God’s houses: arboretums recall the architectural grandeur of churches. Photo: Mike Vardy/Science Photo Library
Botanical gardens are the cathedrals of our times
By John Burnside - 18 February 10:20

In the bleak midwinter, there are few walks more energising.

Rain check: Dave King eschews technology and favours ancient sayings. Nick Ray/The Times/News Syndication
Watching with the weatherman: the self-taught meteorologist
By Xan Rice - 17 February 10:03

“Dave the Weather” may seem comical - but many take his predictions seriously.

The Bardarbunga volcano in south-east Iceland in September 2014. Photo: Bernard Meric/AFP/Getty Images
From Werner Herzog to Pompeii: the difficulties of capturing volcanoes in film
By Oliver Farry - 22 December 10:59

It is strange that the full terror of the volcano has rarely been harnessed for narrative purposes – most films about eruptions end up as camp disaster flicks.

Good migrations: a flock of cranes in Israel. Photo: Getty
Waiting for the cranes under warm, silky skies
By John Burnside - 05 December 15:57

The Nature Column by John Burnside. 

Strange fish: Lake Malawi is home to some unique species. Photo: Getty
Genes are not as important as you might think
By Michael Brooks - 13 November 10:00

Michael Brooks’s Science Column. 

Going solo: in the wild, beady-eyed shoebills are natural solitaries
The silent stillness of a shoebill’s stare
By John Burnside - 13 November 10:00

Staring into this powerful bird’s beady eye – its extraordinary face more African mask than that of a bird – I felt connected for a moment to something old and original.

Into the woods: branches piled up on a hide in Hesse, one of Germany's most heavily forested regions. Photo: Jan Stradtmann
Peace to the forest, a place of ways unknown
By John Burnside - 24 October 11:27

The forest was where a traveller could become lost for ever and lose his rational bearings, as in the Arthurian tale of the Forest of Beguilement, a place, as Spenser puts it, full of “wayes unknowne”.

A tyre washed up on the beach at Prestwick, Scotland. Photo: Getty
Meet the women sailing across oceans to understand what toxins are really doing to our bodies
By Caroline Criado-Perez - 22 October 16:21

The aim of the voyage, and the play inspired by it, is to make “the unseen seen” and enhance understanding of what the chemicals we put into the sea and our own bodies are actually doing.

Newly-discovered dinosaur is the biggest land animal found so far
By Fiona Rutherford - 05 September 13:57

Dreadnoughtus schrani, which walked the earth 77 million years ago, is the largest land animal ever known – dwarfing such monsters as Diplodocus and Tyrranosaurus Rex.

A Eurasian jay picks at a nut in northeastern Germany. Photo: Getty
Jay joy: what it feels like for a bird
By Michael Brooks - 02 September 17:00

Attributing emotions to birds is not a flight of fancy. Emotions are a feature of evolution: they arose to help creatures navigate the world safely and with maximum reward.

At the site of the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, man-made life and wildlife happily coexist. Photo: Reuters
Temple to nature: the disused runway that became a communal wonderland
By John Burnside - 22 August 14:02

After a rather shaky start, the old Tempelhof Airport has come to be considered one of Berlin’s greatest success stories; it is certainly an inspiring example of direct democracy in action.

An Orb-weaver spider (Araneus diadematus) in Rennes, western France (Photo: Damien Meyer/ AFP/Getty Images)
City living is making spiders bigger, study finds
By Fiona Rutherford - 22 August 12:49

According to new research, city-dwelling spiders are larger and more fertile than their rural-dwelling relatives.

The lynx may be brought back to Britain and areas of damaged landscape could be repaired. Photo: Ruggero Maramotti/Gallery Stock
Bring back the big cats: is it time to start rewilding Britain?
By George Monbiot - 21 August 12:20

Rewilding means the mass restoration of damaged ecosystems. It involves letting trees return and allowing parts of the seabed to recover. Above all, it means bringing back missing species.

Pond life: a grey heron in a park in Ealing, west London. Photo: Getty
The silence of the larks: Britain’s mysterious disappearing birds
By Mark Cocker - 14 August 10:00

Britain’s avian population is the most watched in the world – but new studies show nature in retreat.

Tian Tian the female panda at Edinburgh Zoo, photographed in her enclosure on April 2014. Photo: Getty
Panda Sutra: the ups and downs of getting grumpy bears to have sex
By Forbes Howie - 12 August 14:45

Breeding pandas in captivity is notoriously difficult. A scientist who worked on getting Tian Tian, a panda at Edinburgh Zoo, pregnant explains how you go about it.

