Cover

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Half Title, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Authors' Notes

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pp. vii-vii

Contents

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pp. ix-xii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

Producing a book is always a collaborative effort. In the case of Ecoviews Too, thanks are due to the myriad people—scientists, researchers, and laypeople; colleagues, friends, and family members—who read the newspaper columns prior to publication: ...

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Preface

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pp. xv-xvi

Nature, in all its myriad and amazing manifestations, can be enjoyed in every season. Sometimes the predictability of a natural event is what appeals. Other events are treasured for their rarity or unpredictability. And sometimes—such as when rain changes from life giving to life destroying—nature wields a double-edged sword. ...

Introduction: What Should You Do with a Beached Whale?

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pp. xvii-xx

Spring

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Every Day Is April Fool’s for Some Species

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pp. 1-3

A fish spies a wiggling worm under the riverbank. Free meal? Yes, but not for the fish. April Fool’s. The would-be worm was actually the tongue of an alligator snapping turtle, and the giant jaws slammed shut when the fish went after the bait. For almost any identifiable human behavior, including playing jokes on April 1, ...

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Tips for Earth Day and Proper Environmental Etiquette

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pp. 4-6

I have two environmental suggestions for Earth Day. As almost everyone who likes to breathe clean air knows, Earth Day falls on April 22. But one day is not enough. We should celebrate Earth Day year-round, from the time we wake up until we go to sleep, all day, every day. After all, we want a clean, healthy, and enjoyable environment all the time, not just one day a year. ...

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Easter Is Associated with Many Plants

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pp. 7-9

Easter sends various messages to people throughout the world. Of particular interest from an ecological standpoint are the many trees and flowers that are associated with that time of year. Flowering dogwoods, redbuds, palm trees, lilies, and many other plants have connections with Easter, some well known, others less so. ...

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Mothers of Many Animals Are Worthy of Recognition

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pp. 10-13

Cowbirds, starfish, and turtles do not give or receive Mother’s Day gifts. One reason is that offspring of these animals do not know their mothers. Cowbirds deposit their eggs in the nests of other birds, and unknowing foster parents raise baby cowbirds along with their own young. Turtles lay their eggs in dirt or sand and never look back. ...

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Some Birds Take Care of Their Siblings

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pp. 14-17

Spring is the time to enjoy nature’s productivity. As we approach the official first day of spring each year (around March 21), we can hear more birds singing, see pairs flitting here and there, and watch nest-building activities. Wrens started a nest in our garage this week, which means we have to leave the doors open till the young leave. ...

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Bumblebees Can Make Honey, Too

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pp. 18-21

I received a question from someone who wanted to get information about bumblebees, these creatures that appear in our backyards as a buzzing cloud of yellow and black. The writer said that each summer day hundreds of them blatantly pilfer the pollen from the many flowers in her yard. ...

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We Don’t Need to Kill Carpenter Bees

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pp. 22-24

Every year at this time I get questions about bees. Recently, a friend told me about honeybees swarming on a university campus. She and her fellow employees gathered to watch as the bees flew around the office windows then collected in a huge clump on a nearby tree. ...

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What Should You Do If You Find a Baby Bird?

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pp. 25-27

A common question that I receive in spring and early summer is what to do if you find a baby bird on the ground. One writer said she had seen two in her neighborhood recently—one in danger of being run over by a car and the other in danger of being caught by a dog. She wanted to know if there is some group that takes care of homeless birds. ...

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The Mating Game Has Many Rules

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pp. 28-30

One night at the edge of a swamp I watched a big salamander creep along the muddy bottom in search of I know not what. The animal was a greater siren, one of the largest salamanders in the world. The one I watched that night was more than two feet long. I stood on the bank for several minutes, following its movements with my flashlight. ...

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Spring Is Also a Time for Making New Year’s Resolutions

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pp. 31-34

We should all make New Year’s resolutions in the spring. The vernal equinox, the first day of spring, marks the beginning of a new year. The time to start anew is upon us.
What should you do about it? ...

