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Energy & Environment

  • Have the boxelder bugs been bothering you this fall? They have been inspecting lots of homes in search of a nice warm place to spend the winter.
  • The animals are getting ready for winter. We often think of birds heading south and resident mammals putting on their winter coats. But what about the insects?
  • Have you noticed any beaver dams and ponds in your area recently? Beavers are often vilified for plugging up culverts and constructing dams that flood cropland, roads, and the like. And of course, they draw our ire when they drop or girdle our trees. So, it is no surprise that beavers are often shot or trapped, and dams and lodges destroyed. But in many cases, beaver activity can be quite beneficial.
  • Are you familiar with bittersweet (Celastrus scandens)? It is a woody vine that can be found twining up trees and shrubs in woodlands and groves throughout North Dakota. It seems to go largely unnoticed during the summer months because it is buried in with the other green foliage. And there is not much that would catch your eye. But this time of year, particularly once the leaves have fallen, the bright orange fruits are much easier to spot.
  • The Orionid Meteor Shower is putting on its annual show now. It started on October 2 and will go to November 7. The shower will peak on the evening of October 21 and early morning hours of the 22 with perhaps twenty or so meteors per hour. We are fortunate to have a crescent moon during the peak viewing period, so if the sky is clear, we could be in for a good show.
  • No doubt many of you are familiar with Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Published in 1962 the book warned that continued widespread and indiscriminate use of pesticides could result in extensive ecological damage, including the death of songbirds, resulting in a “silent spring” when no songbirds would be heard. It is hard to imagine such a thing. But it looks as if we may be experiencing quieter springs.
  • It is official! The autumnal equinox occurred last Thursday at 8:03 PM Central Daylight Time. That was when the sun was directly over the equator. So fall is here. And of course, the days will shorten until the winter solstice in December. Then the days will begin to lengthen through the spring equinox and on to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in June.
  • It is that time of year. Labor Day is in the rearview mirror and thoughts are turning to fall. And fall in North Dakota often leads to thoughts of flocks of birds on their fall migration.
  • State mineral resources director Lynn Helms called that 'a surprise.'