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Nature's Notebook


A leaf of the invasive plant tree-of-heaven (Ailthanthus altissima), the host plant of the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula). Photo by Alison Robey

Why invasive species matter

Every one of us is familiar with invasive species. They are the bright yellow dandelions dotting our lawns, the startlingly green honeysuckles spilling over our roadsides, and the swarming spongy moth caterpillars prematurely emptying our forest’s canopy last summer. But what is it that makes these organisms so invasive in the first place?


Green frogs hide from the sun under duckweed in a  frog pond at the Sharon Audubon Center. Photo by Alison Robey

Surviving intensifying heat waves

When I tell people that I study ecological modeling for a living, the typical response is a wide-eyed stare and some variation of the question, “What on earth is that?”

Assuming most people don’t want to hear about differential equations and population dynamics, I’ve developed an abbreviated response: “Math about plants.”


Robert Marra of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station discusssed four tree diseases with a Norfolk audience on Saturday, July 16. Photo by Patrick L. Sullivan

Forest pathologist’s grim outlook for tree diseases

NORFOLK — Robert Marra of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) told an audience that genetic engineering might prove a better strategy than creating hybrids in restoring American chestnuts. Marra, a forest pathologist at CAES, spoke to a group of about 50 people at Great Mountain Forest in Norfolk on Saturday, July 16.


Tilly Strauss had the foresight to order her baby chicks ahead of time. They arrived by mail a week or so ago and are now getting stronger in a little box in her living room. Photo by Tilly Strauss

Spring ramps, chicks, birds and cows in mud

This week’s Nature’s Notebook column includes information and observations from several area nature experts.

Ramps are here!

Jody Bronson, Forest Manager for the Great Mountain Forest in Norfolk and Falls Village, suggests that, “Foraging for ramps is a great spring tonic.

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