ENVIRONMENT

Saving Bats and Great Fishing Along Spruce Creek

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has recently acquired a unique property in northern Huntingdon County that does two unusual things — provides public access for world-​class trout fishing on Spruce Creek and helps save struggling bats with desperately needed habitat.

The Mysteries of Feral Bees

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, One clover, and a bee, And revery, The revery alone will do, If bees are few. —Emily Dickinson

The Elusive and Beautiful Green Heron

The green heron lay cradled in the crook of Bob Mulvihill’s arm like a baby, or at least that’s how I remember it. He blew on the bird’s belly and a cloud of powder down swirled forth, an adaptation that in all likelihood adds some moisture-​shedding resistance to the wing…

Tryon-​Weber Woods Natural Area

There are many forests to enjoy in Penn’s Woods, but one of the best examples of a mature beech-​maple forest can be found in Tryon-​Weber Woods, in western Crawford County about 90 miles north of Pittsburgh. This 100-​acre property was originally protected by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 1976, and…

The Importance of Water

Watershed expert April Claus called to the 20 Quaker Valley High students splashing through a creek bed in their muck boots: “Who wants to release the brown trout?” They were part of Claus’s environmental science internship — the Quaker Valley Creekers. And on that autumn day they waded into Little Sewickley Creek,…

Getaway to the Pennsylvania Wilds

by Don Feigert
Sometimes a person just needs to get away — from work, from people, from everything in the city. For me that means heading up to the hills and waters of upstate Pennsylvania. On one particular occasion, however, not even my hunting/​fishing cabin would do. So I packed a one-​man tent and planned…

Nate and His Bees

The bees arrived yesterday, via Two Day Priority, from an apiary in Ohio. Three pounds of them. Five thousand bees and one queen buzzing around in a wooden crate made of scrap wood kinda stapled together. There are screens on either side so that you can actually see the bees.…

The Secret to Finding Morels

“I can’t seem to give ’em up I just like morels too much I like other ’shrooms and such But I just like morels too much Oyster mushrooms mighty fine Seafood and some nice white wine Chanterelles’re tasty too In a wild mushroom ragout Storebought shrooms can be a crutch…

Fleeting Blossoms of the ’Burgh

April showers bring May flowers, but May showers can quickly destroy the delicate blossoms on flowering trees. Sometimes the blooms only last a few days before a sudden downpour — of which Pittsburgh has been experiencing often these days — washes them away.

The Roseate Spoonbill

by David Liebmann
Roseate Spoonbills are birds worth traveling for. Sometimes they even travel to us. Typically found on the Gulf Coast, the first time I spotted one was on a marathon birding adventure I took to south Texas in 2005. To bird far from Pittsburgh meant I’d see unfamiliar species in new…

The Allegheny River

by Thomas Saunders
In many ways, the Allegheny River is the centerpiece of our region. It traverses landscapes from wilderness to urban and provides recreational opportunities in many different places along its course. One of the most spectacular parts of the river is the free-​flowing 125 miles of the middle Allegheny from the…

What are “Waters of the United States”?

by Ashley Murray
What are the so-​called “waters of the United States” and why did the Obama administration expand the definition? To understand that is to understand the evolution of environmental regulation in the United States and how the nation’s courts have interpreted what’s protected.

Protecting Our Streams

by Ashley Murray
Determining where water begins and ends seems a matter of physical properties, of whether two hydrogen molecules are bonded to oxygen, and how much of it exists. Where is it located, and will people eventually drink it? Swim in it? Fish in it? This molecule, essential to life, has become…

Contemplating the Death of Mice

I sit in my living room on a quiet winter morning dimmed by an opaque, gray sky. I hear crunching, first thinking a squirrel is playing on my roof, or winter snow and ice is starting to slide. The intermittent sound is persistent and peculiar. I walk toward it. It…

Making Maple Syrup

What is this? — syrup, maple syrup in a quart jar, syrup my grandfather made twenty-​five years ago for the last time.
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