Articles by " Hugh"
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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PROTECTING PLOVERS: USFW calls for volunteers

PROTECTING PLOVERS: USFW calls for volunteers

How do you help a bird that seems bound and determined to put itself in harm’s way? The Piping Plover, a small bird that frequents South County beaches, has a habit of building its nests right on the sand. The same camouflage that makes its eggs remarkably difficult for predators to see also means they may be accidentally stepped on by beachgoers and their pets. Fortunately, US Fish and Wildlife […]

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Spike in Sea Bass Numbers Sparks Skepticism
By     |    Mar 9, 2017
Posted in: Natural Science, Uncategorized     |    4 Comments

Spike in Sea Bass Numbers Sparks Skepticism

Recreational and commercial fishermen reporting dramatic increases in the number of black sea bass (BSB) had their observations confirmed at a recent Rhode Island Natural History seminar. However, getting people to believe the numbers and forecasts is no easy task. Dr. Gary R. Shepherd, fisheries biologist with NOAA’s Fisheries Science Center, attributes the apparent spike to increasing water temperatures in the northeast. “We’ve seen a sharp northern redistribution of BSB […]

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By     |    Feb 12, 2017
Posted in: Uncategorized     |    8 Comments

Thunder Snow

At its most intense, last Thursday’s snow storm was piling on flakes at a rate of two inches an hour. In those whiteout conditions, many people online began to report hearing a strange sound. Some initially thought it was snow plows rumbling through the neighborhood. A few reported flashes of light, and wondered whether those might have been electrical lines blowing. Neither of those occurrences would have been unusual for […]

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By     |    Jan 23, 2017
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Carter Preserve and the Railroad: Concern, not Panic

The map tells a disturbing story: a proposed railway change slicing The Nature Conservancy’s Carter Preserve in Richmond in half, effectively eliminating it as a recreation area. The Federal Railway Administration (FRA) has proposed the change as part of a controversial plan to shave time from the Northeast Corridor commuter rail system. As it stands, the proposal will affect conservation areas, Narragansett Tribal land, historical farms and a host of […]

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