Rob Kanter

Rob Kanter

Environmental Almanac | A love of wildlife — even snakes

Thanks to a friend who's more observant than me, a few years back I discovered a new species of reptile in my own backyard. It was a plains garter snake, known by scientists as Thamnophis radix.

I should clarify by saying I mean the plains garter snake was "new" to me, not new to science or the wider world.

Environmental Almanac | Sharing the benefits of biking

Does the warm spring weather prompt you to wonder about getting out on a bicycle? If so, let me offer some words of encouragement.

Bicycling is good for the planet. It requires no fossil fuel and so alleviates all of the environmental damage caused by drilling for, transporting and processing oil.

Environmental Almanac | Warbler neck a common ailment this time of year

Have you noticed friends or co-workers looking a little sleep-deprived lately? Perhaps these same people complain of a sore neck and look past you into the trees while you're talking. You may be encountering birders caught up in the excitement of spring migration.

Environmental Almanac | Supplemental feeding of deer a bad idea

If you struggle with the perception that, as a state, we too seldom get things right in Illinois, let me call your attention to the success we've had in managing a life-and-death wildlife issue that's causing far more trouble in neighboring states, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

Environmental Almanac | Time to tune in to the campus climate

I had intended last week to write a column encouraging readers to pay more attention to the damage being done by Scott Pruitt in his role as head of the federal EPA than his apparent lack of personal or professional ethics.

Environmental Almanac | Strength of environmental community gives reason for hope

If you're looking for inspiration and energy this month — and who's not? — let me call your attention to the state of the environmental community in central Illinois and some of the ways it has flourished over the past year.

Environmental Almanac | Thriving coyotes are getting a bad rap

NOTE: In the environmental writing class I teach at the University of Illinois, I emphasize that to connect with people, it's important to anticipate some of their responses to a topic. In this commentary on coyotes ("Your Neighbor the Coyote"), undergraduate April Wendling shows how that's done.

By APRIL WENDLING

Environmental Almanac | It's not too early to view amphibian show

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.

Environmental Almanac: The world has a place for pesky blood suckers

On Saturday, the 35th annual Insect Fear Film Festival will take place in Foellinger Auditorium at the University of Illinois. As part of the celebration, this week's Environmental Almanac features the writing of UI graduate students Nicholas Anderson, Samniqueka Halsey, Todd Johnson, Tanya Josek and Erin Welsh, who conduct research on insects and related arthropods.

Environmental Almanac: Some good reasons to head outside

At this time in February, I have to remind myself of two things: Winter doesn't last forever, and there are outdoor activities to enjoy even while it remains.