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.

Irvine Nature Center

The process these farms follow to tap maple trees, collect the sap and make maple syrup is actually quite simple. It does, however, take lots of time and a willingness to get outdoors in the cold and experience this miracle of nature.

Hibernation

Feb 4, 2015
Photo via North American Bear Center

Of all the adaptations employed by our local animals to deal with our winter climates, true hibernation is definitely the most drastic.


Aspen Nature

This time of year, the night sky tends to be the clearest and there’s less light pollution. Though the evenings might be cold, in winter constellations like the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia, are easier to see and identify.


Gray Squirrels

Jan 13, 2015

Five species of squirrels can be found in Maryland. There’s the red squirrel, the southern flying squirrel, the eastern fox squirrel and the Delmarva fox squirrel.


Pawpaw

Jan 6, 2015
Photo from Eat the Weeds

I have a secret snack. When I’m hiking in damp, forested areas of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, I don’t look to my backpack for a granola bar or trail mix. Instead, I look to the trees for a pawpaw.


Stink Bugs

Dec 30, 2014
Rutgers University

Unfortunately, not many predators are interested in eating the ubiquitous brown marmorated stink bug we see so much of in our listening area. That’s because it’s not a native species.


West YellowStone Montana

Need another reason to exercise outside? There’s nothing like returning to the warmth of indoors, pink-cheeked and tired, and sitting by a warm fire or sipping a mug of hot cocoa. There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes!


A light dusting of snow is an optimum time to look for signs of our native cottontail rabbits.  When hopping, rabbits' long hind feet come down in front of the smaller front feet – making them incredibly easy for kids and adults to spot.

Kudzu

Dec 9, 2014

 Kudzu grows extremely quickly. Under optimal conditions, it can grow a full foot per day. This fast growth combined with its climbing nature allows kudzu’s hairy vines to swiftly cover other plants, vehicles, utility poles, even whole houses when left unchecked.

Five species of squirrels can be found in Maryland. There’s the red squirrel, the southern flying squirrel, the eastern fox squirrel and the Delmarva fox squirrel.


Turkeys

Nov 26, 2014

Wild turkeys, once nearly extinct in Maryland, are back, and at least one wild turkey roams the property at Irvine.


Did you know that over 95% of the insects are not really pests? That means that the great majority of creepy crawlies we swat, squash and flush are actually beneficial.


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. 

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