The Outside Story

The Outside Story
December 15, 2017

The afterlife of logs

By Declan McCabe

My three children have participated in a Four Winds Nature Institute program that recruits adult family members to lead grade-school nature learning. I have worked with several moms and dads over the years to pull together materials for hands-on lessons about communities,…

What are those Goldenrod golf balls?
The Outside Story
November 8, 2017

What are those Goldenrod golf balls?

By Declan McCabe

A few Thanksgivings ago, my then 10-year-old daughter and I went for an afternoon stroll. Unseasonably warm weather made for a longer than planned walk through a power line right-of-way and on down through steeply sloping woods to the Winooski…

A plague of ticks: scientists search for solutions
The Outside Story
September 20, 2017

A plague of ticks: scientists search for solutions

By Susan Shea

On a hike this spring, we walked through a clear-cut area with tall grass and brambles. Afterwards, our pant legs were crawling with black-legged ticks (Ixodes scapularis), also known as deer ticks, the kind that carry Lyme disease. Scientists with the Vermont…

Salamander party tricks
The Outside Story
September 6, 2017

Salamander party tricks

drawn by Adelaide Tyrol

By Brett Amy Thelan

I once heard of a biologist with a clever party trick: regardless of where or when a given party was taking place, he claimed that he could produce a wild salamander in 15 minutes or less, and…

Deerflies: An intense buzzing game
The Outside Story
August 31, 2017

Deerflies: An intense buzzing game

Illustration by Adelaide Tyrol

By Declan McCabe

My students and I were conducting research in the Winooski River floodplain at Saint Michael’s College last week when the buzzing became particularly intense. A brisk walk is enough to outdistance mosquitoes, but deerflies combine fighter…

A dragon devours the sun
The Outside Story
August 16, 2017

A dragon devours the sun

By Michael J. Caduto

More than 3,000 years ago, the Chinese believed that a dragon ate the sun during a solar eclipse, so they gathered outdoors to drive away the beast by beating pots, pans and drums. Some 500 years later, the Greek poet Archilochus…

American goldfinch: a common bird with uncommon habits
Column
July 27, 2017

American goldfinch: a common bird with uncommon habits

By Barbara Mackay

I love the fact that there is always something new to observe in nature. Take goldfinches, for example. I have often watched them devour milkweed seeds from an acrobatic, upside-down position. Recently, I spotted several bright yellow males perched atop dandelion stems,…

The dirt on moles
Column
July 20, 2017

The dirt on moles

By Susan Shea

My dog watched intently as an area of soil in our backyard vibrated and formed a slight ridge. Suddenly he began digging, revealing a mole below ground. Before Cody could pounce, I grabbed his collar and pulled him away.

This was not…