Environment & Outdoors

Nicolás Boullosa [via Flickr]

  The annual Lake Superior Harvest Festival at the Bayfront Park is just around the corner.  We kick off KUMD's Sustainability Week with a conversation with Claire Hintz, the director of Lake Superior Harvest Festival, about what will be at the festival, notably tiny houses, an innovative and popular new way to practice sustainability.

Bill Damon/Flickr

Larry Weber is perhaps the only person to get distracted from the pursuit of blackberries, just to watch insects enjoying goldenrod.

Hartley Nature Center

April showers bring May flowers ... and this year, July storms brought August fundraisers.

The community raised over $10,000 for Hartley Nature Center's Yurt Got Hurt event to restore damaged outdoor education centers, but the scramble to get the park back up and running for the over ten thousand kids who come through on field trips every year continues.

Luckily, so do offers of help from local volunteers.

Larry Weber says purple wildflowers abound in nature right now.

The Northland Morning host is inclined to believe that's a nod to her NFL football team, but the Northland Morning host is a little funny that way.

Scot Nelson/Jamie Komata/Flickr

It's true: the warm weather, abundant rains and sunshine have produced bumper crops of just about everything - including black mold and powdery mildew.

Kevin Bolton [via Flickr]

Naturalist Larry Weber observes that, as the days grow shorter (now just 14 hours of daylight), many birds are on the move, including large families of warblers ("warbler waves"), raptors, geese, and nighthawks. The rain has brought out many mushrooms. Butterflies are on the scene, and so are cicadas, katydids and grasshoppers, and this means that spiders are on the hunt for insects! In plant life, fall flowers are blooming -- goldenrod, asters, and sunflowers (including Joe-Pye weed).

bamonahan [via Flickr]

  Now that the storm clean up has been (mostly) completed, the next big question is what we can do with the now empty spaces in the landscape. We talk with Louise Levy, an arborist and founder of Levy Tree Care in Duluth, about what kinds of trees to consider planting, when is the best time to do it, and what planning and work needs to be done first.

Gabriel F.W. Koch [via Flickr]

Even though the fog and cloud cover over the past few days have blocked our ability to see the Perseid meteor showers, the fog has highlighted spider webs beautifully. 

  After two corrective back surgeries a decade ago that should have ended her ability to exercise, Shawna Weaver restored her body with yoga and physical therapy.  Now, successfully managing her chronic pain, she is planning to run the length of the Superior Hiking Trail – all 310 miles, from Canada down the north shore of Lake Superior – over the course of nine days.

Lisa Johnson

  Before we see the end of our all-too-brief summer in the Northland, there will be possibly more thunderstorms coming.  To help folks be more prepared for storm damages we invited Jennifer Teegarden, a DNR forestry outreach specialist, to talk with us about DOs and DON'Ts in terms of damaged trees -- how to assess damage, how to preemptively prevent future damage, and when to call in the experts.

Sharon Mollerus [via Flickr]

Weeds are smarter than we think they are, says Tom Kasper. They blend in with surrounding vegetation and grow very fast. 

In the warm and often drier month of August, Tom reminds us to keep our gardens watered and weeded. Fruits and vegetables are starting to ripen, so keeping them fed and free of competition will help ensure they finish the summer healthy.  Stay vigilant.

Lisa Johnson

Folks in Larry Weber's Minnesota Master Naturalist class don't sit around the campfire telling scary stories ... they go out after dusk looking for spiders and spider webs instead.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless - radioactive - gas that seeps up from the ground.  That being said, it's easy to either ignore the dangers of long term exposure or freak out about them.  But there is a middle ground: check out the Minnesota Health Department's new interactive tools - including maps and charts - to help you get a better idea how prevalent radon is in your county.  And another piece of good news: testing is easy, inexpensive and only takes a few days. 

Lisa Johnson

When some radio show hosts spend a few days camping at his Jay Cooke State Park stomping grounds, naturalist Larry Weber gets stuck trying to explain what they've seen and photographed.

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