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News stories tagged with "spring"

Apparent retrograde motion of Mars in 2003. Animation: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Apparent_retrograde_motion_of_Mars_in_2003.gif">Eugene Alvin Villar</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Apparent retrograde motion of Mars in 2003. Animation: Eugene Alvin Villar, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Spring comes to the solar system

St. Lawrence University physicist Aileen O'Donoghue stopped by the NCPR studio this morning with an update on all the ways we can chart the change of season without ever looking at a thermometer. Just watch the winter constellations, like Orion, disappear and the spring sky emerge.

She also maps out where Earth is in relation to the other planets racing around the Sun, and which ones we can see just now. Venus is still bright in the morning. We're moving away from Jupiter, and you'd probably need really good binoculars or a telescope now to see its moons. And Mars is red and bright in the east early in the evening. If you follow its motion night by night, you'll notice it's going "backwards" for a while now. She explains this retrograde motion, which was a key clue in the ancients' realization that we are not the center of the universe.  Go to full article
Andrea Malik applies a BTI treatment by a beaver dam in Colton. Black fly eggs need running water to hatch, so they're an easy target. Photo: David Sommerstein
Andrea Malik applies a BTI treatment by a beaver dam in Colton. Black fly eggs need running water to hatch, so they're an easy target. Photo: David Sommerstein

Hate black flies? Hug this woman.

It's one of the cruelest fates dealt the North Country. The snow's gone. The warm sun's finally back. And just when we're dying to bask in spring, the black flies begin to swarm.

A couple dozen towns in the North Country try to take a stand. They treat thousands of miles of streams to kill the nasty, biting bugs. It's all done by hand, dozens of people slogging miles through the deep woods to deliver a bacteria that's fatal to black flies: Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, or BTI.

One woman in St. Lawrence County has dedicated almost 30 years of her life to battling the black fly. David Sommerstein profiled her in 2007.  Go to full article
Photo: Martha Foley
Photo: Martha Foley

Flood warnings remain as most rivers begin to fall

After several days of high flood waters across the region, most rivers appear to be cresting or beginning to recede, thanks to dry weather and unseasonably cold weather that slowed the spring snow melt.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency yesterday for much of the North Country due to flooding concerns. The declaration affects Essex, Franklin, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. He said state officials are also keeping a close eye on flooding along the upper Hudson and along the Mohawk River.

Cuomo acknowledged that floodwaters are receding already in most areas, but said that emergency declaration would free up state officials to aid local response efforts.
Flood warnings remain in effect for much of our listening area, including the Black River valley around Watertown. It's expected to crest later today there at more than four feet above flood stage.  Go to full article
West Branch of the St. Regis River from route 11, Tuesday, April 15. Photo: Natasha Haverty
West Branch of the St. Regis River from route 11, Tuesday, April 15. Photo: Natasha Haverty

Flood update: SLC declares state of emergency, updated list of road closures

North Country rivers are running high with snow melt. And officials are warning of more water to come. Two inches of rain, possibly mixing with snow, are forecast into Wednesday.

Officials say that could mean flooding across the region. NCPR is providing updates as the situation develops.
 Go to full article
Brett McLeod over the evaporator. Photo: Sarah Harris
Brett McLeod over the evaporator. Photo: Sarah Harris

Too cold? Too warm? Hitting the sweet spot for maple

Continuing deep cold through the end of March had maple producers worrying if they'd have a season at all this year.

But remember two years ago, when it felt like we barely had a winter? Maple syrup producers struggled then, too, because it wasn't cold enough.

That year, Sarah Harris went to an usually warm Adirondack "boil" (click "listen" to hear the sounds of the boil.)  Go to full article
A nest with Eastern Bluebird eggs.  Photo: Carl Austin, Jr., Grovetown, GA
A nest with Eastern Bluebird eggs. Photo: Carl Austin, Jr., Grovetown, GA

Want to keep an eye on bird nests this spring?

Lots of birds have begun returning to the North Country from their wintering grounds. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is recruiting volunteers for its annual NestWatch citizen science project. Participants map any nest or birdhouse location on the NestWatch website. They report the species of nesting bird, when eggs laid, how many hatch and how many fledglings leave the nest.

Todd Moe spoke with NestWatch project leader Robyn Bailey says the nationwide program tracks and analyzes nesting bird data all year. She says sometimes NestWatchers see something remarkable that surprises scientists.  Go to full article
Photo: David Sommerstein
Photo: David Sommerstein

Finally, a sign of spring: Maple Weekend is here

Looking for that real sign of spring? Don't look out the window. New York's first crop of 2014 is coming in. The sugar shanties will be going full bore this weekend for the state's official Maple Weekend. There are some celebrations around the region and plenty of places to taste the freshest maple syrup.

New York is the country's second biggest producer of the sweet nectar, behind Vermont. Producers will put out more than 2 million taps this spring.

New York's Acting Commissioner of Agriculture Richard Ball spoke with David Sommerstein. He says it's the time to celebrate a tradition and an economic driver.  Go to full article
The tap...
The tap...

Listen: In Canton, tapping trees for syrup

The immediate forecast isn't ideal for making maple syrup, but it's coming: that combination of cold nights, warm days and sunshine. Chickadees get busy, and the sap rises.

Whether your operation includes a bulk holding tank and miles of plastic tubing, or just a few buckets hanging off the trees in the backyard, it all starts the same way, with a strategically placed hole in a sugar maple.


Today's Heard Up North was first broadcast in March 2010.  Go to full article
Photo by Jennifer Herrick
Photo by Jennifer Herrick

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What did you want to be when you grew up? Imagine sitting down with your four-year-old self today and telling him or her about your future. Would that child be surprised? Excited? Disappointed?

Last year, when the pre-kindergarten class at Lawrence Avenue Elementary School in Potsdam graduated, their teacher Jen Herrick had them record what they wanted to be when they grow up. These recordings played as each child walked across the stage to receive his or her diploma. Tasha Haverty turned some of them into today's Heard Up North.  Go to full article
Concord grape vines covered with blossoms this week. Photo by Martha Foley
Concord grape vines covered with blossoms this week. Photo by Martha Foley

It's the season: farmers' markets, strawberries, and blossoms

July is just around the corner, and we can hope the last frost of the season is behind us.

Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy says farmers' markets are open across the region. Each county extension office has a map of local markets, farm stands, and other sources. She tells Martha Foley there lots of local produce available already, and that strawberries are truly in season.

And, it's been a lush month or so, with plants producing lots of foliage and blossoms. Martha talks about being surprised by the fragrance of Concord grapes, and Amy explains how root systems develop in wetter weather.  Go to full article

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