Environment | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

Environment

Vanessa de la Torre / Connecticut Public Radio

Leticia Colón de Mejias thinks no problem is insurmountable if Americans come together.

“Sometimes we take these subjects and we make them so big and scary that people feel we can’t take action,” said Colón, 42, a Connecticut entrepreneur, environmentalist and mother of seven. “Climate change seems terrifying. And everyone’s like, it’s too big.”

Adam Sherman

Rising seas are a frightening reality for coastal communities, including many historic towns that have been built right to the water’s edge over the last few centuries. Provincetown, Massachusetts, at the tip of Cape Cod, is a perfect example of this kind of community. But what happens to the character of the place when sea level rise forces it to adapt?

For years, an elderly resident of Hanover, N.H., fed one particular female black bear. The old man's food offer of choice? Birdseed and maple-glazed doughnuts from a diner down the street.

Then the man died, and the bear started venturing out farther in search of more delicious treats.

She had become comfortable around humans, and people in town grew to love her — a lumbering, strong but gentle animal that would come right up to your door. She's named Mink, after a local natural area called Mink Brook.

Trevor Lloyd-Evans certainly looks like a naturalist. On a walk through the woods in Plymouth, he sports a white beard, thick wool sweater and a pair of binoculars around his neck. The ornithologist with the Manomet Center‘s Landbird Conservation Program is demonstrating his calling, too, pointing out cardinals, blue jays and Carolina wrens and imitating their unique chirps.

Sunflower
metin.gul (Flickr) / Creative Commons

One the quintessential flowers of summer is the sunflower. The common sunflower was originally grown in the Southwest 5,000 years ago. Native Americans used the seed for food, dyes, medicine, and oil. Though the Europeans started growing sunflowers in the 1500s, it was mostly as an ornamental. It wasn’t until Peter the Great of Russia started growing it on the large scale for oil production that sunflowers started booming as a popular crop.

AP Photo/Stewart Cairns

About 280 acres of undeveloped land in Simsbury were sold this week to make way for construction of the “Tobacco Valley Solar Farm.” Once built, it will be one of the largest solar arrays in New England, but the project has been controversial since its origins in 2016.

The discharge canal at Pilgrim, where water used for cooling at the plant is released back into Cape Cod Bay.
Robin Lubbock / WBUR

The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth pumps about a half-billion gallons of water from Cape Cod Bay into the plant every day. The water cycles continuously, passing through the plant’s condenser, and returning to the bay about 10 minutes later — and 30 degrees warmer.

Brian Skerry / SHARK

Sharks. They’re among the apex predators of the ocean, swimming with stealth and agility across our blue planet. But more than that, they’re sources of myth and fear, stirring imaginations with their serrated jaws and cutting dorsal fins.

Your trees and shrubs can provide birds with food, water, and shelter.
Jen Goellnitz (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Everyone loves the calls and sights of songbirds this time of year. They're a cheery reminder of spring and a delight with all their activity. But due to habitat loss, climate change, and other factors, the populations of many song birds are declining. One way to help is to plant the right shrubs for birds.

Peter Marteka / Hartford Courant

Searching for a majestic waterfall? There's no need to travel very far. Many are right here in Connecticut.

There's gushers like Great Falls along the Housatonic River at Falls Village in the town of Canaan on the western side of the state. In the spring when it's at full power, it's been touted as the "Niagara of New England."

Others, like Sages Ravine in Salisbury, are more pristine, but a little harder to get to. For those willing to trek through the woods a bit, they may have it all to themselves.

Today we take a tour of the best cascading waters the state has to offer.

This week a high-stakes conference in Providence is considering new measures that could help endangered North Atlantic right whales avoid life-threatening entanglements in fishing gear. These measures could also challenge Maine's lobster industry, though.

Climate Change Versus Tweed Airport

Apr 29, 2019
Wikimedia

Since 1931, Tweed New Haven Airport has sat on a spit of what was once salt marsh and wetlands straddling the East Haven border. It is wedged between New Haven Harbor where the Quinnipiac River empties, the Farm River mouth separating East Haven and Branford, and Long Island Sound. It is transected by other waterways – Tuttle Brook and Morris Creek.

And it floods.

Kelly Colgan Azar / Flickr

With the change in season, many birds that headed south over the winter are coming back to the northeast. This hour, we sit down with Connecticut’s state ornithologist. 

It’s the time of year birds are finding mates and raising chicks. What behaviors should we be on the lookout for?

You can get eggplant from your garden if you get started in May.
Michele Dorsey Walfred (Flickr) / Creative Commons

One of the food highlights growing up in Waterbury was my mom's eggplant parmesan. The combination of gooey mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, and breaded and fried eggplant slices was to die for. It still is, and I love cooking it myself now.

