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Thirty-four volunteers endured last Saturday’s all-day rain for the Christmas Bird Count, based at the Laurel Highlands Visitor Center in Ohiopyle State Park. Observers fanned out on assigned routes to log 6,288 birds of 52 different species, all within a 7-mile radius of the falls at Ohiopyle.

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Since June, every month except November has seen warmer than normal temperatures across Southwestern Pennsylvania. December averaged 4.7 degrees above average; and, so far, January has been on the mild side and it looks like the mild days will continue at least over the weekend and into the middle of the coming week.

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Last week, driving along Walnut Hill Road south of Uniontown, Kathy and I spotted a raven coursing low over a cornfield. The bird’s identity was unmistakable—glossy black with a prominent bill, but much larger than a like-plumaged crow. On strong wingbeats, it cut tight turns and sharp dives as it searched the field for some morsel.

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The discussion about climate is leading to some very interesting innovations and it is this kind of activity that perhaps will provide some of the answers to the problems the planet faces in the future. Our growing world’s population will certainly put tremendous pressure on our food production and supply. Just in our own country water shortages in California and Arizona along with heavy use of pesticides and contamination from E. coli are regular news features.

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New Jersey is now considered ‘Ground Zero’ for sea level rise, according to new data as reported in the USA Today. The report comes from Rutgers University and is intended to help New Jersey communities prepare for changing coastal conditions. Sea levels along the coast have already risen one and a half feet since 1911; while global sea level rises have been closer to just half a foot. The New Jersey rise is aggravated by the tectonic plate that supports the Mid-Atlantic region which is …

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Bears add an element of wildness to the outdoors. They’re associated with remote exotic places where most of us will never visit, and their presence lends a mild sense of adventure to any fishing, camping or hunting sojourn, no matter where the trip occurs.

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