I recently attended a "Stream and Buffer Ecology Workshop" at the Stroud Water Research Center in Avondale, Pennsylvania. Stroud is a world-class research facility for fresh water science. This year their “Moorhead Environmental Complex” was awarded a “Platinum LEED” rating, which is the nation’s highest certification for green construction. The Stroud...
A watershed moment for the Shenandoah River and the Chesapeake Bay occurred on Tuesday the 23rd of April. Ownership of the former Virginia National Golf Course located on the banks of the Shenandoah River in Clark County was handed over to Shenandoah University . Dr. Tracy Fitzsimmons, President of the University said...
This past week Swoope bore the brunt of the Snowquester, a.k.a. winter storm Saturn. It gave us almost two feet of snow - unwelcome weather for cattle farmers during calving season. A calf born in this weather can perish quickly. We were lucky. The storm left no casualties among our...
When converting grasslands to forest it has been a common practice to plant bare-root, hardwood tree seedlings directly into the sod. Most recently tree shelters have been used to increase the growth rate and survival of hardwood (not pine) tree seedlings. Shelters are recommended in Virginia's Hardwood Tree Planting Guide. Many...
Figs and Great Wine For the first time in my life, we harvested figs… which means we either got lucky or the planet is warming. We sliced the figs in half and ate them fresh with a dab of creamy blue cheese while sipping a full-bodied, peppery Cabernet Sauvignon. Pair...
Scroll down to see the pictures of James Madison University's "Hillside Project." The native prairie is now in full bloom. You can see it from I-81. Some think it looks terrible and want it put back in manicured lawn. Help save this wonderful outdoor classroom by posting your comment...
False Indigo Bush, Amorpha fruticosa This native, leguminous shrub is one of the best riparian plants for creating wildlife habitat and improving water quality. It is fast growing and deer don’t like to eat it, so if you want success in your shrub or wildlife plantings this is a winner. ...
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...
I just came back from a walk along our part of the river. It’s called Middle River and it’s one of the most polluted rivers in Virginia. Just six miles up the river from here is its source – a spring that just bubbles up out of the ground in...
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