What's Your Nature?

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North Country Voices

North Country Voices: Elyssa Twedt

Elyssa Twedt is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department where she teaches Introduction to Psychology, Research Methods, Sensation and Perception, and a seminar on Cognitive Science. She has spent the majority of her life in the south including Florida, Tennessee, and most recently, Virginia, so moving to the North Country in 2015 was a big change. Elyssa gave us some insight on her research as well as some benefits of being outdoors. 


What does your research entail?

Elyssa Twedt

North Country Voices: Canton Farmer's Market

The Canton Village Green is home to the Canton Farmer’s Market from May – October each year. I interviewed a few of the vendors to see how they got started and to learn how the season went. After all, who better to learn from when it comes to the state of our environment?

The Canton Farmers’ Market in Autumn (Source: Facebook)

North Country Voices: Mark Berninghausen

Mark Berninghausen owns Squeak Creek Apiaries in Brasher Falls, where he raises bees for their pollination services and produces honey. We had the opportunity to talk to him about bee keeping in the North Country.


Nature Up North: How would you describe your perfect day in the North Country?

Photo: Christopher Lenney, Watertown Times

North Country Voices: Bill (Dick) Hollis

Bill (Dick) Hollis has been a duck decoy carver in the Ogdensburg area for over 50 years. Hollis first learned to carve from his father, and has now won numerous awards for his work.  He estimates he has made 1500-2000 decoys throughout his life. Despite technological innovations, Dick is one of few decoy carvers in the North Country that continues to carve with hand tools. We caught up with Dick to learn more about his craft. 

Bill (Dick) Hollis in his decoy workshop
Bill (Dick) Hollis' tools
Bill (Dick) Hollis' carvings
Bill (Dick) Hollis' carvings

North Country Voices: Andy Hurlbut

Owned and operated by Andy and Elisha Hurlbut, Hurlbut’s Maple has been producing local Maple products since 1995. Andy Hurlbut first started tapping trees in high school, working and learning from his father and grandfather. Alongside their maple sugaring operation, the Hurlbuts also grow several acres of corn, beans, and hay and raise grass-fed beef.

Maple producer Andy Hurlbut at his maple farm.
Hurlbut's Maple sells syrup across New York State and beyond.
Finished syrup comes in many colors.
The evaporator at Hurlbut's Maple.

North Country Voices: Joel Howie

Joel Howie is the owner of Canton Apples, a U-Pick apple orchard located on the corner of Barnes Road and County Road 25. He is originally from Rochester, NY, but moved to Canton in 2002 with his wife, Becky. Joel loves working outside all day long alongside his workers and friends and family who come to help out, and it shows in the quality of his product and the atmosphere on the orchard from the moment you drive up off of County Road 25. We met up with him to learn about being an orchardist in the North Country.


North Country Voices: Anna Knapp-Peck

Anna Knapp-Peck lives in DeKalb with her husband and two children. Originally from Vermont, she settled in the North Country after moving from Washington County with her family in 2007. They now reside on 90 acres of land that they call Zion Farm, surrounded by ducks, turkeys, dogs, cats, goats, chickens, horses, and Anna’s favorite – oxen. Her animals have been on America's Got Talent, in Capital One commercials, and in award winning movies.  Nature Up North intern, Lizz Muller, visited Zion Farm one morning and caught up with Anna while she did her chores.

North Country Voices: John Ashley


John Ashley is a SCUBA instructor and the owner of Bluefin Diving, a SCUBA diving shop in Ogdensburg. A North Country native, he has been diving  in the St. Lawrence River for over 20 years, including winter dives beneath the ice. We caught up with him to learn more about the life of a diver and scuba instructor in our northern climate.  


Nature Up North:  How did you get into SCUBA diving?