- February 5, 2010 at 3:58 pm
This past Tuesday Carleton College observed Groundhog’s Day, February 2nd, with little fanfare. There were no panel discussions on the role that groundhogs play in the globalizing biosphere, no chapel services for groundhogs and their families, and no Sayles dances hosted by the rodent community. We didn’t even have a groundhog-themed meal in the dining halls. As a big supporter of groundhogs and all that they do, I was disappointed.
- January 27, 2010 at 3:57 pm
Winter in Minnesota is an unpredictable thing—one week at Carleton you need a parka, hat, scarf, and mittens just to avoid frostbite while walking to class, and the next week you’re getting rained on and you contemplate busting out a pair of shorts. Weather, without a doubt, is big part of life on Carleton campus, dictating whether we’re playing frisbee or broomball, eating a picnic lunch on the Bald Spot or staying in the dorms, huddled next to our radiators.
- January 22, 2010 at 2:41 pm
Many students going into the Arboretum consider it something of a place apart; a place where the human hustle-and-bustle of campus fades into the distance. It is easy to consider the Arb the preserve of plants and animals and forget the very large human presence there.
- January 15, 2010 at 3:55 pm
As the cold air and snow set in, most birds leave for warmer climes. Even though this weather may make you feel like hibernating, there are plenty of birds to be seen, some of which are visitors from even colder and snowier places than Carleton!
- November 6, 2009 at 9:44 am
If you’ve been out in the arb lately you probably experienced the nostalgic feeling of seeing soft white seeds floating across your path. No, they’re not oversized dandelions but instead one of a group of prairie plants will the common name of milkweed. There are more than 2,000 species of milkweed in the world but only three of them are common to the arboretum: common, butterfly weed, and whorled.
- October 30, 2009 at 2:46 pm
My freshman year at Carleton, I set out on a formidable task: to familiarize myself with the 880 acres of campus known as the Cowling Arboretum. Armed with a pair of sturdy shoes and an Arboretum map purchased from the college bookstore, I spent numerous afternoons after class walking and following the map—getting my bearings, enjoying a retreat from hectic campus life, taking in the visual splendor of the Arb’s prairie, trees, and wildlife.
- October 22, 2009 at 3:47 pm
White-tailed Deer can be seen year-round in the Arb. They are a familiar resident of woods and meadows all across the eastern United States. When one encounters deer in the Arb they seem to gambol off playfully. But come fall, the violence of the rut shatters the illusion of playfulness. Furthermore, the familiar deer is only familiar because of drastic overpopulation that makes it a major management concern for Arb staff.
- October 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm
Signs of autumn’s progression towards winter are all around. Apples hang heavy and ripe from the trees, birds flock together and prepare to fly south, students break out coats and scarves, and Northfield even experiences an early dusting of snow, hinting at what’s in store for winter term. It is this kind of weather that makes many Carleton students yearn to hide away in their dorm rooms, away from the frosty air. And though unfortunately hibernation is not an option for students, it is the natural thing to do this time of year for an often overlooked animal in the Arboretum: the snake.
- October 9, 2009 at 1:33 pm
Mussels in the Cannon River? Yes, that’s right; Mussels don’t only live in the ocean. There is a biologically unique set of freshwater mussels that live in fresh lakes and streams most everywhere. In fact our very own Cannon River is host to 15-18 of the nearly 300 species of mussels in North America.
- October 1, 2009 at 5:32 pm
As the air temperature begins to drop and clouds blanket the sky with increasing frequency, some of us see the browning of leaves and steady disappearance of birds and other wildlife as a sign of the coming darkness of winter. Fall bird migration may not be the same inspiring sign of welcome change as spring migration, but it can be just as impressive. So if you find yourself out in the Arb walking, jogging, or just finding a place to enjoy the outdoors, try to notice some of the birds around you and think about what they might be doing here.
- September 23, 2009 at 5:27 pm
Upon returning to campus this fall, I know I was not alone in stopping short at the sight of the greatly dehydrated Lyman Lakes. Our groundskeepers’ helpful notices about the temporary nature of this measure, for a shoreline restoration project, pacified me, and now I only wish that I had been here to see all the bicycles and beer cans initially exposed by the fallen water level.
- May 29, 2009 at 10:08 am
In this last week of Arb Notes, I'd like to address a topic relevant to the Arb and the now ever-present conversation about carbon emissions and credits. Do restored prairies sequester significant amounts of carbon?