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Ecological Lessons Are All around Us

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pp. 35-37

The prospects look good for something productive finally coming out of my workshop. For the last week, two Carolina wrens have spent each day bringing tasty insects to their babies through an open window I forgot to close last month. If the babies fledge, the parents will have accomplished more in the workshop in a few days than I have in several years. ...

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St. Patrick’s Day Means Snakes Are on the Move

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pp. 38-42

Two things related to March bring snakes to mind. The first is St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. The saint is credited with driving the snakes out of Ireland. The fact that snakes have never lived on that cold island in no way discourages people from making a connection between St. Patrick and snakes. ...

Summer

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pp. 43-44

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What Can We Learn from Cicada Killers?

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pp. 45-49

We watched from our back porch as a killer ascended to the top of a twenty-foot tree, carrying its defenseless victim. We knew what the outcome would be. The target of the earlier attack would be buried alive in our backyard or our neighbor’s, while the perp left the scene unscathed, never to be brought to justice. ...

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Color Means a Lot in Ecology

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pp. 50-55

What color is the Fourth of July? Most older Americans probably think of red, white, and blue. Some children may think of bright yellow and other exploding parts of the color spectrum associated with fireworks. Halloween is orange and black; ...

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Questions about Alligators Never End: Part 1

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pp. 56-62

How big do alligators get, how long do they live, and how fast can they run when chasing a person? These questions are asked every year, especially by residents living in regions where alligators occur naturally. Alligators, the largest of our native resident reptiles, ...

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Questions about Alligators Never End: Part 2

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pp. 63-68

Q. How big was the largest alligator ever captured?
A. In a study done in Florida from 1977 to 1993, the largest male alligator was fourteen feet long and the largest female, ten feet, two inches. An alligator that was killed and left in a Louisiana marsh in the early 1900s ...

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Let’s Go Out in the Swamp Tonight

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pp. 69-71

The request by my seven-year-old grandson Nick to “go out in the swamp at night” was one any self-respecting granddad would want to honor. We were spending the weekend out at our cabin in the woods and that evening we set out on our excursion. ...

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“But Poison Ivy, Lord’ll Make You Itch!!”

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pp. 72-77

Before we dug up a gopher tortoise burrow as part of a study, I was one of those people who claim they “never get poison ivy.” Three weeks later the itching had almost stopped. The connection between digging in the sand and my ailment is only conjecture, but one hypothesis is that oils were released from the roots that got chopped up. ...

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Few Folks Get to See a Glossy Strangle a Craw

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pp. 78-81

I received the request via email: “Let me know when you see that glossy strangle a craw.” I replied that I would.
I have not become a spy and this was not code for some hush-hush operation designed to exterminate a criminal mastermind. It was a request from Noel Vick, who had given me the glossy crayfish snake, ...

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I Wish Everyone Could Visit Glacier Bay

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pp. 82-85

Old ecologists are wont to tell young ecologists that to fully appreciate the earth’s myriad mutualistic and competitive plant and animal interactions they must visit the tropics. Seldom does anyone suggest visiting the other end of the environmental spectrum—the frozen northland—for comparative purposes. ...

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Sea Otters Are Unique

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pp. 86-88

Sea otters are on my top ten list of “most appealing mammals,” along with pandas, beluga whales, meerkats, and, of course, puppies. But sea otters are not just cute, they are also one of the most resilient animals in the world. Which is a good thing, because in addition to living in a harsh habitat, ...

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Controlled Access Works Best for Some Parks

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pp. 89-91

“Run from a moose. Stand your ground with a bear.” So reads some of the information given to visitors to Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. ...

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The Badlands Offer an Environmental Paradox

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pp. 92-94

The bare hills, catching the gold of the morning sun, looked like a distant painting rather than real life. Obvious wildlife was absent on the barren hillsides, which were devoid of vegetation save a scattering of small bushes and occasional trees, probably fewer than ten per acre. ...

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Maine Has Abundant Opportunities for Nature Watching

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pp. 95-98

I enjoy hot, humid, oppressive summer weather as much as the next person, so when I was invited to spend a few days last week with a friend in Waldo County, Maine, I quickly said yes. I had dug out my favorite fleece jacket before I even accepted the offer. ...

