Environment & Outdoors

Tom Kasper

Tom Kasper is wondering where he can get some snow.

"February 20th and my bee balm is sprouting," he writes on his Facebook page.  "I'm all for an early spring. But this is a little too early!"

Perhaps the immortal words of Simon and Garfunkel are what our perennials need about now:

Slow down; you move too fast

You've got to make the winter last ...!

Len Blumin/Flickr

Larry says the weekend's predicted mild temperatures are perfect for seeing melty "tree circles" around deciduous trees, bright red red osier dogwood, pussy willow and quaking aspen buds and maybe even a horned lark.

Meanwhile ... the maple sap is flowing!

Bag It: The Movie

The movie Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic? proposes that it's not just plastic grocery bags that are the problem.

It's all kinds of plastics, from single-use disposables like straws and take out containers to the plastics that end up in landfills and foul our oceans.

Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren/Flickr

Larry Weber navigated the windy conditions this morning and talks spectacular sunsets, a lunar eclipse and the new finch who showed up at his feeder this week: the white-winged crossbill. 

Gene R. Clark, UW Sea Grant Institute

No PowerPoints.

There aren't many rules to the River Talks, a series of informal science cafe-type evening talks about the St. Louis River, but that's one of them.

Wisconsin Sea Grant's Marie Zhuikov organizes the series. She wants people to sit and talk with the presenters and ask questions.

Tom Kasper

Tom Kasper is ignoring the -20 to -30 below windchills of the next few days, and the melting mid-30s after that in favor of  his plant and seed catalogs, where lawns are green,  gardens are lush and all the dahlias are above average.

stuart anthony/Flickr

Way back in 1996, Minnesota recorded the coldest temperature ever when Tower hit -60 on February 2.

Duluth checked in with a half-hearted -30 that day, but Larry Weber reminds us that five days later, we hit 45 degrees.

Oh, and if you're hoping for snow days this month, chances are you're out of luck.

Journey 4 Renewal

Chelsea Froemke, Steph Branchaud, Tessa Larson, and Whitney Vogel shared something special: years of guiding canoe trips at the Wilderness Canoe Base in the Boundary Waters.

So when the four found themselves needing some much needed personal renewal -- and discovered Wilderness needed some help, too -- they embarked on a 66 day canoe trip of over 12oo miles, from Seagull Lake to Hudson Bay.

Oh, and they'd never been all together before.

Códice Tuna Colectivo de Arte/Flickr

Perhaps Janus is indeed looking to the future and the past.

And then again, maybe he's looking at the below-normal first half of the month (average temperature 4 degrees) and the above normal second half of the month (average temperature 30 degrees).

If Sharon Moen isn't up to her ears in clay penguins, she soon will be.

The potter (and co-producer of The Sea Grant Files on KUMD) is all laughs when talking about her creations (or trying to fit headphones on one for a photograph), but all hilarity slips away when she starts talking about climate change, changes in the Antarctic ice shelf, the atmosphere and the oceans, and how the current administration will be dealing with - or not dealing with - those issues. 

Fyn Kynd Photography/Flickr

The January thaw Larry Weber predicted has come to pass, with record-breaking warm temperatures (45 degrees yesterday), northern shrikes and the winter crane fly.

Duluth has the same potential to generate solar energy as Jacksonville, Florida.  Or Houston, Texas.

Don't believe it?  Ask Bret Pence of Ecolibrium 3 ... or better yet, check out Duluth Shines!

Duluth Shines! is a solar map application that lets you see what kind of solar energy you could generate from your home or business.

Jamie Harvie

Without a "garbage patch" in Lake Superior (like the floating rafts of plastic debris found in our oceans),  maybe it's hard to work up concern about the plastic bags merchants tuck out stuff into when we buy something or the foam containers restaurants give us for our leftovers.

Bag it Duluth - For The Love of Place is suggesting a city-wide ban on plastic bags and foam containers, hoping to move consumers to reusable bags and compostable containers.

Sunrises are coming earlier (around 7:50am), sunsets are coming later (around 4:45pm) and while it's too soon to be looking for spring, naturalist Larry Weber says next week's January thaw is really going to shake things up.

Gabrielle R.

The good news is the cyclotella algae turning up in sediment samples from the Great Lakes aren't a problem - like blue-green algae is, for example.

The bad news is that they're indicating a problem: in the food web and with climate change.

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