Summer weather will soon arrive. You might remember an ad, that went something like this: "Just when you think it's safe to go outdoors and enjoy the summer. ... "
This statement is similar to the advertisement for the movie "Jaws."
We do not have to worry about sharks in this area, but many people worry about poison ivy, ticks and biting insects as the air temperatures become warmer.
Foster parenting is a well-known program where couples or families take in a child or sometimes siblings for a short period of time with the majority of the children returning to their family of origin.
The children are acclimated to a safe haven where the foster families help the foster children cope with problems such as home difficulties, grief, loss of parent-parents and other personal difficulties.
A local man's childhood interest in model trains developed into a talent for creating scale-model displays of buildings, including sites familiar to area residents.
The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is an annual four-day event drawing participants of all ages to count birds visiting their backyards and surrounding areas.
The GBBC gives a real-time snapshot of what bird species are found in specific areas. The results are sent to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, N.Y. The 16th annual count was Feb. 15 - 18.
My wife, Bev, and I have been participating and sending in our bird counts for about seven years. This is the first year that records have been accepted from anywhere in the world.
The popularity of birds and birding has been increasing across the United States, as well as here in the Lehigh Valley.
One example that sparked major media attention was the high-profile search for the ivory-billed woodpecker in Louisiana beginning in 2002. The ivory-billed woodpecker, a bird thought to be extinct, was last authoritatively observed in 1943.
A team of expert ornithologists, funded by a corporate sponsor, began searching for evidence of existing ivory-bills after a reliable sighting was made by a turkey hunter in Louisiana.
The Lehigh Gap Nature Center held its 16th annual Bake Oven Knob Area Bird Survey on Jan. 19.
The first survey was conducted by the Wildlife Information Center in 1997. The WIC grew from a small operation of volunteers working from a storefront in Slatington to the present day Lehigh Gap Nature Center covering about 750 acres along the west side of the Lehigh River north of Slatington.
The drumming of resident woodpeckers is a common and familiar sound heard echoing across our backyard and in the many wooded areas of the Lehigh Valley.
The seven Penn's Woods woodpecker species include the pileated woodpecker, common flicker, downy woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, red-headed woodpecker and yellow-bellied sapsucker.
The red fox and the gray fox are both commonly found within the readership area of the eight Lehigh Valley Press weekly newspapers.
Breeding begins in late January and continues into February. Foxes, although widespread are nocturnal, which allow them to live out their lives hidden from view. People are not generally out and about when the foxes are most active, so observation is usually limited to a chance sighting.
You've probably noticed the clear-cutting of areas under power lines in your neighborhood in recent years. It is quite difficult not to notice these newly cut sections of power line rights-of-way.
Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, requiring power companies to clear-cut these areas beneath their power lines. This includes the area 10 feet outward on both sides, extending from the outer conductor of the power towers.
Second of two parts
Editor's Note: This is the second part of a two-part column reviewing nature and weather in 2012. The first six months of 2012 were covered in the column in last week's Dec. 26 and 27 Focus section.
July was very hot. I had rotator cuff surgery in mid-June and I suffered through the July heat waves. The house where my wife, Bev, and I live does not have air conditioning. Our property's mature tree species cast their summer shade to keep us cool. That's our natural air conditioning.