The Nature of Things | WYPR

The Nature of Things

Tuesday at 4:44 pm

The Nature of Things is a weekly broadcast about our area’s native flora and fauna, hosted by Irvine Nature Center’s Executive Director Brooks Paternotte.  At the start of each week, The Nature of Things offers an eco-friendly perspective on everything from our changing seasons to the sounds of our migrating birds to the plants invading our yards, fields and forests.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 4:44 pm. as Brooks inspires us all to explore, respect and protect nature.

Emma – ever the curious 4-year-old – showed me a rainbow of red, orange and yellow leaves and asked a simple question. "Why do leaves change their color in fall?" Hard as it is to confess, I had no idea.


Rockfish

Oct 28, 2014

Commonly known as striped bass and locally referred to as rockfish, this anadromous or migratory fish spends the majority of its time in salt water returning to brackish estuaries and rivers to spawn each spring.


Stuck in a Rut

Oct 21, 2014

Right now, white tailed deer hunters all over the state are talking about the deer "rut."


Walking Stick

Oct 14, 2014

As its name suggests, the curious-looking walking stick or “stick insect” resembles the twigs among which it lives, providing it with one of the most efficient natural camouflages on Earth.

Pumpkins

Oct 7, 2014

Through all the autumn hype about pumpkin-spice lattes, pumpkin-chocolate muffins, spooky pumpkin carving and picking from pumpkin patches, it seems the origin of all our orange finery – the humble pumpkin plant – is forgotten.

  At the Conowingo Dam, you can find bald eagles year round, but the largest population of them hits in September and October when northern birds arrive in search of water sources that have not frozen over. Some reports say that more than 200 of the large raptors visit the area each autumn day.

Coyotes

Sep 23, 2014

Coyotes are a relatively new addition to our local ecosystems, and were first documented in Maryland in 1972.


  In 2007, our listening area experienced what is known as a "mast" year for acorns.  It was the largest we have seen in quite a long time, and we’re overdue for another one like it.  What should you expect?

Northern copperheads can be found in forested hillsides and wetlands, and will even occupy wood or sawdust piles from the Eastern Shore west to the Blue Ridge Mountains.


  Many assume that nature is at its peak and glory only in the sunny seasons of spring and summer. But if you observe carefully, you’ll find that autumn has quite a few things you thought were reserved only for warmer months.

  One of the most crucial parts of a species’ survival is its ability to reproduce. For many plants, this means creating some kind of seed or pod that can travel away from itself. But when a plant is stationary, how can it get its seeds to move?

Monarchs

Aug 19, 2014

  Monarch butterflies are famous for their southward migration and northward return in summer from here to Mexico.

Black-eyed susans are known as "pioneer plants," and are an important component in preventing erosion in critical areas like road cuts and hillsides.


Mosquitos

Aug 5, 2014

  "I’m covered in mosquito bites," a friend says. "Aren’t you?"  Is it just dumb luck?  Or is there science behind which of us the mosquitoes prefer?

  Starting now and going into the later part of the summer season, you might come across Indian Pipe in the dense forest understory near the beech trees it prefers.

Northern copperheads can be found in forested hillsides and wetlands, and will even occupy wood or sawdust piles from the Eastern Shore west to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Scientists at the University of Georgia found that poison ivy’s growth and potency has doubled just since the 1960s. They believe it’s because poison ivy is particularly sensitive to CO2 levels. 

Fish ranging from small minnows to striped bass several feet long can be found in our listening area. 

Bats

Jul 1, 2014

  Bats perform a true ecological miracle every night.

USEPA

  Low flow shower heads used to be synonymous with pitiful water pressure and a bad hair day.

Fireflies

Jun 17, 2014
Takashi Ota

Fireflies thrive in our forests and fields, and the margins between them.  But there just aren’t as many of these bioluminescent beetles as there once were.  Fireflies are disappearing.

  Like the Baltimore oriole, the checkerspot's beautiful orange and black coloration match those on Lord Baltimore's shield.

Nature-based preschools are re-focusing the lens on early childhood education. And the third annual Nature Preschool conference, which addresses the unique benefits and challenges of nature-based curriculum in early childhood programs, is this weekend at Irvine Nature Center.

If you’ve ever wanted to be involved in the great work that scientists do, this is your chance.

Terrapins

May 20, 2014

Many of our local students are graduating from University of Maryland this week. And likely all of them know that the name of their famous mascot, Testudo, is the Latin word for tortoise.

Orioles

May 13, 2014

The rich, whistling song of the Baltimore oriole, echoing from treetops near homes and parks, is a sweet herald of spring in eastern North America.

Coyotes

May 6, 2014

Coyotes are a relatively new addition to our local ecosystems, and were first documented in Maryland in 1972.

  My family and I grow some of these in our home garden, but we supplement what we can do ourselves with what’s called a CSA share.

It might be hard to imagine, but before 1970, all factories could unendingly spew black, toxic clouds into the air.

Small, round thrushes, eastern bluebirds are a symbol of happiness and cheer really are a delight to see; but are bluebirds really blue?

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