Mark Stevens via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/oWwRHM

According to a report from the National Park Service only 7% of annual park visitors are African American. On today’s show, we delve into environmental history and cultural studies to find out why the story of the American outdoors is so white.

Then, environmentalists have taken many tacks to get people to be “greener”: the doomsday approach, education, shame. Now new research suggests another way to increase green behaviors: a salary. Why paying people an hourly wage decreases environmentally-friendly behaviors.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Star Island, one the Isles of Shoals, is one of just four maritime islands in New Hampshire. It is owned and operated by the nonprofit Star Island Corporation. For years, Star has been a retreat and conference center and is also open to the public for day trips and overnight stays. Brad Greely is a minister who has a lifelong history with Star Island.


BG: Both my parents and my grandparents were people who came to Star Island. So I was brought at the ripe age of six months out to a conference. Then I went on to have a family and started bringing my own kids out here.

While following deer trails in snow you'll find pellets of scat and tufts of hair – coarse grey and white hair, hollow in cross-section. A more coveted souvenir are "sheds” – cast-off antlers.

After breeding ends in December, deer antlers loosen at the base. Once-formidable weapons of territorial defense drop with testosterone levels in January. The shed antlers cast by bucks and bull moose each winter are often promptly buried by snow.

Courtesy NE Wilderness Trust

Fred and Rosalind Slavic built their home on a thickly wooded site in Fitzwilliam a half century ago. They wanted their 300-acre tract to remain in a wild state, so they have willed it to the Northeast Wilderness Trust. The trust will dismantle the buildings and retain an easement on the land.

New federal science education standards adopted in Vermont require that students learn about climate change. So teachers are starting to create lesson plans with hands-on activities about weather patterns.

Some are getting that training deep in the woods of the Northeast Kingdom.

All this week we’re taking a close look at the Narragansett Bay, for a series we call One Square Mile.  Today we look at the heavy industry that relies on the Providence waterfront.  Specifically, where those big piles of coal, scrap metal and salt,  sit along the Providence River.

Tuesday, independent Providence mayoral candidate Vincent “Buddy” Cianci, Jr. details his plan to turn the industrial waterfront to mixed use development, with things like hotels and marinas.   As Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender reports, that's been the subject of a decades-long battle.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage is defending his support of legislation that could make it easier for private businesses to use eminent domain to seize property for natural gas pipeline expansion. The governor says the legislation is necessary to alleviate what he calls the New England energy crisis. But the governor's two opponents oppose the move.

At issue is federal legislation known as H.R.1900, The Natural Gas Permitting Reform Act, which aims to streamline the permitting process for the development of natural gas pipeline projects.

Michael O'Brien / Flickr/CC

Last week, more than 100 world leaders attended the United Nations summit on climate change in New York City.

WOW stands for Winnipesaukee Opechee Winnisquam, but the rail trail that winds across Laconia might just as well be named for the exclamation of its patrons as they marvel over the views on offer. Plans in the works will have the trail’s running nine miles, connecting Meredith with Franklin.

Though unfinished, Laconia police chief Chris Adams sees the trail as a positive addition to the city. “One of the things I love doing when I’m driving around is looking down the trail head to see families and couples and children riding bikes or walking.”


Courtesy Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center

The Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center offers year-round programs for all ages. Its “Wildquest” camps help connect kids with nature and their local landscapes. 

Prescott Farm has always been a landmark for Gretchen O’Neill. “We’re very grateful that our daughter, Gabriella, can come here to attend the camp, or that we can come up and explore it and walk the trails.

Via Creative Resistance

More than two hundred New Hampshire residents are headed to New York City Sunday for a massive climate change demonstration.

Organizers of the People’s Climate March – which include environmental advocacy groups, labor unions, and religious organizations – think anywhere from one to four hundred thousand people could be in attendance.

From the Granite State there are 3 full charter buses leaving from Concord,  another two are coming from Maine to pick up folks in Portsmouth.

Three beaches in Laconia that tested positive for bacteria last week are now in the clear.

The Parks and Recreation Department says Opechee Cove, Opechee Point and Weirs Beach posted advisories for high E. coli levels between Aug. 19 and Aug. 21.

Director Kevin Dunleavy tells The Citizen the beaches now all have clearance after further testing.

Four New Charter Schools Set To Open In New Hampshire

Aug 25, 2014
Mountain Village Charter School

Most students across New Hampshire return to school this week, including students at Mountain Village Charter School in Plymouth. The school is one of the state’s four new charter schools opening this fall.

The actual building for Mountain Village Charter School is still under construction. So for the first week, the school’s 38 elementary students will be outside.

Teachers lead the students through a Swahili song and have them bark like dogs - mostly as a way to start the school year on a fun note.

Star Island, on the Isles of Shoals, is one of just four maritime islands in New Hampshire. It is owned and operated by the nonprofit Star Island Corporation. For years, Star has been a retreat and conference center and is also open to the public for day trips and overnight stays. Brad Greely is a minister who has a lifelong history with Star Island.


BG: Both my parents and my grandparents were people who came to Star Island. So I was brought at the ripe age of six months out to a conference. Then I went on to have a family and started bringing my own kids out here.

Green Mountain Power broke ground in Rutland Tuesday on a new $10 million solar project that the utility says will not only generate clean energy, but also provide emergency back up power to parts of the city when needed.

Solar arrays are sprouting up all over Rutland County and some of the larger ones have generated a fair amount of controversy and criticism.

Common Loon
Matthew / Flickr Creative Commons

The annual count of loons on New Hampshire's lakes shows a slight increase over last year, but experts caution the census only provides a glimpse into the true population.   Harry Vogel of the Loon Preservation Committee says 622 observers counted 549 adult loons during a one-hour period on July 19. That's up from the 520 adults observed last year. Vogel notes there were 26 fewer observers last year, so it's too early to say there are more loons.  A more complete picture will emerge in a couple of weeks when full-year monitoring results are released.

