What's Your Nature?

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Just Our Nature Posts

8th Annual Earth Day 7k Recap!

Runners gather at the start of the 8th Earth Day 7k.
By Dan French on
Blog: Just Our Nature
The flags have been picked up, the apples have been eaten, and photos have finally been rounded up, but we're still thrilled with the turnout and fun had at this year's 8th Annual Earth Day 7k! With almost 70 registrants and over $1500 raised, the North Country community demonstrated what generosity, grit, and passion look like this past Sunday, April 21st, 2024. With the course starting on the…
Runners begin the 7k Runners approach on the Avenue of Elms. Runners return to the Wachtmeister Field Station NUN Manager Dan and Sponsor Louise pose for a photo.

Black and Grey: The current and lost predators of the North Country

A black bear crosses an Adirondack stream.
By Patrick Chase on
Blog: Just Our Nature
One of the defining characteristics of the North Country is its connection to the natural world. If it weren't, Nature Up North wouldn't exist, and that is a timeline truly too dark to imagine. The animals that inhabit the North Country play a huge role in defining the region's character. From the iconic white-tail deer, whose presence has earned them a place on the St. Lawrence County seal, to…
A grey wolf stands amidst a tree stand.

From Tree to Topping: The Journey of Maple Syrup to Your Pancakes

By Nela Chestojanova on
Blog: Just Our Nature
Picture yourself wandering through a forest in early spring, the air crisp with the promise of warmer days ahead. Amidst the trees, something magical is happening – the sap is flowing, marking the beginning of the sweet journey from tree to topping. Join me to uncover the delightful process of making maple syrup, from forest to breakfast table. Upon arriving in the North Country in August last…

Why Springs Smells So Good

Three examples of springtails
By Paul J. Hetzler on
Blog: Just Our Nature
As the soil warms up in April and May and green plants spring forth once again, a delicate aroma hangs in the air, apart from any floral scent wafting on the breeze. It’s earthy and fresh, and I find it almost intoxicating. It turns out that spring’s special perfume has some fun and quirky root causes. Spring’s perfume has long intrigued humans, to the point that sixty years ago, Australian…

Eye Candy, Cough Syrup, and Early Flowers

A single yellow coltsfoot flower
By Paul J. Hetzler on
Blog: Just Our Nature
After so many months of winter whiteness, it’s a relief to watch the snow recede at last. We’re always grateful for the spring melt, even though the loss of snow cover gives way to a mostly brown world:  brown grass, sand everywhere along the roads, and brown needles under the pines. Not to mention the brown leaves we missed last fall, and maybe the dog poop that had built up, mercifully hidden…
A group of coltsfoot flowers

Beneficial Beavers

Profile for Bernard the beaver
By Liz Anderson on
Blog: Just Our Nature
Did you know that the beaver is New York’s official state mammal? It’s a warranted distinction due to their critical importance in the ecosystem. Beavers are a keystone species, meaning that their presence is essential for biodiversity and a sustained, healthy ecosystem. Beavers accomplish this promotion of biodiversity by altering the habitat of an area by way of building dams and changing water…
A pointy Birch Tree stump left behind from a beaver. An image of a wetland.

Our 6th Annual Cardboard Sled Race Recap!

Camryn Reynolds stands next to their USS_Cam battleship sled.
By Dan French on
Blog: Just Our Nature
The 6th Annual Cardboard Sled Race, planned originally for Saturday, February 10th, then moved to Saturday, Feb 24th due to weather, fell victim this year to the warm weather of El Niña. What was otherwise a delightfully warm and sunny week leading up to Saturday, melted much of the snow that had dropped the weekend prior. That, coupled with a wind chill in the negatives on Saturday morning,…
Dana Webber sits in her racecar sled. A dog sled with big floppy ears built by Leo and Cullen. Brooklyn Pitcher with her corgi sled. NUN intern Liz sits inside of the SLU Sustainability Farm's green tractor sled.

Got Biogas?

A diagram of a landfill designed for the collection of methane gas.
By Paul J. Hetzler on
Blog: Just Our Nature
Even if its precise definition isn’t at the tip of your tongue, most everyone gets the drift of what’s meant by the term ‘biogas.’ There is biology involved, and the result is gas. One example might be the funk in the air on the bus carrying the sauerkraut-eating team home after a weekend competition. Another type of biogas is cow belches, and the rotten-egg stink-bubbles that swarm to the…
Small-scale methane digester at a community garden in the UK.

My Start, My Growth, and My Return to the North Country

Nature Up North Project Manager Dan French stands under the Yellowstone National Park Roosevelt Arch.
By Dan French on
Blog: Just Our Nature
As the new Project Manager for Nature Up North, I’m excited by the many possibilities in front of me. In my first few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to visit students in Norwood as they learn about the difference between deciduous and coniferous trees. I’ve worked with the encounters on our website as we built our 2024 calendar (for sale now!). I’ve met our many St. Lawrence University interns…
Dan sits at the peak of Whiteface Mountain with two friends in whiteout conditions.

Think Snow – Gardens and Forests Need It

Snow covers the boardwalk on the Kip Trail.
By Paul J. Hetzler on
Blog: Just Our Nature
In her poem “It Sifts from Leaden Sieves,” Emily Dickinson lauds the sublime beauty of snow – gossamer flakes that garnish a forest, wispy grains that infiltrate nooks and crannies, and wind-sculpted rings of snow around fence posts. Given that the poet lived in a time before cars and stayed in her bedroom for 20 years, she never had to shovel snow, trudge through it, or drive in it. One is less…