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Field Notes

A Mystery Waiting to Be Solved

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    Sometimes the stiff crunch of frozen leaves under our boots and the dull browns and grays can make winter seem a little underwhelming in the nature scene. We know from reading ‘Don’t Poke a Bear’ that most animals … Continue reading

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Puff Ball-Eating Machines

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What comes to mind when you see a bright red cardinal in the winter? Beauty. Male. Contrast. Christmas. Charley Harper. What about awe? If you find yourself grumbling about how you don’t want to go outside and fill up the … Continue reading

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Horsehair Worms

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   There’s something about long, thin worms that puts people on edge. Even I hesitated to pick up this little guy because of the fear of parasitic worms. Don’t worry, these horsehair worms (Gordius robustus) are not some parasitic nematode … Continue reading

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Parasitic Plants

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The darkness of the forest seems quite alluring on these hot and humid days. The fresh growth of large green leaves brings welcomed relief from the beating sun. It’s here in the shaded area that you can find American Squawroot … Continue reading

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A Worm Lizard

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More times than not, when I lift a log with a group of kids, I hear, “A worm!” The next guess is usually, “No, it’s a lizard!” In their defense, salamanders are slimy, with four disproportionately small legs attached to … Continue reading

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Don’t Poke a Bear

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A few weeks ago, the temperature had not risen above 25oF for a week. Thus, everything must be shut down for winter, right? Our big puffball hats and trendy boots will allow us to last outside for a couple of … Continue reading

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Chicken of the Woods

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Nature’s recyclers, known as decomposers, play an essential role in nutrient cycling within our deciduous forest. Organisms such as fungi and bacteria break down humus (dead or decaying matter) on the forest floor. Through this process, fallen logs and deciduous … Continue reading

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Bust Out Your Dance Moves

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    Have you ever been hiking during the summer and come across what appears to be a thin layer of snow on some trees (pic 1)? Maybe it made you wonder where the expression ‘Christmas in July’ comes from. … Continue reading

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Glacier Survivors

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Take a peek around our area and you may notice some evidence from our past. Ice age plants are among us and have persisted over the past 10,000 years since the last glacier left Cincinnati.  Many of these plants hit … Continue reading

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One Cool Cat

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  Sometimes instead of you searching for wildlife, the animals drop out of the sky and come to you. Perhaps something startled this little guy or it simply lost footing and dropped from the leaves above, landing at my feet.  … Continue reading

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