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Proudly Nominated

By David Roberts, CEO Green Mountain Digital
Mar 01, 2011
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I would like to share with you our excitement about being nominated for an Appy Award for "Audubon Birds – A Field Guide to North American Birds". The Appys are all about acknowledging extraordinary Applications and focus on honoring the best Apps in a diverse range of categories. We are proud to have bee

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Turtle X-ing

By Kent McFarland
Oct 28, 2010
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The turtle was lying on the white line running the length of the road edge. She was a small painted turtle, and her shell had a deep crack across it. She was taking her last breaths.

I suspected she was a female before I even got a good look at her; a close look at the tail confirmed my suspicion. Most turtles wand

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Turtle X-ing

By Kent McFarland
Oct 26, 2010

The turtle was lying on the white line running the length of the road edge. She was a small painted turtle, and her shell had a deep crack across it. She was taking her last breaths.  

I suspected she was a female before I even got a good look at her; a close look at the tail confirmed my suspicion. Most turtles wandering away from water at this time of year are females searching for a good place to lay eggs. Many cross roadways and never make it to a nesting site. 

Do these accidents have a detrimental effect on turtle populations? Dr. James Gibbs from State University of New

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Cricket Courtship

By Mary Holland
Aug 09, 2010
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An early fall evening presents us with a symphony of songs emanating from fields far and wide. Most of the musicians are crickets, which are considered more musical than their close relatives, katydids, or their more distant cousins, grasshoppers. Instead of a raspy song, crickets produce melodic chirps. We don't see the

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Black Bear Diet

By Mary Holland
Jun 28, 2010
Untitled Document The nature of what black bears eat throughout the spring, summer and fall is varied, and reflects their opportunistic diet. Bears are omnivores, and take advantage of whatever is easily accessible and available to them. This, of course, changes with every season.

In general, less than ten percent of a bear’s die

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Rare Alpine Butterflies in White Mountains, NH

By Kent McFarland
May 19, 2010
Untitled Document Perched atop the Presidential Range in the unique alpine tundra vegetation are two butterfly species that exist no where else in the world. Their closest relatives live over 850 miles north in the arctic tundra. The White Mountain Arctic (Oeneis melissa semidea) and the White Mountain Fritillary (Boloria titania montin
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Oil Spill Species at Risk

By Rae Schmertz
May 11, 2010

By now the world has realized that the oil spill from the drilling platform of the Deepwater Horizon is becoming an epic environmental catastrophe, the repercussions of which, however unpredictable, are certain to remain with us for a very long time.


The timing couldn’t be worse for the species native to the gulf region, migratory birds that use the area as a resting spot, or the conservation groups who are desperately trying to keep the impact in check.


Ironically, the second Saturday in May is International Migratory Bird Day, thus timed to coincide with the vast numbers of

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Spring Peepers

By Kent McFarland
Apr 16, 2010
It’s a warm evening and the only sign of snow are the eroding piles beside the driveway. The spring peepers are in stereo. Down in the valley, there is a chorus erupting and up on the hill in a pond, another is just beginning to call. Spring has finally sprung. The cacophony of calling is made up of hundreds of male spring peepers. Each peep call is made by forcing air from their lungs over vocal cords in the larynx and into an air sac in their throat. The air enters the sac from openings on each side of the mouth ca
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Spring Peepers

By Kent McFarland
Apr 16, 2010
It’s a warm evening and the only sign of snow are the eroding piles beside the driveway. The spring peepers are in stereo. Down in the valley, there is a chorus erupting and up on the hill in a pond, another is just beginning to call. Spring has finally sprung. The cacophony of calling is made up of hundreds of male spring peepers. Each peep call is made by forcing air from their lungs over vocal cords in the larynx and into an air sac in their throat. The air enters the sac from openings on each side of the mouth ca
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Great Horned Owl

By Mary Holland
Feb 23, 2010

The great horned owl is an impressive bird, measuring up to 25 inches from head to tail, with a four-foot wingspread.  In North America, only the snowy owl and the great gray owl are sometimes larger.  Even if heard and not seen, the great horned owl’s stature is discernible.  The four to eight resonant “hoots”  of both males and females can be heard for a

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Northeast Mountains: Extreme Environment

By Kent McFarland
Feb 18, 2010

What images cloud your mind when you think of an extreme environment?  The Sahara desert at high noon?  20,000 leagues under the sea? Maybe Antarctica on a dark winter day?  How about a little closer to home – the summits of our highest peaks right here in the Northeast.


While enjoying a day of skiing this winter, you may be quite near the summits of one of the lofty peaks.  Take a moment and examine the land at your feet.  These high elevation areas contain unique plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.  They exist in these small “sky islands

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Tracking the Dog Family

By Mary Holland
Feb 16, 2010

Identifying tracks in the snow can be daunting, especially if the snow is light and fluffy, leaving few details of the animal’s foot.  However, on days when snow conditions allow nails and pads to be seen, there are ways of finding out what creatures have been active.  While the dimensions of a track, as well as the length of the stride of an animal and the width of its trail are crucial aids to identification, there are other traits to take into consideration. A primer on the dog family illustrates the kind of observations that are helpful in identifying tracks.


There are four me

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Snowy Owl Invasions

By Kent McFarland
Feb 11, 2010

Like ghosts from the Arctic, snowy owls have descended on New England this winter. They’re showing up in fields, along highways and even in a few backyards. These migrations southward from the arctic tundra are a birdwatcher’s dream. And like dreams themselves, they are neither predictable nor fully understood.


The classic theory held by ornithologists to explain the irregular migrations of snowy owls to this region  has always centered on lemmings, a favorite food of the owls. These small rodents undergo populati

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Porcupine Sun

By Kent McFarland
Feb 09, 2010

At the beginning of each winter, I snowshoe past a few rock ledges near my house to see if there are any local porcupines in residence.  Some winters, there is a lot of activity and during others, I find no one home.  Recent findings by biologists from Quebec University at Rimouski show a correlation between porcupine density and solar cycles.  It turns out that the sun may set the rhythm of population fluctuations of porcupines in the woods and perhaps my chances of finding them each winter.

Porcupines are most susceptible during the lean winter months.  To prepare for winter an in

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Snowflakes

By Mary Holland
Feb 08, 2010

Anyone who has looked closely at a snowflake under a magnifying glass, or even with their naked eye, has an appreciation for the intricacy and delicacy of these frozen ice crystals that descend from the sky.  Exactly how do they form and why do they assume the shapes that they do?

According to physicist Kenneth Lebbrecht, in his book The Snowflake: Winter’s Secret Beauty, snowflakes and snow crystals are made of ice. As its name implies, a snow crystal consists of a single crystal of ice. 
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Cones, Squirrels and Birds

By Kent McFarland
Jan 27, 2010

I am hanging from the top of a twenty-five foot Balsam Fir tree, 3,500 feet up a mountain on a breezy day counting cones.  It is a bit like being on an amusement park ride.


It has been known for some time that Balsam Fir cone crops in the Northeast generally follow a two-year cycle.  The fir trees usually produce large cone crops in odd years and few or no cones in even years. 


A biologist in New Brunswick monitored Balsam Fir for thirty years beginning in 1920.  The two-year cycle only broke three times. More recently, forest ecologists have recorded the same cycle i

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