What's Your Nature?

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Just Our Nature - news, updates and insights

Measuring Science

By Paul J. Hetzler on February 7, 2018
The good news is that Imperial Forces are losing the battle for planetary dominance. The bad news is that we still play for their team. The British Imperial System of measurement, born in 1824 to help streamline a host of odd units inherited from various cultures, was at the time an improvement. But in 1965, the UK adopted the decimal-based metric system, despite the fact it was invented by the…
Measuring a tree for Nature Up North's maple monitoring project.
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Not in Tents, Just Intense

By Paul J. Hetzler on January 25, 2018
Winter is not a season when many people think about tents, except maybe to be glad they do not live in one. I do have some friends who love winter camping, and the fact they have never extended an invitation is evidence of how much they value our friendship. Oddly enough, winter is a crucial time to look for signs of forest-tent caterpillars (FTC). In spite of their name, FTC do not weave a…
Forest tent caterpillars on a tree in Canton during the 2017 outbreak. Photo: Erika Barthelmess.
Blog category: Just Our Nature


By Paul J. Hetzler on January 12, 2018
Encouraging people to make friends with wild plants can be a challenge. Sometimes there are genuine concerns. Nettles, as an example, make an early-spring cooked green par excellence, even though its fresh leaves and stems have stinging hairs that can cause an uncomfortable, if temporary, rash if care is not taken when harvesting it. Other times, it is a matter of perception. Critical to the…
Jewelweed in flower, many green vine-y leaves with small yellow flowers.
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Weather or Not

By Paul J. Hetzler on January 3, 2018
Weather modeling has become quite a big deal in recent years, with meteorologists falling all over themselves to report what the latest models say. It sounds like a fun job, and I am trying to find out how to apply for a position. No doubt I could model categories like “large stationary front” or “high pressure system” pretty well. If it involves appearing in a swimsuit, though, forget it. I love…
First snow of the season on Bear Mountain in Cranberry Lake. Photo: Bill Hill.
Blog category: Just Our Nature

2018 Nature Up North Calendars

By Emlyn Crocker on December 1, 2017
We are pleased to announce that 2018 Nature Up North calendars are on sale now through January!  The printed calendar features some of our favorite photos shared by community members as Encounters on natureupnorth.org in the past year.  They also feature Nature Notes highlighting seasonal wildlife behavior to look for each month.   Proceeds from our calendar sales benefit Nature Up North's…
Calendar cover photo, featuring orange fungi on a mossy background. Back cover of calendar, with thumbnail photos of all 12 months and Nature Up North sponsor credits.
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Caterpillar Soup

By Paul J. Hetzler on November 22, 2017
When it comes to personal growth, the Wicked Witch of the West had the right idea. Quite possibly she got it from monarch butterflies, which must exist in Oz, since they are found worldwide except for polar regions. Many times, a rearrangement of the self-image we have come to know is needed to achieve our fullest potential. In my experience this is always hard, and seldom is it voluntary. We…
Monarch butterfly
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Trees and Streams: Citizen Science in the Schools

By Emlyn Crocker on October 16, 2017
A student shouts— “This one! This one’s ours!” and runs back for a measuring tape. She and her partner have found their assigned maple tree on the school lawn, and are about to record seasonal observations for the first of many weeks this fall. The student, a 7th grader at Norwood-Norfolk Middle School, is participating in Monitor My Maple - one of several citizen science initiatives at Nature Up…
7th graders at Norwood-Norfolk Central School walk out of the woods after a lesson on nature observation with Nature Up North this September
Blog category: In the Schools

Seeing Red

By Paul J. Hetzler on October 2, 2017
We need to figure out a way to have Amazon deliver the weather in the future. I don’t believe Mother Nature intended to give us a record-setting wet summer; I just think all the good weather probably got misplaced on a loading dock in Topeka, or something like that. The spate of mild sunny weather we’ve been having over the past couple of weeks, while very enjoyable, was clearly meant to be…
Lampson Falls in early October
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Making Fire by Hand

By Emlyn Crocker on September 27, 2017
Ever made fire by hand? Students in the Intro the Environment and Society class at Colton-Pierrepont High School met with Dr. Timothy Messner, Archaeology professor at SUNY Potsdam, this September to learn how to make fire by hand using just a simple tool and the energy in their hands and breath. Below, students Summer Scovil and Ariel Garvin provide an insight into the experience: Friday the…
Colton-Pierrepont Intro to Environment and Society students met with Dr. Timothy Messner from SUNY Potsdam to learn about fire-making.
Blog category: In the Schools

Northern Oysters

By Paul J. Hetzler on September 18, 2017
Carnivorous oysters are lurking about in the North Country, and residents who venture into the woods are advised to carry butter and a skillet at all times. Oyster mushrooms, Pleurotus ostreatus, native wood-decaying fungi often found on dead and dying hardwoods, are delectable when sautéed in butter. Maybe hikers should carry a few cloves of garlic and a press as well. It’s good to be prepared.…
Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, Marshal Hedin
Blog category: Just Our Nature