The Outside Story

09/05/2019
It’s tempting to simply view fish scales as armor, but there’s more to them than that. They provide camouflage; they also play a role in locomotion. For scientists working on the recovery of American Shad in the Connecticut River, scales provide a record of a fish’s life history and a way to measure the success of restoration efforts. American shad is our largest river herring. The males, called bucks, run up to six pounds. The females, or row shad, up to four. Like their cousins alewife and blue-backed herring, shad are anadromous, spending most of the year in the ocean, then running up...
08/29/2019
Lupine is one of the most spectacular flowers of early summer, painting long stretches of roadside with shades of purple and blue. Thanks to this tall, showy plant, even a stop-and-go drive to Boston’s Logan Airport has its moments of beauty (as I recently had occasion to observe). Full sun and dry, sandy soil are just right for lupine. Although many people don’t know it, the lupine we typically see in the Northeast is “not from around here.” It’s a non-native plant that was imported to eastern gardens from parts of the western U.S. and escaped cultivation. Our native lupine is similar, but...

Illustration by Adelaide Tyrol
08/19/2019
Have you seen a spotted lanternfly? If you live in New England, and answered “no,” that’s good. But we’ll have to check back with you next year.  The lanternfly is one of the latest foreign invasive insect pests to become established in North America.  And it isn’t a picky eater. Dozens of crops and native trees are go-to foods for this destructive bug. While it apparently hasn’t made it to this region yet, it is entrenched farther south. Entomologists are watching nervously. “For landowners and orchards they’re a nightmare ... a total menace to society,” said Judy Rosovsky, the Vermont state...
07/29/2019
A good friend was in touch; her son was enduring allergic reactions to mosquitos and, like any good parent, she sought solutions. I told her that the most practical, non-toxic way to deal with the problem was to consider a mosquito’s lifecycle, and interrupt it where it starts.  Mosquitoes begin their lives in eggs laid singly or in rafts, in most cases on the surface of water. We purchase mosquito egg rafts at Saint Michael’s College to run student experiments with the hatching larvae.  A female mosquito, potentially using your blood or mine for energy, delicately alights on the water to lay...
07/09/2019
Eighteen years ago, when I moved back to New Hampshire, I rarely came across ticks. The dog didn’t carry them unwittingly into the house, and I could spend the day in the garden or on wooded trails and not see a single, hard-shelled, eight-legged, blood-sucking creepy-crawly. Not so anymore. Now, from the time of snowmelt in the spring to the first crisp snowfall of autumn — and often beyond — we find ticks everywhere: on the dog, crawling up the front door, along kids’ hairlines, on backs or arms or legs, and occasionally (and alarmingly) walking along a couch cushion or bed pillow. With the...

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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

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