Natural North Dakota

Saturday and Sunday at 8:35 am CT
  • Hosted by Prairie Public

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.


Juniper Berries

Mar 5, 2018


Do you ever cook with juniper berries?  I was recently snooping on the internet and found a recipe for sage and juniper venison sausage on Hank Shaw’s website “Hunter Angler Gardener Cook.”    


Did you know that this is the “Year of the Bird.”  No, that is not the Chinese year. This is different.  The National Geographic Society, Audubon Society, Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, and BirdLife International along with cooperation of several other public and private organizations have banded together to designate 2018 as the Year of the Bird.  


The North Dakota landscape is occasionally described as a stairway rising westward.  It is not a long stairway, and each step certainly differs in height.  Nevertheless, the stairway metaphor is a good descriptor.  


Bird watchers of all ages and knowledge levels are helping ornithologists better understand the populations dynamics and movements of birds around the world, and you can be a part of the effort.  If you are interested in taking a few minutes to help in the cause, consider participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count this year.  It is a joint effort of the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, and it is coming up Friday February 16th through Monday the 19th.  

The Missouri River

Feb 3, 2018


The Missouri River.  The Wild Missouri.  The big muddy!  It is the longest river in North America and was the main artery in the Great Plains for Native Americans, and early traders and trappers.  And of course, it continues to influence our region in so many ways.  It is like they say, “Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.”  


Hope for a clear sky this next Wednesday the thirty-first.  That is because there will be a full moon.  But this is not your typical full moon.  This will be a Full Moon, Blue Moon, Supermoon, and if the sky is clear, a partial lunar eclipse.

River Otters

Jan 20, 2018


Some of you may have heard that the first river otter trapping season of modern times in North Dakota closed in early December.  The season opened back on November 27 and closed on December 4 when the statewide limit of 15 animals had been taken.  That was a short season!

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.