The (Hidden) Natural Worlds Of Winter

With guest host Jane Clayson.

Winter’s coming and it may be a hard one. You’re cringing, but nature is getting ready to survive and thrive –and we take note.

A car travels along the highway as snow falls , Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014 in Concord, N.H. (AP)

A car travels along the highway as snow falls , Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014 in Concord, N.H. (AP)

Across this continent’s northern tier, scarves and gloves are coming out of storage.  Rock salt and shovels are on the porch.  The antifreeze, the snow tires are at the ready.  For the next few months, folks from Bangor to Buffalo to Bismark will be scowling and moaning about the weather.  But outside, chickadees, jays, voles, foxes, squirrels hawks and more will be foraging, hunting.  Trees and shrubs will be feeding their buds and flowers already preparing for spring.  In the dead of winter, winter is not dead. This hour:  Getting right with winter by paying attention to nature.

— Jane Clayson


Andy Finton, conservation director for the Nature Conservancy’s Massachusetts Program.

Jamie Cundiff, forest program director at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. (@aspenjamie)

Alexis Billings, researcher in the divisions of biological sciences at the University of Montana.

From The Reading List

Walla Walla Union-Bulletin: December tales of slumber and speed in the wild –“A winter that starts out in the single digits forces many mammals to spend more time searching for forage or a prey base. Plants have dropped seeds, gone dormant or, in the case of most forbs, passed their future genes on in the form of deep roots and many viable dry seeds.Most insects that made it through the early fall as adults have laid eggs, have larva underground or have young with weather resistant pupa or cocoons, while they themselves perish save for several brush foot butterfly species, beetles and wasps that hibernate as adults.”

Utah Public Radio: This Giving Season Don’t Give To The Animals — “Every year well-meaning individuals leave food out for wild animals, particularly deer, attempting to supplement their winter diet. But the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources says the seeming kindness can do much more harm than good.The diet of deer is fragile and can be harmed by slight changes said Chris Schulze, conservation officer with the DWR.”

Audubon Magazine: A Walk Through the Winter Woods — “Any walk through the winter woods offers adventures that a leafy summertime hike could never provide. But getting past the silence and empty branches requires a different pace and a new way of seeing. Bernd gets there by plunging headlong into the season, living and studying in a remote cabin and doing what animals do to survive: If you get cold, run to warm up. If you’re hungry, try eating grubs or a plate of fried voles. And if you want to find wildlife, track it down.”

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