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 you organization's events!

Just Our Nature

Nature Up North program blog

Leprechaun Trees

Haw berries. Photo: FreeUsePhotos, Flickr Creative Commons.

Leprechaun Trees

My earliest memory of St. Patrick’s Day is how angry it made my mother, who holds dual Irish-American citizenship and strongly identifies with her Celtic roots. It was not the day itself which got her Irish up, so to speak, but rather the way it was depicted in popular American culture: Green-beer drink specials at the bars and St. Patrick’s Day sales in every store, all endorsed by grinning, green-clad, marginally sober leprechauns.

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2018 Canton Winter Olympics: Recap

2018 Canton Winter Olympics: Recap

Do you love getting outside in the winter? If so, you might just have what it takes to be a North Country Olympian! As winter enthusiasts all around the world prepared to kick off the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea, Nature Up North and the Canton Recreation Department teamed up to challenge North Country residents with a local challenge... the first annual Canton Winter Olympics. 

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Measuring Science

Students and community members who contribute to Nature Up North's citizen science projects are asked to collect measurements in inches, as most people aren't familiar with the metric system. Photo: Jake Malcomb.

Measuring Science

The good news is that Imperial Forces are losing the battle for planetary dominance. The bad news is that we still play for their team. The British Imperial System of measurement, born in 1824 to help streamline a host of odd units inherited from various cultures, was at the time an improvement. But in 1965, the UK adopted the decimal-based metric system, despite the fact it was invented by the French. Today, metric is universal in science and medicine, and of the 195 nations on Planet Earth, only 2 have yet to abandon the former British system for general commerce: Myanmar and the U.S.

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Not in Tents, Just Intense

Forest tent caterpillars on a tree in Canton during the 2017 outbreak. Photo: Erika Barthelmess.

Not in Tents, Just Intense

Winter is not a season when many people think about tents, except maybe to be glad they do not live in one. I do have some friends who love winter camping, and the fact they have never extended an invitation is evidence of how much they value our friendship.

Oddly enough, winter is a crucial time to look for signs of forest-tent caterpillars (FTC). In spite of their name, FTC do not weave a silken tent-like nest like the eastern-tent caterpillar and other species of tent caterpillars. The tent-less lifestyle of forest-tent caterpillars makes it harder to spot outbreaks in spring.

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Name-Calling

Jewelweed along the Raquette River in Hannawa Falls. Photo: Helen Eifert

Name-Calling

Encouraging people to make friends with wild plants can be a challenge. Sometimes there are genuine concerns. Nettles, as an example, make an early-spring cooked green par excellence, even though its fresh leaves and stems have stinging hairs that can cause an uncomfortable, if temporary, rash if care is not taken when harvesting it.

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Weather or Not

First snow of the season on Bear Mountain in Cranberry Lake. Photo: Bill Hill.

Weather or Not

Weather modeling has become quite a big deal in recent years, with meteorologists falling all over themselves to report what the latest models say. It sounds like a fun job, and I am trying to find out how to apply for a position. No doubt I could model categories like “large stationary front” or “high pressure system” pretty well. If it involves appearing in a swimsuit, though, forget it.

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2018 Nature Up North Calendars

2018 Nature Up North Calendars

We are pleased to announce that 2018 Nature Up North calendars are on sale now through January!  The printed calendar features some of our favorite photos shared by community members as Encounters on natureupnorth.org in the past year.  They also feature Nature Notes highlighting seasonal wildlife behavior to look for each month.  

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Caterpillar Soup

Monarch butterfly at Indian Creek Nature Center, July 2017. Photo: Raina Marie Fuller of Madrid.

Caterpillar Soup

When it comes to personal growth, the Wicked Witch of the West had the right idea. Quite possibly she got it from monarch butterflies, which must exist in Oz, since they are found worldwide except for polar regions. Many times, a rearrangement of the self-image we have come to know is needed to achieve our fullest potential. In my experience this is always hard, and seldom is it voluntary.

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Seeing Red

Lampson Falls this October. Photo: Emlyn Crocker

Seeing Red

We need to figure out a way to have Amazon deliver the weather in the future. I don’t believe Mother Nature intended to give us a record-setting wet summer; I just think all the good weather probably got misplaced on a loading dock in Topeka, or something like that. The spate of mild sunny weather we’ve been having over the past couple of weeks, while very enjoyable, was clearly meant to be dispersed over the course of June and July to break up the nonstop rain. I’d be willing to pay a premium for timely delivery next year.

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Northern Oysters

Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, Marshal Hedin

Northern Oysters

Carnivorous oysters are lurking about in the North Country, and residents who venture into the woods are advised to carry butter and a skillet at all times. Oyster mushrooms, Pleurotus ostreatus, native wood-decaying fungi often found on dead and dying hardwoods, are delectable when sautéed in butter. Maybe hikers should carry a few cloves of garlic and a press as well. It’s good to be prepared.

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