Field Work

Pandemic highlights food chain workers’ precarious and essential positions

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, news headlines have called attention to both “essential workers” in the food system, such as farmworkers and grocery store employees, and extensive job losses for food system workers, primarily in retail and restaurants. There are requests for contributions to virtual tip jars and for customers to buy gift cards from small […]

Volunteers for  Sandhills Farm-to-Table, subscription-based community supported agriculture (CSA) and online food store pack just-picked local produce into delivery boxes at Sandhills AGInnovation Center. Photo: Nancy Pierce

Connecting our region through local food systems

In any conversation about strengthening urban and rural connections, local food systems are usually suggested as the prime example. Images of farmers’ markets come to mind, where urban consumers have the opportunity not only to buy fresh fruits and vegetables but to get to know the growers and producers. The food system in reality is […]

Finding the beauty in a bagworm

The overall cluster was about the size of my fist.  A woven cylindrical core was decorated with willow oak leaves, some of them whole and others torn.  They had been applied in an intriguingly symmetrical pattern, creating the effect of wings and a tail.  Tiny twigs with swollen buds had also been incorporated into the design, their weight providing a ballast.  The creature twirled and fluttered in the breeze, a sylvan ballerina.

UNCC researchers launch long-term study at Gaston preserve

As the Charlotte region urbanizes, what changes will take place over time in the Catawba River basin near the smaller creeks and watersheds? Two UNC Charlotte researchers hope questions like that can be answered with information they’ll start gathering, thanks to a Duke Energy Foundation grant. The $76,521 grant from the Duke Energy Water Resources […]

Windy Ridge: A neighborhood built to fail

In Charlotte, one neighborhood more than any other came to represent the housing crisis. Built between 2002 and 2004, the Windy Ridge neighborhood of 133 small, single-family homes fell victim. By 2008, 60 percent of the neighborhood’s homes were in foreclosure. Crime rates rose, property values plummeted and the homeowners association couldn’t afford to keep […]

New plant in the Piedmont – the Tall Marshallia

The discovery of a new species conjures images of explorers in pith helmets hacking through remote regions of the Amazon and stumbling across something outlandish. The reality is generally much less dramatic. New species can still be found in our own backyards, even in the well-trod Piedmont. According to Alan Weakley, director of the Herbarium […]

A walk in the woods

Have you ever wondered what you might see if you spent a whole weekend outside just looking? How about if you could also bring a few expert field biologists and naturalists with you? Well, that’s what we were able to at The LandTrust for Central North Carolina’s first Uwharrie Naturalist Weekend in May. More than […]

How’s the water? Maybe not so fine

Most water quality indicators in Mecklenburg County are “good,” but its streams are not as clean as they should be, says the county’s latest State of the Environment Report. Three of four environmental indicators in this category are rated “good” and either trending up or stable. The fourth, “streams,” is rated “fair” but stable. Read […]

Wintering in the Piedmont

Many birds lead lifestyles of the rich and famous – they “summer” in one location and “winter” in another. After nesting in the United States, some birds depart for second homes in South America or the Caribbean. Others are content to travel no farther than the Uwharries in the N.C. Piedmont. Migration is a risky […]

Science, in your own backyard

Have you wondered whether bees in our area are suffering from colony collapse disorder? Do you know what fly fishing’s aquatic insects can tell us about water quality? Entomologists (insect scientists) are no longer the only people watching bugs. Like many branches of natural science, entomology has reached out to citizen scientists for help in […]