Field Notes

On the second Tuesday of every month at 7:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m., we hear from our contributors in the field. 

Susan Knight and Gretchen Gerrish both work for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Limnology at Trout Lake Station.

Scott Bowe is the Director of Kemp Natural Resources Station.

You can keep track of Field Notes and all of WXPR's local features on the WXPR Local Features podcast, wherever you get your podcasts.

Pixabay.com

I spent most of my life not knowing that porcupines could climb trees. While I am a little embarrassed to admit this fact, I am also not sure I spent a ton of time in my younger years thinking about it. Now that I know, I have become obsessed with staring toward the tops of trees trying to find a bound-up ball of quills, nested in the highest branches.

Botanizing by Bike

Mar 16, 2021
Pixabay.com

As we move from winter toward spring, (a little sooner than I would have liked) I am getting excited to start biking around the Northwoods. I spend quite a bit of time road biking, which is not always compatible with one of my other favorite pastimes, looking for flowering plants. By early summer, my bike group and I will be logging 50 or more miles at a time, and there is plenty of Northwoods plant life to appreciate from a bike. We mostly ride on county and town roads out of town, so we aren’t likely to see the showy Forsythia, lilac or crab apples favored by homeowners.

Using Wood as Fuel

Feb 9, 2021
Scott Bowe

Humans have used wood as fuel for millennia. It has been used for cooking, heating, and more recently power production. I thought this topic would be timely given that we are experiencing our first real cold snap of 2021. In fact, I’ve had our wood stove burning all weekend – enjoying the fire inside while looking out our frosty windows.

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Last summer, COVID-19 pushed more people outside and onto Northern Wisconsin’s lakes. For this month's Field Notes, Susan Knight tried to take the pulse of how residents felt about increased boat activity on our area lakes.

Joe Giersch, USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center

Walking from my truck into work last week, I noticed a frail looking insect flitting along the surface of the snow on the trail in front of me. On closer inspection, it was a stonefly. Stoneflies are small insects that live most of their lives in streams and rivers, emerging only to complete their reproductive life cycle. Like stone flies, many aquatic insects, including many flies, mosquitos, dragon flies and damselflies have a life cycle that is partly in water and partly above water. But, most of these species emerge and take flight in spring and early summer.

Sugar In Trees

Nov 10, 2020
image by diapicard on pixabay.com

In this month's installment of Field Notes Scott Bowe of Kemp Station discusses sugar in trees, how Mother Nature makes trees and plant with simple sugars.

image by Arthur Meeks on wisflora.herbarium.wisc.edu

For this month's Field Notes, Susan Knight explores the ecology of Indian Pipe, spooky looking white plants that skip photosynthesis and steal sugar from their forest neighbors.

As air temperatures in fall fluctuate between freezing at night and sunny 70 degree days, many deeper lakes within the region experience a phenomenon known as turnover. Journeying into the science of fall turnover can lead you into a wide berth of topics including physics, chemistry, thermodynamics, and biology. While complex and varied across systems, fall turnover influences how we use and interact with our beloved regional lakes.

Scott Bowe

In this month's installment of Field Notes, Scott Bowe of Kemp Station discusses bees in Wisconsin’s Northwoods.

Image by Maxar Technologies on Google Maps

For this month’s Field Notes, Susan Knight of UW-Madison’s Trout Lake Station shares three stories about strange lakes from around the world.

Image by umsiedlungen on pixabay.com

Have you ever seen a bee emerging from a hole in the ground in the spring? There are many ground nesting bee species in Wisconsin and for this month's Field Notes, Gretchen Gerrish tells us more.

Image by erik_karits on pixabay.com

For this month’s Field Notes, Susan Knight talks about the elegant , but short-lived mayflies common in our lakes and streams.

Scott Bowe

In this month's installment of Field Notes, Scott Bowe of Kemp Station discusses how maple trees produce sap for real maple syrup.

Image by Jim Arnold

For this month’s Field Notes, Gretchen Gerrish of UW-Madison’s Trout Lake Station tells us of the life and death of leaves.

Image by carl bowser

In this month’s Field Notes, Susan Knight looks at the thin ice situation this year, and discusses why ice is so cool.

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