A concrete walkway bisects my small front yard. I grow herbs and vegetables on one side and an assortment of native grasses and perennials on the other. In my mind, they’ve always been two distinct entities. One side feeds us, and the other feeds wildlife. I’ve recently had to reconsider that rigid dichotomy. The line […]

Chantilly Ecological Sanctuary, informally known as Chantilly Eco-Park, is an oasis in East Charlotte, a part of the county underserved by green space. Hugging a section of Briar Creek, its roughly 24 acres support lush wetlands, regenerating forest and grasslands riddled with butterfly weed. This outstanding wildlife habitat – over 160 species of birds have […]

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? For me, the answer usually rotated between some sort of doctor or a writer. I grew up in an environment that recognized my strengths and weaknesses and offered resources to work on both. In middle school when I struggled with depression, […]

Tags:Data, Homeless

Data are an important part of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg ecosystem. When decisions hang in the balance regarding funding, policies, or programs, data can tip the scales. Conversations about data are frequently dominated by data scientists, professional service providers, executive administrators, and university researchers. But what of the people whom the data represent? Where are their voices […]

Concerns about an “insect apocalypse” have grown more widespread in recent years. There’s a sense among scientists – and the general public – that we simply aren’t seeing as many insects as we used to. I remember driving through the Uwharries on summer nights when insects splattered the windshield like the first fat drops of […]


We gardeners are always striving for an ideal vision, the moment when our creations will finally reach their full, mature potential. And we foolishly assume that once they’ve attained it, they’ll then remain in that state of perfection. But gardens aren’t static. They’re always in flux. Plants don’t perform as promised. We make poor choices. […]

In a city there are so many things, incremental changes and dynamic moments, it is impossible to see it all… there’s always more to discover. Discovery, for some, is an art. It is the willingness to try something new, choosing to make the uncomfortability of newness the norm. Research Associate Angelique Gaines appeared with community […]

At first glance, ‘No Mow May’ seems like a winning idea to encourage people to delay their first mowing of the season so early spring flowers in the lawn will be available for pollinators. While I appreciate any approach to helping wildlife that requires less work and challenges the expection for a pristine stand of […]

As a part of my internship with the Urban Institute, I completed a project on the history of race, racism, and resistance at UNC Charlotte. A significant component of this work focused on the land of UNC Charlotte’s campuses. Through this research, I learned that a portion of the main campus is composed of land […]

Charlotte’s neighborhoods (like those of many American cities) are highly segregated by race and economic status. A quick review of the Charlotte/Mecklenburg Quality of Life Explorer’s interactive maps reveals that the data support this claim. The two racial categories with the highest share of the county’s population are White (44.7% of county residents) and Black […]


Even casual birders feel the urge of spring migration. Within a few short weeks, millions of birds will pass through our forests, parks and yards. Many pause here only briefly to fuel up for their journey north, so this will be our only opportunity to get a glimpse of them in their breeding plumage. We […]

The Charlotte region is not building enough new housing. That reality helps explain why the people of greater Charlotte confront a growing affordability challenge. According to Canopy Realtor Association, the average sales price in the Charlotte region was $417,430 in January 2023, up nearly $150,000 from an average sales price of $268,271 in January 2019—a […]