Nature of Things

WRVO presents an archived edition of the popular weekly essay, The Nature of Things, from Naturalist John Weeks.

This re-issue of the Nature of Things is available as a podcast. You can download episodes individually to listen to or subscribe to the podcast and have the audio automatically download to your computer

John Weeks was born on August 21, 1924 on a little farm in West Webster, NY. His father was a commercial artist, his mother a writer and reciter of dialect essays. His early interest in nature was fostered by his parents, his 5 siblings and his teachers.

The swirling winds of spring are clearing away winters’ wrath. In this episode from April 15, 1993, John Weeks shares his Baltimore Woods Nature Center experience observing song sparrows, woodpeckers, bloodroots and magenta lilacs emerging to face the sun.

April Sunshine

Apr 11, 2017

April is truly a superlative month through the eyes of John Weeks. In honor of the months rare sunlight, Weeks expresses his appreciation for the lively rebirth of nature produced by the golden rays throughout the month. This episode originally aired April 8, 1993.

100 Miles of Spring

Apr 5, 2017

In this archived broadcast from April 3, 1987, John Weeks discusses temperature fluctuations and recites Henry David Thoreau to describe the constant changes, new growth and longer days of spring.

In this archived broadcast from March 27, 1987, John Weeks answers questions that have piled up over the previous winter.  Weeks answers questions about geese behavior, skunk cabbage smells, and red-winged blackbirds.

The Gaia Hypothesis

Mar 17, 2017

In this archived broadcast from March 18, 1988, John Weeks talks about the gaia hypothesis, explaining what the hypothesis is and his use of the hypothesis in relation to the ecosystems he observes.

In this archived broadcast from March 13, 1992, John Weeks discusses the spring courtship within various species of waterfowl. Weeks goes into detail about the rituals of various ducks, visual differences among various canvas backs and gives an anecdote about his own experience watching a waterfowl courtship ritual.

Jerry Burke / Flickr

In this archived broadcast from March 6, 1992, John Weeks discusses his observations of two bird species, the short-eared owl and the harrier.  Weeks goes into detail about the lifestyles and characteristics of the two birds.

The Snowy Owl Invasion

Feb 22, 2017

In this archived broadcast from February 20, 1987, John Weeks and local ornithologist Jerry Smith discuss the invasion of snowy owls in Oswego County.  The conversation details why the owls migrate to Oswego County, what the birds look like, how they live, and where one might find the birds.

Staticgirl / Flickr

In this archived broadcast from January 30, 1987, John Weeks pokes fun at the media's fascination with Groundhog's Day and offers a thought as to what Puxatony Phil is actually thinking when he makes his annual appearance.

A Conversation About Feeder Birds

Jan 18, 2017

In this archived broadcast from January 16, 1987, John Weeks reads a phone conversation he had while writing newspaper articles.  The caller and Weeks discuss birds, trees, and nature, noting their different qualities including feeding, nesting, lifestyles, and the territories they inhabit.

Alex Butterfield / Flickr

In this archived broadcast from January 13, 1989, John Weeks discusses the return of the moose to New York and the public perception of the animal. Weeks goes into detail on the characteristics that make the moose such a natural mystery.

Ruth Geach / Flickr

Have you ever wondered why we use mistletoe, wreaths, and other ornaments to celebrate the holiday season? Nature may have more of an influence then you might think. Host John Weeks tells nature's holiday story on this archived episode of "Nature of Things," originally aired December 20, 1985. 

Nick J Nixon / Flickr

Plants die off, the ground freezes over, and animals go into hibernation. Although this description of winter may sound dreadful, these aspects are needed to keep our ecosystem in check. On this episode of "Nature of Things" from February 26, 1988, host John Weeks explains why sometimes a tough winter can be a good thing. 

The Positives of Winter

Dec 21, 2016
Kaylyn Izzo / WRVO

According to biostatistics, warmer seasons produce the most beneficial characteristics to the environment. However, winter has many positive aspects that can not be measured in numbers. On this archived episode of the "Nature of Things" from January 27, 1984, host John Weeks discusses the beautiful sights, camaraderie, and fun that can be brought about by winter. 

