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Oh sweet Canada, Canada, Canada: The nostalgia-inducing song of the white-throated sparrow

The wonders of any month lie in the cycle of nature, in the continuum of life. I take special joy in October, thanks in large part to its specificities: beautifully colored leaves; crisp, cool air; lengthening shadows at early twilight. But I also embrace October’s place in the round of the year: the slowing of life after the rush of summer, the gathering bounty, preparing for winter’s rest. In recent years, I have paid greater attention to the sonic as well as visual landscape and its part in nature’s cycle. This autumn, I’m paying special attention to the white-throated sparrow. […]

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UR Here: Like a wolf in the wild — and Aldo Leopold — commit to your pursuit

Aldo Leopold is arguably the greatest conservationist of the 20th century. His formative experiences with the natural world occurred right here in Iowa, providing the foundation for the revolutionary thought and influence that would mark his career. […]

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Iowa’s dwindling bee population is part of a larger, frightening trend

Deep in the belly of the Vermeer Science Center at Central College in Pella, Iowa, cardboard boxes are stacked against the wall in a dimly lit laboratory. The boxes contain thousands of bees — carefully preserved and meticulously categorized based on their Latin genus and species — each with a unique tale to tell. Some are as small as a gnat; others are the size of a cockroach. Their colors span the spectrum, too, from rich, reflective blues to the familiar striped yellow and black of the common honey bee. Paulina Mena, an associate professor of biology, is their veritable warden. […]

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