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Environment

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

As the dry weather continues in Connecticut, state officials on Monday asked residents of New London County to voluntarily cut back on outdoor irrigation and other nonessential uses of water. 

Brad Rippey / U.S. Department of Agriculture

Drought conditions in the state continue to worsen with federal agencies now saying a portion of land along the Connecticut-Rhode Island border is experiencing “extreme” drought conditions. 

Hurricane: NASA Goddard - Flickr Creative Commons / Tornado: Justin1569 - Wikipedia / Wildfire: U.S. Dept of Agriculture - Wikipedia

I’ve had a recurring dream ever since I was a little kid: I’m playing in the front yard of the house I grew up in, and suddenly, the atmosphere around me changes. I feel an ominous breeze on my face. I look up, and barreling down the street, is a tornado headed straight for me. I turn to run… and the dream ends. 

I think my compulsion to run away from dangerous weather - in my dreams and in real life - is probably shared by a lot of people. But today? The folks you’re gonna meet go towards the danger to stop it, or to document it so we can understand it better.

Lucy Nalpathanchil

Believe it or not, next Tuesday is the Autumnal Equinox - the first day of fall! This hour, Charlie Nardozzi, from Connecticut Garden Journal joins us to answer all of our fall gardening questions.

Patrick Skahill

State officials say a forest fire in Windham is getting under control, but it could continue to smolder over the coming weeks if statewide drought conditions worsen. 

Turns out, birds love to eat persimmons, too.
Rick Derevan (Flickr / Creative Commons)

Usually when I think of fall fruit trees, I think of apples and pears. They're great but there's another fruit tree that I've grown for a while now and it's a beauty.  


Wildfires in the Western U.S. continue to blaze, with much of the activity centered in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

In Oregon and Washington, 28 large fires are burning across 1.5 million acres. But the Bureau of Land Management noted that growth has slowed for a number of the major fires. The large Beachie Creek Fire east of Salem, Ore., had recorded no new growth in the previous day.

Wikimedia Commons

Bears are getting more and more used to raiding our trash cans and bird feeders for food. And as they get more comfortable with that behavior, they’re learning another one: coming into our houses. It’s not even fall yet, but state environmental officials said this week that Connecticut has already seen more incidents of bears entering homes in 2020 than in any previous year. 

Wikimedia Commons

State health officials say a potentially dangerous bacteria found in the water along Long Island Sound has caused an unusually high number of illnesses this summer. 

Fall webworm
Judy Gallagher (Flickr / Creative Commons)

Most insect populations in our gardens and forests are on the decline with the fall weather. But one insect is in its glory. The fall webworm is creating white webbed nests on branches of a variety of deciduous trees such as crabapples, plums, elm, oak, and ash. They're obvious this time of year from their large webs on the branch ends. Unlike the tent caterpillars that form webs in branch crotches in spring, web worms cover the ends of branches in fall and feed safely from predators inside the web mesh.

Strawflower
Tom Miller (Flickr / Creative Commons)

Each year, I often rotate growing various cut flowers in our garden. This year I went back to growing two old favorites; strawflowers and statice. I hadn't grown these annual cut flowers for years and I'm glad I did this year.

Ryan von Linden / New York Department of Environmental Conservation

Do you see bats where you live? These flying creatures play important roles in ecosystems around the world, from pest control to pollination.

There's still time to plant carrots, beets and radishes in our gardens even though it's late August.
Pixabay.com

It's easy with all the tomatoes, peppers, squashes, melons, cucumbers and beans flowing into our kitchens, to forget about the cool season veggies that have been waiting for us. We recently rediscovered our spring planted root crops. We did start eating beets and carrots earlier this year, then got into all the other veggies. Now, it's time to get back to our roots.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

The arcane world of energy surcharges dominated a virtual conference call Monday, as hundreds of participants watched a public hearing between Eversource and state regulators. 

At issue was a controversial rate increase implemented shortly before Tropical Storm Isaias knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of Eversource customers.

Marina Shamesh / PublicDomainPictures.net

On sweltering summer days, having a house or apartment with air conditioning is important not only for comfort, but also for safety.  The need to cool down will only grow as climate change makes our world  hotter.

Beautifuclcataya (Flickr / creative commons)

You know fall is coming when the wild asters start to bloom. This native perennial flower is hardy, tough, and long blooming. It's also known as the Michaelmas daisy as it blooms into the end of September during the Feast of Saint Michael. But there's more to this wildflower than what we see in meadows. In the garden paired with goldenrods, sedum and rudbeckia, it's an amazingly easy perennial to grow for beautiful fall color.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

The opaque world of energy policy continues to roil the surface of state government as regulators again have chastised the state’s two biggest utilities: Eversource and United Illuminating. This time, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority fined both companies, alleging an “insufficient” rollout of a program called shared solar.

