Nature Net’s monthly blog highlights seasonal topics and helps you feel like the expert. Each edition features tips for educators and families, and links to exciting, nature-focused websites.

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June 2024 – The Great Cicada Summer
The arrival of summer in the midwest this year aligns with the much anticipated emergence of the notorious, and celebrated, 17-year cicada. While this large, vociferous insect’s arrival is always significant due to its infrequency, this year in parts of America’s Midwest two of the overlapping broods will emerge  at once. While some dread the cicada’s arrival for their hungry, buzzing ways, others laud the synchronicity of their short-lived stay above ground and their important contribution to local ecosystems.  The ...Continue Reading
March 2024 – Solar Eclipse Sweeping the Nation
In just a couple short weeks, a swath of North America stretching from Mexico to Canada will experience a total solar eclipse. While there is a solar eclipse once every year and a half or so, this one, on April 8th, will be the last time one passes through North America until 2044–accepting a small portion of northern Alaska in 2033 and parts of Greenland in 2026. This month’s Nature Net News will break down the why of solar eclipses, ...Continue Reading
February 2024 – Birding Through the Seasons
Last week, while leading a field trip on seasonal discovery, I heard a familiar sound far above my head: the coarse squawk of sandhill cranes. A pair was flying over the prairie, a first for the year, and a signal of the migration season ahead. The arrival of sandhill cranes in Wisconsin is usually reserved for March, however with the warming climate, migrators will likely be returning earlier each year. This phenological event served as the inspiration for this month’s ...Continue Reading
January 2024 – Climate Resolutions
Many of us are beginning the new year by evaluating our lives and identifying changes we want to make in the coming year. There’s a certain humanness in deciding that our clean slate starts at this relatively random point in time, but that doesn’t exclude nature from being included in our fresh start. I want to use this month’s Nature Net News to dig into ways we as individuals can incorporate more climate hope and solutions into our lives. Individual ...Continue Reading
December 2023 – Winter Stargazing
As the year winds down, so does the amount of daylight we have. Each day is getting progressively shorter until we reach the winter solstice, December 21st. If we humans are being completely honest with ourselves, it’s a dark time of year in more ways than one. We are preparing for the long winter ahead and reflecting on our successes but also failures of the year that was. In all of that, it’s hard to find light spots. Fortunately for ...Continue Reading
November 2023 – Red Granite
As our trees are dropping their leaves and the landscape is feeling more bare by the day, there’s a different natural feature whose mark is more visible on our landscape. While overshadowed by towering oaks and dense greenery in the spring and summer months, or blanketed in snow through the winter, Wisconsin red granite, our state rock, stands out in the grays and browns of November. But what exactly is granite and what gives Wisconsin red granite its namesake shade? ...Continue Reading
October 2023 – Wild Mushrooms
Fall rains have arrived and that means it's wild mushroom season! In this months Nature Net News we delve into the world of fungus--both above and below ground. Learn about the largest living organism on Earth, the best time to look for wild mushrooms, and how to cook wild mushrooms. The Hunt One sunny afternoon this week, some coworkers and I took our planning meeting on the road, or rather, on the trail. While we discussed what the next week ...Continue Reading
July 2023 – Summer Insects
It's summertime.  And here in Wisconsin, that means sunshine, blooming flowers, and...insects. This month we're revisiting some of our favorite Nature Net News posts about animals in the class Insecta. Did you know bumble bees make honey? And that firefly larvae are desirable garden predators? Find the full length articles linked below or use these quick synopses to pick up some fun facts for your next insect encounter.   Cicadas From August 2015 Cicadas are not in the locust family as some ...Continue Reading
June 2023 – Pacific Garbage Patch
When I was in my early twenties, I spent a semester on a NOLS expedition in Kenya. One day, as we walked the tide pools along the Indian Ocean, we came across a sloshing pool filled with flotsam and jetsam and other human-made debris. The plastic bits, like some strange breed of sea glass, had been tumbled and smoothed by the tides. Some items were recognizable - a flip flop sandal, a baby’s pacifier - others were rounded into colorful, ...Continue Reading
May 2023 – Urban Gardening
Have you ever heard of the “Gangsta Gardener”? I’m guessing it’s likely, given that his 2013 TED Talk has been viewed over 4 million times. (You can increase that number by watching for yourself below.) When Ron Finley converted the strip of land between his house and the street into a vegetable garden, the city of Los Angeles put out a warrant for his arrest. Urban gardening on city-owned land was not legal. But Finley and his friends at LA ...Continue Reading