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Arb Notes

Arb Notes: Fields of fire!

It’s spring, and that means that some parts of the Arboretum will be burned! Arb staff conduct prescribed fires every spring when the weather is dry but plants are not yet green, and the pieces of prairie that can be burned see fire about every four years.  The soils and…

Arb Notes: Sneaky snake sex

Mating season is just around the corner for many animals that call the Arb home.  For our native garter snake population, mating is quite the sight… and smell.  Garter snakes, which are non-venomous, communicate through the release of pheromones.  Pheromones are chemical cues that trigger a social response from others…

Arb notes: gardening gone askew

As the implausibly gorgeous weather jumpstarts Spring Term, many of us find ourselves savoring the warm breeze on lawns or under trees. Taking a stroll across campus, you likely would notice some elegant indigo flowers fluttering in the wind on their slender stalks; in the Upper Arb woods, those striking…

Arb notes: consequential chirps

As the weather here in Northfield starts to take a more amicable turn, hopefully you all get a chance to spend some time outdoors and outside the hustle and bustle of Week 8. All around campus, colorful chirps are enriching our auditory landscape and giving us a break from the…

Arb notes: the role of conservation in the climate crisis

Earlier this month, the Minnesota chapter of the Nature Conservancy released a report on the state of the climate crisis in Minnesota. While the data are startling—in fifty years, Minnesota summers will likely feel like those of Kansas today—the report also offers hope. Specifically, it outlines 13 natural climate solutions…

Arb notes: warming climate incites hot debate

The consequences of rapidly accelerating climate change have put ecologists and conservationists in a moral and ecological pickle.  The debate over assisted migration – whether humans should intentionally plant or move species into areas outside their native ranges – is highly controversial. Climate change has already driven many species out…