Environment & Outdoors

©Sparky Stensaas. Used with permission.

Two years ago at this time, the Northland was bracing for a foot of snow.  29 years ago, it was -12 in Duluth.

We're looking at temps in the 40s and 50s this weekend; perfect time to scout out some Gray Jays building nests or watching Red Crossbills enjoying this year's bumper crop of pine cones.

From adding fresh produce grown at UMD to today's rollout of compostable cups and straws, the U's Dining Services and Office of Sustainability are making big strides with a little tiny footprint.

The United Nation's World Water Day is coming up on March 22, 2018, a day to raise awareness of the finite nature of fresh water on earth.  MN Sea Grant suggests some ways you might celebrate this important day, this year with the theme, "Nature of Water." Listen for about how water and water shortages are affecting people worldwide and for ways you can raise your voice and a glass (of water) to celebrate World Water Day in your corner of the world.

  Minnesota Sea Grant

Lisa Johnson

Jessica Looman is feeling pretty good about the state of solar energy in Minnesota.

What's got the state commerce commissioner "walking on sunshine"?

Minnesota's solar capacity between 2015 and 2016 grew almost three times - to put that in perspective, the 476 megawatts added in 2017 is enough electricity to power 53,000 more homes.

Add to that declining prices, increased consumer demand and 57,000 clean energy jobs in the state, Minnesotans may be inclined to quote Timbuk 3 from back in the day: "The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades".

Krishna Kumar/Flickr

Having Olympians in the studio this morning got us thinking: what's the deal with competitive gardening?

Master Gardener Tom Kasper explains.

©Laura Erickson. Used with permission.

It's March, and things are startin'!

Clinton Nienhaus, head naturalist for the Friends of the Sax-Zim Bog says it's the intersection of a lot of different things, actually.

Love is in the air for ravens, crow, gray jays and others ... some waterfowl have begun returning to the area as well as some raptors ... and still other birds bid adieu to the Northland because - the weather is too nice?

provided by Glenn DelGuidice/MN DNR

Two-thirds of Minnesota's moose die of health issues like brainworm and tick infestations.

But as the MN DNR's Moose Project leader explains, the solution isn't nearly as simple as the nature programs on TV would have us think. 

©Lisa Johnson

The group Howling for Wolves is renewing their call to ban snares in Minnesota, an issue that resurfaced this month after a wolf was seen near Duluth with one wrapped around its muzzle. 

Although it's illegal to snare wolves, is is legal to snare coyotes, but opponents say dogs, songbirds and even moose and deer are killed or maimed by them.

Sharon Mollerus

Today on The Sea Grant Files, hear more about Lake Superior's powerful waves, rip currents and how to navigate and enjoy the lake and it's beaches, safely. The surf in Duluth brings massive waves and dangerous rip currents and with Great Lakes drownings up last year, these tips on how to escape the grip of a rip current could save lives this summer.

Duluth has a flag system on Park Point beaches to alert swimmers of surf danger and rip current risks. 

Red Flag: High Waves or Strong Rip Currents - stay out of the water

Paul Downey/Flickr

Larry Weber says, until now, only once in his forty years of keeping records has there been more snow in February than January.

After this weekend ... make that twice.

Anmesty International Canada

Before 2014, Quesnel Lake in British Colombia was an untouched, crystal clear body of water.

When the Mount Polley gold and copper mine, owned by Canadian company Imperial Metals, opened, residents had the promise in writing that nothing would be dumped into the lake.

©Rebecca Krinke. Used with permission.

Anyone who's ever fallen in love or had their heart broken can tell you exactly where it happened.  And what places they seek out or avoid as a result.  So it's no real surprise that Rebecca Krinke's "Emotional Cartography" project to explore the intersection of place and emotion resonated with so many people.

How to spice up your life with a little domestic drama surrounding the garden ... and what happens when your plants don't get adequate vet care before you adopt them.

Have a gardening question for Tom Kasper?  Drop him a line at tompkasper@gmail.com and he'll be in touch!

Birch Trees
Joshua Mayer Flickr

With clear skies and sunlight this February, birch trees are creating tree wells, or tree circles, as Larry Weber calls them. Find out what else is in store the rest of February and join Larry tracking this Sunday, weather permitting of course. 

©Minnesota DNR

Maybe we don't think about aquatic invasive species unless  it's summertime and we're in a boat.

But maybe we should.

Not only do they pose a serious economic as well as environmental impact, there IS something we can do to stop them.

More information on the Aquatic Invaders Summit and how to take part online is available here: