Holy Cross Abbey’s Sustainability Journey

Want To Know What Sustainability Is? The Cistercian monks of the Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Virginia are on a journey to maintain the monastery, their way of life and a 1,200-acre farm on the Shenandoah River.  Saving Place Saving Grace is a documentary about a community on a path to sustainability.  You can stream the 57-minute […]

Sipping Africa, Mandela and the Reality of Trump – Swoope Almanac 11/16

Journal entry 11/15/16: Sipping Africa Charlottesville, VA: We ordered a bottle of Bayten, Sauvignon Blanc. It’s from the Constantia wine region in South Africa, the oldest wine region in the Southern Hemisphere.  It’s Cape Town’s wine region, at the Southern tip of the African continent. I raised my glass and gently swirled the soft golden […]

Chesapeake Lessons for the Great Lakes

  Sandusky, Ohio and Chesapeake Lessons: It was dark as I drove into the roller coaster capital of the world – Cedar Point amusement park on the shores of Lake Erie.   There were life-size mummies, monsters, goblins and witches all over the place. There was one Frankenstein looking monster with Donald Trump hair. “Oh, I […]

Improve Herd Health with Abundant Clean Water

Livestock Drinking Dirty Water is Not Good For Herd Health Humans don’t drink dirty water and neither should your livestock. Aristotle recognized the value of boiling water and burying feces to prevent disease back in 350BC. We’ve been learning ever since.  Just as with human health, herd health improves with abundant clean water. At Least […]

Choose Clean Water Coalition Conference 2014

Wow! That’s what I have to say about the 2014 Choose Clean Water Coalition Conference held at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel in Staunton, Virginia last week. Nearly two-hundred leaders from every non-profit organization with a mission for cleaner water in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed were in attendance including the National Fish and Wildlife Federation, the […]

American Sycamore – Fortress of the Stream Bank

One of eastern North America’s greatest native trees is the American Sycamore, Platanus occidentals.  Perhaps the most endearing feature of this legendary tree is its bark, especially in winter when the white bark, mottled with green and brown is fully exposed. These trees often exceed a hundred feet in height and stand guard along streams like […]

Planting and Growing a Successful Riparian Forest Buffer

I have been involved with over 500 miles of riparian buffer plantings and have witnessed plenty of failures and successes.  I would like to share with you what I believe is the recipe for success, that being TREE CANOPY CLOSURE IN TEN YEARS. I’ll get right to the point then provide details. First of all […]

Harpers Ferry – a History Steeped in Irony

I’m standing in the middle of the footbridge across the Potomac River at Harper’s Ferry looking downstream.   Beneath me flows the nation’s river that at this point in its journey, drained six million acres of land. Just downstream to my right the waters from another two million acres join the Potomac – it’s the Shenandoah […]