Natural North Dakota

Saturday and Sunday at 8:35 am CT
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Chuck Lura has a broad knowledge of "Natural North Dakota" and loves sharing that knowledge with others.

About Chuck Lura: Since 2005, Chuck he has written a weekly column, “Naturalist at Large,” for the Lake Metigoshe Mirror. His columns also appear under “The Naturalist” in several other weekly newspapers across North Dakota. A native of northern Iowa, Lura received an associate degree from Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa. He then went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in biology from South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota. After teaching high school biology in South Dakota and Iowa, he returned to SDSU to obtain his master’s degree and then on for his doctorate in botany from North Dakota State University in Fargo. Lura has been a biology professor at Dakota College at Bottineau since 1984. His teaching responsibilities have been principally biology, botany, and range management. He has also conducted and published research on ecological aspects of grasslands in the northern Great Plains.

Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Dakota College at Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.

It is often this time of year, when the days are short, and temperatures are often below zero that the outdoors is not as inviting as we would prefer.  That is when we often look to the bookshelf to help us out.  I was thinking about all that recently, and thought that you might appreciate some suggestions on good books related to nature.  So here are a few books I have enjoyed, in no particular order.  But all of them are nature related, most relevant to our region, and some are from an historical perspective.  


Jan 5, 2018

I recently saw a falcon-like bird.  The sky was overcast, with poor lighting, so I was unable to get any good markings, but I suspect it may have been a merlin.


Dec 19, 2017


Animals in Winter

Dec 19, 2017


We have a fox living in our neighborhood.  I haven’t seen it now for several weeks. But I assume it is still in the area, because I have occasionally seen its tracks in the snow.  But many mammals seem to disappear during winter.  However, most are active at least during parts of the winter, but their activity is not very conspicuous to the casual observer.  Few hibernate.

The landscapes in most areas look quite bare this time of year with all the leaves off the trees.  However, I have noticed that the leaves as well as the fruits of Russian olive are still hanging on.  They are quite conspicuous even at a distance.  

Beavers and Winter Finches

Dec 12, 2017


I drive by a few beaver lodges each day on my way to and from work.  When I pass by the lodges, especially now after ice-up, I often wonder what they are doing.  They are probably snoozing.

Beaver lodges are two tiered living quarters with two entrances.  A small lower level functions as an entryway and dining room.  The upper level is used for resting and sleeping.  These lodges are surprisingly well insulated, with the internal temperature hovering slightly above the freezing point even when the outside temperatures are much colder.