Andy Wood

Commentator

Andy Wood, a WHQR commentator since February 1987, is an ecologist and conservation educator with an affinity for ecosystem habitats in and around southeastern North Carolina, and the plants, wildlife, and people they support. A collection of Andy’s commentaries is collected into his first book, Backyard Carolina: Two Decades of Public Radio Commentary.

Ant-Lion

May 17, 2009

"Once secured this way, the ant-lion injects digestive juices into its prey and sucks the animal dry before casting the empty corpse up and out of the pit trap."

You don't have to go too far to find some of the most interesting creatures on Earth.

Bird Nesting Season

May 1, 2009

"It's best to observe young birds from a distance and not intervene because birds know best about rearing their babies... Hands-off is the best policy when it comes to birds."

It's May and that means bird nesting season. Almost everywhere you look, from bare sandy beaches, to dense shrub and forest habitat, and even on and around our homes and businesses, birds are busying themselves with nest making, egg laying and baby rearing.

Earth Day

Apr 19, 2009

"Sea level rise, melting glaciers, fluctuating weather patterns and shifting ecosystems are all pieces of a complex puzzle being reassembled by a changing planet. And with these changes comes opportunity for our own renewal."

Wilmington, NC – This April marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, a celebration of planet Earth that began as an awareness-building campaign with teach-ins at schools and other public places around the country.

"...I guess there were some ten to twenty thousand (robins and red-winged blackbirds) in all... it was an awesome spectacle."

Wilmington, NC – The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual winter event designed to connect bird watchers to the science that goes into bird conservation, and it seems to be working. It took place over President's Day weekend. View the statistics here.

Earth Snake

Feb 8, 2009

"When not hiding under logs and other debris, earth snakes burrow amid leaf litter with the aid of their rather pointed snout."

A new trend is growing in communities across our nation with more and more people turning to gardening as a means to reduce food costs, and for some, home gardening can provide assurance of pesticide-free fruits and vegetables. There are lessons a simple garden can offer.

"Calling (the Venus' Fly Trap) rare is an understatement any time of year; but rarest indeed is a fly trap surrounded by snow."

Wilmington, NC – Snow is a rare treat in this part of the world, and it is a great excuse to wander around outdoors when cold temperatures might dictate otherwise.

Micro Moths

Jan 11, 2009

"I have long fancied the moths...their great diversity of color, size and shape, especially the tiniest among them, make for interesting observation and study."

Wilmington, NC – The wonders of nature come in all shapes and sizes.

Signs of Spring

Dec 28, 2008

"I encourage each of us, if you have not already, to step outside and revel, as the wrens do, in this New Year splendor and promise."

Wilmington, NC – With much of our nation locked in the grip of wintry weather, commentator Andy Wood took a stroll in search of spring and found just what he was hoping for.

"Many leading economists now see green as the new silver and gold and they envision an economic upswing resulting from new technologies that create chambers of commerce and employment, based on, of all things, efficiency."

Wilmington, NC – As 2008 draws to a close, commentator Andy Wood has a few thoughts to offer for 2009, and beyond.

Monster of the Pond

Nov 17, 2008

"(The Giant Water Bug)...stabs, then injects its victim with venomous saliva that liquefies muscle and organs that the bug later sucks out, as if its prey were little more than a "slurpy."

Wilmington, NC – Soon after a drenching rain last week, commentator Andy Wood wandered down to see what the rain added to a small pond he dug on his property last winter that he hopes will serve as a nursery for a rare amphibian called the Carolina gopher frog.

Indian Pipe

Nov 3, 2008

"Indian pipe bears a striking resemblance to a 16th century smoker's clay pipe."

Andy Wood advises that when shaping the communities of the 21st century, our elected officials should look no further than the pipe.

"Making fun of changing light bulbs from incandescent to fluorescent, or keeping car tires properly inflated, is not helpful and is actually damaging to our economy."

Wilmington, NC – Commentator Andy Wood is education curator for Audubon North Carolina and author of "Backyard Carolina," a collection of his WHQR commentaries.

Fierce Little Guy

Aug 11, 2008

"Kingbirds are quick to harass other birds entering their domain and will pursue all comers including hawks and crows."

Wilmington, NC – Andy Wood was outside of his home taking a walk when he was witness to a natural occurrence that offers a life lesson.

Snake Lizards!

Jul 28, 2008

"It was a snake-like, nearly two foot long lizard, known variously as a legless, or glass lizard; legless because this reptile has no legs and the moniker glass refers to this lizard's ability to break away its long fragile tail in order to escape a clutching predator such as a hawk or fox."

