Natural North Dakota-logo

Natural North Dakota

Government >

Hosted by Chuck Lura, a biology professor at Dakota College in Bottineau. Chuck has a broad knowledge of “Natural North Dakota” and loves sharing that knowledge with others. Since 2005, he has written a weekly column, “Naturalist at Large,” for the Lake Metigoshe Mirror. His columns also appear under “The Naturalist” in several other weekly newspapers across North Dakota. Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Dakota College at Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.

Hosted by Chuck Lura, a biology professor at Dakota College in Bottineau. Chuck has a broad knowledge of “Natural North Dakota” and loves sharing that knowledge with others. Since 2005, he has written a weekly column, “Naturalist at Large,” for the Lake Metigoshe Mirror. His columns also appear under “The Naturalist” in several other weekly newspapers across North Dakota. Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Dakota College at Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.
More Information

Location:

United States

Description:

Hosted by Chuck Lura, a biology professor at Dakota College in Bottineau. Chuck has a broad knowledge of “Natural North Dakota” and loves sharing that knowledge with others. Since 2005, he has written a weekly column, “Naturalist at Large,” for the Lake Metigoshe Mirror. His columns also appear under “The Naturalist” in several other weekly newspapers across North Dakota. Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Dakota College at Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.

Language:

English


Episodes

Orionid Meteor Shower

10/19/2019
More
We are coming up on the peak viewing period for a meteor shower. The Orionid meteor shower occurs every fall as the earth passes through the debris field of Halley’s Comet. The earth entered the debris field around October 2 and will continue through it until November 7. The peak of this meteor shower will be the night of October 21 and early morning hours of October 22. We will be in a second quarter moon at that time, so we may not be able to see some of the fainter meteors, but overall...

Duration:00:02:05

Hunter’s Moon

10/12/2019
More
We have a Hunter’s Moon coming up on Sunday, October 13. As most everyone knows, the full moons of the year all have names associated with them. This one, the Hunter’s Moon is the first full moon following the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon, of course, is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. So the Hunter’s Moon usually occurs in October, but because of differences in the timing of the Harvest Moon, it occasionally occurs in November.

Duration:00:02:09

North Dakota Toads

10/5/2019
More
I received an inquiry a few weeks ago concerning the abundance of toads near Kramer, ND in southern Bottineau County. It seems that the toad population was experiencing some sort of an irruption, with the toads seemingly everywhere, including area highways. These toads were quite small, and had a long extension (like a very long toe) on the hind leg. That is indicative of the plains spadefoot toad.

Duration:00:02:39

Harvesting Hazelnuts

9/28/2019
More
Do you like hazelnuts? If so, you may be surprised to learn that regardless of where you are in North Dakota, there probably are some hazels growing near you. There are two species of hazels native to North Dakota, the American hazelnut ( Corylus americana ) and beaked hazel ( Corylus cornuta ). Both species produce edible and tasty hazelnuts. The two species are quite similar vegetatively. Both are shrubs that grow to six feet or so, with the American hazelnut being generally a little...

Duration:00:02:30

Carrion Flower

9/21/2019
More
It is about this time of year that I occasionally get a question about a plant with a tight cluster of dark blue berries in Turtle Mountain. Although there are a few options, it is often carrion flower or Smilax herbacea . The plant is in the Smilacaceae or Catbrier Family.

Duration:00:02:36

Burning Coal Vein and Columnar Junipers

9/14/2019
More
It has been a while since I last visited the Burning Coal Vein and columnar junipers, but I recently had the opportunity to get reacquainted with them. They didn’t disappoint! Bands of lignite coal occasionally catch fire and burn for a time, but this burning coal vein, located some 15 miles north and west of Amidon, or around 30 miles south of Medora on East River Road is a landmark. Ignited by lightning or perhaps a prairie fire, this burning coal vein, several feet below the ground, was...

Duration:00:02:35

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

9/7/2019
More
Have you ever noticed a trunk of a tree with several horizontal rows of rather small and shallow oval shaped holes in the bark? I suspect that many among us have, but probably do not know the cause. It’s the work of yellow-bellied sapsuckers, a type of woodpecker.

Duration:00:02:44

Johnny Darters

8/31/2019
More
Most everyone is familiar with the larger fish in our lakes and rivers. Northern pike, walleye, perch, bluegill, to name a few. But what about the smaller fish? Our lakes, rivers, and streams have an abundance of smaller fish such as chubs, shiners, and my favorite the johnny darter.

