Environment & Outdoors

simpleinsomnia/Flickr

Back in the day, you had to work in the garden if you wanted to eat.

Then many folks (perhaps justifiably) began enjoying the convenience of fruits and veggies (canned, frozen or fresh) from the grocery store.

Master gardener Tom Kasper says the pendulum is swinging back again toward folks growing their own food, but he says the attitude now is that people get to garden; they don't have to.

The Sea Grant Files returns to KUMD this week with an exciting opportunity for public participation.  Sharon Moen of Minnesota Sea Grant visits with guest Dr. Lucinda Williams, Associate Director/Initiative Director for Water at UMD's Natural Resources Research Institute.  Dr. Johnson will a part of the Facebook Live Open Town Hall on "Solving North Shore Water Challenges" happening Monday at October 2, at noon.

©Sparky Stensaas. Used with permission.

"I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw." ~ Wm. Shakespeare, "Hamlet"

Whether or not Hamlet had spent any time at Hawk Ridge is a question for another time, but experienced birders know a northwesterly wind is best for seeing birds at what has become an internationally-recognized place to see migration.

©Pat Thomas. Used with permission.

County Commissioner Frank Jewell isn't upset at all.

Despite the fact that he'd been pushing the St. Louis County Commission for six years to ban neonicotinoid pesticides and also to add bee- and butterfly friendly native plants, it wasn't until a group of citizens from the northern part of the county got behind the effort that things started to happen.

©MN Department of Natural Resources

The age-old vacation question: to connect or not to connect?

Back in the day, with landline phones and rabbit-ear TV antennas, it was easy to disconnect from the outside world when you headed "up north."

But Minnesota's newest state park, Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park, has all-electric campsites - and wifi.

©Sparky Stensaas. Used with permission.

Photo-naturalist Sparky Stensaas joins us as guest host of Backyard Almanac this morning, and brings us a story you probably won't hear over the breakfast table.

And there's a good reason for that.

It's Jaegerfest at Wisconsin Point this weekend!  Find out more about all the events here!

MN DNR

It's an unusual fall in Minnesota.

Tettegouche State Park interpretive naturalist Kurt Mead says things are still pretty green along the North Shore, but they're around 60% peak a little further inland, and in southern Minnesota (which usually lags behind the Northland) the colors are already popping. 

For more information on the fall colors around the state, check out the Fall Color Finder on the DNR's website.

lundy | hive/Flickr

Want to plant a tree?  Tom Kasper says the first thing is to look up.  Power or phone lines in the way?*  Relocate your tree.

© Dorian [via Flickr]

Larry Weber, educator, author and naturalist, talks about his observations in nature this week, including light from the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies, and from glowworms who are feeding before they bed down for winter.  Despite the warm temps of late the fall foliage is showing some brilliant yellows and reds.  Larry has seen woolly bear caterpillars and an eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly.  The fog yesterday also provided a brilliant showing of spider webs. 

© Superior National Forest [via Flickr]

Naturalist Larry Weber observes the terrific autumnal conditions this morning, including aerial spider webs in the trees, bird migrations (robins, Canada geese, crows, flickers, warblers, et al.), young coyotes, newly-independent fawns, and butterflies.  Rainfall totals are the 13th highest on record (dating back to 18701), five inches above normal.  Wasps and hornets are gathering on goldenrod as they start to seek winter homes.  Late blooms include sunflowers, aster. Blackberries are still on hand, and the first phase of fall leaves are beginning to appear.

Our Sustainability Week series continues on Northland Morning as we speak with Bret Pence, the Arrowhead Network Regional Coordinator for Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light.  Solar energy and the use of "smart" storage batteries home is a reality that not only can serve as a backup for outages but also can provide an ongoing renewable power source that integrates with the existing power grid to reduce dependency on power from fossil fuel sources.  

Leeann Cafferata [via Flickr]

As part of our Sustainability Week series on Northland Morning, we speak with Jodi Slick, the founder and CEO of Ecolibrium3, about what it means to have a sustainable community, by improving social connectivity and creating local zoning plans that promote sustaining our regional ecosystem. 

© Minnesota Power

Our guest today is Paul Helstrom, the Renewable Program Lead at MN Power, whose job is to create a more user friendly renewable energy program for MN Power and our community.  He joins us to share more about their community solar program.

Scot Nelson [via Flickr]

Tom Kasper talks about how the abundance of rain and resulting humidity in recent months is leading to a rise in powdery mildew, a fungal growth that affects many plants.  Gardeners are advised to look out for it, and possibly remove affected leaves to increase airflow around their plants help stave off its spread.

As part of our Sustainability Week series on Northland Morning, we speak with Tristen Eberling from Ecolibrium3 about the Giving Comfort at Home program.  Many of our neighbors in Duluth are living in energy poverty.  Deciding whether to “heat or eat” happens too often with our long winters and old housing stock.

Pages