Local Bird Watching

Dec 14, 2016
Becks / Flickr

Bird watching can be both a relaxing and fascinating hobby. In this archived edition of the "Nature of Things," host John Weeks reveals how you can do this locally. Although originally aired Februrary 24, 1984, much of the same rules apply.

Diana Robinson / Flickr

When it comes to wildlife, Africa is plentiful--home to some of the largest creatures known to man. In this archived broadcast of the "Nature of Things" from January 13, 1984, host John Weeks speaks with Dr. Jack Calvert about his adventure through Africa. 

Anthony Quintano / Flickr

With winter underway, an archived broadcast of the "Nature of Things" from February 3, 1984 helps explain how lake effect storms form. Host John Weeks and weather expert Dr. Alfred Stam, dive into the science behind it, while also sharing some fun facts. Find out the only other region in the world, besides the Finger Lakes, that may experience lake effect storms. 

The Loon

Oct 12, 2016

In this archived broadcast from October 9, 1987, John Weeks discusses the common loon and the decrease in the species population.  Weeks touches on the causes of this decrease, the increased interest in the bird, loon behavior, and its incredible voice, including his own account of hearing a loon song.

Phantoms of the Marsh

Oct 5, 2016
James West / Flickr

In this archived broadcast from October 4, 1990, John Weeks discusses the phantoms of the marshes, better known as rails.  Weeks talks about how he stumbled onto their nest and the reaction the birds had to his visits.  Weeks also offers a description of the species.

In this archived broadcast from September 16, 1988, John Weeks talks about the negative perception surrounding hawks and owls, particularly the red tailed hawk.  Weeks talks about the bird's history and his own relationship with attempting to protect the species.

In this archived broadcast from June 29, 1990, John Weeks talks about tulip trees and the Baltimore oriole. He gives a brief history of both species and their modern day roles in the natural world.

In this archived broadcast from June 25, 1992, John Weeks speaks about bird songs and their qualities.  Songs by different species of thrush, wrens, thrasher and others are interspersed throughout the talk.  Weeks examines each song, touching on qualities such as tone and energy.

A Study in Bird Nesting

Jun 8, 2016
Dan Dangler / Flickr

In this archived broadcast from June 10, 1993, John Weeks discusses the observations he made during a study of a local wetland.  These observations include several notes on the nesting habits of over a dozen different bird species. 

Changes in Birdwatching

Jun 3, 2016
Keith Williams / Flickr

In this archived broadcast from June 4, 1992, John Weeks discusses some observations in migration patterns he has witnessed while bird watching and offers a metaphor involving his daughter moving to a new home.

Flying Architects

Jun 1, 2016
Henry T. McLin / Flickr

In this archived broadcast from June 7, 1991, John Weeks discusses nature's flying architects, commonly known as birds.  Weeks covers the nest building of several species including Baltimore orioles and hummingbirds.

Mice

May 27, 2016
Michael Becker / Flickr

In this archived broadcast from May 27, 2005, John Weeks discusses the role mice play in maintaining an ecosystem.  Weeks goes into detail on how mice provide meals for several predator species and how this makes mice important members of the natural world.

Celebrating Nature's Art

May 25, 2016
covrazio / Flickr

In this archived broadcast from May 23, 2003, John Weeks discusses some of the local nature art exhibits.  Weeks talks about the Great Swamp Conservancy and the Sterling Nature Center, among other topics.

Strange Sounds of Nature

May 20, 2016
Tom Moseley / Flickr

In this archived broadcast from May 21, 2004, John Weeks reviews the strange sounds one might hear on a spring evening.  Weeks goes into depth on the calls of the pie-billed grebe, the woodcock, the rough grouse and more.

Nature Trails

May 18, 2016
Don Rogers / Flickr

In this archived broadcast from May 20, 2005, John Weeks discusses local nature trails.  Weeks touches on his hand in constructing the trail designs and gives accounts of experiences he's had on these trails. 

An Episode with Deer

May 18, 2016
Andrew Reding / Flickr

In this archived broadcast from May 17, 1991, John Weeks recalls an encounter he had with several deer while walking a nature trail. 

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