Author: Sarah Gladu

Skunk cabbage is most noticeable in early spring when its tropical-looking leaves expand in stream-beds and ditches throughout the northeast. These water-loving plants will grow in muddy bogs, swamps, wet woodlands and streambeds. They prefer shade and wet soils, though they cannot tolerate having their roots wet for prolonged periods.

How do you tell a fisher from an otter by its footprints? Learn the finer points of tracking Maine wildlife in this online program with naturalist Sarah Gladu.

Sarah shares photos of tracks and signs and discusses the animals who left them, from birds to weasels.

Join Sarah for a walk at Walpole Woods in South Bristol. This upland forest habitat provides wonderful cover and food for all sorts of animals and birds. See tracks left by jumping mice, red and gray squirrel, snowshoe hare, ruffed grouse, fox and more. Sarah also points out interesting plants, trees and other features she encounters along the way.

Winterberry shrubs are easy to spot in Maine this time of year, when its red berries are often the only bright color on the landscape. Look for it in roadside ditches, in and around wetlands, and in soggy spots in the woods. From March to October this shrub is cloaked with dark, glossy, oval leaves, but in the winter the red berries stand out and draw us to take a closer look.

I witnessed an amazing sight last night – thirty nighthawks overhead! They were darting and swooping so high there was no hope of me getting a photograph, but their pointed, swept-back wings with a distinguishing white slash well past the “elbow,” as well as the rounded head with an all-but-invisible beak, makes them easy to identify even far overhead. (…)

Hazelnuts, or filberts as they are sometimes known, are common here in Maine. They are an important food source for rodents, deer, and many birds including grouse and turkeys. They are very tasty but smaller than their European counterpart, which is what you would usually find at the grocery store. (…)

Leucanthemum vulgare is so common we tend to pass it by. A native of Asia, it spread across Europe and eventually North America, perhaps brought by early colonists as seed heads in hay. It tolerates a variety of soil types, can withstand heavy livestock hooves, repeated mowing or grazing and is extremely tolerant of drought and frost. A real survivalist. (…)

Making a sound map is a good activity for all ages and a fun way to practice listening skills and learn about using symbols.

What is coastal acidification, and how is it different from ocean acidification? Learn about the issue as it relates to midcoast Maine, as well as what’s being done in our area to better understand the problem.

Mapping is a great way to develop math and spatial relationship skills. This activity naturally lends itself to integrating art and language skills as well. There are many directions you could take it, so go outside and have fun with it!