Wilmington, NC – Commentator Andy Wood was working at home when his concentration was broken by a pleasant surprise.

Ecological Diversity

Jul 14, 2008

"There is no one size fits all solution in our immediate future. We need an array of energy sources to keep our economic engines strong and none of them are without some downsides."

Wilmington, NC – Commentator Andy Wood has been deeply engaged in the matter of climate change and the myriad issues this subject has spawned, from economics and associated industry challenges, to politics and the inherent challenges therein.

A Lifelong Fisher

Jun 13, 2008

"The gannet's life, as with its intended quarry, is one of movement; including long and tedious oceanic travels, broken by brief though dramatic feeding frenzies."

Wilmington, NC – Last week, commentator Andy Wood was on a local beach when he witnessed a drama between a fish-eating gannet and its intended meal.

Too Little, Too Late

May 19, 2008
Photo by Mike Spencer, Starnewsonline.com

"I hope we learn from this experience, that in order to make change, we must early-on become and then remain engaged in all aspects of our community planning and growing process."

Wilmington, NC – Thirteen acres of forest at UNCW were cleared last week. But it's not the university Andy Wood is upset with. It's the local environmental community.

Time of Reflection

May 5, 2008

"The instinctive bird recognizes the image as an interloper. It doesn't intuitively understand it to be a reflection of itself."

Wilmington, NC – With the onset of bird nesting season, there comes a time in a small bird's life when it must secure a territory within which it may raise a family. And this can bring some challenges and opportunities to people.

Earth Day

Apr 21, 2008

Earth Day is Tuesday, April 22nd

Wilmington, NC – In April 1970 author, ecologist and educator Andy Wood was a budding environmental activist with a Youth Museum near his hometown in Connecticut, an experience that helped direct his life career in the field of conservation.

Centipedes!

Apr 7, 2008

The latest from Andy Wood

Commentator Andy Wood is education curator for Audubon North Carolina and author of "Backyard Carolina"- a collection of his WHQR commentaries.

White Fang

Mar 24, 2008

The latest from commentator Andy Wood

Wilmington, NC – Andy Wood is education curator for Audubon North Carolina and author of "Backyard Carolina," a collection of his WHQR commentaries.

Rain pools!

Mar 10, 2008

The latest from commentator Andy Wood

Wilmington, NC – While a drought still persists in our area, commentator Andy Wood has found encouraging signs that recent rains are bringing relief and renewal to some special animals, inhabiting very special places.

Honeybees!

Feb 25, 2008

We could learn a lot from your average honeybee.

Wilmington, NC – One day last week, the attention of commentator Andy Wood was caught by movement outside his office window, which prompted some thoughts on the worlds of bees and people.

This coming weekend February 15th through the 18th, thousands of people across the country will turn out to participate in an annual citizen science project called the Great Backyard Bird Count.

Wilmington, NC – To participate in the bird count, click here.

The Drought Continues

Jan 14, 2008

Last week, commentator Andy Wood and his son Carson went out to check on an ephemeral pond they have been keeping tabs on over the past several years.

Wilmington, NC – Andy Wood is education curator for Audubon North Carolina, and author of "Backyard Carolina"- a collection of his WHQR commentaries.

Andy Wood Looks Ahead

Dec 31, 2007

Andy wraps up another year of wonderful commentaries with some thoughts on the future ahead of us.

Wilmington, NC – Andy Wood is education curator for Audubon North Carolina and author of "Backyard Carolina" a collection of his WHQR commentaries.

Nature's Gift

Dec 14, 2007

Commentator Andy Wood suggests instilling a love for nature as a gift to our children.

A love of the natural word is a gift that can last a lifetime.

Nature's Gift

Dec 14, 2007

Commentator Andy Wood suggests instilling a love for nature as a gift to our children.

A love of the natural word is a gift that can last a lifetime.

Irrigation

Dec 3, 2007

North Carolina's drought continues, and Andy Wood talks about a critical aspect of water conservation: irrigation.

Wilmington, NC – Andy Wood is education curator for Audubon North Carolina, and author of "Backyard Carolina"- collection of his WHQR commentaries.

Conservation

Nov 19, 2007

"Going green" is all the rage, but what good is actually being done? Commentator Andy Wood warns that the time for action is now upon us.

Wilmington, NC – "Greener products" are being thrown at us left and right, but Andy Wood worries that it's become more of a marketing slogan than real solutions to the environmental problems we're facing.

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