Jewelweed is a jewel of a weed

Herbalists have long espoused the benefits of jewelweed, primarily as a remedy for the treatment of poison ivy and poison oak rashes

Jewelweed is a jewel of a weedIn many areas of the country grows a little plant that has remarkable medicinal qualities: jewelweed. In my last column, I wrote about my encounter with poison ivy and the discomfort my carelessness caused me. Now I want to share more of the story. Natural medicines are well-known and much studied, here and abroad. Jewelweed…

B.C. rec sites a natural delight for hardy campers

Visitors just have to be prepared to go with the flow, consider unconventional approaches and be flexible enough to adapt to travel with no reservations

B.C. rec sites a natural delight for hardy campersTo say it is a challenging year to travel out of province is to put things mildly in the extreme. With the enduring COVID-19 threat, most provinces have residents-only campsite reservation policies and national campgrounds have been booked tight for months. Yet with a little ingenuity and adventurous spirit, we discovered that British Columbia is…

Being careless around poison ivy can cost you

There’s a high likelihood of a rash arising as a result of contact with the plant. Have I mentioned I’m in agony?

Being careless around poison ivy can cost youI write this week’s column from a position of grave discomfort, for my careless attitude toward poison ivy has left me blistered and in some agony … sigh! I always thought I was immune to this dangerous plant, for I have tromped through it all my life and never even had a glimmer of an…

Pollinators in peril and need our help

Pollinators are responsible for about one out of every three bites of food people eat. Without them, we would starve

Pollinators in peril and need our helpWe hear with alarming frequency that honey bees are in decline around the globe due to mysterious diseases, climate change, pesticides and habitat loss. But what of the other pollinators – solitary bees, bumblebees, pollen wasps, bee flies, ants, midges, hoverflies, butterflies, moths and beetles? How are they faring? Pollinators don’t have to be tiny…

No evidence predator control will save caribou: study

U of A scientists suggest renewed emphasis on securing habitat rather than culling wolves or fencing in pregnant caribou

No evidence predator control will save caribou: studyAddressing potential threats from predators has not slowed the dramatic decline of mountain caribou in British Columbia and Alberta, according to a new study by scientists from threeWestern Canadian universities. Biologists reassessed data from research published in 2019. The original research has been cited as showing that killing wolves and fencing pregnant caribou are solutions to…

Living close to green space benefits gut bacteria of infants: study

First study of its kind shows formula-fed babies’ gut microbiomes more like those of breastfed babies when they live near natural environments

Living close to green space benefits gut bacteria of infants: studyLiving close to natural green space can mitigate some of the changes in infant gut bacteria associated with formula feeding, according to new research published in the journal Environment International. “Not every infant can be breastfed,” said Anita Kozyrskyj, pediatrics professor at the University of Alberta. “This is one of the first pieces of evidence for a nature-related…

Don’t squish that spider!

We may be genetically programmed to fear spiders, but they're here for a reason. Leave them alone to eat other insects

Don’t squish that spider!“The itsy-bitsy spider climbed up the water spout. …” So many people are afraid of spiders, but I’ll bet almost none of them can tell you why. According to a new study out of Columbia University, it may be genetic. Our ancestors had to fear spiders – in Africa, where our roots all take us,…

Isolation-ish escapes and one dreamy trip to save for 2021

The best little K-Country Lodge you may not know about, three mountain lodges made for escapism, Icelandic dreams

Isolation-ish escapes and one dreamy trip to save for 2021The best little K-Country Lodge you may not know about Mount Engadine Lodge has the warm feeling of walking into an old friend’s cabin: knitted slippers in a basket for guests and a roaring fire in the main entryway are the backdrop for the beautiful mountain views from the dining room. The lodge is located…

Serenaded by cicadas

Their song is produced by a complex vibrating membrane on their sides and a hollow resonant body cavity

Serenaded by cicadasEvery year in late June to mid-July, I await the return of the cicada. (Actually, they never left, but more on that in a moment.) For me, this is the song of summer. As I write, one is serenading me outside my office window. Long after the April rains have passed, May flowers have bloomed…

U of A wildfire expert to head up national research network

New $5-million federal investment will bring together top wildfire scientists to help manage ecosystems, protect communities

U of A wildfire expert to head up national research networkThe University of Alberta will be home to a federal government network whose mission will be to make Canada more resilient to wildfire. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s Canadian Wildfire Strategic Network, in which the federal government is investing $5 million, will bring the best minds in wildfire science together to train students,…