Stories

Conservationists say New England’s drought is another wakeup call about climate change

August 12, 2022

Alicea Charamut went for a hike last weekend to a place where she thought her dog would have a chance to cool off with a swim. Devil’s Hopyard State Park, in East Haddam, Connecticut, has a big waterfall. But on this day, the water was barely flowing and Charamut’s dog found no relief. “There was…

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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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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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‘Flying on strings and cloth,’ high above western Massachusetts

July 22, 2022

Sometimes Gallagher launches from Mount Tom and flies to his house in Hadley, Mass., about 8 miles away. Sometimes he flies from Mount Tom all the way to Rhode Island or eastern Massachusetts (paragliders call that flying “cross-country”). But some days Gallagher doesn’t go anywhere, just soars above the mountain with the bald eagles and…

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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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Summer camps can’t find staff. That means less child care for Maine parents

July 18, 2022

The sun is barely above the treeline as Chris Shea welcomes about 80 kids to a summer camp organized by the YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston on a recent weekday morning, his voice bellowing through the trees. Each day, the campers scatter across 93 acres of woods and fields, with enough space for all of the classic summer camp…

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Planting 1,000 wildflowers to restore a biodiversity hotspot on Martha’s Vineyard

July 6, 2022

Tim Boland stood next to his black pickup on a dirt road in Edgartown, and waited for a moment. Then, he started handing out wildflowers. “Who would like a flat?” he called to the dozen-or-so volunteers standing nearby. As they eagerly trotted over to the truck, Boland handed out black plastic trays, each holding fifty…

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