Overwhelmed
Apr28

Overwhelmed

There are bucket lists and then there are bucket lists. As parents, the bucket lists we envision for our kids do not necessarily conform to their own bucket list. But this spring break we stood our ground and imposed, gasp, D.C. and the Smithsonian for our annual trip. The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (SMNH) is nonpareil in scope, mission, detail and scientific acumen. The museum is larger than 18 football fields and is home...

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EPA – the eviscerated protection agency
Apr14

EPA – the eviscerated protection agency

Our new denier-in-chief believes “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” His handpicked director of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, former Oklahoma attorney general has sued the agency at least 13 times. He has sued over cross-state air pollution rules, air toxic standards, waters of the U.S. rule, ground level ozone and others. Pruitt, who has received nearly a...

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It really is spring
Apr03

It really is spring

I was reconnoitering the Buck Creek Serpentine Barrens on Monday March 27, with Brent Martin, Southern Appalachian regional director at The Wilderness Society, for an upcoming field trip with the Franklin Bird club on April 24. The Serpentine Barrens is located along Buck Creek in clay County, off U.S. Highway 64 about 17 miles west of Franklin. The barrens is a botanically distinct area created by the dominant serpentinized rock...

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Today’s pterodactyl
Mar20

Today’s pterodactyl

A low guttural croak comes out of the fog hanging over the French Broad River. I turn and look towards the noise. A silhouette starts to form. I can see the shadowy outline of a large head and beak. Long wide wings row through the fog and long legs trail behind. I know, immediately – it’s a pterodactyl – no, wait, that was 150 million years ago. It’s one of the pterodactyl’s relatives, a great blue heron. I don’t know what I could...

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What me chase?
Mar01

What me chase?

Regular readers of “The Naturalist’s Corner” may remember that I’ve decided to keep a 2017 year-list of birds. I noted, when I wrote about the list that I was not much of a “lister” nor “chaser.” My list would be made up of birds encountered in my backyard and during my Forest Service point counts and maybe a day of birding during our summer vacation to Isle of Palms. Then, last Sunday (2/26) Dwayne Martin posted some pictures of a...

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Is spring springing earlier?
Feb15

Is spring springing earlier?

Back in January I surveyed the Tellico Fire with MountainTrue biologist Josh Kelly. We were there to check out the intensity and severity of the fire. The date was January 19 and we found a few Hepatica acutiloba (sharp-lobed hepatica) in flower. Kelly said that was the earliest he had ever seen it in flower. Today, taxiing kids to and from school, I noticed a large maple in full flower around Exit 98 on US 23/74. And then, paying a...

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