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April 21, 2015
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River Talk

Long-eared bats get protection

Among the species of bat in our region is the Northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis). Also known as the Northern Myotis, this and other species of bats have been affected by white nose syndrome (WNS). WNS is a fungus that affects bats while they are in their hibernacula over the winter; in affected hibernacula, bat mortality rates of 90% or more have been observed.  Read more

Pennsylvania pride

At this time of year, the dingy snowbanks are slowly absorbed into the thawing earth, revealing the dregs of accumulated garbage along rural roadways in the Upper Delaware River region. The Pennsylvania road where I live is littered with unlovely, castoff crap like plastic water bottles, aluminum beer cans and strangely—empty cat-food cans.  Read more

Eagles vs. the elements

The vernal equinox has arrived in the region, along with some subtle hints that winter is on its way out; temperatures in the 50s have occurred, but are still getting into the teens at night. March can bring all kinds of weather, mild one day and a blizzard the next.  Read more

Deer lore and more

Information is being sought on several matters concerning white-tailed deer in the Upper Delaware River region. In the first, researchers with the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) and Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences are asking the public how they think deer respond to changes in weather and moonlight. To explore the “truth in deer truisms,” they will then compare survey responses with data from movements of radio-collared deer.  Read more

The coming of spring

Near the end of February, I had a call from Don Hamilton, resource specialist for the National Park Service (NPS) out of Milanvile, PA. It seems that during a sunny day when the temperatures approached the 30s, he was observing a stonefly hatch from Calkins Creek, which runs along the edge of the NPS property in Milanville. Not only were there stoneflies, but there were also some eastern bluebirds observed making a meal of these emerging stoneflies.  Read more

Spring into spring

With winter’s waning comes the promise of spring. While the calendar heralds its arrival on March 20, however, the Upper Delaware River region will still seem very winter-like for weeks to come. Meanwhile, here are a few suggestions to help reduce our impatience with this seemingly endless winter season with its ample supply of snow and ice and frigid temperatures.  Read more

Cold and ice on the river

March is here, and with it some milder weather can be anticipated. Perhaps not too mild, but at least not the subzero temperatures that were experienced in the region during the latter part of February. During the last week of February, I experienced -10 F. for a low in Shohola, and Don Hamilton, resource specialist for the National Park Service (NPS), reported a low of -20 F in Milanville, PA for the same time period.  Read more

Learning at Lacawac

As a fitting follow-up to my last column about the importance of a child’s early relationship with nature, some exciting opportunities have been announced at Lacawac Sanctuary, a nature preserve, ecological field research station and public environmental education facility located in Lake Ariel, PA.  Read more

Water off a duck’s back

Along the river this time of year one can find a myriad of waterfowl; anywhere that has ice-free, flat water, there are likely to be ducks, geese, or gulls trying to find a meal. Having access to the water is the key. Open water enables them to feed on plants or fish, depending on the species. Herbivores, such as Canada geese, can feed on grass in fields and golf courses, but the snow cover of winter usually shuts off that food source. The geese must then forage shallow river bottom for aquatic plant growth.  Read more

The value of nature play

A lifelong love of the natural world, and a willingness to act on its behalf, is believed to originate in childhood, as youngsters explore the wild world around them through the simple activity of play. The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association (PALTA) recently published a 40-page booklet that explores this important relationship and offers an array of actions targeted to restoring nature play to children’s lives.  Read more

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