Environment & Outdoors

Northlanders can join the international March on Monsanto this Saturday.  The multinational agrochemical corporation is under fire for, among other things,  genetically modified seeds and the herbicide Roundup, found by the World Health Organization to be a "probably carcinogen."

Abby Splittstoesser is the event organizer here in Duluth.  And while she agrees the protests won't shutter Monsanto, she says there is a surprising amount of change people can effect right here in the Northland.

Chuck Schlegel/Flickr

Ice-out actually happened before the Minnesota fishing opener this year ... the water is warm and the fish are active.   John Chalstrom of Chalstrom Bait says there are always new baits and lures coming out ... but he's still recommending the classics.

There are three big garden sales coming up in the next few weeks: the Duluth Community Garden Program's Annual Plant Sale,  the Duluth Garden and Flower Society's Annual Plant Sale, and the Carlton County Master Gardener's Plant Sale.   Tom Kasper, himself a master gardener and plant sale veteran, offers behind-the-scenes tips and tricks to insure you get the pla

It took January, February, March and April to produce as much moisture as May has in two weeks.  Author, naturalist and educator Larry Weber tells us the difference it's making with the local flora and fauna.

ThoseGuys119/Flickr

The liquid propane-powered buses of the Proctor School District are really something.

Ask School Superintendent John Engelking.

They're more fuel-efficient and get better gas mileage (.35 per mile compared with .65-$1.25 for diesel), they're cheaper to operate (7 qts. of oil/$5 filter compared to 30 qts. of oil and a $35 filter for diesel) and they've got an unexpected benefit that may have parents running to get their gas-powered vehicles converted.

Author and outdoorsman Andrew Slade joins us to talk about places you can hike - and places you can't - along the North Shore.  Even though it's cool and muddy this week, it's still a great time to get out and enjoy spring ephemerals.  Wonder what it is you're looking at?  Andrew also has a recommendation for a great Facebook page (Duluth Phenology) that may help answer all your questions about the natural world here in our little part of it.

The wild and wonderful Carol Andrews, president of the Wild Ones Minnesota Arrowhead Chapter, proclaims her intention to spend more time this summer eating her yard.

Yellowstone National Park/Flickr

On Wednesday, we told you a story about a frog survey being done of the vernal ponds at Hartley Park.  Ryan Hueffmeier of the NRRI says its a listening survey, conducted by himself and citizen-scientists just after dark or before dawn.

Just this last week, naturalist Larry Weber took part in a similar survey: driving a 20 mile route and making stops at 12 dedicated wetlands to listen for frog calls.

Dave Huth/Flickr

Citizen-scientists,  frog enthusiasts and lovers of moonlit walks can join Ryan Hueffmeier of the NRRI for the frog survey work now underway at Hartley Park.  It's part of a national frog survey that involves listening and identifying frog calls - much like the annual bird counts Laura Erickson and Larry Weber take part in.  But you don't have to be a naturalist to join in; when it comes to frog calls, Hueffmeier says, there's an app for that.

Professor Allen Mensinger / Department of Biology, Swenson College of Science and Engineering

It turns out silver carp really don't like the sound of outboard motors.

The invasive "flying fish," shown in so many online videos hurling itself out of the water and into the faces and boats of unsuspecting anglers, are leaping to escape the sound of boat motors.  And with that discovery comes what could be the key to keeping them away from the Great Lakes.

Brooke Vetter, the UMD graduate student in Integrated Biosciences who made the discovery, talks about how she found out and what her discovery could mean to stop the carp's northern expansion.

Saturday was the 10th Annual World Naked Gardening Day, according to the folks who came up with it (and it's a pretty good bet they're not from Minnesota!) and Tom Kasper reveals his ... thoughts on that and our lack of rain!

Mraz Center for the Performing Arts

"Tra la, it's May, the lusty month of May
That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray...
"

"The Lusty Month of May" (From "Camelot") was written by Lerner and Loewe

Larry Weber elects not to sing, but he's got our April wrap-up (warmer and drier than usual), the word on spring wildflowers (wetter woods would help them) and a look back (on this date in 2013 and 2014, there was still ice on the lakes and snow on the ground in many places!).

 

Sharon Mollerus/Flickr

Duluth began experimenting with "public edible landscaping in 2012 when the Park Maintenance Division organized the planting of apple and cherry trees in public parks.

That project has led to an effort called "Edible Duluth," a push to develop sustainable and maintained "edible landscapes" of fruit trees and vegetables on public property.

Thorsburg Photography

National - and international - attention made the Apostle Island National Lakeshore and its ice caves the most visited national park in the country for a time in 2014.

But, caught by surprise, Park Service resources were stretched to the breaking point and beyond.  Bob Krumenaker, the National Park Superintendent for the park says they needed  a plan.

Distant Hill Gardens/Flickr

"Uvularia grandiflora" (Large-Flowered Bellwort or merrybells), "Uvularia sessilifolia" (Sessile-leafBellwort) and "Trientalis borealis"  (Starflower) are just a few of the Latin names for spring ephemerals*   that Carol Andrews says we can grow at home.  Don't know much about spring ephemerals?  She recommends spending more time lying down in the woods.  Carol Andrews is the president of the Wild Ones Minnesota Arrowhead Chapter.

* from the Greek ephēmeros  "lasting a day."

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