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 your organization's events!

Just Our Nature - news, updates and insights


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

An Introduction to Earth’s History as told by the North Country Landscape

By Maya Williams on August 3, 2017
Have you ever thought about what the earth was like millions of years ago? It’s hard to imagine the world before we were born, let alone before the human species existed. But if the history of our planet was represented by a single 24 hour day, the presence of modern humans would only be equivalent to less than 4 seconds. What do you think Earth will look like in another million years? The more…
Layers of shale and limestone at Whitaker Falls. Photo: Helen Eifert Extent of Laurentide Ice Sheet over North America. Photo: NPS Natural Resources, Creative Commons Satellite image of Lake Massawepie showing the esker deposit. Map data: Google Hiking along the slope of the esker at Lake Massawepie. Photo: Molly McMasters
Blog category: Just Our Nature

Nature Up North made me Nuts About Nature!

By Nancy LaFaver on August 2, 2017
I attended the Nature Up North Summer Workshop to find new ways to incorporate nature and to enhance my Nuts About Nature after school program. After two days of information overload and field experience, I was able to map out an entire school year of nature programs and activities!  It was wonderful to not only hear about what Nature Up North is doing but to feel like it could be integrated into…
Teachers learn to monitor water quality
Blog category: In the Schools