What's Your Nature?

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Just Our Nature - news, updates and insights

An In-Tents Infestation

By Paul J. Hetzler on May 31, 2017
Given the cool rainy weather of late, one wouldn’t think tenting would be popular. But tents are everywhere this spring. They do not seem to respect sanctioned camping areas in NYS forests, and many have even invaded posted lands. The tents in question here, of course, do not belong to people. They are the white silken nests of eastern tent caterpillars (ETC), which are less welcome than…
Blog category: Just Our Nature

2017 Earth Day 7K Recap

By Emlyn Crocker on April 21, 2017
Spirits were racing and spring was in the air last Saturday April 15th as excited runners and walkers hit the SLU trails at the second annual Nature Up North - St. Lawrence Land Trust Earth Day 7K in Canton. Despite a forcast for rain, the 71 participants enjoyed beautiful spring weather, with high clouds and a bright sun shining down on the wooded trails. The course followed the St. Lawrence…
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Springtime Vernal Pools

By Amanda Brooks on April 4, 2017
April showers bring May flowers, but they also bring something else to the North Country: vernal pools. Vernal pools are small wetlands that temporarily form in spring and dry up by late summer. They form in woodlands and backyards in small depressions in the ground and are ecologically important for a variety of reasons.  In early spring, amphibians such as wood frogs, spring peepers, and…
Vernal pool. Photo: Robbt, Flickr Creative Commons. Wood frogs are often found feeding at vernal pools in the North Country woods. Photo: St. Lawrence Mammalogy Class 2016.
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Spring Pruning: As Easy as 1-2-3.

By Paul J. Hetzler on March 29, 2017
As far as trees are concerned, the optimal time for pruning in northern NY is from early March until the buds start to open; usually mid-April. And given that early spring is often a pretty enjoyable time to be outdoors, you may tend to concur. Tree pruning may be done any time in the dormant season (or in late summer—more on that below), but during the four to six weeks leading up to bud-break,…
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Four Fun Places to Snowshoe in the NoCo

By Kelsey Mattison on March 20, 2017
Happy Spring Equinox! Today may be the first day of spring, but spring hasn't sprung just yet in the North Country. One way you can take advantage of the snow this year is by getting outside and exploring on snowshoes.  Snowshoeing is fun for all ages and abilities, and is a great winter activity to share with friends or family. Plus, strapping on some snowshoes spreads out your weight on the…
Blog category: On the Trail

Snow Job

By Paul J. Hetzler on March 16, 2017
It is nice to know Mother Nature hasn’t forgotten how to make snow, but I suspect the recent dump we got was supposed to have been delivered in January. Probably it got held up at the border, or the packing slip got lost and the whole shipment has been sitting on a loading dock somewhere. Here we are a few days from the official start of spring, so maybe if we can find a tracking number we can…
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Leprechaun Trees

By Paul J. Hetzler on March 16, 2017
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,…
Blog category: Just Our Nature

An Ill Wind

By Paul J. Hetzler on March 7, 2017
Bad-hair days might be a personal frustration, possibly even a social calamity, but bad-air days can send the population of a whole region into a tailspin. Literally. By “bad air” I don’t mean urban smog, although that certainly merits an article, if not an actual solution. And while the fetid pong in one’s dorm room after an Oktoberfest all-you-can-drink bratwurst bash and sauerkraut-eating…
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Got Gas?

By Paul J. Hetzler on March 3, 2017
Some foods give you gas, but this is the time of year when gas gives you a really delicious food. Maple syrup, which is nutritious enough to be listed by the USDA as a food (I say it deserves its own Food Group designation), is gas-powered. Carbon dioxide-powered, to be specific. If it wasn’t for a bunch of little gas bubbles in the xylem tissue, maple sap would not flow. Who knew that wood was…
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Birds and Bees

By Paul J. Hetzler on February 24, 2017
Being a dad taught me that you can only put off addressing delicate but important topics for so long. Eventually you have to step up to the plate, face the music and take the metaphor by the horns. That said, it’s time we had the talk. You know, THAT talk. About the birds and the bees. Known for their resilience, and in many cases their astonishing physical endurance, birds and bees are also…
Blog category: Just Our Nature