What's Your Nature?

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Just Our Nature - news, updates and insights

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…

A Brief History of Azure

A Nature Up North Intern enjoys the view looking out from the peak of Azure Mountain.
By Patrick Chase on
Blog: On the Trail
In the Northern edge of the Adirondack park, where the towering heights of the High Peaks give way to smaller mountains and rolling hills, sits one such feature. 2,518 feet tall and one mile to the top, it presents an easy hike that anyone can do. And indeed, Azure Mountain is many people's first hike given its proximity to universities in Canton and Potsdam. Typically, in the first few weeks…
Azure's fire tower sits covered in snow in front of a cloudy sky.

Groundhog Day, Again?

A groundhog sits on a rock with grass in the background.
By Paul J. Hetzler on
Blog: Just Our Nature
Again? I watched the 1993 film Groundhog Day featuring Bill Murray at least a dozen times. Or maybe it just felt that way. Just as February 2 was on a nonstop loop in the film, this year’s iteration of Groundhog Day is likely to feel roughly the same as all the previous ones. I think it’s a good metaphor for this time of year, as we stumble out each morning in the semi-dark to defrost the car,…
A groundhog peeks out of its den in the shadow of a tree.

Food Webs and Tapestries - Connecting the Dots

A ruby throated hummingbird sipping nectar from a cherry queen zinnia.
By Paul J. Hetzler on
Blog: Just Our Nature
Back in primary school in the ‘70s, we learned about nature’s “food chain.” In this linear model, which I assume was devised by surveyors who normally lay out rail lines and utility corridors, a tiny creature, let’s say a minnow, gets eaten by a bigger fish, and so on until the biggest fish of all eventually dies and its rotting carcass is maybe nibbled on by vengeful small fish. After a while,…
A bee is busy pollinating a yellow flower.

Time For Torpor!

A black bear sits on a grassy hillside.
By Liz Anderson on
Blog: Just Our Nature
It’s well known that bears go into hibernation for the winter, eating lots of food during the fall, sleeping in their dens through the winter, then reemerging hungry in the spring. However, the process is actually not that simple. Bears don’t even actually hibernate! Instead, they enter a state called torpor.  Torpor is a general term for a state of inactivity during which animals enter a deeper…
A woodchuck sits in an open field.

Give the Gift of Being Green this Holiday Season

Two birds meet at a birdfeeder.
By McKenna Allardi on
Blog: Just Our Nature
The holiday season is a time to give thanks, rejoice with the company of family, and share gifts with friends. While we create memories to last a lifetime with loved ones, we also create waste that can last just as long in landfills. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), American households increase the total waste they produce in a year from 4 million tons to 5 million…
A squirrel sits at a feeder.

Super Modeling

Looking out over the Oswegatchie
By Paul J. Hetzler on
Blog: Just Our Nature
Weather modeling has become quite a big deal in recent decades, with meteorologists falling all over themselves to report what the latest models say. It sounds like a fun job, and I’m trying to find out how to apply to become a weather modeler. If it involves appearing in a swimsuit, though, forget it. I love it when a radio announcer chirps “clear and sunny” during a storm because they read the…
A wet stroll along the Kip Trail

Nature Up North 2024 Calendars for Sale!

A photo of Whiteface Mountain with Nature Up North's Logo in the upper left corner and "2024" in the bottom right corner.
By The Nature Up North Team on
Blog: Just Our Nature
Proceeds from calendar sales benefit Nature Up North's community outreach initiatives. Each year, Nature Up North reaches hundreds of local residents through guided hikes, paddles, workshops, and K-12 programs. Thanks for your support!                   We hope you’ll support our programs and locally-owned businesses by buying a Nature Up North calendar this year. Proceeds from calendar sales…

The Benefits of Place Based Learning in Environmental Education and Outdoor Education

Students outside looking in container of water at aquatic life
By Roisin Creedon-Carey on
Blog: In the Schools
Nestled in the corner of St. Lawrence county, St. Lawrence University students participating in the Adirondack Semester can be found waking up in their yurts to misty mornings in a forest of snow-dusted eastern hemlocks. Every Fall, a handful of college students live in Childwold, New York to better understand the ecology and land of the North Country. My sophomore year St. Lawrence, I was a…
Teachers discussing water sampling lesson by river

Ask A Fairy: Thimble and Blossom Are Back! 

These fairies built their house in Canton!
By Thimble & Blossom on
Blog: Ask a Fairy
Besides the fall foliage and fresh apple picking available in the fall season, there’s one other thing we all look forward to - the return of the fairies! Each fall Thimble and Blossom migrate through the North Country on their way south for the winter. During their travels they spend a lot of time chatting with chipmunks, lounging with ladybugs, playing with plants. Through all their woodland…
Check out this fairy home in Stone Valley! This colorful house is located at Hart's Falls