller vessels in my backpack – so I would have something to fill should I pass a good berry patch. My children became used to my meandering travels along back roads and woods trails as I foraged opportunistically. [Read more…] about Wild Blueberries: A Primer
You may have noticed that “Since 1842” appears on the label of all Mott’s apple products. That was the year Samuel Mott began selling apple cider and vinegar to his neighbors in Halfmoon, Saratoga County, NY. The Mott’s apple processing empire we know today grew from that humble beginning. [Read more…] about Mott’s Apple Empire Began in Saratoga County in 1842
Perhaps the largest apple producer in Sullivan County at the height of the industry here was Martin A. Smith of Fremont Center. [Read more…] about Apple Orchards Are Returning Again to Sullivan County