What's Your Nature?

Become a Nature Up North explorer to share your encounters with wild things and wild places in New York's North Country. Post your wildlife sightings, landscape shots, photos from your outings, and even your organization's events!

Farmed and Foraged

Local and wild foods in the North Country

Wild Eats: Spring Foraging Fling

One of the best parts of spring is seeing the first shoots of green poking out of the ground, replacing the gray and brown of winter with bursts of color. The first plants to sprout not only lift our spirits and remind us of the summer warmth and color soon to come, but can add flavor and nutrients to spring meals.  Known as spring tonics, commonly found early spring edible plants in the North Country include ramps, garlic mustard, fiddleheads, and dandelions.

Ramps

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Wild Eats Episode 5: Wild S'mores

Wild Eats Episode 5: Wild S'mores

No campfire is complete without a few s’mores. S’mores hit the proverbial sweet spot of flavor and entertainment – enjoyed around a crackling campfire with family and friends, the challenge of roasting the perfect marshmallow can keep you occupied for hours.

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Wild Eats Episode 4: Nettle Ravioli

Wild Eats Episode 4: Nettle Ravioli

In most cases it’s wise to avoid contact from anything that stings, yet nettles are a notable exception. Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) are covered in fine hairs called trichomes, which inject histamines into your skin on contact, causing an unpleasant stinging sensation.  Fortunately for us, cooking nettles destroys the trichomes, leaving us with a mild-flavored and nutritious leafy green.

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Wild Eats Episode 2: Juneberries

Wild Eats Episode 2: Juneberries

Amelanchier canadensis, a small shrubby tree native to our region, goes by many names: serviceberry, shadberry, shadbush, and juneberry. But my personal favorite is saskatoon berry. What a wonderful name for a fruit. It perfectly captures the pizzazz of these tiny reddish purple spheres, which are most commonly known as juneberries. This designation highlights its harvesting season, since the fruits develop and ripen in the month of June.

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Wild Eats Part One: Dandelion Burgers

The three stages of life for a dandelion.

Wild Eats Part One: Dandelion Burgers

Some plants are so common that we forget to appreciate them. We see dandelions everywhere during the summer - their yellow flowers speckle the grass at local parks and poke out between the cracks of village sidewalks. Many people feel some hostility towards the plant, as dandelions stand in the way of a perfectly manicured lawn. Dandelions have a bad reputation, which is ironic because they were originally imported to North America for their culinary versatility and wide variety of medicinal benefits.

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The Multipurpose Nettle

The Multipurpose Nettle

One of my favorite plants is either highly versatile, or very confused. On the one hand, professional herbivores like rabbits and deer refuse to even touch it, but many people, myself included, will gladly eat it every day it is available. While contacting it is painful, it has been proven to relieve certain chronic pain. It is steeped in over a thousand years of folklore, at one point imbued with the power to cleanse away sin, yet medical science recognizes it as a legitimate remedy for many disorders. Some gardeners consider it a bothersome weed, but others actually cultivate it.

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Juneberry: An Early Bloomer

Juneberry: An Early Bloomer

Another regional attraction has just opened, and for the next few weeks you can see the show at innumerable open-air venues across the Northeast. The performance is free, although only matinees are available.

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Planning a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

Planning a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

 Bees are key pollinators for a variety of plant species that we rely on for food, medicine, livelihood, and aesthetics. They are obligate pollinators, so their diet of nectar and pollen makes their role in pollination a de facto part of their life. Farmers, gardeners, and all nature lovers alike, should aim to foster a diversity of pollinators in their farms or gardens.

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Maple Weekend 2016

Maple Weekend 2016

Maple season is not considered to be one of the four seasons, but for those in the North Country, it is the sweetest. New York State Maple Weekend, which this year took place on March 19-20 and April 2-3 this year, is a celebration of the maple season and an opportunity for the public to see how maple syrup, candies, and other sweet treats are made. On April 2nd we caught up with St.

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