Environment

Outside/In: Let's Take This Outside

Apr 22, 2016
Greta Rybus and Logan Shannon

How do you define wilderness? Why are humans drawn to summits? Will the cold-hardy kiwi save a struggling local economy, or will it destroy a native eco-system? What is nutria, and why does it taste so good?

Meet Outside/In. A brand new radio show and podcast that takes a look at the natural world and how we use it.

Axel Kristinsson via Flickr/Creative Commons

New Hampshire is experiencing one of those few rare and special weeks right now. About 48 weeks of the year, the New Hampshire landscape is pretty homogenous; from a distance our deciduous trees can all look the same: either a blanket of green leaves, or nothing but sticks. But during a few brief weeks in the fall and in the spring – trees show their true colors.

Jack Rodolico

Working on a tip from a confidential source, federal and state regulators investigated how piles of asbestos-laden debris ended up in Lawrence, Mass. outside a building owned by Brady Sullivan Properties, one of New Hampshire’s largest real estate developers.

Flood forecasting and contaminants in drinking water are among the issues at this week's conference on New Hampshire water and policy issues. 

Something Wild takes pride in introducing to the residents of the state to the wonder in the wild that surrounds us all. Someone who discovered that wonder at a young age is David Carroll, “I was 8 years old when I had that experience with the first spotted turtle.” Naturalist, writer, artist are among the many descriptors frequently attached to Carroll’s name.

Shane Burkhardt via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/yZ34mF

For decades, environmentalists have fought to keep plastic, glass, paper and other recyclables out of landfills where they’d sit for thousands of years…so, is recycling truly making a difference in the health of the planet? Today, some data that challenges recycling’s sanctified status.

Then, India’s government says it will clean up the horribly polluted Ganges, the river which supports ten percent of the world’s population. The first step: working with the Hindu belief that the Ganges is holy, self-purifying and the place to be buried. 

We tagged along with Diane DeLuca, a biologist with NH Audubon on her rounds of the Deering Wildlife Sanctuary. DeLuca has been working on their Phenological Monitoring Pilot Project, and defines phenology as "the study of 'phenophases', which are the different phases that plants and animals go through in their life cycle each year." 

UncoveringWestport via Flickr / https://flic.kr/p/4JX1zF

Bullying, R-rated topics and shouting matches during presidential debates have left some Americans wondering whatever happened to civility in politics?  But in the British Parliament, being rude is a long-standing tradition. Today, a history of Parliament's bad manners.

Also, while we usher in spring with a last minute nor'easter, we’re looking back at the most devastating storm in New England history: the hurricane of 1938. 

Plus, a tech reviewer looks at a hot new item in the world of consumer drones.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Earlier this week, the city of Portsmouth approved 75 million dollars in bonds to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant on Peirce Island. The vote by the city council is a milestone in the years-long effort by federal and state regulators to clean up Great Bay.

Greta Tamošiunaite / Flickr

As the snow starts to melt you might notice a stark contrast in the landscape.  Maybe you were driving down the highway and noticed one shoulder was covered with snow while the other side was bare with a faint tinge of spring green shoots.  The cause?  Slope and aspect.  

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services / Flickr/CC

There’s no way around it. This week, Something Wild is a little thick. Like hundreds of pages thick but stay with us.

Chris Shadler

Chris Schadler is a wild canid biologist, and for about 25 years, her specialty has been the coyote. The first confirmed case of coyotes in New Hampshire was an individual found in a trap in Holderness in the mid 1940s. But they have likely been here longer, because as Schadler points out, they didn’t parachute into Holderness, they will have migrated south from Canada.

https://flic.kr/p/63YKcC / Flickr Creative Commons

With a narrow five to four vote, New Hampshire's Fish and Game Commission has approved new rules that would let hunters and trappers to kill fifty bobcats a year. The season would begin with a month of trapping in December of this year, and continue into January of 2017 with a month of hunting with dogs and firearms. Sportsmen will be awarded permits based on a lottery.

Every moment of our lives add up to the people we are today but some of those moments have a bit more of an impact.  That turning point when you realize what you want to do with the rest of your life. It's something that's been coming up in conversation as we've been speaking to naturalists and wildlife biologists, including Sy Montgomery.  

David Foster

One of those time honored New Year’s traditions is taking stock. Taking stock of the past year, or the past 13,000. When you consider New Hampshire was covered with a mile thick ice sheet 13,000 years ago, we’ve come a long way, baby! 12,000 years ago, we were still tundra. Trees don’t reappear in these parts until about 8,000 years ago: namely spruce, birch and poplars. And it wasn’t until about 4,000 years ago, that what we would now recognize as “New Hampshire forests” begin to reappear.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, one of the state's oldest conservation groups, has asked the Coos County Superior Court to block the Northern Pass project, a power line which would connect New England to Canadian hydropower.

