The Outside Story Archive

  • No Fuss X-Mas Tree Recycling thumbnail

    No Fuss X-Mas Tree Recycling

    by Dave Mance III | January 8th 2018
    In urban and suburban areas, Christmas tree disposal has come a long way since the bad old days when trees were just compacted with the…

  • Quaking Aspen: Capturing Winter Light thumbnail

    Quaking Aspen: Capturing Winter Light

    by Meghan McCarthy McPhaul | January 1st 2018
    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.…

  • Beech Bark Disease thumbnail

    Beech Bark Disease

    by Joe Rankin | December 26th 2017
    If you’ve ever seen chevrons on the bark of an American beech, you know you’re looking at a tree that’s been hugged by a black…

  • Cluster Flies thumbnail

    Cluster Flies

    by Elise Tillinghast | December 18th 2017
    So here’s my movie concept: during a laboratory accident, a scientist exchanges his DNA with a fly. Over the next few weeks, our hero slowly…

  • The Afterlife of Logs thumbnail

    The Afterlife of Logs

    by Declan McCabe | December 11th 2017
    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…

  • Liverworts thumbnail

    Liverworts

    by Susan Shea | December 4th 2017
    I followed a stream downhill through the woods as it coursed through a small ravine. At the base of the hill, just before the brook…

  • Nuthatches: The Upside Down Birds thumbnail

    Nuthatches: The Upside Down Birds

    by Joe Rankin | November 27th 2017
    Like many people who watch birds, I have my favorites. The nuthatches, for instance. Quirky little birds. Shaped like stubby cigars, with their short tails…

  • Coyotes Prepare for Winter thumbnail

    Coyotes Prepare for Winter

    by Susie Spikol Faber | November 20th 2017
    Eight years ago, my husband and I planted 128 fruit trees on a hillside, mostly apples, but the back few rows included stone fruits. Our…

  • Succession: How a Forest Creates and Re-creates Itself thumbnail

    Succession: How a Forest Creates and Re-creates Itself

    by Joe Rankin | November 13th 2017
    A few years ago, I started an observational experiment in forest succession on a couple of acres where we once pastured sheep and goats. Rocky…

  • Goldenrod Golf Balls thumbnail

    Goldenrod Golf Balls

    by Declan McCabe | November 6th 2017
    A few Thanksgivings ago, my then-ten-year-old daughter and I went for an afternoon stroll.  Unseasonably warm weather made for a longer than planned walk through…

  • Reflections on Roadkill thumbnail

    Reflections on Roadkill

    by Brett Amy Thelen | November 2nd 2017
    Every so often, my friend David texts me a picture of roadkill. A fisher trailing a single strand of blood-red sinew. A wind-roused pile of…

  • Bears Make Their Beds, and Soon They’ll Lie in Them thumbnail

    Bears Make Their Beds, and Soon They’ll Lie in Them

    by Meghan McCarthy McPhaul | October 24th 2017
    The fields around our home are something of a bear buffet from mid-summer through fall: wild blueberries in July followed by blackberries, then apples come…

  • Hearts and Minds thumbnail

    Hearts and Minds

    by Dave Mance III | October 16th 2017
    Writers love conflict, and so we often put religion and science in a small pen and make them fight, our readers standing around with fistfuls…

  • Chirp, Click, Buzz – Last Call for the Insect Orchestra thumbnail

    Chirp, Click, Buzz – Last Call for the Insect Orchestra

    by Meghan McCarthy McPhaul | October 6th 2017
    This time of year, I keep the windows cracked open on even marginally warm nights, savoring the sweet air that sifts through the screens. On…

  • Amanita Aura thumbnail

    Amanita Aura

    by Dave Mance III | October 2nd 2017
    One of our big collective cultural fears about nature involves poisonous plants. Our mothers implored us to NEVER put anything from the woods in our…

  • Fog Descending On Swamp Maples thumbnail

    Fog Descending On Swamp Maples

    by Dan Lambert | September 25th 2017
    In New England, the edge of autumn feels like no other time of year. The cool nights and warm afternoons call mid-May to mind, but…

  • A Plague of Ticks: Scientists Search for Solutions thumbnail

    A Plague of Ticks: Scientists Search for Solutions

    by Susan Shea | September 18th 2017
    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…

  • Summer’s Last Exhale thumbnail

    Summer’s Last Exhale

    by Brett Amy Thelen | September 11th 2017
    The first time I saw nighthawks migrating through downtown Keene, I acted like a complete lunatic. Dozens of the slender birds were gliding down Main…

  • Salamander Party Tricks thumbnail

    Salamander Party Tricks

    by Brett Amy Thelen | September 4th 2017
    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…

  • Deerflies thumbnail

    Deerflies

    by Declan McCabe | August 28th 2017
    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…