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

Happy Biology

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, Ehpien

Happy Biology

Happiness may be elusive, but it sure has spawned a lot of aphorisms. Folk-wisdom indicates one can be happy as a pig in poop—or in mud, which makes me wonder if those two hogs are equally content, and if they had other options. It also suggests you can be pleased as a pig in a peach orchard, which would make sense unless harvest season was over. Additionally, one might feel happy as a pup with two tails, a monkey with a peanut machine, or a clam at high tide.

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Run, Dorothy—Emerald City is Falling

An emerald ash borer beetle on a leaf. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, USDA

Run, Dorothy—Emerald City is Falling

Watertown is poised to become an Emerald City, but that’s not good news. Jefferson and Lewis will soon be Emerald Counties, and St. Lawrence County began the process of change two years ago. Unfortunately, this kind of transformation does not involve happy endings.

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Plant a Tree, or Rent It?

Here's an example of three maple trees of similar ages, yet very different health statuses.

Plant a Tree, or Rent It?

Planting a tree isn’t rocket science, which is good thing. If it were that complex, I’d wager we’d have a lot fewer trees lining our streets. It may not take a scientist to plant a tree correctly, but a lot of money is spent each year to buy and plant trees which may as well be leased, because they will only live a fraction of their expected lifespan.

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The First Shall Not Last

The First Shall Not Last

Seems like competitiveness may be part of human DNA, but it does not always pay to be first.

No prize awaits the fastest car that passes a radar patrol, or the first person to come down with the flu at the office. And for trees, the first ones to turn color in autumn are not envied by their peers. If trees experience envy, which no one knows. The first trees to show orange and red and drop their leaves are telling us to get quotes from a tree-removal company, because they are not going to last.

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Finding Hope for Ash Tree Survival

Finding Hope for Ash Tree Survival

You look out your window on a mid-summer day: the sun filters through the full, bright green leaves on the big ash tree in your yard, making patterns that dance across your floor. You hear birds sing too; a pair of robins is nesting again in one of the upper branches. It’s a pretty picture, until you learn that emerald ash borer larvae (Agrilus planipennis) are slowly destroying this tree, eating away the layer just under the bark. Fast forward a few years, and the tree will be at risk of falling on your home or electric wires, and no birds will be nesting in its branches.

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