From STEM to STEAM: Tunnel Books

A big joy of visiting schools is seeing how teachers integrate the Arts to ignite learning in fabulous STEAM-inspired projects. Beckery Renaud used this approach with her fifth- and sixth-graders at Pembroke Elementary School, who made these beautiful tunnel books inspired by Extreme Survivors: Animals That Time Forgot. This project brings together Science, Technology, Engineering, […]

Aliens of the Sea?

Wading in the icy waters of Maine’s Penobscot Bay one summer day, I spotted transparent creatures near the surface rippling with rainbow bands of light. I thought I was seeing things until a scientist friend told me that these thumb-long, otherworldly critters are called comb jellies. He explained that their namesake “combs” — rows of […]

Maine’s Songbird Superhighway

The morning air smells of balsam and wet duff as Adrienne Leppold sets out on a narrow trail to check the mist nets she set up before dawn to capture birds in a patch of forest in Orono. A great-crested flycatcher cries “wheep, WHEEP,” one of a dozen or so species calling and singing in […]

While You Were In  

While you were in, a hermit thrush called. There’s no telling whether or when he’ll call again, fluting his song into the forest, where it will linger less than an instant. A doe stopped by while you were in, entertaining a parade of anxious thoughts. She decapitated your favorite phlox, the ones with the snowy […]

A Walk on the Wild Side

The moose peeks out between tall white pines, her dark brown hide blending with the bark. She swivels her ears and ambles toward us. My heart speeds up as she draws closer. She pokes her massive head through the door of the feeding station, where Steve Oliveri awaits with one of her favorite treats: sweet […]

Scrounging for Spring 

It happens every March. Family and friends from Parts South call to rave about their daffodils and tulips while we’re in the middle of a snowstorm. My neighbor Bill, however, puts things in perspective. “Anyone can love a tulip,” he scoffs. “But it takes a real connoisseur to appreciate three months of pussy willows.” March […]

Going Wild: Enjoy Nature with Your Kids—Wherever You Live  

If nature came in a bottle, you can bet that every pediatrician would prescribe it. Time spent in nature can improve a child’s attention, boost creativity, reduce stress and provide a host of other benefits. It’s also good for parents. Exploring the natural world together can strengthen family bonds. And you don’t need to trek […]

Big Box Sparrows

A craving for a cheap glimpse of green on a cold winter day recently drove me into the nearest Home Depot. I was rustling among the dracaenas when my husband, Tom, beckoned me. “There are birds in here,” he said. I followed him down the aisles and soon heard a chirp over my head. Perched […]