Autumn

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pp. 99-100

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Take a Walk in a Southern Stream

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pp. 101-103

When I saw the bullfrog sitting up in the bush with all the flowers, I knew the trip had been worthwhile. That’s the great thing about getting out in the woods in autumn before the cold spells hit. Animals and plants abound, and you never know what you might see. ...

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Are Large Black Cats More Than a Halloween Phenomenon?

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pp. 104-107

Black cats and Halloween are a natural combination. In fact, some superstitious folk think they come out in greater numbers on Halloween night, maybe riding on the back of a witch’s broomstick or slinking across someone’s path to bring bad luck. From an ecological standpoint, black cats have an element of mystery that has nothing to do with superstition. ...

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This Worm Is Creepier Than a Halloween Ghoul

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pp. 108-110

With Halloween on the horizon, I am reminded of a “mystery animal” someone once sent me. The enigmatic creature was described like this in an email: “A young boy discovered a specimen that our neighborhood is unfamiliar with. It is about twenty-four inches long, has the diameter of a toothpick, is brown in color, ...

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Halloween Is a Time for Scary Thoughts

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pp. 111-113

My daughter mentioned that one of the costumed characters running around her house getting ready for Halloween was Dracula, which made her think about the count’s natural counterparts, vampire bats. She asked me if vampire bats actually occur in the region known as Transylvania and if they are found in the United States. ...

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Africa Doesn’t Need Bigfoot

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pp. 114-116

When I left for Africa, stories in the US media were reporting Bigfoot sightings in Oregon, Alaska, and even Connecticut. Among the questions I have about Bigfoot is why one never gets accidentally shot during hunting season the way hunters and dogs do. Surely Bigfoot doesn’t wear an orange hunting vest. ...

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National Hunting and Fishing Day Is Good for the Environment

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pp. 117-119

I ’m not sure who first stated the following concept: people who hunt and fish are among the nation’s foremost conservationists. I do know that Teddy Roosevelt was the first US president to strongly support the concept, and in 1972 Richard Nixon endorsed the idea with a signed proclamation. ...

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What Are Our Top Ten Environmental Problems?

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pp. 120-123

Top ten lists are appealing, from top ten books to top ten YouTube videos to top ten news items you are not looking forward to reading this month, which for me would include political ads and hearing whether Justin Bieber is behaving himself. Getting young people to think about the environment is a worthwhile goal, ...

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Get a Head Start on This Year’s Science Fair

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pp. 124-126

Next to parental guidance, most credit for today’s environmental awareness among young people goes to schoolteachers. For much of the year they spend almost as many waking hours with children as their parents do. One of their teaching tools is science fairs. ...

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Predicting Autumn Leaf Colors Remains Unpredictable

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pp. 127-130

The changing color of forests in autumn is a temperate zone phenomenon more predictable than hurricanes or election outcomes. Grammar school children know of its coming as evidenced by bulletin boards of colorful, leaf-shaped paper cutouts. Each year, thousands of people visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to admire the spectacle of autumn trees. ...

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Everybody Recognizes a Hornet’s Nest

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pp. 131-133

A few things in the environment are so distinctive that no one is likely to confuse them with any other natural object. I saw three of them during an autumn walk in the woods: a box turtle, big red mushrooms, and a hornet’s nest. Fortunately for me, my grandson Parker noticed the hornet’s nest and pointed it out before I collided with it. ...

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Snakes Are Much in Evidence in Autumn

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pp. 134-137

Most people appreciate autumn’s cooler temperatures and fall colors. I personally like fall because more snakes are more abundant than at any other time of the year. North American snakes actually occur in greater numbers in the fall than any other time of the year and often are more visible because vegetation cover is reduced. ...

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Turkeys Are Here to Stay

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pp. 138-141

Turkeys always start their celebrating the day after Thanksgiving. They are totally unappreciative that each year our country dedicates a day to them. This Thanksgiving Americans will consume more than 45 million turkeys. Those ending up on dinner tables amid dressing, gravy, and cranberry sauce will mostly be the fat, white-feathered, ...

