Environmental Almanac

Weekly commentaries on the environment and appreciating the natural world, by Rob Kanter from the School of Earth, Society, and Environment at the University of Illinois.


Eine durchschnittliche Folge dieses Podcasts dauert 4m. Bisher sind 161 Folge(n) erschienen. Jede Woche gibt es eine neue Folge dieses Podcasts

Student group encourages campus to “Skip the Bag”

Elena: Have you ever counted the number of plastic bags you use each shopping trip? That number is likely around 1,500 bags per year if you’re the average American. More than a hundred billion plastic bags are produced each year worldwide--that requires about 12 million barrels of oil.  Is this practice sustainable?   Students for Environmental Concerns, the University of Illinois’ oldest environmental group, doesn’t think so...


 2016-04-15  4m

Sonified Festival to feature ecological music and arts

This week Environmental Almanac continues its series featuring students from the School of Earth, Society, and Environment who are developing their skills to communicate about environmental topics. Jess: Hear that? It’s the sound of combs being used as musical instruments...


 2016-04-07  4m

A walk on the wild side with three U of I students

For the next couple of weeks of Environmental Almanacs, Rob Kanter will be joined by students from the School of Earth, Society, and Environment who are developing their skills to communicate about environmental topics. Most residents of central Illinois are familiar with Busey Woods in Urbana, but for some U of I students, it’s new territory. Hi I’m Chloe, I’m Katie, and I’m Christina...


 2016-04-01  4m

Prescribed burn enables prairie to thrive

If you’ve taken advantage of the recent weather to visit local natural areas, you’ve probably come across patches of land blackened by fire. These are places where you expect to see tallgrass prairie, but where, for the moment, there’s nothing to block your view of a robin on the ground 50 yards away. What you’ve encountered is evidence of land managers using the most powerful tool at their disposal, fire...


 2016-03-24  4m

Return of the American woodcock—another March madness

One of the early season highlights of birding in central Illinois is the widespread return in March of a bird called the American woodcock. Indeed, for some birders this phenomenon holds just as much interest as that other one more commonly known as March madness. The woodcock belongs to the shorebird family, whose more familiar members include sandpipers and plovers. But unlike its cousins, the woodcock prefers habitat composed of moist woods, open fields, and brushy swamps...


 2016-03-18  3m

Bird reports from friends signal arrival of spring

One way you can tell spring has arrived is to listen to the conviction with which cardinals are now singing, including this one, which I stopped to record while I was out for a run last week. Another is to hear the reports friends bring me about what they’ve been observing. A friend I’ll call “Anna” recently stopped by my office to talk about what she had seen with her son, a second-grader, on their walk to Bottenfield School in Champaign...


 2016-03-11  4m

Appreciating Illinois amphibians and the habitats that support them

It may be too early in the year to contemplate April showers bringing May flowers. But in much of Illinois heavy rains in late February and early March trigger an astonishing and ancient natural phenomenon—the annual congregation of amphibians in the waters where they breed...


 2016-03-04  4m

Exploding insects top bill at this year’s Insect Fear Film Festival

In anticipation of the 33rd Annual Insect Fear Film Festival, which they will host Saturday on the U of I campus, this week’s commentary comes from three members of the Entomology Graduate Student Association : Josh Gibson, Todd Johnson, and Tanya Josek. Believe it or not, they’re here to talk real-life insects that explode. Bombardier beetles (Todd) One day Charles Darwin was returning from a collecting trip when he spotted an interesting beetle...


 2016-02-25  4m

Birding abroad: Part 2

Although the other members of my family enjoy a range of outdoor activities when we travel together, I like to spend more time birding than they do. I especially enjoy staking out a spot where I can spend some quality time with my camera early in the morning. On the second stop of our tour in Senegal, this was just across the road from our lodging which was located on a narrow spit between the Senegal River and the Atlantic Ocean...


 2016-02-18  4m

Contemplating courtship rituals

Whether or not you planned well for it, Valentine’s Day is here. I won’t comment on the human behavior associated with this holiday, but I can provide a bit of diversion and give suggestions about where to see animal courtship spectacles in Illinois. Consider, suggests May Berenbaum, who is head of the UI Department of Entomology, the bizarre (to us) behavior of some pyralid moth males. In the process of courtship they beat females over the head with the tip of their abdomen...


 2016-02-11  3m