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

What started a fire that destroyed a multi-million dollar state project in Milford is still a mystery, but this week police arrested two 18-year-olds in connection with a pair of smaller fires at Silver Sands State Park.

Cheryl Senter / NHPR

More women are getting counted as farmers in the state, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Falon Yates / Creative Commons

Spring has arrived, transforming Connecticut’s landscape into a vibrant canvas of yellows, pinks, whites, and greens. For gardeners, the season signals a return to the outdoors; a new opportunity to cultivate the soil and tend to rows of berries, herbs, and flowering trees.

This hour, join us as we talk all things spring gardening with Connecticut Garden Journal host Charlie Nardozzi. Do you have a question about your backyard beds or community garden plot? We want to hear from you. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

A recent state audit is critical of the quasi-public agency that handles nearly a third of Connecticut’s trash. The Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority, or MIRA, was cited for a persistent lack of communication with state officials.

Cupani sweet pea.
Martin Cooper (Flickr) / Creative Commons

One of the best smells of spring are sweet peas. The flowers look like colorful butterflies and many have a heavenly scent. 

New Hampshire wildlife officials have the same message every spring when it comes to bears.

Bring in bird feeders, they say, get chickens inside some kind of bear-proof enclosure and make sure trash is stored away.

But the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has been running into a very human problem: apathy. 

José Francisco Salgado / Flickr Creative Commons

It could be argued that you will never understand yourself if you don’t understand the universe. And the universe is full of both beautiful and scary things. At least once, something has come roaring out of the skies to reconfigure completely life on earth. So it might be a good idea to study the heavens.

Winterberry is a native plant in Connecticut.
Infiniteswg (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Everyone wants to plant native plants. The advantages to growing native plants are many. These are plants that have stood the test of time. They're adapted to weather, climate, insects, diseases and even human activity. They provide habitat for pollinators, butterflies, birds and other wildlife and, sometimes, food for us. But finding a good, economical source for lots of these trees, shrubs, perennials, fruits and berries can be problematic.

Scott Wallace

Journalist and author Scott Wallace has dedicated years to documenting the so-called "unconquered" tribes of South America. This hour, we sit down with Wallace who, in addition to traveling and writing, is a professor of journalism at the University of Connecticut.

We walk along the path that guided Wallace into the thick of the Amazon, and learn about the issues threatening the forest's most isolated people today. 

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

Americans throw out lots of food. Estimates from the EPA say nearly 40 million tons are landfilled or incinerated each year. And in Connecticut, food waste is second only to paper in terms of what people toss in the trash.

So more than five years ago, a new state law began requiring large businesses to recycle their leftover food. The hope was to divert organic waste from the trash bin while enticing recyclers to build in the state.

But getting that recycling industry started has been a challenge.

Pxhere

Where does your food come from? Most of us go to the grocery store to buy produce, dairy, and meat. And these items aren’t necessarily local; they may come from hundreds or thousands of miles away.

This hour we hear how more people are getting involved in producing the food they eat. It’s called “modern homesteading.”

We hear from two Connecticut residents who’ve tried this practice. What drove them to pursue homesteading? And what barriers exist for Connecticut residents who want to live off the land? We find out.

Redbud.
Jeff Hart (Flickr) / Creative Commons

There's nothing like a dwarf flowering tree in your yard. While shade trees are beautiful, they take years to get established. But dwarf flowering trees are instant eye candy. They bloom each year, not growing too large and unruly.

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

Recently, part of Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford caught fire.

But this shoreline blaze wasn’t a disaster.

It was actually a carefully-planned “burn” aimed at preserving what’s been called the “last remnant” of eastern prairie in Connecticut.

Several members of a powerful science panel for the Environmental Protection Agency expressed doubt at a hearing Thursday about the long-established scientific consensus that air pollution can cause premature death.

The panel was meeting to consider recommendations that would fundamentally change how the agency analyzes the public health dangers posed by air pollution and could lead to weaker regulation of soot.

Pxhere

We all need fresh water to survive, yet it's so ubiquitous most of us barely spare it a thought in our daily lives. This hour we take a look at the state of water in our country, from rivers and streams to the water that comes out of our taps.

Basil
Yamanaka Tamaki (Flickr) / Creative Commons

There's nothing better than having fresh herbs at your fingertips when cooking your favorite recipes. Our tomato sauces always taste better in summer when we can add fresh basil, oregano, and parsley to the mix. But you don't have to have a large herb garden to have fresh herbs. Many herbs grow well in containers on a deck, balcony or patio. This is great because you don't have to venture far to harvest the leaves.

Pages