Nature

It’s that time of year when we’ll start to see more and more mammals scurrying about around the city. Mammals like foxes, squirrels and, yes, maybe even some coyotes.

In the past 15 years, coyote populations in Midwestern urban and suburban areas have been increasing -- including in the Kansas City area.

“A  lot of folks don’t realize that we have them around the state, they don’t realize that they’re inside the cities. So when they see one they get all concerned,” says Andy Friesen, a wildlife damage biologist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife.

February 2 will see the 129th celebration of Groundhog Day. On this Up To Date, guest host Stephen Steigman takes a peek at the life of the marmot, the animal we all know as a groundhog, with an expert who has been studying the animal for more than 40 years.

Guest:

Urban Trail Co. / www.facebook.com/earnyourdirt

The winter cold inspires folks to spend more time indoors, but there's still a lot going on outside. On this edition of Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with an urban forester about protecting trees during the winter. Then, we discuss one organization's partnership with Kansas City, Mo. to build and use trails in area parks which leads us to explore the city's process in joining with outside organizations.  Plus, a look at how business landscaping can protect birds of prey. 

Guests:

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Lakeside Nature Center in Kansas City, Mo., is a place where people can get an up-close look at wild animals and plants that surround the area. It’s also one of the largest animal rehabilitation centers in Missouri.

Wild animals are brought in when they lose their habitat, are injured or abandoned. Humans are animal’s biggest threat, but the center is a place where humans are trying to help them out.

KCUR's Gina Kaufmann

You know how sometimes you stumble across a word you've never heard before in your entire life, and then suddenly, the word is everywhere? That happened to me with the pawpaw.

I was born and raised in Missouri, so discovering in my thirties that a random fruit with a made-up-sounding name is considered my state's own banana? That came as a shock (though, to be fair, it's also known as the Indiana banana and the West Virginia banana). 

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Even though Kansas City is a landlocked city, there are a lot of great fishing spots, including the Missouri River and a large amount of area lakes, ponds and small rivers. The Missouri Department of Conservation and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, even stock Kansas City area park lakes with fish throughout the year to promote close-to-home fishing. 

Here’s some information to help aspiring urban anglers get started.

Missouri Department of Conservation

Crappies, blue gills, blue bass and catfish. If that menu sounds tasty to you, then you are in luck, because that's what you stand to catch if you go fishing in and around Kansas City.

Brooke Novak / Flickr-CC

There's one topic that keeps on giving year after year: allergies. From seasonal, to year-round, gluten to peanuts, allergies affect over 65 million people in the United States alone.

In the first segment of Thursday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske discusses all things mold, pollen, and food protein with Dr. Jay Portnoy​, who heads the allergy and asthma department at Children's Mercy Hospital.

Guest:

Catherine L. Sherman and Monarch Watch

Insect ecologist Chip Taylor is a friend to both the monarch butterfly and the honeybee. He's been tracking monarchs and restoring their habitats since 1992. And he's worked with bees in French Guiana, Venezuela and Mexico.

Building bridges, swinging an axe and living in a yurt are all part of normal life for a trail worker at Glacier National Park.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

The American Crow is a smart and wary social bird with all black feathers, black talons and a black beak. Every once in a while during the winter, you can see thousands of these crows gathering in certain spots around parts of Kansas City.  Over the past 50 years, crows have been congregating more and more in urban environments – and if you’ve been in the middle of a dive-bombing murder, you know they create quite the disturbance.

Nature In The City: Drought Edition

Jul 31, 2012
Mickl Pickl / Flickr

This summer's drought is affecting everyone: from farmers to daily commuters to animals. Especially animals.

Often described in the media as “a female Indiana Jones,” Mireya Mayor is not your typical scientist.

Both as an anthropologist working in the jungles of Madagascar, and as a wildlife correspondent for National Geographic, the city girl and former Miami Dolphins cheerleader has found herself sleeping in a rain forest hammock amid poisonous snakes, being charged by gorillas, scaling rocky cliffs, and diving with great white sharks.

Mattias Klum

Mattias Klum makes a living by shooting photographs of some of the world's most endangered species and places.

A photographer for National Geographic, Klum might be considered an endangered species himself, given his recent work shooting closes ups of the venomous Chinese cobra, which can shoot its venom up to nearly 7 feet. Even a drop of that venom can blind you.

But there he sat....shooting away....nonetheless.

There may be no controlling Mother Nature, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your garden to cooperate. But keeping your gardening blossoming instead of browning is easier said than done.