Environment & Outdoors

This week's warmup has spring things bustin' out all over, from frogs calling to dragonfly and spider web sightings, to new migrants, spring wildflowers and white pelicans hanging out on the St. Louis River before they head north.

Raptor Education Group, Inc., Antigo, WI

HF 888 is headed to conference committee in the House of Representatives. A provision in the bill would prohibit the DNR from adopting rules that restrict the use of lead ammunition.

The "collateral damage" of lead shot has long been a topic of concern for KUMD's Laura Erickson, who joined us this morning to talk about it.

Alan Weir/Flickr

If winter storm warnings on May Day weren't bad enough ... the weather was still lousy for World Naked Gardening Day.

And yes, that's a thing.  You can look it up.

Lisa Johnson

April is unpredictable, says Larry Weber.  It went along predictably enough, lulling us into a false sense of security and then, predictably, it became ... unpredictable.

Bob McCloughan of Bearskin Lodge /Visit Cook County

There's a long tradition of neighbors helping neighbors in the wild areas of northern Minnesota ... so when a neighbor fell through the ice into Hungry Jack Lake, other neighbors moblized to help.

We're finally caught up on moisture for the month; yes, snow in April is "normal;" we'll have 14 hours of daylight come Sunday and the white pelicans have returned to the St. Louis River.

Ginger Juel may be a UMD alumna, but she's still pretty passionate about what goes on on campus.

She's like to see the U jettison the use of herbicides - even the current practice of "targeted application" - altogether.

squamatologist/Flickr

Larry reminds us that April 9 of last year broke an overnight low temperature record, silver maples have gone bloomin' crazy, the lake effect is slowing the progress of spring the closer you get to it, and he's celebrating over twenty years of tracking frog and toad populations in northeastern Minnesota.

You can find out more about the Minnesota DNR's Frog and Toad Calling survey, plus find a number of helpful links right here.

Scott Schumacher/Flickr

As Minnesotans gear up for the second of our two seasons (road construction), hikers, bikers, nature lovers and casual strollers prepare for the summer-long closing (any day now) of a five mile section of the Willard Munger State Trail between Grand Avenue and Becks Road in West Duluth.

As soon as spring road restrictions allow the DNR to move in the big equipment, they'll set to work repairing chunks of the trail still damaged from the 2012 floods.  In addition, there are some new trail standards that will require some improvements to the trail.

Minnesota DNR

Even if you don't understand a word your friend Jeremiah the bullfrog says, the DNR still wants you to listen to him.  

Actually, they're looking for volunteers all across the state to spend  a little time this weekend being "citizen scientists" and, just as with various bird counts through the year, listening for frog and toad calls and jotting down data. (And there are still some routes open up here in our neck of the woods)

This is the 21st year of the survey - and the statewide volunteers who make it possible.  And this year, there's even an app.

©Lisa Johnson

Morning people (and those thrust into wakefulness by birdsong) can avail themselves of a chance to bird with Laura Erickson a couple of times a week now through the end of May.

Laura is hosting Duluth Audubon Warbler Walks Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning at 7:00am.

General Mills

In Minnesota, we take the environment seriously.

So it wasn't particularly surprising when Minneapolis-based General Mills and Honey Nut Cheerios launched a "Bring Back the Bees" campaign at the beginning of March to raise awareness about the declining pollinator population.

The idea was to distribute enough seeds for Americans and Canadians to plant 200 million wildflowers for pollinator habitat.

United States map showing locations where hummingbirds have been seen so far
Hummingbird.net

This morning, Laura Erickson drew our attention to this cool map - a Ruby-throated hummingbird ETA, of sorts.   You can find out more here:

And you can listen to Laura's show from this morning here:

Peter Prehn/Flickr

With a weekend forecast calling for sunshine and 60s, it's going to be hard for spring-starved Northlanders to stay out of their backyards.

Their wet, squishy backyards.

Tom Kasper says don't rake; prune instead.

Another for-certain sign of spring is pledge drive time at KUMD -- and as always, we're offering a copy of Larry Weber's day by day look at the year, Backyard Almanac, for new and renewing members.

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