Evil Spirits? Try Fungi

Evil Spirits? Try Fungi

What do you do when you’re being haunted by a recently deceased relative who doesn’t realize they’re dead? Or your camp is being invaded by a six-legged polar bear with a taste for human flesh? Or there’s a human-ish creature pulling a wagon load of disease headed your way? The answer to all is simple: fungi. And ethnomycologist Larry Millman, who spent years in the northern parts of the world […]

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Never Underestimate a Seaweed

Never Underestimate a Seaweed

Breathe in deeply. Hold it. Aaannd release. Feel better? Thank a seaweed. Yes, a seaweed, because about half of all our oxygen comes from that green or red stuff that so often annoys beach goers in the summertime. Dr. Lindsay Green-Gavrielidis of URI’s Department of Natural Resources sung the praises of the ignominious seaweed in a recent lecture at the Rhode Island Natural History Survey (RINHS). It turns out that […]

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41°North Winter 2018

41°North Winter 2018

How does geology affect Rhode Island’s past, present and future? In the latest issue, explore how geology shaped the Narragansett Indian tribe, and read a review of a book that recounts the sometimes surprising affect it had on the settlement of the state. Plus many other fascinating stories! Find it here. 

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Watching the Titanic: Salt Marsh Sparrows and Sea Level Rise
By     |    Jan 19, 2018
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Watching the Titanic: Salt Marsh Sparrows and Sea Level Rise

A pair of dedicated citizen scientists have spent the past year studying a bird that is small in size but large in significance: the Salt Marsh Sparrow. Along the way, they learned a lot about the bird’s behavior and flight abilities. Yet the excitement of the research was tempered with one stark fact: in a relatively short time, the birds will no longer exist. Steve Reinert and Deidre Robinson discussed […]

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Death and Delight: Mushroom Hunting
By     |    Sep 10, 2017
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Death and Delight: Mushroom Hunting

Note: this is a story that originally ran in newspapers in 2012. For some reason, I never posted it. A recent mushroom discovery in my own yard inspired me to run it here. “One side will make you grow taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter.”          “One side of what? The other side of what?” thought Alice to herself.          “Of the mushroom,” said the Caterpillar, […]

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The Secret Life of Bee (Keepers)

The Secret Life of Bee (Keepers)

Childhood obsessions are pretty common. Some children love a particular line of dolls, trading cards, or teddy bears. As they grow, the obsessions are set aside, sometimes to literally gather dust. In other cases, though, the obsessions simply morph into something new. “When I was little, it was a unicorn obsession, and as I grew older it went from unicorns to something legitimate like bees.” At 26, Azure Giroux’s childhood […]

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Eclipse draws thousands to Frosty Drew
By     |    Aug 22, 2017
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Eclipse draws thousands to Frosty Drew

  From a distance, Monday’s partial solar eclipse activities at Frosty Drew Observatory in Charlestown looked more like the Newport Folk Festival than a celestial event. Blankets, beach chairs, and kids were everywhere, especially under the trees. Some were playing soccer, some were eating, and some were doing various juggling activities. There was a sense of celebration as visitors snaked their way through lines to an assortment of telescopes set […]

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New England’s Marine Monument under Fire: “Review” threatens preservation status

New England’s Marine Monument under Fire: “Review” threatens preservation status

Americans are proud of their land, and not just around the Fourth of July. So proud that, since 1906, they have worked with 16 presidents of both parties to designate 129 places as so important from a historical or scientific standpoint that they should be preserved for future generations. The process began in 1906 under Teddy Roosevelt to “preserve historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic […]

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BioBlitz:  Counting All Creatures Great and Small

BioBlitz: Counting All Creatures Great and Small

Picture this: you’ve been dropped into the middle of 1000 acres of woodlands, fields, and water. Your job is to count everything. Not just the birds flying by. Not just the types of trees in the forest. Nope. Your task is to count every plant, insect, fungus, bat, snake, fish, clam, flower, in fact to count every species of every living thing that calls that region home. And you have […]

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Burn it down to build it up: Controlled burns at Trustom

Burn it down to build it up: Controlled burns at Trustom

Trustom Pond has been scorched. The path that normally leads visitors to a lush meadow now leads them to a scar that blackens a third of the field. The smell of burnt grass and brush can be pungent, and the rectangle is almost offensive in contrast to the rest of the region. Yet the scar is not the result of vandals, nor even of a lightning strike. The burn at […]

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