Green giant: Kermit the frog at the New York Stock Exchange, 17 March. Photo: Getty
People don’t want to hear it when you tell them to run over amphibians
By John Brooke - 07 August 10:00

Ah – the internet. One minute in which to arm myself with an encyclopaedic knowledge about frogs. 

Laughter can have an electrifying life force but is not linked to our day-to-day survival. Photo: Bim Hjortronsteen/Millennium Images
What makes us human? Our innate curiosity and our ability to laugh
By John Lloyd - 01 August 10:00

People have been wondering what stuff is made of since the beginning of time. Antelopes, by contrast, haven’t, writes John Lloyd. 

Water horses: a mother and baby hippo swim at a zoo in Mexico City. Photo: Getty
Michael Brooks: Hippo fossils offer clues about swimming
By Michael Brooks - 30 July 15:00

Fossilised guides to what the earth was like millions of years ago are rare, and understanding water tracks can make a difference.

Down at the bottom of the garden: visitors inside a garden shed on show at the 2014 Chelsea Flower Show. Photo: Getty
Tracey Thorn: gardening porn vs reality and the pampas grass swingers’ code
By Tracey Thorn - 03 July 17:00

Given we had bought the house from friends, I consigned the pampas “fact” to a small compartment at the back of my mind…

A beaver in Germany. Photo: Getty
The government is capturing wild beavers for the first time in centuries
By Anoosh Chakelian - 01 July 16:32

Beavers are the new badgers as the government's decision to trap England's wild beavers causes outrage among wildlife lovers.

Residents stand near a giant rubber duck on a lake at the newly developped town of Phu My Hung in Ho Chi Minh city on April 28, 2014. Photo: Getty Images
Our plastic waste is changing the geology of the Earth's rocks
By Emma Woollacott - 27 June 15:28

The tiny pieces of plastic that we throw away every year are forming a new layer of sedentary rock across the planet - just another sign of our careless attitude to waste.

A Sami family, Lapland, c.1900. They saw their homeland as the centre of the world. Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
John Burnside: The tyranny of the world’s “centre”
By John Burnside - 26 June 10:00

For generations, people on the periphery have watched their ways of life – often informed by deep wisdom and ancient traditions – being sacrificed for “resources” for those in central nations. 

Mane event: horse placenta has been used to treat footballers’ injuries. Photo: Getty
The placenta is a marvel that scientists can’t match
By Michael Brooks - 24 June 9:25

Nothing we can engineer has come close to replicating the placenta’s ability to act as the kidney, lungs, hormone source, nutrition channel and waste disposal unit for a growing foetus.

The frontispiece from a volume of articles entitled “The Passenger Pigeon”, published 1907. Image: Wikimedia Commons
Humans not entirely at fault for passenger pigeon extinction
By Safya Khan-Ruf - 23 June 15:15

New research suggests that the human impact coincided with a natural decrease in population size.

A cobra in India. Photo: Getty
No one will die of a snakebite in Britain this summer. Why?
By Michael Brooks - 19 June 10:00

The most recent snakebite death in the UK was in 1975. If only that were true elsewhere: snakebites kill up to 94,000 people and necessitate hundreds of thousands of amputations every year.

Acres of oilseed rape in flower amid the limestone hills of Yunnan, southern China. Photo: George Steinmetz/Corbis
There is nothing very lovely about oilseed rape
By John Burnside - 05 June 12:32

Don’t be fooled by its seas of scented acid-yellow blooms, the plant otherwise known as canola is one of the world’s most unethical crops.

A grey squirrel in St James's Park in London. Photo: Getty
The solution to the grey squirrel crisis? Pastry, a roux sauce, mushrooms and hazelnuts
By Susan Bailey - 19 May 17:04

An organised cull of grey squirrels could also be a culinary opportunity.

Illuminating idea: volunteers light 5,000 candles in the shape of planet earth, during Earth Hour 2012, Berlin. Photo: Getty
The Gaia guy: how James Lovelock struggled to be taken seriously
By Steven Poole - 16 May 11:24

Nowadays, the area of study called “earth systems science” uses many ideas originally championed by Lovelock, though people are still allergic to the name Gaia.

Alive alive-o: cockles picked on the shore in Falmoth, Cornwall. Photo: Getty
“A stained valentine, like a crash-landed space shuttle”: the beauty of bivalves
By Jen Hadfield - 08 May 17:02

The poet Jen Hadfield describes foraging for clams, cockles and mussels in spring on the Shetland shores. 

Having a flutter: a lack of food for butterfly larvae has eaten into numbers. Photo: Getty
Butterflies are beautiful but we need to love their larvae too
By Michael Brooks - 30 April 10:00

The numbers of monarch butterflies are at a record low and a large part of this is because of the disappearance of the milkweed plant, eaten by caterpillars.