Nature

Fall is the perfect time of year to plant trees, which add value to our lives, our homes and our waterways.
Photo by The Arbor Day Foundation

Fall Is A Great Time To Plant A Tree

At this time of year, we both admire trees for the spectacularly colorful show they provide to our landscape and curse them for the constant supply of leaves they drop on our lawns. But trees add value to our lives, to our homes and to our waterways that we may not always appreciate. Fall is ...

Audubon’s first Naturalist/Director Jim Yaich led and grew the programs held at the nature center under almost a quarter century of leadership. 
Submitted photos

Audubon’s Witness Tree

The old Sugar Maple on the rise has seen a lot in the last 100 years. From its perch on this low hill, the seasons, the years, the birds and even the people have come and gone. The hill used to have a view all the way to Route 62 without a tree to block the way. The story of this Sugar Maple ...

Conservation By The Numbers

According to the preliminary results of the recently released 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, 101.6 million Americans 16 years old and older, 40 percent of the U.S. population, enjoyed some form of wildlife-related recreation. The Survey shows that ...

Chautauqua Watershed Notes

It’s tough to be misunderstood and blamed for things you don’t do. In the natural world, goldenrod is one plant that fits perfectly into this category. Ever since I can remember, I was told that goldenrod was the “bad guy.” When in bloom, people said it caused hay fever, sneezing and ...

An Eastern Screech Owl is pictured.

Sleeping With The Windows Open

After my brother was born, dad and the neighbors transformed the attic into a bedroom for my sister and me. Tongue and groove knotty pine boards on walls and ceiling created an atmosphere of rustic log cabin. The men also created a built-in table that served as both desk and vanity, a big ...

There’s A Bird In The House!

“Scott! There’s a bird in the house!” I was still in bed, and Linda’s voice sounded urgent, but not panicked. “What kind of bird, and where is it?” I asked. “It’s a titmouse in the spare bedroom. Close the door, and I’ll open the window and chase it out,” Linda said ...

Rain barrels such as this one can help slow the flow of stormwater runoff from your home. 
Photo by Jen Maguder

We’re All Connected

A man asked me recently, “What is the most invasive species in the area?” He listened carefully to all the replies about exotic plants, ash borers and such and then said, “You know what? I think people are the most invasive species, and I am one of them.” That comment made me think ...

Monarch butterfly on purple aster with yellow sea of goldenrod in the background. 
Photo by Jennifer Schlick

September Fields

For the past five years, the views on my ride to work at this time of year never get old. In particular, I never tire of seeing the fields near the corner of Routes 60 and 62, radiant with yellows and pinks. Goldenrod and Joe Pye Weed carpet the unkempt part of this field as they do in so ...

Meet Some Common Spiders

Fall is in the air. On Thursday morning the thermometer dipped to 46 degrees. Everywhere I look I see signs of seasonal change. Leaves have begun to change colors, and some have even begun to fall. Adult male hummingbirds have already headed south. Blooming goldenrod is turning old fields ...

While flying squirrels cannot truly fly, they are more than graceful fallers that let gravity do their work for them. 
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia, Angie Spuc

Fantastic Flying Squirrels

As a bat biologist, I am often quick to point out the fact that bats are the only true flying mammal and that “flying” squirrels merely fall with grace. While it is correct to state that flying squirrels cannot truly fly, they are more than graceful fallers that let gravity do their work ...

Chasing Ice

“Chasing Ice” is the best and most important documentary you’ve probably never seen or even heard of. Period. For years I’ve been debating climate change with deniers who simply will not listen to science or reason. My best strategy has been to ask them to google aerial photographs of ...

Research shows that time in nature, whether hiking, hunting or just relaxing, has a ton of health benefits, from cardiovascular health to relieving depression to counteracting ADHD.
Photos by Jeff Tome

Nature’s Stress Relief

This article was written in September 2015 and is reprinted. There is really no way to get around stress in your life. Truthfully, there should not be. Stress is what helps us grow and change and learn new things. Sometimes it pushes us to function in ways that we never would otherwise. ...

Audubon Community Nature Center President Ruth Lundin will give an update on the progress at removing the invasive European water chestnut at the First Friday Lunch Bunch on Sept. 1. Pictured is Tiffany Donaldson, invasive species management assistant, who — along with other staff and many volunteers — worked this summer to clear Audubon’s waterways.

Learn About Water Chestnut Removal During First Friday Event

Ruth Lundin, Audubon Community Nature Center, will give a report this Friday as part of Audubon’s First Friday Lunch Bunch on the removal of the European water chestnut from the center’s waterways. Efforts to remove the plant began in the fall 2012. Lundin will teach a bit about the ...

Wetlands provide unique opportunities for recreation, education, scientific research and personal encounters with the natural world, and for many, their beauty and intrinsic value are beyond human measure. 
Photo by Becky Nystrom

The Wonder Of Wetlands

Wetlands are among the most complex, biodiverse and valuable ecosystems of the natural world, and include marshes, wet meadows, wooded swamps, wetland forests and bogs, as well as natural floodplains along rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. While wetlands may be described as areas where land and ...

Spiderweb by Sarah Hatfield.

Eclipse Shadows

For a few hours, the social media chaos died down, people were not possessed by their screens, and the pull of the outdoors was stronger than the air conditioned office. The photos that were posted to social media were of children wearing goofy glasses, the sun with a bite out of it, or ...

Trails To Rails

It’s impossible to prove a negative, but not finding something does not prove it is absent. For example, at least one species of rail (an elusive group of marsh birds that are notoriously difficult to find) can probably be found in large cattail marshes. But good luck finding one. Rails, ...

This image shows the remains of an enormous explosion that tore a massive star apart some 300 years ago. The debris was ejected into space at millions of miles per hour, and this is the way it appears today. All types of radiation, at different energy levels, is still streaming outward from the remnant.
                               Courtesy NASA, CXC, SAO

September Skies

“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.” — Neil deGrasse Tyson The little planet Mercury ...

Substantial nutrient reduction must occur to prevent beach closures due to algal blooms. 
Photo courtesy of NYSFOLA

Best Management Practices Work

Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) and green filamentous algae (the troublesome green “cotton candy” that clings on rocks, docks and plants at many locations in Chautauqua Lake) are strong indications of pollution from excessive loading of the nutrients phosphorus and nitrogen to the lake. ...

Caterpillars, such as the Spicebush Swallowtail, come in all shapes and sizes. Many only eat one or a few types of plants and will starve rather than eat something else. 
Photo by Jeff Tome

Going Native

The sky swings gently above me as I rest in the hammock my kids bought me on a long ago Father’s Day. The tree that is shading me swings back and forth as well, coming in and out of focus with the swaying of the hammock. This is one of the best places to spend time on these hot days, in a ...

Jays From East To West

My daughter Nora and her husband recently returned from a trip to Colorado. Within a day, she emailed me a photo of a blue bird she wanted to identify. “It reminds me of a blue jay, but it doesn’t have a crest. Can you tell me what it is?” she asked. Before I saw the photo, I ...