Diamonds in the Surf
By     |    Aug 15, 2014
Posted in: Uncategorized, URI, URI Graduate School of Oceanography     |    No Comments

Diamonds in the Surf

Note: “Science and Nature for a Pie” is now on Facebook! Visit www.facebook.com/scienceandnatureforapie and “like” the page for ongoing discussions, photos, and factoids! Looking at them was like seeing diamonds scattered in the shoreline. They were translucent, and sparkled brilliantly in the wet sand as the sun caught them. There were thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, running the entire 1.5-mile length of Napatree Point Conservation Area. Shimmering, sparkling, a king’s […]

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An Antenna on Napatree?  What is this neighborhood coming to?
By     |    Aug 3, 2014
Posted in: Uncategorized     |    No Comments

An Antenna on Napatree? What is this neighborhood coming to?

Note: “Science and Nature for a Pie” is now on Facebook! Visit www.facebook.com/scienceandnatureforapie and “like” the page for ongoing discussions, photos, and factoids! Taylor Swift’s cell phone tower? Some new spying gadgetry from the NSA? Wrong on both counts. Then why on earth is a 40-foot tall antenna rising from the dunes at Napatree Point Conservation Area in Westerly, RI? Fear not. This is an instrument being used by doctoral […]

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The Mid-Summer Moth Mingle

The Mid-Summer Moth Mingle

Note: “Science and Nature for a Pie” is now on Facebook! Like the page for regular updates on new stories, photos, and other discussions about the wonders of the outdoor world! www.facebook.com/scienceandnatureforapie . If moths and butterflies thought like human children, they would be embroiled in a never-ending case of sibling rivalry. “Why do the butterflies get all the attention?” the moths would moan. “People never even notice us!” The […]

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What is a Gall, after All?

What is a Gall, after All?

Note: “Science and Nature for a Pie” is now on Facebook!  Stop by and “like” the page for ongoing stories, photos, and discussions about the great outdoors! https://www.facebook.com/scienceandnatureforapie “You have some gall saying that to me!” “Man, that guy galls me!” It’s difficult to determine precisely how common these expressions still are, but most will recognize the idea that having “gall” or to “gall” someone is not a good thing. […]

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Chowder, Clam Cakes, and Cigarettes: Rocky Point Shore Dinner Hall
By     |    Jun 24, 2014
Posted in: Rocky Point Park, Uncategorized, Writing     |    6 Comments

Chowder, Clam Cakes, and Cigarettes: Rocky Point Shore Dinner Hall

Note: The 2014 BioBlitz was held at what’s left of one of Rhode Island’s legendary attractions: Rocky Point Amusement Park.  That story is in a different post.  What follows here is a memoir of my time spent  working as a busboy at my first job, at the Shore Dinner Hall. The story goes that river boat captain William Winslow brought the genteel set to Rocky Point in the 1840’s for […]

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Life amid the Ghosts: BioBlitz 2014 at Rocky Point

Life amid the Ghosts: BioBlitz 2014 at Rocky Point

  From the mid-19th century until the late 20th, it was a fantasy land of adventure. Rides, games, food, music. Over its 150-year life cycle, it was a world of vaudeville acts and 1970’s metal bands playing in the Windjammer Lounge. Visitors swam in a salt water swimming pool, filled from the rocky waters of Narragansett Bay, whose cool breezes swept the park from only feet away. They arrived by […]

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Masters of Construction: Bird Nests

Masters of Construction: Bird Nests

  Consider this: the average human brain weighs roughly 1300 grams (2.86 pounds). A warbler brain weighs about 513 mg. (.00113 pounds). But while a human must spend untold hours and tens of thousands of dollars in order to learn to build a house, the warbler does so as a natural part of its growth process, and in response Spring’s most basic instinct: the urge to procreate. Granted, the plan […]

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The Buzz on Bees

The Buzz on Bees

“…the only reason for making honey is so as I can eat it.” Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne The yard contains about a dozen white boxes, each standing some four feet tall. A wrangler, whose job it is to move the living contents from one area to the next, approaches the white structure. He uses a tool to puff smoke into the box and then removes the wooden […]

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Touch the Sky: Bird Banding with RI Natural History Survey

Touch the Sky: Bird Banding with RI Natural History Survey

  For even the most casual birder, spring is an exciting time. The warm temperatures mean the return of birds not seen during the long dreary months of winter. Even feathers of the goldfinch, who lingers all winter, bear a dreary greenish color during the cold months. But that all changes come April. Suddenly, there are songs and brilliant feathers everywhere. Feeders fill with the newly returned, and many people […]

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From Billions to None: One Species’ Destruction and Lessons for Today
By     |    Mar 1, 2014
Posted in: Uncategorized     |    4 Comments

From Billions to None: One Species’ Destruction and Lessons for Today

        There were as many as five billion of them. When the passenger pigeons came together to roost or to feed, the sky would darken with their numbers, the air pushed by their wings would whip to gale force. Their population made up fully one-fourth of all the birds in North America, and it’s estimated that they could fly at 60 miles per hour. And within four decades, we killed […]

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