More Animals in Urban Forests

Scientists investigating an increase in fishers in upstate New York forests wondered whether or not there were enough mammals for a fisher population to survive. Camera traps set up in the forests in the Albany area showed that there were more animals in urban forests than in non-urban forests.
We found higher diversity and overall higher activity of animals in our camera traps set in urban forests than in those out in the wild areas. The objective of this study was to compare the potential prey communities that fishers might encounter in these two environments. Could fishers be lured into these areas by abundant prey? Now we know that, yes, this could be part of the explanation (i.e. hypothesis not rejected).
Urban forests strike again, as agents of diversity, as reservoirs for species that we had not imagined were reservoirs for species. (In this case, the survey found 14 species in suburban forests, including dogs and snowmobilers, but only six in the so-called wild forests.) But another great this about this investigation is that it involved a high school study participating in "project-based study." A high school student, in other words, monitored the cameras and collected the data. High schools are a little like urban forests these days, especially given the emphasis on intellect-stomping standardized tests and now budget cuts everywhere: they are places where we have resources we probably don't know about, resources we are mostly not taking advantage of, resources we are likely hindering.
via the NY Times.


The American Meteor Society confirmed a meteor spotted today over New Jersey and Pennsylvania. A photographer in the Lehigh Valley saw it, according to the Express-Times:
Express-Times contributing photographer Tim Wynkoop reported seeing the meteor shortly before 1 o'clock as he was driving on South Main Street in Phillipsburg, traveling west to east across the southern sky, though it was gone before he could snap a picture. "In the sky straight ahead, I saw this huge ball of fire coming down out of the sky, probably at a very sharp angle," Wynkoop said. "It left a very long trail of fire. I didn't see any smoke. As soon as you saw it, it was gone."
Said Robert Lunsford, the AMS's operations manager: "This was indeed a meteor."

They're Back

As noted today in the Daily News, the whales are back.

Human Settlements

Something that Thoreau does well is help you think about cities as human settlements, places that are as natural as any place else, sometimes more natural than other places. Here, via a cool place somewhere in Oregon, are these photos by Michael Wolf.

via The Best Time of Day