Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 1:10 pm
Reading, Pa., is one of the poorest cities in the country. So when a shabby-looking, 50-foot Christmas tree went up in the middle of the city's downtown around Thanksgiving, many saw it as a metaphor for the city's troubles.
A tree damaged during the June 2011 tornado is removed from the yard of a home in Springfield,MA. The city launched a "Right of Entry" program to remove trees from private property after FEMA rejected numerous appeals to pay for it.
When you think of environmentally beneficial landscapes, the land beneath power lines might not be at the top of your list, but new research is highlighting this habitat's importance in conserving a wide array of plant and insect life.
For 50 years, the White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield has provided a hands-on look at the natural diversity of northwestern Connecticut. With workshops, educational programs -- even its own Nature Museum -- the center has been teaching visitors about the various species and habitats found on the surrounding land.
Connecticut has a lot of trees. Our state leads the nation on this piece of technical jargon from the state forester, "woodland urban interface tree density." That means two things -- one: Connecticut has a lot of old, towering, trees -- and two, when major storms, like the ones in 2011 and 2012, hit those trees can be really vulnerable.
Last June, Connecticut played host to an emergence of periodical 17-year cicadas. For many, promises of bug swarms covering neighborhoods never came to pass.
For others, in places like Meriden and North Branford, millions of cicadas did take over, lining roads, trees, and mailboxes. One year later, I met up with an entomologist to see what those bugs have left behind.
Because I realize that a show about the Eastern Hemlock doesn't sound that sexy. In fact, we've done tree shows in the past after which I have said, "Let's not do any more tree shows." But we think we've got something here.
First of all, this our third show working with Bob Sullivan, a writer who, in the past, has been able to make just about any topic exciting. Second, this is a story with a villain, a cottony, crawling, feeding life form called the wooly adelgid. You want something you can hate without the tiniest tremor of remorse? We're going to give it to you.
Third, this little villain is striking right at a major player in the natural cycles that can either slow or accelerate climate change. Fourth, we're going to be talking about the souls of trees. Trust us.
Last month, Governor Dannel Malloy announced more than $880,327 in state grants for dozens of Connecticut farms. Among the recipients is a farmer in Higganum looking to fill 1,000 logs with many more mushrooms.
Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 5:59 pm
At Green's Sugarhouse in Poultney, Vt., visitors are gathered around four squeeze bottles of maple syrup, sampling the each under brand-new labels.
Vermont recently replaced its syrup grading system and now uses new names that make different syrups sound more like wine or expensive coffee.
Gone is the former system, with names like "Fancy," "Grade A Dark Amber" and "Grade B." The new labels give both the color — "Golden," "Amber" or "Dark" — and a flavor description: "Delicate," "Rich," "Robust" or "Strong."
Last week, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority called for a "voluntary suspension" of so-called "enhanced tree-trimming" around the state. United Illuminating and CL&P quickly filed formal responses and -- surprise -- they both want to keep trimming.
A live hemlock woolly adelgid in the spring. This winter's extreme cold has reduced population numbers statewide, but there is evidence that bugs in the northwest corner of the state are becoming more cold-weather resistant.
Credit Carole Cheah / Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
Scientists say this winter's extreme cold is having a limited impact on the state's invasive bugs, and it may even be making one insect stronger. It's called the hemlock woolly adelgid, and it was first identified in Connecticut in 1985.
According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, PURA will now delay their decision on United Illuminating's ambitious tree-cutting plan past Wednesday, January 29, due to a public hearing request from UI to discuss "technical issues."
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 9:12 am
Like other animals and many living things, we humans grow when we're young and then stop growing once we mature. But trees, it turns out, are an exception to this general rule. In fact, scientists have discovered that trees grow faster the older they get.
Once trees reach a certain height, they do stop getting taller. So many foresters figured that tree growth — and girth — also slowed with age.
Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:19 pm
While many of us may prefer to never again see temperatures drop below zero like they did earlier this week across the country, the deep freeze is putting warm smiles on the faces of many entomologists.
That's because it may have been cold enough in some areas to freeze and kill some damaging invasive species of insects, including the tree-killing emerald ash borer.
If you're driving through Connecticut, you've probably noticed a lot of colors on your commute. Fall foliage has been on full display these last few weeks, with reds, oranges, and yellows covering trees all over New England. You may even have spent your weekend raking leaves up. But have you ever stopped to consider why leaves change color? Or how they fall off trees?
The city of Hartford loses a few hundred trees each year. But now, in a partnership with a local non-profit, the city is poised to plant 1,000 new trees this fall. The goal is to plant 20,000 trees over the next ten years. It's an ambitious program that began last year with the first 1,000 trees planted. Now, the city wants to spend $425,000 to keep things going.
We've talked on WNPR's Morning Edition about the Emerald Ash Borer, the tiny green Asian beetle that feeds exclusively on the ash tree and has decimated millions of ash trees in over a dozen states. It has been recently discovered in several towns in Connecticut.
Superstorm Sandy has thrown a wrench in the effort to contain the Emerald Ash Borer. Joining us by phone is Chris Martin, Director of Forestry for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Hikers visiting the Appalachian Trail this summer may not realize how much coordination goes into maintaining the 2,180-mile trail that winds through 14 states.
A memorandum of understanding was signed in Connecticut earlier this summer to outline just how coordination on the Appalachian Trail will occur over the next ten years. It was signed by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Department of Community and Economic Development, the State Police, and the Department of Transportation.
After a series of bad storms, Governor Dannel Malloy declared a “War on Trees!” Or, at least, that’s what it seemed like at the time. The governor was reacting to the hundreds of thousands of power outages caused by downed trees after a tropical storm and a freakish October snowstorm.
In his defense of more aggressive tree-cutting he coined this signature phrase: “Trees grow, ladies and gentlemen of the state of Connecticut, they grow.”
December’s a pretty intense month for many people – but imagine if you were a Christmas tree farmer. As this busy season comes to a close, WNPR’s Harriet Jones visited Staehly’s Tree Farm in East Haddam to find out what kind of a year this has been for the state’s tree growers.
The foremost experts in the tree care industry have gathered in Hartford this week, just as the state’s power system is devastated by snow damage to trees. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.
Just as chain saws are being fired up and tree crews are working round the clock across Connecticut, delegates from all over the country flocked to Hartford Thursday for the annual Tree Care Industry Association conference. Mark Garvin is President of the Association. He says attendance is down this year.
Abnormal snowfall this winter may have made the season a pain for many Connecticut residents, but it's shaping up to be a boon for local maple syrup producers. Area farmers have sap flows they haven't seen in years.
Ron Wenzel's sugar house is a little oasis each winter
"My wife calls this my man cave; I'm up here for 10, 12 days," he says.
The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive insect from Asia that has killed more than 50 million ash trees in the U.S. in the past decade. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is setting more than 60,000 traps in 48 states, including Connecticut, to look for the beetle.