Blackpoll Warblers came to the trees in our yard this week. They’re on their way to the boreal forests of Canada. I don’t know a lot of people that have seen a Blackpoll Warbler and when I mention them I get funny stares – I’m a birder. Blackpoll Warblers are...
Rachel Carson…she’s one of my heroes. This year for Earth Day (April 22, 2012) it is fitting to honor the 50th anniversary of Rachael Carson’s book, Silent Spring. Rachael Carson This book moved the world by heightening our awareness of the environment and the affects of indiscriminate use of...
Why don’t farmers just do it? I mean fence their cattle out of the streams. If farmers would do this one practice, at least in the Shenandoah River watershed, agriculture would probably be finished with its part of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. Excluding livestock from streams is possibly the single...
This past week we saw for the first time in over a year a very rare and imperiled bird in Virginia: the Loggerhead Shrike, Lanius ludovicianus. The genus name is Latin for butcher and Shrike is a derivative of shriek. The bird doesn’t really have a pretty song, it shrieks. It...
A "backfire" is a slow burn This is a prescribed fire manager's drean. See the smoke moving off to the right? The fire is actually burning to the left, into the wind and into the only fuel left to burn. The flames are low because we prepared the site by...
Phenology is the study of the timing of biological events. February 24th was Spring Surge Day in Swoope. That’s the first day of the year I notice the Earth is really on the move. It’s not necessarily the day the first daffodil blooms or the first warm day of spring. ...
I drove onto a farm in Northern Virginia this week and noticed a row of baled up corn stalks. That’s a red flag for me…I have learned over the past 30 some years as a conservationist that when I am on a farm and see rolled up – baled, corn...
Aldo Leopold wrote eloquently about an ancient log he placed on the andirons of his fire in A Sand County Almanac published in 1949. The chapter was “Good Oak”. Below is my lament for a log I placed on the andirons of a fire we had in the summer kitchen...
Harpers Ferry, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and we were driving back from Wilmington, Delaware. Our route took us through Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia – one of the most spectacular places on Earth. Thomas Jefferson said the view from a high rock in...
There has been a lot of talk about “T” these days because of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. I hate jargon so here’s a quickie on these two terms. The TMDL is the agreed upon pollution diet for the Bay; it stands for Total Maximum Daily Load. It’s the maximum amount...
“There’s often a story about cattle, a little talk of environmental concerns, and a mention of his “Princess” and her collaborative work with him. That’s how conversations go when I get a chance to visit with Bobby. He’s easygoing and always has a great story, but there’s a wealth of shared experience, knowledge, and love of farming and our environment in everything Bobby does. This latest book is just like sitting down and visiting with Bobby. You’ll enjoy every bit of it.”
Emmett W. Hanger Jr.Virginia Senator
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