The Outside Story

The Outside Story: Molting season
The Outside Story
April 27, 2016

The Outside Story: Molting season

By Joe Rankin

“Boy, he’s really red! I don’t think I’ve ever seen them that red before,” my wife said admiringly of a male purple finch crunching sunflower seeds at the feeder. He was a nice burgundy. The male goldfinches were getting yellower, but still…

The Outside Story: How loons winter
The Outside Story
April 13, 2016

The Outside Story: How loons winter

By Tiffany Soukup

When I was a child, I looked forward to spending summers with my grandmother at our family cottage on a Canadian lake. Every year, as soon as I was out of the car, we would run to the point to look and…

The Outside Story: Turkey Tail Fungus
The Outside Story
April 6, 2016

The Outside Story: Turkey Tail Fungus

By Meghan McCarthy McPhaul

During my walks through the woods these days, I am often accompanied by curious children. These children, who are my own, notice many things that I often do not, and they are filled with questions. Who made that track? Why does…

The Outside Story: How are caves created?
The Outside Story
March 23, 2016

The Outside Story: How are caves created?

By Susan Shea

To enter the cave, we donned hard hats and descended a vertical drop with the aid of a rope. We crawled on our knees and bellies through a wet, narrow passageway, emerging into a large underground chamber that contained a small lake….

The Outside Story: Weasel “Evel Knievels”
The Outside Story
March 16, 2016

The Outside Story: Weasel “Evel Knievels”

By Elise Tillinghast

My friend Gordon Russell sent me a letter recently describing a wildlife encounter. He had been following deer tracks along a stone wall when a movement caught his attention. “Almost before its image could travel to my brain,” he wrote, “the…

In cold, wet woods, needle ice sprouts
The Outside Story
March 2, 2016

In cold, wet woods, needle ice sprouts

By Rachel Sargent

The bare ground of the trail wound through dead leaves and patchy snow. At a short overhang in the trail, I noticed spiky threads of ice growing up from the soil in crunchy clusters. A careless boot revealed how fragile these formations…

Lichen—not technically a plant
The Outside Story
February 17, 2016

Lichen—not technically a plant

By Joe Rankin

On cold winter days, while feeding sticks of firewood into my woodstove, I sometimes pause, my eye caught by lichens. Splotchy circles, lacy tendrils. Soft gray, muted gray-green, black. They mottle the bark. When I look out the window next…