The outside story: Wetlands filter, enrich the landscape

One spring, following heavy rain, I visited the Saint Michael’s College Natural Area hoping to capture exciting photographs of the rushing Winooski River. Rather than raging floodwaters, however, I found the river’s floodplain was efficiently — and slowly — accommodating the onslaught of rainwater. News reports of floods typically show catastrophic events, with rivers carrying away possessions and leaving tragedy in their wakes. I have witnessed floods moving soil, debris, tree limbs, and even whole trees. … (read more)

The outside story: Brainwashed by worms

Some of my favorite children’s books describe life cycles as heroic tales of persistence and redemption. Stories such as “The Ugly Duckling,” “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “A Seed is Sleeping,” have brought the miracles of growth and maturation to lif … (read more)

The Outside Story: Springtails are in a class of their own

As we leaned over the Colchester Bog boardwalk, a student asked, “What’s that black stuff on the water?” I suggested gently poking it with a twig. This elicited the expected response: as though ejected from James Bond’s Aston Martin, tiny black flecks sca … (read more)

The Outside Story: Mosquitos

A good friend was in touch; her son was enduring allergic reactions to mosquitos and, like any good parent, she sought solutions. I told her that the most practical, non-toxic way to deal with the problem was to consider a mosquito’s lifecycle, and interr … (read more)