Tag Archives: the outside story

Rosy maple moth: contender for the cutest moth award
The Outside Story
August 30, 2018

Rosy maple moth: contender for the cutest moth award

By Barbara Mackay

The church service was about to begin when some breathless kids pulled me out of my seat to “come see this awesome, pretty, pink-and-yellow, fuzzy baby moth!” on the Sunday school door. It was a rosy maple moth, Dryocampa rubicunda, notable for…

The Outside Story
July 5, 2018

Web decorations

By Rachel Marie Sargent

When I was little and tagging along when my dad tended his vegetables, I would sometimes find large black and yellow garden spiders. They were beautiful, and I noticed they had a curious trait: they often added a bright…

The Outside Story
May 3, 2018

Mute swans, beautiful but harmful

By Meghan McCarthy McPhaul

The big white birds paddling gracefully across a Massachusetts pond last November surprised me. I’d grown up in the town I was visiting and had never seen swans there, although my friend assured me they were resident birds. The only mute…

The Outside Story
April 12, 2018

Porcupine salt cravings

By Susan Shea

When I was growing up, my family rented a vacation home on a mountain in southern Vermont. One night we were awakened by our dogs barking. Soon we heard a persistent gnawing on the outside of the house. My dad went to…

Spring: raccoons and other mischieveous critters
The Outside Story
March 30, 2018

Spring: raccoons and other mischieveous critters

By Meghan McCarthy McPhaul

Often, during my forays into the woods behind our house, I wonder who might be occupying the holes carved into tree trunks by time and nature. The barred owls I hear hoo-hoo-hoo-hooing, maybe, or the chittering red squirrels. And, chances are,…

The Outside Story
March 22, 2018

Stone walls

By Joe Rankin

When you think about the iconic landforms of the Northeast, what comes to mind? The mountains, of course. The lakes. Of course. Rivers? Probably.

But there’s another. Stone walls. An estimated 100,000 miles of them. They might not be as impressive as…

The Outside Story
January 4, 2018

Quaking Aspen: capturing winter light

By Meghan McCarthy McPhaul

Near the house where I lived during my Colorado years, there was a trail that wove through a sprawling grove of perfect quaking aspen trees. In spring, the soft green of emerging leaves was one of the first signs of warming…

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…