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Cranberries Are an All-American Treat

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pp. 142-144

When Americans celebrate the holiday season from Thanksgiving through Christmas iconic foods immediately come to mind—apple pie, pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes. And, of course, cranberries. But if you want a truly American meal, you can dump the first three, because only cranberries are native to the United States. ...

Winter

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pp. 145-146

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Is Gift Giving Unique to Humans?

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pp. 147-150

Do humans do things that no other animal does? To be sure, a few special types of behavior come to mind. Praying, exploring outer space, and being a lawyer are, as far as I know, three uniquely human activities. But we do few things that some other species does not also do. Even gift giving is not a practice unique to humans. ...

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Deck Your Halls with Boughs of Holly

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pp. 151-153

Answers to these questions I have received about holly are perfect for the holiday season.
Q. Are holly trees native to North America? How big do holly trees get? Where did the idea of using holly at Christmastime originate? Why do holly leaves have those needle-like spines on them? ...

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Mistletoe Is America’s Most Popular Parasite

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pp. 154-156

Mistletoe is the only plant associated with Christmas that has flowers pollinated by insects, has seeds transported by birds, takes its water and minerals from trees, and is not displayed in church. “Mistletoe” refers to any of more than two hundred species of semiparasitic shrubs found worldwide. ...

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Where Would You Find Twenty-Two Turtle Doves?

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pp. 157-159

The most ecologically relevant song of the Christmas season is the one that starts off with a partridge in a pear tree as the first of many gifts. According to my calculations, by the twelfth day of Christmas someone’s true love had delivered more geese and swans than any other bird. ...

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What Is the Story behind Poinsettias?

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pp. 160-163

In checking into facts about America’s most popular Christmas flower, I was reading an older edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica about a man described as a “statesman noted primarily for his diplomacy in Latin America” and also for being the first US ambassador to Mexico. Joel Roberts Poinsett, of Charleston, ...

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Rudolph Is Not a Female Reindeer

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pp. 164-167

In 1949, when singing cowboy Gene Autry said that Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer would “go down in history,” he probably did not believe it. Especially as the song still remains the only one in musical history to be number one on the charts one week and completely off the charts the next. ...

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What Is a Groundhog?

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pp. 168-170

So is cold weather nearly over for the year or can we expect six more weeks of winter? On February 2, known to most as Groundhog Day, Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil will give his answer. Don’t try to figure out why winter should continue for exactly six weeks or end more quickly, just enjoy the tradition. ...

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MLK Day Offers Opportunity for Environmental Lessons

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pp. 171-173

I once gave a talk that addressed the question “what does Martin Luther King Day have to do with environmental attitudes.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great and special man, a teacher. And some of the lessons he taught work as well for ecology as they do for race relations. ...

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Make Your Environmental Resolutions for the Coming Year

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pp. 174-177

So you’ve made your resolutions for the New Year: lose weight, exercise more, and never again watch another negative political advertisement. How about making resolutions in addition to those perennial favorites? Below is a ten-point checklist of easy-to-make, no-need-to-break environmental resolutions. ...

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Why Does a Pine Tree Produce Turpentine?

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pp. 178-180

Why would a tree living in a habitat that catches fire every few years produce turpentine, a highly flammable substance? That question was asked as I was building a fire at home with a piece of fat lighter, wood from the stump of a long-dead pine tree. ...

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Why Do Animals Turn White in the Arctic but Not the Antarctic?

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pp. 181-183

Why do so many animals turn white in winter or stay white all year at the North Pole but not at the South Pole? Wouldn’t the same camouflage conditions apply to both regions? ...

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Valentine’s Day Signals the End of Winter Dormancy

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pp. 184-186

“In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” So said Alfred, Lord Tennyson. And though he may not have realized it, as spring approaches, courtship behaviors are prevalent throughout the animal kingdom. ...

Conclusion

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pp. 187-188

Index

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pp. 189-198