Gregory Heinrichs / Flickr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game is asking anglers fishing in the Squam Lakes to immediately release any largemouth and smallmouth bass that were radio-tagged as part of a state study.   The bass will have a thin wire protruding from their underside and a yellow numbered tag near their dorsal fin.   The goal of the three-year study is to determine the percentage of bass returning to Big Squam Lake after being lake and weighed in and released in Little Squam Lake, and how long it takes them.

USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab via Flickr

Today on Word of Mouth, invasive species like Zebra Mussels to Asian Carp, are destroying biodiversity across North America. Or are they? Also, we'll look into China’s push to build a frozen food infrastructure. The number of urban Chinese households with a refrigerator has risen from just 7 percent to 95 percent in a decade. We’ll find out what that means for global climate change.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

Flkr Creative Commons / KeithCarver

Experts estimate there are nearly 300 adult loons living on Vermont's lakes and ponds, up from just a couple dozen 30 years ago.

On Saturday, more than 200 volunteers spread out across Vermont for the annual loon survey.

The results of the survey are trickling in, but Eric Hanson of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and the coordinator of the Vermont Loon Conservation Project, says there are many more birds now than just a few years ago.

He says 15 years ago there were around 100 loons and in 1983 biologists counted only 29.

Dennis Amith via Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services says there is $2.2 million available this fall for grants to protect drinking water in the southern part of the state.

The money comes from a fund established to offset impacts to wetlands and streams associated with the widening of Interstate 93 between the Massachusetts border in Salem and the I-93/I-293 interchange in Manchester.

Josue Mendivil via Flickr CC

Three beaches in New Hampshire are getting high marks for clean water quality.

The beaches are Hampton Beach State Park, Wallis Sands Beach at Wallis Road, and Wallis Sands State Park beach.

The Natural Resources Defense Council put them at "superstar" status along with 32 other beaches nationally in its annual "Testing the Waters" report.

Officials say New Hampshire ranks second out of 30 states that are part of the EPA's beach monitoring program.

Robin Nystron via Flickr CC

City officials in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, say one of their oldest trees has died.

The American elm tree on Peirce Island was over 100 years old.

The Portsmouth Herald reports members of the Peirce Island Committee noticed the elm didn't sprout buds in the spring. The tree has no leaves.

Peter Loughlin, chairman of the city's Trees and Public Greenery Committee, said Dutch elm disease has killed American elms up and down the East Coast. He said the tree was the last surviving elm in the city.

The University of New Hampshire is celebrating its use of a unique energy recovery composting system.  UNH is believed to be the only university in the nation with such a compost facility, which captures generated heat for water that can be pumped to reservoirs and used for wash water, provide pre-heated water for a boiler or be used in heating systems.  The system at UNH's Organic Dairy Research Farm, installed last year, preheats water used to clean and sterilize a tank and tubing in the milk room.  The compost facility was named for Joshua Nelson, who advanced the technology.

Today is the last lengthening day of the year. Tomorrow - Summer Solstice - is the first full day of summer. Hooray! In that sense, today is the "end of the beginning" while tomorrow marks the "beginning of the end."

N.H.'s War On Invasive Bugs & Plants

Jun 18, 2014
Don't Move Firewood / Flickr/CC

In New Hampshire lakes, rivers and ponds, non-indigenous plants have moved in choking out the natural flora and fauna, but volunteers and state officials have taken up the fight against them. We’ll look at the latest in that fight, as well as invasive insects from the Emerald Ash Borer to the Wooly Adelgid.


Distant Hill Gardens

The New Hampshire state wildflower is blooming, and with it, the myth that surrounds it: that it’s super rare, and illegal to pick. In fact, the pink and white flower we know as the Lady Slipper is quite common. And picking this flower is completely legal.

“They are not considered ‘rare,’ they are actually common but are listed on the ‘special concerns’ list because they have propagation and climate issues,” according to NH Roots

The song of the veery is a haunting, ethereal song. Males sing at dusk, a time when not many other birds sing and daytime winds have calmed. It's also a time when the air turns damp; dense, moist air transfers sound waves better than dry air.

If you listen to the song carefully, you can hear an echo or tremolo effect (more on this below), because songbirds have, essentially, a double voice box that can produce two notes at the same time. (The left voice box is lower pitched than the right one.) In a sense, a singing veery harmonizes with itself.

Bobcats In The Granite State

Jun 12, 2014
Wayne Dumbleton Flickr CC

Researchers out of Durham are close to completing a study on bobcat populations in the Granite State. Though no one is sure how many bobcats are in New Hampshire, increased sightings and captures over the past decade have led researchers to believe bobcats are rebounding.

Dr. Marian Litvaitis and her husband John, both professors at UNH, have spearheaded the investigation as part of a project collaboration . Now in the project's fourth year, Litvaitis and her team are now focused primarily on bobcat genetics. I talked with Dr. Litvaitis about the rebounding cat on Thursday:

About 51 percent of the wood purchased for the new Burgess BioPower biomass plant in Berlin during its first two months of operation came from New Hampshire, according to a new “sustainability” report filed with the state’s Site Evaluation Committee.

Thirty-five percent came from Maine.

Five percent from Vermont.

Eight percent from Massachusetts.

And "one truck load" came from Canada.

Karen Cardoza via Flickr CC

As summer approaches, boaters who enjoy spending time on Lake Winnipesaukee have their eyes focused on two things: the weather and the lake level.

Most lakes have natural high and low seasonal water points caused by the whims of nature. But the state’s largest lakes are too important to New Hampshire’s tourism economy to be left to chance.