The Outside Story: Blanding’s turtle makes its annual journey

As spring warms the water, a turtle, covered by leaves and mud at the bottom of a wetland where she hibernated for the winter, awakens.

The Outside Story: Crows in Winter

During winter, I catch glimpses of crows as they fly swiftly over our valley, cawing, or gather in small groups to feed on roadkill along the highway.

The Outside Story: Balsam Fir — A Favorite Christmas Tree

Every year my husband and I cut a Christmas tree on family land. We look for a young balsam fir growing in the power line right-of-way or in a forest clearing. Fir is our favorite type of Christmas tree because of its delightful, pungent fragrance. While … (read more)

The outside story: The secret lives of salamanders

On a warm, rainy April night a few years ago, I drove up our muddy, rutted dirt road through the mist, steering around the wood frogs hopping across the road. As I approached the vernal pool, there were more frogs in the road, so I parked to avoid hitting … (read more)

The Outside Story: The mighty oaks of the northeast

Rat-a-tat-tat. Showers of acorns hit the ground and tapped our heads as my husband and I hiked the Appalachian Trail. Thousands of acorns strewn across the path atop multi-colored leaves made for treacherous passage. We were hiking a portion of the trail … (read more)

The Outside Story: Exploring a swamp

There was a sucking sound as my rubber boot sank into the deep black muck. Naturalist Jon Binhammer and I were standing in the middle of a hardwood swamp in central Vermont.  Above us, dainty red flowers clung to the still-bare branches of red maple trees … (read more)

The Outside Story: A closer look at chickadees

Black-capped chickadees are one of the most frequent visitors to our bird feeders in winter, but do we really know them? This common bird exhibits some remarkable behaviors and winter survival strategies. Undoubtedly you’ve heard the familiar “chicka-dee- … (read more)