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 your 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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Fungal Homes: Much Room, No Mushrooms

Fungi Forest. Encounter: Rhiannon Clements

Fungal Homes: Much Room, No Mushrooms

For some reason, mushrooms have spawned more than their fair share of puns. As a kid I learned that they’re all fun-guys, and that the only rooms you can’t enter in a house are mushrooms. The last one might not work these days, as entire buildings are now being made of fungus.  

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An Army of Legs

American giant millipede at Stone Valley. Encounter: Lyndsay McCabe

An Army of Legs

Whether one has owned a pet cat, dog, chinchilla or what-have-you, or merely admired the grace and beauty of a horse or deer, most of us develop positive links with at least one four-legged animal. But for everyone except maybe scientists, warm and fuzzy feelings evaporate when you move up to critters with a thousand or more legs.  

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The Blazing Yule Log

The Blazing Yule Log

The tradition of burning a Yule log has largely fizzled out in most parts of the world. While holiday cards often feature cute, picturesque birch rounds in the hearth, old-time Yule logs in 6th and 7th century Europe were monster tree trunks that were meant to burn all day, and in certain cultures for twelve continuous days, without being entirely used up.

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Nature Up North 2022 Calendars For Sale

Nature Up North 2022 Calendars For Sale

Nature Up North calendars are on sale at local businesses through early 2022! These printed calendars feature our favorite photos shared by community members as Encounters on natureupnorth.org in the past year. Calendars also include Nature Notes highlighting seasonal wildlife behavior local to the North Country region.

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Thanksgiving History and Indigenous Culture in the North Country

Thanksgiving History and Indigenous Culture in the North Country

It’s Thanksgiving week! Tis’ the season of fall leaves crunching as we step on them, the smell of warm apple cider on the stovetop and fresh baked pumpkin and apple pies using grandma's secret recipes. An array of food on the dining table every fourth Thursday in November is also a time to be thankful for everyone in your life, surrounded by family and friends. Each house has their own traditions, from watching the Macy's Day Parade to playing football outdoors. 

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Crows: Bad News or World’s Best Puzzle Solver?

Crow Flying Over Water

Crows: Bad News or World’s Best Puzzle Solver?

We’ve all heard their croaking song, seen their black bodies circling, and heard the folklore and myths. It’s no wonder why people assume crows are bad news--a group of them is even called a murder. Sounds scary, right? These birds are often labelled as pests and nuisances, and it’s a commonly held belief that they’re detrimental to gardens and linked to disease. But what people aren’t usually taught is that when they hear a crow’s caws, they’re listening to one of the smartest animals in the world.

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Fall Foliage Fun!

Fall Foliage Fun!

         If you have been enjoying all the North Country outdoors have to offer the last few weeks, you have probably noticed trees bursting out in their beautiful red, yellow, and orange fall colors. The change in the color of leaves is caused by the breakdown of chlorophyll, the pigment responsible for photosynthesis, as the tree gets ready for winter. As the green chlorophyll leaves the leaf it allows the other colors in the leaf to shine! But just as soon as leaves turn vibrant colors they fall to the ground, dry up and turn brown.

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Hiking Tips and Tricks

Sunset Hike at Coney Mountain (Encounter: Kelsey Mattison)

Hiking Tips and Tricks

Hello fellow adventurers! The North Country and the Adirondack region is full of hiking opportunities and mountainous beauty. You're certain to find beautiful and unique views on shorter hikes such as Mount Arab or Azure, mid-level mountains like Ampersand and Scarface, and all the way up to the most difficult, like Iroquois or Allen. Before jumping right into these hikes, it is important to note that there are some steps hikers at any skill level should take in order to be best prepared for their adventures.

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The Invisible Songbird Serial Killer

The Invisible Songbird Serial Killer

We have officially reached the season many of us living in the North Country spend all year looking forward to: fall! This is the time of year that we all start to watch a variety of red, orange, and yellow leaves fly from tree branches and chevron after chevron of Canada geese flap their way south. The geese, honking from up above, call attention to themselves, piquing our interest and forcing our eyes upward. But have you ever noticed any smaller songbirds doing the same, fleeing the cold North Country autumn and seeking refuge for the winter?

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