February 2015, Back Bay, Nature


full moon   (sonya kovacic)

full moon (sonya kovacic)

Tides have played an important role in Boston's history. They continue to be important and can determine a storm's severity.

Take Hurricane Sandy as an example. According to a Boston Globe article titled, "Boston Prepares For Superstorms" by Renee Roth, "If Sandy’s storm surge had hit Boston at high tide, just a few hours earlier than it did, newly developed flood maps show that more than 6 percent of Boston would have been under water. The flood area includes the Charlestown Navy Yard, Gillette headquarters in South Boston, the Aquarium MBTA station, and 65 percent of the Fort Point channel district. Because we weren't at high tide, hurricane Sandy didn't impact us as much as it could have. "

With the threat of rising sea levels, tides will only increase in importance. To combat rising sea levels, Boston is thinking about becoming a city of canals. 
If you are curious, here is a tide chart for the Boston Harbor.

Jamaica Plain, January 2014, Nature


southwest corridor(sonya kovacic)

southwest corridor(sonya kovacic)

Oh have you heard? It's supposed to snow tomorrow.

Here is a breakdown of the top 5 snowstorms in Boston from the National Weather Service:

1. February 17th-18th, 2003: 27.6 inches
2. February 6th-7th, 1978: 27.1 inches
3. February 24th-27th, 1969: 25.8 inches
4. March 31st-April 1st, 1997: 25.4 inches
5. February 7th-9th, 2013: 24.9 inches

During the "Great Snow of 1717" it snowed for 9 days. Boston saw up to 40 inches of snow and Bostonians walked on stilts. The good news though, there was no electricity to lose.

January 2014, Nature


november hike, wachusett mountain (sonya kovacic)

november hike, wachusett mountain (sonya kovacic)

Wachusett Mountain, located 50 miles outside of Boston in Princeton Mass, is a popular ski resort. However, it is also the site of a very rare "old growth forest." A forest characterized by having trees over 150 years old with a complex ecology.

When colonists first arrived in Massachusetts, forests were plentiful. Soon after, trees were cut down for limber, and forests were cleared for agriculture. Now there are only 1,000 acres of old growth forests in Massachusetts and around 100 of them are found in Wachusett Mountain.

According to Watchusett Mountain, Mass Audobon Society, and Mass Dept of Environmental Management --the oldest known tree [in Wachusett] is a 369-year-old Yellow birch. It was alive in 1632 when Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor John Winthrop first identified Wachusett Mountain as, “...a very high hill, due west...”

Learn more about old-growth forests.

This past August, "The Sea of Trees," a new movie directed by Gus Van Sant (who also directed Good Will Hunting), and staring Matthew McConaughey, filmed scenes in Wachusett. Shallow Hal, the 2001 Jack Black movie, also filmed scenes in Wachusett.

Cambridge, December 2014, Nature


frustration (sonya kovacic)

frustration (sonya kovacic)

The wind can makes umbrellas useless in the Boston area. Boston is considered the windiest metropolitan city in the United States.

Average annual wind speed of the windiest US cities (in miles per hour):
Boston, Massachusetts 12.3
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 12.2
Buffalo, New York 11.8
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 11.5
Dallas, Texas 10.7
Kansas City, Missouri 10.6
San Francisco, California 10.6
Cleveland, Ohio 10.5
Minneapolis, Minnesota 10.5
Virginia Beach, Virginia 10.5
Providence, Rhode Island 10.4
Chicago, Illinois 10.3
Detroit, Michigan 10.2

Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg from Google's Big Picture research group in Cambridge, used wind data from the National Weather Service’s Digital Forecast Service (which updates once an hour) to create an interactive wind map. It's pretty cool. 

October 2014, Nature, Reader Submission, Roxbury


best bees (noah-wilson rich)

best bees (noah-wilson rich)

Curated by Noah-Wilson Rich

General honey bee facts:

Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are of tremendous economic and ecological importance. As pollinators of over 100 crops (including almonds, blueberries, avocados, broccoli, lemons, limes, and cucumbers), honey bees contribute an estimated $14.6 billion per year to the American economy.
Research using honey bees as an experimental study system has contributed to our understanding of an interdisciplinary range of subjects, including animal communication, genomics, evolution, immunology, agriculture, aging, economics, and even mathematical modeling.
Honey bees are dying. The number of honey bee colonies not surviving winters is increasing annually.

Boston honey bee facts:

Honey bees in Boston and Cambridge are more productive and have better survival rates than bees outside the cities.
Bees can fly for miles, so one beehive in Boston can cover reach nearly all the city’s community gardens to pollinate them.
It only takes about a 2 x 3 foot space for a beehive, and they’re in many of the city's rooftops, decks, and gardens.
Restaurants and hotels in the city with beehives and fresh, hyperlocal honey production include: The Gallows, The Beehive, Beat Hôtel, Miel, Four Season Boston, Taj Boston, The Liberty Hotel, Fairmont Copley Plaza, Fairmont Battery Wharf, American Provisions, and more.

To learn more about honey bees and urban beekeeping watch this talk.

Interested in a honey bee hive for yourself or for your business? Go here.