Nature Guide to the Northern Forest

Rest easy, because sunny days and beautiful blooms have returned! Whether you’re in the White Mountains or the wetlands of the Mid-Atlantic, you’re bound to catch glimmers of red, yellow, pink, blue, and violet peeping through the trees. Pull up those galoshes, dust off that wildflower field guide, and celebrate the season by heading to…

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Update: A coalition of environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior and Fish and Wildlife Service on May 24, 2018, challenging a December 2017 memo that reinterpreted the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This year marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). One of the nation’s oldest and most impactful…

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National forests are like the multitool of the public land system, open to a wide, if carefully monitored, array of uses: hiking, fishing, timber harvesting, and conservation among them. And then there’s forest bathing—the new trend of immersing yourself in nature as a remedy for the stress and anxiety of everyday life. Whether you dip…

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If you think fireflies’ flashes are simply random, pretty bursts of light, think again. “They’re not just putting on a fantastic light show for our enjoyment,” says Sara Lewis, a professor of biology at Tufts University and the author of Silent Sparks: The Wondrous World of Fireflies. “Those are the silent love songs of the…

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If you happen to leave an outside light on overnight at this time of year, you may be greeted by one of our silk moth species in the morning. This male Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus) was photographed at the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center one early July morning. With a wing span of 4-6 sizes…

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The eastern hemlock can grow to more than 150 feet tall and live more than 500 years, but the tree’s future is threatened by a tiny bug. The hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) is an invasive species that was accidentally imported on nursery stock from Japan. First reported in the eastern United States near Richmond, Va.,…

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It’s early October 2015, and Marielle Anzelone is strolling among the wildflowers—some of them past bloom, others still pushing out petals in spite of the shortening days. There are violets, fritillaries, evening primrose, roundhead lespedeza, milkweed, mountain mint, dogwood, and white mulberry, all of whose heads have either gone to seed or long crumbled to…

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The writer and naturalist Henry David Thoreau famously mourned how tame the wilderness of his day had become. On his rambles in mid-19th century Massachusetts, he saw no cougar, wolf, bear, moose, deer, beaver, or turkey. These and other animals had been displaced or killed outright, their forested habitats transformed into active farmland. Now, as…

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When hiking in the mountains, you’re often reminded to stick to the trails to protect alpine plants. But it’s not just diapensia or dwarf cinquefoil that’s eking out an existence in these high elevations. The rare northern bog lemming also calls some of our alpine environment home. This small mammal weighs just an ounce and…

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The way water striders skim across the surface of ponds has earned them the nickname “Jesus bugs.” But this seemingly miraculous ability—a signature of the mostly freshwater-dwelling Gerridae family of insects—has a perfectly natural explanation. POSITIVE TENSION Surface tension helps make the water strider’s leaps and glides possible. Water molecules are attracted to each other…

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