John W. Iwanski via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/adzSde

Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. In times of mourning, we emphasize the cyclical nature of life and death - and yet, American burial practices are mostly designed to halt the natural process of decomposition. Today on Word of Mouth, a look at the historical forces that pushed America towards embalming and containment, and the growing "green burial" movement. Plus, how American judges are grappling with a difficult to interpret form of evidence that's starting to be introduced in the courtroom - the emoji.

Courtesy Town of Monroe

You know how New Hampshire likes to be first in the nation when it comes to politics? Well, it turns out we’re stragglers in another category: sandhill cranes. They’ve been nesting in our neighboring states of Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts, but they never went granite until 2014.

Mayors and other local elected officials from coastal communities all over the United States gathered in Hampton Saturday, hoping to capture the attention of candidates visiting the first in the nation primary state.

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich was in Manchester Friday holding another town hall. This one was aimed at local business owners, with a plan for how he would balance the country’s budget. But the conversation veered into some unexpected territory.

Bendygo / Flickr/CC

In recent years, New Hampshire has seen rapid growth in solar power. With the approaching cap on a solar development incentive known as net metering, though, many in the industry say they can’t expand much more.  We’ll find out what’s going on, and how bright or dim the future might be for solar in the Granite State.

GUESTS:

Penn State via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/auaiVV

For decades, environmentalists have fought to keep plastic, glass, paper and other recyclables out of landfills where they’d sit for thousands of years…so, is recycling truly making a difference in the health of the planet? Today, some data that challenges recycling’s sanctified status. Then, India’s government says it will clean up the horribly polluted Ganges, the river which supports ten percent of the world’s population. The first step: working with the Hindu belief that the Ganges is holy, self-purifying and the place to be buried. 

Brady Carlson / NHPR

  New Hampshire’s US Senators continue to call for reauthorizing the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Republican Kelly Ayotte and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen were among those last week who unsuccessfully tried to pass a 60 day extension of the fund.

Speaking on the Senate floor last week, Shaheen said there was a perception the program was primarily used to acquire federal land. She said most of the funding for federal projects was instead used on existing parks, refuges and conservation areas:

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has affirmed a record judgment against Exxon Mobil in a case over the chemical additive MtBE.

The $236 million verdict reached by a jury in 2013 was the largest jury award in state history. Exxon Mobil argued it used MtBE to reduce air pollution under federal law and shouldn’t be held liable for contamination in the state’s groundwater.

In its ruling Friday, the state’s high court rejected the company’s request for a new trial and about 10 other points it raised.

Via PortsmouthWastewater.com

The U.S. Air Force has agreed to treat two more contaminated wells on the former Pease Air Force Base.

That’s in addition to the Haven well, which the Air Force agreed to treat back in August. That well tested above the EPA’s provisional health advisory level for perfluorochemicals, which had leached into the water from firefighting foam used on the base.

Now, after urging from the community and EPA, the Air Force will treat the Harrison and Smith wells, which test positive for the chemicals, but below the EPA’s threshold for the contaminants.

Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/cjdv7S

As hunters head out into the New Hampshire woods today for the first day of bear season, they may have a harder time finding their quarry. Not only is there a new ban on using chocolate as bait, but it’s been a good year for natural bear sustenance.

Last year, bear hunters took 784 bears, up 20 percent from the year before. This year, Fish and Game Bear Biologist Andy Timmins says the number will likely be lower, as there’s a bumper crop of acorns, beech nuts and berries out in the woods.

Giving Matters: Connecting Kids with the Natural World

Aug 29, 2015
Courtesy Squam Lake Natural Science Center

At the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, visitors learn about New Hampshire’s environment up-close: observing otters, black bear and moose as the walk the center’s trails. Eric Kelsey and his daughter Sophie are regular visitors, and Sophie attended the center’s Blue Heron School, a nature-based early learning center.

NHPR

We’re at an osprey nest in Tilton with Iain McLeod, director of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. Our goal is recruiting another individual for Project OspreyTrack. He explains that Project OspreyTrack began in 2011, “to try to understand a little bit more about osprey migration and foraging.” 

File Photo

The US Air Force will comply with an order from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up groundwater at the Pease International Tradeport. A chemical family known as PFCs were discovered there, above the EPA threshold in the spring of 2014. 

In a statement, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center announced they had already resumed operation of a water treatment system; they have funded studies to evaluate new drinking water sites, and will develop wells to intercept the contaminants - -which are already leaching into the neighboring Harrison and Smith wells.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

In this year’s Democratic primary, several candidates have made action on climate change a major part of their campaign. This time around they think it could be a winning issue for them in the general election, and they’re also more comfortable using it to draw distinctions between each other.

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