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John Latimer reflects on his 40 years of phenology

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 John Latimer gives his phenology report for April 18, 2023. Pictured is a white man with glasses, a beard, and curly grey hair. He is wearing a blue shirt and is sitting in front of a microphone and a computer. Behind him is a large window showing a sunny day and a coniferous tree.
Sarah Mitchell
John Latimer gives his phenology report for April 18, 2023.

GRAND RAPIDS — When a woman on John Latimer’s rural mail route mentioned she noticed her first robin of the season, she never could have known what lay ahead for the next 40 years.

That 1983 comment reverberated through Latimer’s life in a profound way, leading him to begin meticulous recordkeeping of his observations of seasonal changes found in plant and animal life in the Grand Rapids area. Soon, tidbits from his notes made it to the air at KAXE, where he volunteered as a DJ.

“I began talking a little bit about the sorts of things that I was encountering on my mail route,” Latimer said. “It was not exactly weather. But it was at least as interesting as the weather to the people who were listening, and it became sort of a regular thing.”

Latimer joined KAXE News Director Chelsey Perkins on the Between You & Me podcast to discuss how he became one of the radio station’s most recognizable voices, the most notable shifts in his seasonal records over time and why he finds Northern Minnesota so special. The conversation precedes Latimer’s most recent Phenology Report from the Tuesday, May 2, KAXE Morning Show.

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