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.

Weeks describes that within branches, seeds, soil, and creatures exist promises of the approaching season.

John Weeks discusses the types of scenes he sees on the Christmas cards he gives and receives. He notes a lack of ecological accuracy and an emphasis on cuteness.

John Weeks shares everything there is to know about the flying squirrel and recounts an experience with one earlier on in his life.

John Weeks discusses behaviors and preparations of animals and plants in nature during the winter months. He suggests that the wild world has no time for "cabin fever."

John Weeks describes weasels as beautiful, fearless, and efficient. He points out that weasel's are our ally against rodents, and that every weasel killed equals 100 deer mice saved.

John Weeks discusses how the activities of both humans and wildlife are climate regulated. Wildlife, however, only change their clothes a couple of times per year.

While he has never been convinced of any steadfast signs that a particularly rough winter is ahead, John Weeks shares some speculative short and long-term weather prognostications.

Did you know that snow acts as an insulator and can provide protection to many animals, even those who do not typically burrow? John Weeks discusses the pros and cons of snow.

The First Snowfall

Nov 23, 2012

Weeks discusses exploring during the first snowfall in order to discover anything new. He shares stories of the puzzles in the snow he has encountered during past walks.

The First Thanksgiving

Nov 20, 2012

John Weeks touches on the embellishment of the current version of Thanksgiving. He recounts the true origin of the holiday through the words of Governor William Bradford.

John Weeks suggests using the found hour brought on by "falling back" late in the year to do things you otherwise couldn't do. Take advantage before your body adjusts and the found hour is lost.

John Weeks discusses critters (good and bad) who may decide to take up residence in your home or garage during the cold, winter months. He offers tips on how you can control the flow of unwanted pests from making your home their home.

John Weeks talks about the sadness of the autumn leaf fall that is tempered by the wonderful colors and the knowledge of the beauty that lies ahead. He explains why leaves fall and the benefits of the yearly occurrence.

Love of Earth

Nov 6, 2012

John Weeks discusses societal changes that have occurred throughout the course of his life. One thing that has remained constant, however, is his love for nature and the planet.

Gifts of the Glacier

Nov 2, 2012

John Weeks discusses lands that are rich in glacial history, chiefly Chicago Bog. He touches on the aesthetics of the bog, from surrounding shrubbery to bog inhabitants.

November's Open Book

Oct 30, 2012

Weeks talks about the creative genius involved in autumn leaves falling, only to bloom again in the spring. He also suggests that the late fall environment, especially the month of November, is an open book full of choice reading.

John Weeks discusses the first widespread freeze of the year, and the gorgeous day that proceeded it. He also explains the significance of microclimates and their undetected presence nearly everywhere we turn.

Weeks remembers his first encounter with the fall crocus. He talks about how light wavelength effects plant growth and touches on photoperiodism as it relates to the blooming of various plants.

Evening Pond Watch

Oct 19, 2012

Weeks recounts a walk along Rice Pond and the interlacing of the sounds coming from various species of waterfowl. He also provides information regarding the colorful ensembles sported by different types of birds that were seen on the hike.

Passing the Catskills

Oct 16, 2012

John Weeks discusses revisiting his favorite vistas more than 30 years after he first discovered their beauty. He notes that despite the changes in these areas, they maintain the magic and charm they have always had.

Outside Influences

Oct 12, 2012

John Weeks discusses the influence of the moon on bird migration and reproduction. He explains how day length have been demonstrated to trigger reproductive cycles and stimulate hormone production.

John Weeks talks about the parallel between the operation of a wild thing and the function of a computer chip. Weeks makes the point that in both cases, a lot of what happens may be the result of stored messages or directives, as in the case of bird migration.

In the wake of Hurricane Isabel, John Weeks discusses how the aftermath of a storm can provide opportunity despite devastation. Nature always makes the necessary adjustments after a natural disaster, begging the question of whether these events are really disasters at all.

John Weeks discusses influential figures from his past and shares some excerpts from a book written by one such man, Aldo Leopold. Weeks relays some strategies to "preserve the sanity of our wild world," including the need to know our world at least as well as the Native Americans.

Weeks discusses watching wetland wildlife as a younger man and his growing interest in waterfowl. He talks in depth about the mallard and the interbreeding between the mallard and the black duck.

From birds using celestial navigation, to salmon using chemical sensors to "smell" their way home, John Weeks discusses the migration phenomenon of various species. Weeks notes that many migration patterns hold mysteries that are still unexplained.

Highways of Silk

Jun 13, 2012

John Weeks talks about Tent Caterpillars and their effect on apple and cherry trees. Weeks explains how these insects, usual thought of as pests, serve a necessary role in the ecosystem. In fact, the Tent Caterpillars are not really harmful to the trees at all.

Originally aired June 19,1987.

Focusing on the Ferns

Jun 11, 2012

John Weeks encourages his listeners to stop and study the ferns. Ferns can be confusing and difficult to identify. Still, Weeks believes that their elegant form and unusual lifecycle make these plants worth your time and energy.

John Weeks talks about the importance of not interfering with wildlife. Weeks explains why it is best to leave young wild animals alone.

Originally aired on June 6th, 1987.

John Weeks discusses the many unusual ways birds construct makeshift nests in the spring. Weeks shares stories of birds using "wildlife ad-libbing" to survive in inhospitable weather.

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