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Take Me Outside

Sumac is a lovely addition to the fall landscape

Sunday, October 12, 2014

This year’s foliage season is shaping up to be a gorgeous one. Red maples in the swamps started the parade of color and the yellows of the birches and orange sugar maples are lining up to add their hues to the renowned splendor of New England fall foliage. But one of my favorite splashes of color comes from the unsung …

Take a closer look at fall webworms

Sunday, September 7, 2014

As we approach the “leaf peeper” season and eyes turn toward New England’s forest foliage, there’s something on the trees that is far less attractive than the anticipated autumn splash of color. Fall webworms, a native insect, form gauzy balloon-like structures on the tips of many tree branches. The webworm is not a …

Passenger pigeon’s extinction, a somber remembrance

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Anniversaries are worth celebrating, but next month marks the 100th anniversary of a somber event. Martha, the last known Passenger Pigeon was found dead in her cage in the Cincinnati Zoo, Sept. 1, 1914. This is perhaps the only extinct creature for which we know the date and time of its vanishing. However, …

Take Me Outside: Find the forest's hidden spring blooms

Sunday, May 5, 2013

April showers have been uncommon this spring, but there will still be May flowers carpeting the forest floor. These spring beauties provide a good reason to venture into the woods in the coming weeks. Canada mayflowers, also known …

Take Me Outside: Nesting phoebes are a sign of the season

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Each spring I enjoy knowing that the eaves of my porch provide a nursery for a family of Eastern phoebes. This year is no exception – we have babies! For the past week I’ve been watching and listening as tiny waving heads with proportionally huge and gaping mouths …

Take Me Outside: Missing the snow

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Skiers, snowmobile riders and other snow lovers may be unhappy, but the lack of snow this winter is more than a disappointment for some creatures that depend on snow for their survival. Small mammals such as mice, voles, shrews and weasels use an area under the snow called …

Take Me Outside: Briefly blooming beauties

Sunday, April 1, 2012

In a normal year, the time between when the snow melts and when the tree leaves emerge is brief. But this has been anything but a normal year. So now is the window of time when early spring wildflowers will start to pop through the winter-worn forest floor …

Take Me Outside: Become a citizen scientist

Sunday, January 1, 2012

It's a new year, time to turn the calendar (for those of us who still have the paper versions) and start fresh. Some people begin anew with exercise and changed eating habits, vowing to take on a healthier lifestyle. For me, it's time to start a fresh "yard …

Take Me Outside: Turtle talk

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A female painted turtle was the focus of much curiosity and exploration among a group of preschoolers I spent time with recently. She had climbed out of the Merrimack River, crawled through the shoreline buffer of silver maples and clambered across a lawn in search of a sunny …

Take Me Outside: Let's hear it for the birds

Sunday, May 6, 2012

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. This book was a wakeup call about how the broad use of pesticides, namely DDT, was killing birds and harming the environment. Carson warned that if such indiscriminant chemical application continued, our springs would …

Take Me Outside: Light show

Sunday, July 1, 2012

This is the week when many communities put on firework displays in celebration of our nation's birthday. However, there is also a natural light show that began last month and can be observed for the next several weeks, thanks to our resident fireflies. Fireflies are sometimes called glowworms …

Take Me Outside: The wonders of migration

Sunday, April 7, 2013

TakeMeOutside …

Take Me Outside: Feathered friends

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The weather has been fickle this winter, but one thing I could count on was visits by downy woodpeckers to my suet feeder. "Downies," like most of the woodpeckers in this area, are present year-round, so it's easy to take them for granted. They aren't colorful like a …

Take Me Outside: Keep an eye out for possums 

Friday, March 1, 2013

As the weather begins to warm in March, some animals that have been relatively inactive all winter begin to make their presence known. One such creature is the opossum. Native to more southern regions, this cat-sized mammal is …

Take Me Outside: The truth behind Groundhog Day

Sunday, February 3, 2013

By the time you read this we’ll know if the groundhog saw its shadow and how much more winter we have to endure – or not! The tradition of the groundhog emerging on Feb. 2 to predict the …