Nat Geo – Two Days at the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

The Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) encompasses over 6,000 acres in coastal Alabama, opening a nature center, trails, and guided trips to locals and visitors. In October, I myself became one of those curious visitors! My husband and I crossed the Fish River in the afternoon, pulling into the Nature Center parking lot…

Nat Geo – In Conclusion

It has been a few months since I returned from my last expedition to the Maine North Woods. Since then, President Obama has announced the creation of the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, encompassing more than 87,000 acres adjacent to Baxter State Park. This impressive conservation area adds habitat protection and connectivity for…

Nat Geo – Two Days at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve

As part of an ongoing project, Erika Zambello is visiting all National Estuarine Research Reserves in the continental United States. Established by NOAA, the sites work together toward long-term research, education and coastal stewardship. Day 1 The Reserve The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) was designated in 1984 and encompasses 1,600 acres of coastal…

National Geographic – Summer Expedition Day 4

The final leg of my National Geographic Young Explorers grant was bittersweet. The day itself was glorious: warm, blue skies, and no clouds until we finally said goodbye to the Maine North Woods later in the afternoon. Read the rest on Natural Resources Council of Maine!

National Geographic – Summer Expedition Day 3

I awoke to rain again, this time pattering against the rain fly of the tent. I knew instantly we had made a mistake the night before, and I snuggled down into my sleeping bag and put the pillow over my head, willing it away for a few minutes. While we had the foresight to put…

National Geographic – Summer Expedition Day 2, Part 2

The paddle across the lake was easy, but the next rocky section of Allagash Stream was tough. Paint marks on particularly large rocks illustrated that many canoes had scraped along the bottom before us, and we even spotted two lost paddles caught in downed tree limbs and along the shore. Read the rest at the…

National Geographic – Summer Expedition Day 2

Day two dawned wet. We could no longer access the weather report without internet or phone, but there was no mistaking the dense, low-hanging clouds. Though Bob Johnson rarely has canoers, the other couple and us were ready to paddle the Allagash Wilderness Waterway by 8 in the morning. Johnson led all of us down…

Nat Geo – Summer Expedition, Day 1

After a six-hour drive – which included a pit stop at LL Bean and Hannaford for supplies – we made it to Johnson’s Allagash Lodge for the very last expedition for my National Geographic Young Explorers grant. The lodge is a collection of log buildings on the edge of Narrow Pond, which eventually drains into…

Nat Geo – Spring Expedition Day 3

On Day 2 of our spring trip, Brian and I split up for a few hours. Brian had had great luck catching brook trout below the old dam, and I wanted to search for arriving migratory birds, especially warblers. Read the rest at the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

Nat Geo – Spring Expedition Day 2

After a delicious breakfast at Pittston Farm – complete with Guy’s homemade donuts – we packed camping and fishing gear into the car. In our beat up Ford Explorer we had miles to go on dirt roads before we made it to an access point for Fifth Pond. From the road, we flushed both Gray…

Nat Geo – A Rocky Path Toward Maine’s New National Monument

The mighty 75-mile East Branch of the Penobscot River begins as a small stream in north-central Maine. I stood on its bank in late September 2015, closing my eyes against the dust billowing up from the logging road I had used to reach the water. On one side of the road, the stream seemed still,…

Nat Geo – Spring Expedition, Day One

The spring trip was up to Fifth Pond and the headwaters of the Saint John River. More than 400 miles long, this waterway rushes from Fifth Pond all the way to the Bay of Fundy. For stretches, it creates a watery border between Maine and Canada. Read the rest at the Natural Resources Council of…