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  • People have proven remarkably adaptable to the extreme winter weather of the northern Great Plains. It is easy to overlook one item that has kept people warm for almost 250 years, and North Dakotans have a teenager from Maine to thank for it.
  • In 1938, Dr. George Foster and his wife Irene founded the Fargo Winter Club to boost interest in winter sports and athletics. That year, the group partnered with the WPA to build the Fargo Arena, an arena for local residents to participate in skating and other winter sports in more sheltered conditions.
  • North Dakota’s extreme winter weather poses some limits on recreational activities. Sledding and ice skating can lose their attraction in below zero temperatures. Consequently, North Dakotans are happy to find opportunities for indoor recreation. The foundation for one such recreation was laid on this date in 1863 when James Plimpton patented a four-wheel roller skate.
  • Winter is here. And for many of us it is the time of year to just stay indoors, hit the couch, and forget about getting outdoors to enjoy nature until spring. But give some consideration to getting outdoors and enjoying some of what nature has to offer during the winter months.
  • Severe winter weather is no big surprise in North Dakota. The state can typically expect 50 days per year with below zero temperatures. The record low, in 1936, was -60 degrees.
  • North Dakotans have a lot of fun in the winter months -- sledding, snowmobiling, skiing, and even more simple things like making snow angels. And we’re quite serious about the snow angels. Twice, North Dakotans held the record for most people making snow angels simultaneously.
  • We have had a few days this winter when the sundogs have been quite prominent in the morning and evening sky. Although not rainbows, the basic principles are similar. The scientific name for sundogs is parihelia (singular parahelion). They often appear during cold winter days when ice crystals are abundant in the atmosphere and the sun is low in the sky.
  • Picture a bright, brisk, sunshiny winter day with a fresh blanket of snow. Now picture a red fox in its winter best trotting across that landscape. A friend recently described that sight to me. His excitement was quite apparent.
  • A quiet calm seems to come over the landscape during the winter months. But there is more going on than one might think. Many of the birds from summer have gone south, of course, but several species are permanent residents. And mammals remain as well, but their activities may be rather inconspicuous, particularly those living under the snow and ice. Few hibernate.
  • Winter is often slow to depart the Great Plains. By the end of March, travel can still be an icy challenge. On this date in 1911, the Bismarck Tribune…