Environment & Outdoors

Michael Rael [via Flickr]

Larry Weber observes the cold temps ending this month are in sharp contrast to the warm temps at the end of November.  Our precipitation totals for 2017 are 6 inches above the normal average.  We reach perihelion on the night of January 2 when the earth is closest to the sun on its annual orbital journey.  There will be two full moons in January – on the 2nd and the 31st, and there will ALSO be two full moons in March – on the 1st and the 31st!  Larry is conducting his Christmas bird count today.   He has seen many tracks in the snow; mammals are out and about despite the cold temps, includ

storebukkebruse/Flickr

Jason Carpenter/Flickr

Larry Weber says the darkness of this week leading up to the December 21 winter solstice is should be embraced, and a walk (or a cross country ski) under the starlit sky just a little "dose of humility."

©Bryan French

 “And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. 

©Lisa Johnson

Every year, Tom Kasper runs down his list of good gifts for gardeners.

And every year, the most popular is still the gift of your time.

©Lisa Johnson

For The Birds host Laura Erickson stepped into the breach this week as the "emergency auxiliary backup Larry Weber" (after Larry was sidelined* with a bad cold),  armed with information about snowy owls and a Robert Frost poem off the top of her head.

*the expression "sidelined" comes from the world of sports, as Laura herself alluded to a text message after agreeing to sub for Larry this morning:

"But actually, I don't know how to do that -- just talk for a minute or longer.

apalca/Flickr

Tackle box? Check.  Ice auger? Check.  Life jacket?

Huh?

Your best chance of surviving an accident on the ice of a frozen lake or river this winter can be summed up on two words: life jacket.

red.raleigh [via Flickr]

We speak with Jennifer Teegarden, a forestry outreach specialist with the MN Department of Natural Resources about how the DNR goes about selecting the holiday tree to be placed at the Minnesota Governor's residence each year.  Also, she recommends using real trees rather than manufactured trees as they can be mulched and returned to the environment – storing carbon rather than releasing it. 

Jason Crotty/Flickr

Larry Weber says he can go years between sightings of northern birds like Black-backed Woodpeckers and Red Crossbills.

But he's seen plenty of them this year, along with a number of wild turkeys who have discovered his feeders.

©NRRI

Not much about coal is simple anymore.

Whether it's being criticized as a dirty fuel or defended as part of a mining lifestyle, coal even played a part in the last presidential election.

So because of - or perhaps in spite of - the controversy about coal, NRRI's latest biofuelis coming along at just the right time.

©Michigan DNR

Wisconsin raised a few eyebrows by doing away with the minimum age for mentored hunting last week.

Some people were worried at the prospect of little kids out in the woods, adult mentors or not.  But Chief Conservation Warden of the WI DNR, Todd Schaller, says statistics show young hunters have a better safety record than older, more experienced ones.

MN Sea Grant

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