- April 26, 2011 at 8:57 am
The gentle golden hills of McKnight prairie emerging through the mist and driving rain were a welcome sight as we drove along the Cannon River on a cold and wet Earth Day. Along with the other Carleton student naturalists and arb director Nancy Braker, I set out into the gale to get a glimpse of what was supposed to be a spring scene at this thirty three acre slice of remnant prairie just eight miles from the Carleton campus. And in spite of the unseasonable weather, as we tromped through the wet grass we were confronted with unmistakable signs of spring.
- April 19, 2011 at 8:38 am
Now that the snow is melted, we have the opportunity to tromp around the Arb and see what the snow left behind. All of the carcasses that were frozen and buried under the snow all winter are now appearing in various stages of decay.
- April 7, 2011 at 1:11 pm
As the climate has warmed over the last week you may have noticed buds on trees, the grass growing greener, the frolicking of squirrels, or birds singing profusely in the morning sunlight. But if you are sitting indoors, feeling rather grumpy, like me, about only being able to look out at the cheerful community of plants and animals thriving in Bambi-esque harmony, you may not feel positioned to appreciate such things. What follows is a list of springtime behavior for the overburdened studentry of Carleton College, who can no longer feel joy.
- March 3, 2011 at 10:24 am
Lyman Lakes. Lakes? They aren’t necessarily what I look for in a lake, but the name sticks nonetheless. They look great in fog shrouded photographs and surrounded by colorful fall leaves but there is (as always) more to the story. Around campus I’ve heard them called a variety of apprehensive names ranging from uncouth to downright disgusting, yet their history is rooted in the college, as Lyman Lakes haven’t always been Lyman Lakes.
- February 22, 2011 at 8:42 am
A lot of people hate beavers.
Whether the beaver families in the lower arb know that or not, they don’t seem to care. (They’re busy passing the winter socializing in their lodges, if you recall an earlier Arb Notes…)
Beavers have earned a bad rap for their tendency to chew down our favorite trees and flood our fields. In fact, over the past century beavers have been actively hunted and trapped out of much of the United States, countless dams have been dynamited, and communities have been divided by beaver-related conflict.
- February 22, 2011 at 8:36 am
As this week’s “heat wave” proves, spring is not far out of reach. Just as Carleton students shed jackets and even long pants this time of year, the Arboretum’s male deer (white-tailed deer, or Odocoileus virginianus, if you want to get technical) shed their antlers. Bucks re-grow their antlers—their prime tool for attracting a mate—every year beginning in the spring, leaving the past year’s antlers, or “sheds,” out in the cold for curious Arb visitors to find, particularly in the months of January and February.
- February 10, 2011 at 8:29 am
Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Year of the Rabbit!
The start of the Chinese New Year seems like the perfect opportunity to get to know one of the Arb’s (and Northfield’s) most prevalent lagomorphs. Although their long incisors may make them look deceptively rodent-like, rabbits are part of the order that includes hares and pika. As a technical point of interest, there actually are differences between “hares” and “rabbits.”
- February 3, 2011 at 8:26 am
It’s freezing out—warmer than it’s been in a couple weeks but wet, a penetrating cold. It’s almost dusk, and as I shift from leg to leg I hear again the low, sonorous call. We gaze out into the trees, hoping for a glimpse of the bird among the tangle of gray branches and trunks. Finally, as we’re about to head back to the cars, a lone Great Horned Owl swoops down through the underbrush. We hold our breath, and a second one joins the first, soaring together to the edge of the stand of trees and out of our line of sight.
- January 27, 2011 at 9:56 am
Ok, so it's cold. And there's snow on the ground. And the sun sets before class is over. As any good native Midwesterner, I approach the differing seasons with excitement. I can't imagine a year without the gradual rise and fall of the temperature and the subsequent shedding and donning of layers. But, I also can't imagine a year without constant availability of escape. Grocery stores stocked with food, climate controlled buildings, and a warm cup of tea.
- January 25, 2011 at 9:15 am
It is winter and we all know what that means at Carleton; short grey days, biting cold, and lots of snow and ice. Those of us who live in the complex are thanking our lucky stars and those of us who don’t are, like badger, telling our friends that we are really ‘busy’ and so cannot walk to the other side of campus to visit them. But what are all our neighbors in the Arb up to these days? And what kind of company do they keep?
- January 18, 2011 at 8:18 am
If you’re getting the winter blues, come out to the Arb . In town, winter is a nuisance - sidewalks are icy, everything is gray and white, and the wind whips your face. Winter feels like an ordeal, something we’d all be better off without. When you go outside to the Arb to see the trees and prairie, it’s clear that the land needs the cold weather- winter isn’t punishment; it’s as beneficial as any season.
- November 15, 2010 at 12:03 pm
The Arb. Hopefully you’ve explored (at least a little bit) by now. Perhaps you go there to run, to cross country ski (if it ever gets cold enough), to stargaze, to complete work for a biology lab, to spot wildlife, or to clear your head after a long ninth week full of looming due-dates. In general, the Arb has a comfortable place within the lives of most of the student body. However, the Arb is not the only piece of natural land Carleton owns. McKnight Prairie is a 33.5 acre prairie fragment purchased by the college in 1968. One of the few remaining prairie remnants after most of southern Minnesota went into agriculture, walking into McKnight is like taking a trip back in time, showing us how current farmland looked before corn and soybeans took control.