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Holyoke man finds bear paw in his yard
04-17-2024 12:40 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

HOLYOKE — Armand Laramee was heading out on his morning walk around 6 a.m. Tuesday when something lying in his yard caught his eye.His first thought was perhaps his neighbor’s black cat had been hit by a car. He went to check on it.“Then I saw that...

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Earth Matters: Biodiversity crisis in our backyard: The science behind saving habitat for wildlife
05-23-2024 2:36 PM

By KARI BLOOD

One of the reasons many of us love living in the Valley is being able to see wildlife around us. But those sightings will become increasingly rare if humans don’t take bold steps to slow the loss of species around the world. Scientists are sounding...


Mystery shrouds case of injured moose euthanized in Sunderland
05-22-2024 12:42 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

SUNDERLAND — Police responded to the area of Bull Hill Road and Route 116 Tuesday morning for a report of a moose struck by a vehicle. Upon arrival shortly after 7 a.m., though, there were more questions than answers, as first responders found an...


Wildlife Spotters: Hatfield elementary students tracking animal activity as part of science project
03-11-2024 1:15 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

HATFIELD — If deer, bobcats or foxes are passing through their neighborhood, Hatfield Elementary School students have a new way of finding out.With the help of two Amherst College students and two Smith Academy eighth-graders, John Higuera and Ted...


Keeping eagles aloft: Marking 50 years of Endangered Species Act successes in Valley and beyond
12-28-2023 4:45 PM

By MADDIE FABIAN

Ask almost any conservationist about an Endangered Species Act (ESA) success story and they will tell you about the bald eagle.“Growing up, I would have never seen a bald eagle in western Massachusetts,” said Jeff Collins, senior director of...


Speaking of Nature: An immature Cooper’s Hawk gives me a glare
12-26-2023 9:27 AM

By BILL DANIELSON

Dear Reader: I can’t believe that 2023 is almost over. Next week I am going to work on my traditional Year-In-Review column, but today I have decided to give myself permission to go back to one of my favorite photos of 2023. This is a photo that I...


Motorists warned as vehicle-deer collisions rise
11-12-2023 3:29 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

With deer activity peaking as they move into their breeding season, officials are warning motorists to be careful to avoid colliding with the wandering ruminants, particularly during the evening commute.Vehicle-deer collisions in Massachusetts are...


Speaking of Nature: A surprise in a quiet corner: Nannyberry dazzles with a show of autumn color
10-17-2023 1:02 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

“One has only to sit down in the woods or fields, or by the shore of the river or the lake, and nearly everything of interest will come round to him, — the birds, the animals, the insects; and presently, after his eye has got accustomed to place, and...


State research project aims to study bear population size, distribution
09-24-2023 3:44 PM

By DOMENIC POLI

Experts say that if you encounter a bear it is important to immediately make yourself look big, talk very calmly and slowly back away.But after that, if you saw the carnivoran mammal in Massachusetts, you can go to bit.ly/3raabc8 to report the...


New walkers help make rougher Mass Audubon trails accessible
08-23-2023 10:56 AM

By MADDIE FABIAN

EASTHAMPTON – Flora Majumder, age 88, enjoys taking a 20-minute walk every day. Where she lives — at Lathrop Retirement Community in Easthampton — paths, trails and exercise classes that accommodate the use of a cane or walker are plentiful.But, due...


Rare frosted elfin caterpillar spotted in Montague wildlife area 
07-20-2023 5:03 PM

By JULIAN MENDOZA

MONTAGUE — Anywhere from 100 to 10,000 species go extinct each year, a rate 100 to 1,000 times faster than historic extinction rates, according to the American Museum of Natural History. Other species see their habitats condensed by urban development,...


Giving sharks their due: UMass team creates state-of-the-art 3D models for conservation site
07-14-2023 8:53 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

AMHERST — Sharks have long been creatures of fascination, but having focused on them in his work for almost 10 years, UMass biology professor Duncan Irschick has found that most three-dimensional models are poor representations of the marine...


Speaking of Nature: Parenthood and the midnight raiders — Raccoon breeding season
05-09-2023 3:44 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

Three or four times last week I noticed an enormous raccoon on my deck in the moments just before dawn. This was clearly a raccoon that was scrounging for any scraps left over from the meal that I had set out for the birds the evening before and I...


Speaking of Nature: Hidden gem — The trout lily
05-02-2023 1:29 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

It was the Friday of my spring break week and the weather had finally improved. The previous weekend had been beautiful with record-setting high temperatures, but I had been fortunate enough to pick up a case of strep throat from one of my students...


Black bear captured, relocated after climbing up tree outside Northampton courthouse
05-01-2023 8:28 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

NORTHAMPTON — It’s springtime in Northampton again, and that can only mean one thing — the bears are back.A crowd of onlookers gathered around the Hampshire County Courthouse Sunday to catch a glimpse of a black bear that made its way up one of the...


Speaking of Nature: Eight-minute appearance — A male evening grosbeak 
04-25-2023 12:12 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

I am sure that some of you may have looked at today’s photo and thought, “That’s not a plant.” I know that I had made a New Year’s resolution to focus more attention on plants this year, but Nature herself threw me a curveball when this gorgeous male...


Earth Matters: Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly
04-20-2023 5:43 PM

By DAVID SPECTOR

Mallards are the ducks most likely to be seen in park ponds. The male is readily identified by his green head and narrow white neck-band; the brown female, superficially similar to the females of several other duck species, shares the male’s...


Speaking of Nature: A spa day for the hens
04-18-2023 5:21 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

It was Wednesday afternoon of last week and I had just returned home from a long day at work. I spent most of the drive home pondering the topic of this week’s column and reflecting on just how tired and worn out I felt. By the time I pulled down my...


Guest columnists Renee Seacor and John Maguranis: Coexisting with coyotes takes a consistent community response — not sharpshooters
04-02-2023 2:56 PM

By RENEE SEACOR and JOHN MAGURANIS

City dwellers take many forms. In Boston and cities across Massachusetts, hundreds of different species call our cities home, including foxes, raccoons, bald eagles and coyotes.It’s surprising for most urban dwellers to learn that species such as...


Speaking of Nature: The biggest rabbit I’ve ever seen
03-14-2023 12:59 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

So far, this winter has been remarkably average. Some areas might be a little low on snowfall levels, but the temperature has been about average for most days. I’d say it has been a cloudy, gray winter, but nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to...


Speaking of Nature: Conflict — The fight for survival
03-07-2023 10:12 PM

By BILL DANIELSON

We’ve reached that point in the school year when my biology students have learned about Gregor Mendel, his experiments with pea plants and the general concepts of genes and heredity. We’ve also taken a look at the structures and basic functions of DNA...

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