Pixabay.com

It's been a great summer for flowers. But it's a shame the hot temperatures forced many flowers to go by so quickly. To enjoy the flower season longer, cut some of your favorite annual, perennial and bulb flowers and arrange them in vases indoors. Before you run out and snip some blooms for the table, here are some tips.

Illustration by Chion Wolf

When you were growing up, you probably heard about famous inventors. Maybe you thought they were brilliant. Rigorously trained. Confident. Capable. And that their inventions advanced humankind through and through.

But Dr. Ainissa Ramirez spent the last 5 years writing a book that strips away those presumptions. In The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another, she paints portraits not of how inventors settled questions of the limits of technology - but of how much further we still have to go.

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Melinda Young Stuart (Flickr / Creative Commons)

We've been busy watching many different butterflies this summer in our garden. It seems they love this heat and humidity. And there's been enough water for them to thrive. Of course, this time of year the Monarch butterflies become more noticeable. Their prized plant is the milkweed. Many insects only feed and lay eggs on a few different types of plants. That's certainly true of monarchs. Anything in the milkweed family is fair game. Monarch caterpillars have the unique ability to eat the milkweed leaves even with the toxic, white, milky sap. It actually makes the Monarchs less appealing to birds, so it's a protection device, too.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

After a tumultuous week filled with legislative outrage, sniping between energy companies, and consumer sticker shock at rising utility bills, state regulators on Friday announced they would temporarily suspend a controversial rate increase for energy company Eversource.

Today, you’re gonna hear from three people who had close encounters with wild animals - and have the scars to prove it.

You’ll hear how - and if - any of these people felt defined by their experiences, and what sense they’ve made out of their encounters. Plus, you’ll hear from a wildlife expert about what animals you should be careful to keep away from here in New England.

Don McCullough / Creative Commons

The delicate balancing act of anticipating electric demand before and during the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown electricity suppliers, regulators and customers an unwelcome surprise this summer: massive jumps on electric bills. 

Genovese basil is the basil cooks reach for when making pesto.
Pixabay

Basil is one of those quintessential tastes of summer. Growing up, it reminds me of my mom's eggplant parmesan, Caprese salad and tomato sauce. You can't grow tomatoes without growing some basil.

Illustration by Chion Wolf

Colin McEnroe Show alum Chion Wolf has a new show: Audacious. Hear this guest episode from her series!

Last year, a 28-year-old guy in Mumbai tried to sue his parents -- who are both lawyers -- for having brought him into the world. He claims his parents didn’t get his consent to live. In addition to being a very bold person, he is an anti-natalist. That is, he believes that it is morally wrong to bring sentient life into this world -- no matter how charmed or how troubled that life is -- and that humanity should stop reproducing, full stop.

Marina Shamesh / PublicDomainPictures.net

On sweltering summer days, having a house or apartment with air conditioning is important not only for comfort, but also for safety.  The need to cool down will only grow as climate change makes our world  hotter.

But air conditioning itself also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. This hour, we talk about how to make sure climate-friendly cooling options are available to everyone.

Here in Connecticut, not all residents can afford to run air conditioners in the heat of summer because of sky-high electricity costs. We talk about how energy efficient homes are important not only for our state’s carbon footprint, but also for racial and socioeconomic equity.

Raspberries
Pixabay

July is raspberry season. But you might have noticed some damage on your raspberry canes. Two common problems you'll see this time of year are raspberry cane blight and raspberry tip borer. Although neither problem will wipe out your raspberry crop, they both will reduce your yields.

Fadein / Wikimedia Commons

With the weather getting hotter and many indoor activities limited because of the pandemic, a trip to the water is a great way to cool off.

But not every Connecticut community has a beachfront or river in town, and many wealthy communities with waterfronts have a history of limiting water access to residents only.  Some of those restrictions have reappeared this summer in response to COVID-19.

This hour, we talk about the implications of excluding access to our state’s natural waters, especially during a pandemic.

Ground cherries
anneheathen (Flickr / Creative Commons)

Some vegetables are just fun. We've been growing ground cherries for years. This tomato-family vegetable looks like a mini version of a tomatillo. It's a sprawling 2-foot tall plant that produces an abundance of green turning to brown papery husks. Inside the husk is the fun part. Small, cherry-sized fruits mature from green to golden. Unwrap the husk, harvest and snack on the fruits. They taste like a cross between a tomato and pineapple. They are sweet and delicious and something kids really love.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

After years of debate and study, the future of Hartford’s aging trash-to-energy facility is finally beginning to crystalize. And Connecticut’s trash future may end up looking a lot like a step into the past: sending garbage to landfills. 

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