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 you organization's events!

Just Our Nature - news, updates and insights

North Country Voices: Bill (Dick) Hollis

By Abrianna Schlickenmayer on December 6, 2018
Ogdensburg native Bill (Dick) Hollis has been a duck decoy carver 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…
Bill (Dick) Hollis in his decoy workshop Bill (Dick) Hollis' tools Bill (Dick) Hollis' carvings Bill (Dick) Hollis' carvings
Blog category: North Country Voices

Wild Eats: Tea Time

By Isabella de Buy Wenniger on November 29, 2018
Have you ever wandered through the woods, looked at all the plants surrounding you, and wondered, “are any of these edible?” Good news: there are many species of edible plants found in the wild all around us! With a little knowledge of how to identify and prepare wild edibles, local forests become a bountiful place to explore. In the late fall and winter, after deciduous trees and shrubs have…
Homemade white pine tea
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Consider a Gift to Nature Up North

By Erika Barthelmess on November 27, 2018
Dear friends and neighbors, It's that time of year again; the snow is flying, the geese have (mostly) left.  Must be time to consider making a contribution to support Nature Up North!  We'd be delighted and appreciative if you made a donation to help environmental education here in the North Country.  Specifically, your gift will help to support activities such as: Free or low-cost environmental…
Huckleberry Lake in late autumn. Photo by Bill Hill.
Blog category: Just Our Nature

2019 Nature Up North Calendars

By Emlyn Crocker on November 15, 2018
We are pleased to announce that 2019 Nature Up North calendars are on sale through early 2019!  These printed calendars features some of our favorite photos shared by community members as Encounters on natureupnorth.org in the past year. Plus, we include Nature Notes highlighting seasonal wildlife behavior local to the North Country to look for each month.   Proceeds from our calendar sales…
Cover Photo: Mt. Arab at Sunrise by Maya Williams 2019 Calendar backcover
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Happy Biology

By Paul J. Hetzler on November 12, 2018
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…
Gray Squirrel. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, Ehpien
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Run, Dorothy—Emerald City is Falling

By Paul J. Hetzler on November 6, 2018
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. When the emerald ash borer (EAB) kills an ash, something happens never before seen—the tree becomes brittle and hazardous very…
emerald ash borer
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Ask A Fairy: Fall 2018 Answers

By Thimble & Blossom on November 2, 2018
  Thanks for visiting the fairies this fall and leaving your notes inside! You had some really great questions, and Thimble and Blossom had so much fun answering them. They are already down in the tropics where they'll be spending the winter, but are excited to come back next spring! Keep reading below to find your question among the others, and let us know if you have any questions. Thanks…
fairy house
Blog category: Ask a Fairy

Ask a Fairy: Our Fairy Friends are Back!

By Thimble & Blossom on October 11, 2018
We eagerly await the fall season, because with it comes apples season, vibrant fall colors, and of course - visiting fairies! Our woodland fairy friends will be visiting the North Country on their migration south for the winter from October 12th - 28th. You're invited to find their homes and leave notes with your nature questions inside. Please also leave your first name and age, so the fairies…
Pumpkin fairy house
Blog category: Ask a Fairy

Plant a Tree, or Rent It?

By Paul J. Hetzler on October 8, 2018
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. When trees decline and die after 15, 20, or…
Maple trees at St. Lawrence University
Blog category: Just Our Nature

The First Shall Not Last

By Paul J. Hetzler on September 12, 2018
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…
A maple tree near a school with a bright orange top and green leaves below.
Blog category: Just Our Nature