Environment & Outdoors

Less than a month ago, there was still ice and snow on the ground.

Which means, despite a weekend forecast of mid to upper 80s, the season for spring ephemerals is a little more ephemeral than usual.

©Mike Mayou

Duluth's Lakewalk is twenty years old, so the city  was planning to proceed with a "mini-master plan" in November of 2017 to look at an upgrade.

Of course, by the time November rolled around, the Lakewalk had been devastated by 15-foot waves and, in some spots, four feet of shoreline had been washed away.

Inter-Tribal Maple Syrup Producers Cooperative/Facebook

Maybe it's hard to really internalize what rising ocean levels, for instance, mean when you live in the middle of the country.

But the effect climate change could have on the maple syrup we make every spring?

That's something to pay attention to,

On this episode of Ojibwe Stories: Gaganoonididaa we have the first of a two-part conversation with Josephine Mandamin, an Anishinaabe grandmother, elder and water activist involved with the Mother Earth Water Walkers.

Commons

The Sea Grant wraps up their 2018 season with a focus on research happening in the Northland, like how beaver dams affect water flow and trout populations.  Other work shared this week involves rip current safety research as well as  advances in preventing zebra mussels hitching a ride on ships. 

green heron: Tommy P. World/Flickr, sora: Becky Matsubara/Flickr, bittern: cuatrok77/Flickr

Who woulda thunk, in the midst of the April 15 blizzard, that a month later we'd hit a record-breaking 88 degrees?

In fact, who woulda thunk on Wednesday that we'd plummet from 88 to 52 by Thursday?

Yup.  It's May in the Northland.

Elizabeth Alexson/MN Sea Grant

The toxic blue-green algae blooms on Lake of the Woods are a human-created problem.

And that it's going to take another few decades for the lake to flush itself of the toxins and nutrients that are causing the blooms.

How do we know this, you ask?

So glad you asked!

Karen Roe/Flickr

Tom Kasper isn't a doctor, and he doesn't even play one on the radio.

But he is a master gardener.  And as we begin Mental Health Week on KUMD,  it turns out he knows a thing or two about how gardening can be good for what ails you.

Susan Worner [via Flickr]

Naturalist larry Weber observes that following the 5th coldest April on record we moved into a warm start to May, then colder again.  Some much needed rain finally arrived (not much, but a good start), and many plants and blooms are beginning to emerge.  We've now reached over 15 hours of daylight.  Frogs and turtles are awakening, and many birds are returning.

University of Minnesota Duluth

KUMD's Adam Reinhardt has a conversation with UMD Assistant Professor Randel Hanson, the Co-Director of the Program in Environment and Sustainability.

©MN Department of Natural Resources

April left and took the snow with her, says Larry Weber.

But the lack of moisture in many spots, plus the breezy conditions, means a high fire danger.

©Lisa Johnson

Many wild animal moms leave their babies alone for lengths of time human moms would never consider.

Unlike two-legged mothers who love to show off their kids, animal moms disappear so they don't draw attention from predators to their little ones.

It's just one of the many ways caring for baby animals seems counter-intuitive to humans, and mistakes on our part can have fatal consequences. Luckily for us, help is just a click - or a phone call away.

©Emily Ford. Used with permission.

Emily Ford isn't the kind of gardener to sit around twiddling her thumbs when winter drags on.

The harsh winter took her bees, but she's already planning to restock the hives. And while she was waiting for spring to arrive, she tapped some friends to borrow gear and then tapped some maple trees.

Suffice it to say that this year, Glensheen will be abuzz with bees, in bloom with roses, and dripping with maple syrup.

Internet Archive Book Image/Flickr

If you're already bored gently raking up the soggy leaves and snow mold from your yard, Tom Kasper says it's the perfect time to divide things like rhubarb or hostas - and you certainly don't need a delicate touch.

Larry Weber with a wrap up of April stats (three times as much snow, but precipitation still below normal), the migrants who've shown up just in the last week, and happy news on the frog front.

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