Category Archives: Bill’s Notes

Signs of Winter 5: Sounds from the Underground!

(Click here to listen to an audio version of this blog!) Monitoring sounds in an ecosystem (also called “acoustic monitoring”) is a common technique for determining the presence of organisms that are hard to visually detect. Bird songs, for example, … Continue reading

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Signs of Winter 4: Natural History of the White Ash (and more!)

(Click here to listen to an audio version of this blog!) In 1984 a group of students and I built a nature trail on the campus of Penn State New Kensington. The students were inspired by a trail we had … Continue reading

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Signs of Winter (bonus): A Walk at Harrison Hills Park

(Click here to listen to an audio version of this blog!) This blog was first published four years ago as “Signs of Winter 8” (January 21, 2016). I thought that a nice walk in the woods would be a pleasant … Continue reading

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Signs of Winter 3: Updates on Pollinators and Pesticides

(Click here to listen to an audio version of this blog!) There were two interesting published reports about pollinating insects in Great Britain this last spring and summer: The first, in the March 26, 2019 issue of Nature Communication summarized … Continue reading

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Signs of Winter 2: Plastics, Plastics Everywhere

(Click here to listen to an audio version of this blog!) Almost four years ago the World Economic Forum published a report entitled “The New Plastics Economy” (January, 2016). The report listed four extremely disturbing points about plastics in our … Continue reading

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Signs of Winter 1: Natural History of a Black Cherry Tree!

(Click here to listen to an audio version of this blog!) Imagine that it’s late spring and we are standing on the North Country Trail in the Allegheny National Forest. In front of us is a large black cherry tree. … Continue reading

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Signs of Fall 11: Can We Talk to Plants?

(Click here to listen to an audio version of this blog!) We humans are a successful species in large part because of our ability and willingness to communicate. We try to “talk” to each other via a wide variety of … Continue reading

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Signs of Fall 10: Anthropomorphizing in the Woods!

(Click here to listen to an audio version of this blog!) Peter Wohlleben is a German forester. He published an extremely popular book three years ago entitled The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate- Discoveries From … Continue reading

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Signs of Fall 9: Natural History of a White Oak

(Click here to listen to an audio version of this blog!) (I wrote an initial draft of this essay during my 2007 Penn State sabbatical. I think that the trees described here are still standing along the Penn State New … Continue reading

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Signs of Fall 8: Let’s All Fall Behind!

(Click here to listen to an audio version of this blog!) Last weekend we changed back over to Standard Time. This “fall behind” change in our clocks does nothing to alter the total amount of sunlight we get in a … Continue reading

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