Natural New England

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by Alice Alford, Reference Librarian

September 24, 2003

Regional magazines, those periodicals that focus on a specific geographic area, have been a part of the American scene for many years as exemplified by New England’s own “Yankee”, which began publication in 1935, and “Vermont Life” and “Down East”, which were founded in 1946 and 1954, respectively. The oldest of this genre, however, is “Sunset: The Magazine for Western Living”. It has been in publication since 1898.

This category of periodicals is growing at a rapid rate. You have probably noticed that there seems to be a new one on the market every month or so. This is due to advances in printing technology which make it easier and cheaper to produce these publications.

In the past a large number of regional magazines concentrated on lifestyles or they sought to promote a particular area in order to attract tourists. Today, many of the newer publications are categorized as regional specialty magazines because they focus on a particular interest of those readers who reside within a certain geographic area. For example: “People, Places and Plants” is all about gardening in New England, and “Offshore” concerns itself with the interests of ocean boaters in the Northeast. Other examples are: “New England Runner”; “Fly Fishing New England”’ “Maine Northwoods Sporting Journal”; “New England Fish and Game”; and “Natural New England”.

Founded in 1999 and published quarterly, “Natural New England”, is a science and nature news magazine for older children and adults. According to its publishers, the goal of the periodical is “to keep you and your family up to date on news, issues, and new knowledge of the natural science world.” It succeeds admirably, for each issue is chock-full of information and news about science, life and the exploration of the Northeast.

Most often accompanied by color photographs, the articles are interesting and informative. In the Summer 2003 issue, there is an excellent piece about offshore lobstering. The author, a college student, actually worked on one of the four man crew offshore lobster boats out of Newington, NH. These boats travel as far out as 200 miles to fish in waters more than 1,000 feet deep. He describes the work in detail, and he also tells of the stress and hazards of working 17 hours per day on the ten day year round lobstering trips.

Another first rate article dealt with rescue efforts to save 170 sea turtles that were stranded on wintry Cape Cod beaches in November and December of 2002. They were washed ashore after being stunned by the cold ocean waters around the Cape. Among those rescued were 78 Kemp’s ridley turtles, the smallest and most critically endangered of all sea turtles. After being sent to various aquariums for rehab, these turtles were eventually released into the Gulf of Mexico.

In each issue of “Natural New England” places such as the New Bedford Whaling Museum; Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens, in Deerfield, MA; and Bangor’s Maine Discovery Museum, the largest interactive children’s museum north of Boston, are explored.

Northeast Birding News and Science in Our back Yards are regular features of the magazine, as well as Education and Careers in the Natural Sciences, which showcases New England college and university students who are engaged in some aspect of natural science research as it relates to New England. “Natural New England” is truly a unique and interesting magazine for the whole family, and I invite you to stop by the Lane Memorial Library and check it out.

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