Environment & Outdoors

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.

Perspektivet Museum/Flickr

Marlene Wisuri of the Sami Cultural Center of North America provides some context for an interesting evening about reindeer herding, this week at UMD. 

Barbara Friedman/Flickr

Just when you think you've had it with the gray, sleety weather, Larry Weber reminds us of crocuses and vernal ponds.

©Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

It's mud season.

Which has Minnesotans thinking about spring which has them thinking about summer which has them thinking about being outside.

This year, the Minnesota State Parks and Trails unveil a new park, a new bison, and a variety of times and places to get yourself seriously sticky.

©John Krumm

John Doberstein says he cringes when the conversation becomes "What's better?  Good mining jobs or tourism jobs paying minimum wage?"

In fact, the Duluth for Clean Water organizer has gone on the record more than once saying he rejects the ideas that it's "jobs v. the environment" or "the Iron Range v. the Cities."

Doberstein isn't afraid of tough conversations - he just wants them to start - and focus on - what brings people together, and one of those things, he believes, are good-paying jobs that allow people to live, work and raise families in the Northland.

Tom Kasper

Those weird lights glowing at all hours in Tom Kasper's basement?

Grow lights, trying to give his onion seedlings the 60-70 degrees and the 14 hours of daylight they need to grow into fine, big, grown-up onions.

That's our story and we're sticking to it.

©Lisa Johnson

We're seeing the "effect" in "lake effect" this week ... but late season snows make it tough on birds and animals, returning migrants and winter-long residents.

USGS Wisconsin Water Science Center

There it sits at the end of the breakwater in Chequamegon Bay, much as it has since 1915: the Ashland Breakwater Lighthouse.

But it's more than a tidbit of history or a photo op these days; it's part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, a USGS weather station and home to monitoring equipment for everything from currents to water quality to time-lapse photography.

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