Earth Matters

Every two weeks, the Hitchcock Center publishes a column, "Earth Matters: Notes on the Nature of the Valley," in The Daily Hampshire Gazette. Writers include Hitchcock staff and board members, former board members, presenters in our Community Programs series, and friends of the Center. Look for the column at the end of Section C of the weekend Gazette or on their website. We will keep a complete list on this site, so if you miss seeing a column in the newspaper, or want to see it again, come here at any time.

Farms for the community, by the community

By Katie Koerten

Last November I wrote an article for this column about the color blue in nature: how rare it is, and how difficult it is for nature to even produce it. To my delight, it garnered a lot of interest and curiosity, and even a letter to the editor with a story about why robins’ eggs are blue. I thought this a dazzling — and timely! — example of blue in nature to write about in springtime.

Published in Earth Matters on May 14, 2022.

Cracking the mystery of how birds’ eggs are blue

By Katie Koerten

Last November I wrote an article for this column about the color blue in nature: how rare it is, and how difficult it is for nature to even produce it. To my delight, it garnered a lot of interest and curiosity, and even a letter to the editor with a story about why robins’ eggs are blue. I thought this a dazzling — and timely! — example of blue in nature to write about in springtime.

Published in Earth Matters on April 29, 2022.

What’s in a name? Change may be the only constant

By Joshua Rose For the Gazette April 15, 2022 If you’re a naturalist, your friends, neighbors and relatives often send you photos asking, “What is this?” If you recognize it, you tell the person a name, but which name? Times have changed and names have too, and a choice once solely about precise identification now can involve […]

Published in Earth Matters on April 15, 2022.

An eel’s journey: Part 2: A troubled present day

By John Sinton for the Gazette For the Gazette Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part essay about American eels; the first was published on Saturday, March 19. Nehoumo is the Abenaki name for this eel. Eels such as Nehoumo, our Connecticut River eel, live in all the countries that border the North […]

Published in Earth Matters on April 1, 2022.

An eel’s journey: Part 1: The year 1600

By John Sinton for the Gazette For the Gazette Editor’s note: This is the first of two parts exploring the migration of American eels. Part 2 will run Saturday, April 2. In the winter of 1600, Nehoumo (Abenaki for eel) was drifting north with billions of other organisms in the Gulf Stream waters of Sobakw […]

Published in Earth Matters on March 18, 2022.

What does it mean for a species to be rare?

By Lawrence J. Winship For the Gazette March 4, 2022 Yellow lady slipper orchids along Highway 6 on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario. CONTRIBUTED/Lawrence J. Winship Several summers ago, my wife and I visited the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, Canada in search of wildflowers. We were well rewarded by fields of prairie smoke flowers and […]

Published in Earth Matters on March 4, 2022.

Nothing could be finer than a wren called Carolina

By David Spector For the Gazette February 4, 2022 Listen at dawn. From southernmost Canada through much of the eastern United States (and parts of northern Central America) you might hear a bird sing out in a clear, ringing voice for its morning libation: “Tea kettle, tea kettle, tea kettle, tea kettle.” This Carolina wren, […]

Published in Earth Matters on February 19, 2022.

Changing the conversation on climate change

By Billy Spitzer For the Gazette February 4, 2022 A few years ago, I watched a fascinating series of interviews with Apollo astronauts as they talked about first seeing the Earth from space. These usually laconic engineers and stoic test pilots talked about how they were moved by the beauty of our blue planet, and […]

Published in Earth Matters on February 4, 2022.

Hope, joy and the climate crisis

By Monya Relles For the Gazette January 21, 2022 At a meeting of the Western Massachusetts Youth Climate Summit team last summer, Clover Hogan, executive director of the group Force of Nature, gave a talk about climate activist burnout. In the ensuing conversation, youth activists told Hogan they felt depressed, anxious, and helpless in the face […]

Published in Earth Matters on January 21, 2022.

Changing car culture for a livable planet

By Tom Litwin

Time can pass slowly while waiting for the light to change at Northampton’s very busy King Street/Bridge Street/Damon Road intersection. Cars and trucks are stopping and going, turning left and right, from all four compass points. An ambulance’s siren puts the whole intersection on alert. A train passing through the Damon Road crossing has me looking at my watch. Sitting at this intersection, I marvel at how our lives, culture, economy and the automobile are so enmeshed.

Published in Earth Matters on January 7, 2022.
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