ENVIRONMENT

Be Alert for a Fast and Active Winter Visitor

by David Liebmann
I was walking where the paved road turns to dirt at Hartwood Acres one winter day. The trees were creaking with cold. Dry leaves were tinged with a dusting of snow. The sky, all gray. Suddenly, there was a bird, small, moving fast. It landed on a sapling no more…

The Tionesta Natural Areas

by Thomas Saunders
The largest remaining uncut forest in Pennsylvania is the Allegheny National Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania. This remote 4,000-acre area is almost equally divided between the Tionesta Research Natural Area and adjoining Tionesta Scenic Natural Area, which are managed for science and aesthetic values.

Wild Bones

by Daryln Brewer Hoffstot
My daughter brings home bones and piles them on the driveway: femur, rib, jawbone with a few flat teeth attached, dozens of thin arced parts. —from “My Daughter Brings Home Bones” by Jennifer Richter

An Elegy of the Marcellus Shale region

by Fred Shaw
When U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler visited Pittsburgh on October 24 last year, his first order of business was to visit a Range Resources well-​pad outside Washington, Pa., announcing that the EPA would continue “removing regulatory barriers and leveling the playing field for American companies.”

A Century of Protecting Birds

by David Liebmann
My great-​grandfather Samuel Feins emigrated from the Old Country, in his case, Russia, in 1899. He came through Ellis Island and then quickly made his way to Massachusetts. Fifteen years later he was firmly established as the proprietor of the New Hat Frame Company of 5563 Summer Street, Boston. He…

The Brush Hog: Thoughts on a Fall Field Cutting

by Dave Macpherson
Twice a year, in June and October, I cut the long grass and other species of plants, named derisively as weeds, in my fields. It’s a bit like cutting grass with a huge lawnmower.

Saving Bats and Great Fishing Along Spruce Creek

by Thomas Saunders
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

by Daryln Brewer Hoffstot
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

by David Liebmann
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

by Thomas Saunders
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

by Rebecca Lessner
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

by Kate Benz, photography by John Altdorfer
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

by Daryln Brewer Hoffstot
“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

by David Aschkenas
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.
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