True Believers! Once again, Kelly Rypkema, our unabashed advocate for nature, jumps boldly into the wilds of New York. In today’s episode, Kelly tests the superhero strength of spider silk and shares the answer to one of life’s greatest questions. But remember Faithful Friends, with great power comes great responsibility. Excelsior!
You know how you get those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that require a huge leap of faith, and a complete change of lifestyle? Well, that happened to me back in December. I was offered the chance to develop a nature center from soup to nuts…. Introducing the brand new Tulpehaking Nature Center! And meet its Manager – moi!
I headed out to Trenton, New Jersey and this amazing marshland right in the middle of the community. So I’m still located in a metropolitan area. There’s just not so many skyscrapers around – but there are eels!
And in case you’re wondering, Tulpehaking is a Lenape Indian word meaning “land of the turtles.” The area is one of the most significant archaeological sites in the Northeastern US, with artifacts dating back over 13000 years(!). Okay, putting my PR hat aside and back to the issue at hand….
Nature Minute will be back, although maybe in a slightly different form or title. A new and improved version. But – between getting programs together for the nature center, creating a team of volunteers, and developing exhibits – it might take me a while.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to those of you who are taking this ride with me to explore the nature of the city. We will continue! My gift to you is one last episode before our hiatus, coming soon. For this one, we unveil yet another talent of our illustrious editor, Laird Ogden, to tell the story as we’ve never done before. Stay tuned!
Think there’s no wildlife on the city streets? Look up! This Peregrine Falcon hung out in Soho for an entire afternoon last week, taking in the sights (of pigeons? of starlings perhaps?) along Broadway.
New York City is home to about 32 falcons who live here year-round. To find out why NYC is such a prime spot for this endangered species, check out this episode of Nature Minute.
I wasn’t kidding when I filmed this spider episode. Go out there, find a spider web and see if you can find out which silk fibers are sticky and which are not. (Adults, I’m talking to you too. Why should kids have all the fun?)
Not all spiders spin orb-webs. Some make sheet webs, cobwebs, funnel webs, you name it. If you find something different, see if you can figure out which parts of those webs are sticky. With a light touch, you can satisfy your curiosity without harming the spiders or their webs. When you’ve done it, leave your comment here about your experience. What was it like for you? Did you discover something that surprised you?
Is the thought of walking face first into a spider web enough to make you scream? In this episode of Nature in a New York Minute, biologist Kelly Rypkema shares a little experiment to help you face your inner demons and answers the age-old question “Why don’t spiders stick to their own webs?”
Trouble viewing? Watch on YouTube instead.
One lucky Autumn morning, I awoke to find this Argiope spider gracefully spinning the sticky part of her web. In the process, she might thrust her legs on that sticky silk more than 1000 times…. So why don’t spiders stick to their own webs? Find out in our upcoming episode of Nature in a New York Minute.
…for humans anyway. To update you on one of the stars from a past episode, Clover the Cow has given birth to a cute little calf. For the time being, she’s on vacation from the milking demonstrations she does for children and the public, as officials at the Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm, where Clover lives, are letting her reserve all her milk production for her baby.
These days Clover can be seen grazing the fields of the Remick Farm with her calf close behind, much like her pasturemate, pictured here, with baby in tow. Looks like the calf is trying out a new ‘do with the help of mother’s tail.
In case you missed it, check out our episode MILK to see Clover in her glory, and to see how I did in my first try at milking a cow. It’s not as easy as you might think.
Tree trunks grow out, not up, and sometimes engulf whatever might have been resting on them. Someone must have placed this brick in the fork of the tree some time ago. Examples of this kind of “tree hugging” can be seen all over the city, reminding us that trees, which might seem dead, are indeed alive and moving!
Have you ever wanted to ask Cicadas why they’re so loud, but thought it would be Brood 2 ask? Biologist Kelly Rypkema ventures into the thick of the 2013 appearance of Periodical Cicadas to answer the questions of why, who, and what body parts they use when they raise the roof after taking to the trees.
Special thanks to the Staten Island Museum. See their special exhibit “They’re Baaack! Return of the 17-year Cicadas” on display through Spring 2014.
Trouble viewing? Watch on YouTube instead.