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Take Me Outside

Blue jays are remarkable creatures

Sunday, November 1, 2015

As the glorious oranges, yellows and reds of October foliage fade into more the subdued bronzes and caramels of November, there is one color that is still brilliant in autumn branches – the flash of blue from the boisterous blue jay. These common birds are often maligned and accused of raiding other birds’ nests, hogging birdseed at feeders or just …

Take Me Outside: Signs of summer’s unavoidable end

Sunday, August 2, 2015

I love the palette of wildflowers that decorate the landscape and mark the stages of summer. In June the roadsides were blanketed with daisies and lupines. July brought the vibrant red, orange and yellow hues of beebalm and lilies. But August is when Queen Anne’s lace and goldenrod take over. I enjoy these flowers, but also greet them with a bit of melancholy, …

Take Me Outside: Spiders are amazing creatures

Saturday, July 11, 2015

What group of animals includes individuals who can walk on water, change their appearance, carry young on their back and recycle their home? Examples of these creatures can be found in your yard, or even your house. They are amazing . . . spiders. Before you skip to another article thinking you don’t like spiders, read on. You may discover that spiders are …

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

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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 …

Take Me Outside: To learn more about the trees around you, take a look at their bark

Sunday, January 6, 2013

any of nature’s treasures have been buried by recent snow. Yet trees offer opportunities for exploration regardless of snow depth or season. Tree bark has many functions and upon close examination varies considerably from one species to another. …

Take Me Outside: Geminid meteor showers will light up the darkness of December

Monday, December 10, 2012

According to some interpretations of the Mayan calendar, the world may end Dec. 21. Others say that the turning of this chronicle of time is actually a reason for celebration. Whether you are paying attention to either of …