The Outside Story Archive

  • Snakes on a Beach thumbnail

    Snakes on a Beach

    by Susie Spikol | September 17th 2018
    The northern watersnake, Nerodia sipedon, has a lot going against it in the eyes of most people. I’ve watched this medium- to large-sized snake clear…

  • Thank a Thistle thumbnail

    Thank a Thistle

    by Laurie D. Morrissey | September 10th 2018
    There will always be thistle, said the late US Poet Laureate Maxine Kumin in one of her poems, because “Sheep will not eat it /…

  • Leeches: They Don’t All Suck Blood thumbnail

    Leeches: They Don’t All Suck Blood

    by Meghan McCarthy McPhaul | September 3rd 2018
    Most folks who’ve enjoyed a dip in the local swimming hole – whether at a pond, lake, or river – have probably found, on occasion,…

  • Rosy Maple Moth: Contender for the Cutest Moth Award thumbnail

    Rosy Maple Moth: Contender for the Cutest Moth Award

    by Barbara Mackay | August 27th 2018
    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…

  • The Birds of Middle Earth thumbnail

    The Birds of Middle Earth

    by Laurie D. Morrissey | August 20th 2018
    I usually hear the kingfisher before I see it. If I’m reading by the lake, its harsh, rattling call gets my attention. I look up…

  • “Jug-o-Rum!” thumbnail


    by Susan Shea | August 13th 2018
    If you walk by a pond on a summer evening, you may hear the deep “jug-o-rum” of a bullfrog or the “tung” of a green…

  • The Northeast’s Most Alarming Insect thumbnail

    The Northeast’s Most Alarming Insect

    by Declan McCabe | August 6th 2018
    If freshwater insects did senior superlatives before graduating from aquatic life, what would yearbook entries say about dobsonflies? Largest? Most ferocious? Most likely to change…

  • House Wren Eviction thumbnail

    House Wren Eviction

    by Carolyn LoriƩ | July 30th 2018
    One afternoon in early June, a small brown bird swooped down in front of our kitchen window. I wondered where it had swooped from when,…

  • Dry Weather May Mean Less Lyme Disease thumbnail

    Dry Weather May Mean Less Lyme Disease

    by Dave Mance III | July 23rd 2018
    Over the past few decades, black-legged tick populations have grown relentlessly throughout much of southern Vermont and New Hampshire, and farther north in the Connecticut…

  • Stinkin’ Jim thumbnail

    Stinkin’ Jim

    by Susie Spikol | July 13th 2018
    I have always admired turtles and their armored ways; how they bask in the sun and retreat when the world is too much. Last summer,…

  • Dissolute Dabblers thumbnail

    Dissolute Dabblers

    by Meghan McCarthy McPhaul | July 9th 2018
    Robert McCloskey’s Make way for Ducklings is one of my favorite childhood books. I loved the way Mr. and Mrs. Mallard interacted, their seemingly endless…

  • Web Decorations thumbnail

    Web Decorations

    by Rachel Marie Sargent | July 2nd 2018
    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…

  • Gregarious Great Blue Herons thumbnail

    Gregarious Great Blue Herons

    by Susan Shea | June 25th 2018
    Years ago, friends and I spotted a group of huge nests high in the trees along the edge of a large pond: a great blue…

  • A Volcano in New Hampshire? thumbnail

    A Volcano in New Hampshire?

    by Rachel Marie Sargent | June 18th 2018
    North of Concord and south of the White Mountains is an estate romantically named Castle in the Clouds. Reclining on the patio there on a…

  • A Slow Start for Snapping Turtles thumbnail

    A Slow Start for Snapping Turtles

    by Brett Amy Thelen | June 11th 2018
    One moonless May evening, my husband and I walked down to our local pond, flashlights in hand, to look for toads. We were delighted to…

  • Turkey Vultures thumbnail

    Turkey Vultures

    by Meghan McCarthy McPhaul | June 4th 2018
    “Mom, there’s a really big crow in the compost,” my son said one day early this spring, followed closely by, “Wait. What is that bird?…

  • Appreciating Woodchucks thumbnail

    Appreciating Woodchucks

    by Susan Shea | May 25th 2018
    One summer we had an ongoing battle with a woodchuck. Unbeknownst to us, it had dug a burrow in an ideal location — in the…

  • Mountain Laurel thumbnail

    Mountain Laurel

    by Laurie D. Morrissey | May 21st 2018
    If you were fortunate enough to grow up with freedom to roam outdoors, there are likely certain places that stick with you. For me, one…

  • Emerald Ash Borers thumbnail

    Emerald Ash Borers

    by Declan McCabe | May 15th 2018
    Jim Fuller, a former park ranger at Vermont’s Grand Isle State Park, described this interaction with a tourist from New Jersey, when he confiscated their…

  • A Web of Mystery thumbnail

    A Web of Mystery

    by Madeline Bodin | May 8th 2018
    Janet Hayward Burnham, of Bethel,  Vermont, was driving to the bank one day when she saw a tree on the side of the road that…