Stories

Forester Kyle Lombard looks out the window of the small airplane, searching for damage in the New Hampshire forest below.

Meet the foresters keeping an eye on New Hampshire’s trees from the sky

August 9, 2022

Most of the year, New Hampshire’s Forest Health team is on the ground, in the woods, doing what they can to protect the state’s trees. But for a few days every summer, they get to soar above it all. Foresters Bill Davidson and Kyle Lombard make up the two-person operation affectionately known as the Bug…

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‘Old Ladies’ dive into Cape ponds seeking trash, emerge triumphant

August 8, 2022

People normally aren’t excited to find garbage on the bottom of a pond, but for an unusual group of underwater trash collectors on Cape Cod, there’s a certain exhilaration when the biggest discovery of the day suddenly appears 8 feet below the surface. “We found the tire!” exclaims Diane Hammer, who sits in a kayak…

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Threatened toads defy odds, appear to make a comeback on the Cape

August 1, 2022

In the 1980s, a rare and elusive amphibian called the spadefoot toad vanished from its habitat in Falmouth, Mass., on Cape Cod. For the last decade, conservationists have tried to bring it back. Now they believe they’ve reached a breakthrough in that quest. The story begins each year in springtime, when Mass Audubon researchers don…

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Peregrine falcons in New Hampshire could find an unlikely ally: rock climbers

July 27, 2022

Recreationists and wildlife have to coexist. But there are times when wildlife need their distance from the humans that like to explore their habitat. For a handful of sites around New Hampshire, that means closing certain areas over the spring and summer so peregrine falcons can nest. Peregrines were considered endangered until the late 1990s,…

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Mike Doucette, of Modern Pest Services, pulls out a SMART box electronic rat trap set up along the bike path outside of Davis Square in Somerville to check its contents.

Mass. cities scurry to contain rats with electronic traps, carbon monoxide and birth control

July 25, 2022

Just off the bike path in Somerville, Mass., Michael Collins waded through the bushes and picked up a metal box. Collins popped open the lid — and immediately noticed a rancid smell. A dead rat was decomposing inside. “I’d say it’s a juvenile,” said Michael Collins, of Modern Pest Services, as he slid the rodent…

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A group of Connecticut cicadas disappeared nearly 70 years ago. Scientists still search for answers.

July 25, 2022

On a hill overlooking the Fenton River Valley, John Cooley gestures to a horizon blanketed with trees. It’s the bucolic embodiment of New England’s forested landscape. It’s also the scene of a mystery that’s puzzled scientists for nearly 70 years. What happened to a group of periodical cicadas that used to live here? “You would…

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Monarch butterflies are now endangered. New England scientists say we can do more to protect them

July 22, 2022

A global conservation collaborative — the International Union for Conservation of Nature — has declared North America’s migrating monarch butterflies endangered. The designation doesn’t carry regulatory weight — but it sends a strong message that the species is in trouble. Eastern monarch butterflies spend their summers along the eastern seaboard and migrate thousands of miles every…

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A Maine forest offers decades of data on trees’ ability to remove carbon from the air

July 22, 2022

For decades, scientists from around the world have been visiting a mature forest just off the interstate, about 30 miles north of Bangor. They’ve undertaken groundbreaking studies on acid rain, forest ecology and soil health. NASA used it for a remote sensing project. And at one point the 550-acre Howland Research Forest was the most…

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Biden pledges executive action on climate change, opens Gulf of Mexico to offshore wind

July 21, 2022

In a visit to Somerset’s Brayton Point on Wednesday, President Biden pledged to take executive action on climate change if Congress won’t act. “This is an emergency,” he said. “An emergency. And I will look at it that way.” But he stopped short of declaring climate change a national emergency, something Senate Democrats and other…

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Maine seal deaths linked to the avian flu prompt a federal investigation

July 20, 2022

The federal government has designated the deaths of nearly 160 seals since the start of June as an “unusual mortality event” along Maine’s coast. An investigation is now underway to determine the cause, the impact and the environmental factors surrounding it. The highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in a large number of the…

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