Field Notes from the Northern Forest / Edition 1

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With the same humor and personable ease that characterizes the popular weekly nature program that he coproduces on North Country Public Radio, Curt Stager draws on the latest scientific literature and on his own observations to share his curiosity about the natural world. These twenty natural science essays take us down to ground level to explore the lives of animals, plants, and fungi commonly encountered in the conifer, hardwood, and mixed wood forests of northeastern North America.
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Editorial Reviews

Based on episodes from a weekly public radio program co-produced by Stager (biology, Paul Smith's College of Arts and Sciences, the Northern Adirondacks), these 20 natural science essays take a seasonal, small worlds' approach to observations of the flora and fauna of the forests of the northeastern US. Artist Anne E. Lacy deserves credit for her delicate illustrations. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Kirkus Reviews
Short, personable essays enthusiastically explore the natural history of one of North America's largest (and possibly most overlooked) ecosystems. The Great Northern Forest sprawls from the Western Adirondacks to the coast of Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. Stager, who teaches biology at Paul Smith's College in the northern Adirondacks and hosts the public radio program "Natural Selections," argues that it's as complex as the tropical rain forest├żand just as threatened by overdevelopment and pollution. Debunking woodcraft myths (like the belief that moss grows exclusively on the north side of trees), demystifying the northern lights, or weighing the pros and cons of backyard bird feeders, Stager balances his love of a good story with rigorous consideration of the latest scientific research. He explains with the passion and patience of a teacher, and his lay translations enlighten without bogging down in complexity and jargon. What's surprising is how little scientists know about much of the natural world: Research often turns up no definitive answers, especially regarding the tiniest plants and insects, such as lichens and bee-flies. When he runs up against such gaps, Stager reacts like a good scientist and tries to fill them himself. He stretches out in the grass to observe ants and trout lilies, halts a campus construction project to rescue ground-burrowing bees, and challenges his students to unravel the conundrum of why snowfleas swarm in winter. Only the most devoted nature-lovers will be transfixed by every essay (especially since Stager spends more time on bugs than bears), but he succeeds in painting the big picture by focusing on the small scale. Stager's upbeatshort takes are like a day afield with an avuncular guide, paying tribute to his neck of the woods while inspiring the rest of us that getting in touch with nature can be as simple as looking around our own backyards. (illustrations, not seen)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815605133
  • Publisher: Syracuse University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1998
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 257
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Ground Bees 3
Small Worlds 15
Woodpeckers 25
Underground Connections 34
Why Do Bugs Bite? 45
Natives 59
Snakes 68
Plant Defenses 78
Fireflies 91
Beavers 99
Mosses and Lichens 113
Bogs 121
What Should You Do When You See a Bear? 132
Conifers 142
Princess Pines 154
Winter Woods 165
Northern Lights 174
Bird Feeder Biology 184
Snowfleas 194
Maple Sap 204
Postscript 214
Glossary 219
References 231
Index 245
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