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Month: December 2017

Black Bear (Ursus americanus)

Black Bear (Ursus americanus)

Although black bears (Ursus americanus) spend the winter hibernating in New England, there are still opportunities to find signs of bear activity from previous seasons or previous years. For example, on a recent walk in Asheville, MA with naturalist and tracker Kathy Dean, we found a tree sprinkled with claw marks. Discovering a tree marked by a black bear climbing activity is not uncommon, since these animals are known to forage in oak trees for acorns, in beech trees for…

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Wildflower Wednesday: Seaside Goldenrod

Wildflower Wednesday: Seaside Goldenrod

Winter doesn’t mean the end of wildflower identification. Many plants retain easily identifiable seed pods and other features. Although the late summer display of its vibrant yellow flower clusters is over, seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens) is no less interesting in December. Seaside goldenrod is a native perennial aptly named as it is commonly found in dunes and at the edges of salt marshes. It is fairly well adapted to drought conditions, allowing it to survive in the dry, sandy dunes….

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Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

Despite its name, the eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is actually a species of juniper rather than cedar. Eastern red cedars have two types of leaves depending on the age of the tree and/or the branch. Young shoots and seedlings have predominantly prickly leaves, while mature trees and branches have tightly overlapping scale-like leaves. In fertile soil, eastern red cedars can grow up to 60 feet tall, in a regular conical shape. In sandy soil common to coastal Cape Cod,…

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