Duration:00:02:31

Pembina Escarpment

8/24/2019
More
The Pembina Escarpment came up in a conversation recently. Most people have heard of the Pembina River, Pembina Gorge, and Pembina Hills, but I doubt many among us have heard much about the Pembina Escarpment.

Duration:00:02:33

Red-tailed Hawk

8/17/2019
More
I have been seeing a red-tailed hawk quite frequently this summer. They are certainly one of the most commonly observed hawks across the state. Their broad wings and rounded tail easily identifies them as a type of hawk called a buteo. Then of course the red tail (actually more of a rusty color) and light-colored underbelly with a dark band, seals the identification as a red-tailed hawk.

Duration:00:02:17

Apiaceae or Carrot Family

8/10/2019
More
I have been noticing a lot of water parsnip and poison hemlock flowering in wetlands over the past few weeks. These large clusters of small white flowers in a candelabra-like arrangement are easily identified as members of the Apiaceae or carrot family, sometimes also known as the parsley family.

Duration:00:02:44

Giant Floater Clam

8/3/2019
More
I recently received a call about a clam at Lake Metigoshe. The caller had found one in the sediment along his shoreline and was wondering about it. I have never seen any clam shells around the lake, much less a live one. But with a little help from a colleague at Valley City State University I have tentatively identified it as a Giant floater ( Pygandon grandis ).

Duration:00:02:38

Bullheads

7/27/2019
More
It is about this time of year that schools of bullhead fry may be seen swimming around in near shore areas of North Dakota lakes and streams. It might surprise you, but there are three species of bullheads native to our state, the black, yellow, and brown bullhead. It is the black bullhead that is the most common.

Duration:00:02:30

Bats and White-Nose Syndrome

7/20/2019
More
Some of you may have heard the news that white-nose syndrome in bats was recently documented in North Dakota. That is not good news. The first documentation of white-nose syndrome in North America was in New York state in 2007. Where it came from and how it got here is still unknown. But we do know that it is spreading rapidly and decimating populations of bats, with some populations experiencing a 90% or greater mortality. I haven’t seen recent estimates on mortality rates, but is was...

Duration:00:02:27

Lake Foam

7/13/2019
More
I have been noticing a little foam on the shoreline of Lake Metigoshe recently. It is not rare during the summer, but it more generally is associated with the dying of algae and aquatic plants during the fall. When they die and decompose, some of the organic substances act as surfactants.

Duration:00:02:20

Grasshoppers Darken the Sun

7/8/2019
More
I have been reading Military Life in Dakota – the journal of Philippe Regis de Trobriand , published in 1951 by the Alvord Memorial Commission. De Trobriand, a colonel in the Army, was assigned to a post at Fort Stevenson, Dakota Territory in 1867. Fort Stevenson, of course, was located near the Missouri River not far from present day Garrison. He would spend two and one-half years there, and his journal provides an interesting look at life at the post, and insight into the natural history...

Duration:00:02:35

Mycorrhizae

6/29/2019
More
We all learned at an early age that plant roots serve to anchor the plant and absorb water and nutrients from the soil. It might surprise some of you, but the absorption part needs revising.

Duration:00:02:30

Plants and Animals of Our Youth

6/22/2019
More
I saw a red-headed woodpecker flittering around the crown of a large oak tree recently. They were a common sight of my childhood, but I seldom see them anymore. And seeing that woodpecker immediately whisked me back in time.

Duration:00:02:21

Weasels

6/15/2019
More
I happened to get a quick look at a weasel recently. It was a rather large one, so I am assuming it was a long-tailed weasel. Three species of weasels are native to our state, the long-tailed weasel, short-tailed weasel or ermine, and the least weasel. They vary in size, but all are brown above with whiteish-yellow undersides during the summer months and turn white during the winter.

Duration:00:02:29

Fairy Candelabra

6/8/2019
More
It will be a while until the irises and lilies in our flower bed bloom. It is often the big and showy flowers that catch our attention. But right now amongst those irises and lilies is one of the smallest flowering plants native to North Dakota. This plant is not well known. To botanists it is ( Androsace occidentalis ). Perhaps the most recognized common name is western rock jasmine, but it also has another common name that is much more interesting and appropriate, fairy candelabra.

Duration:00:02:25