Hope is the thing with leaves

Imagine what it would be like to help establish a brand new national park. One that would be larger than the combined acreage of the Everglades, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Teton, Canyonlands, Mount Ranier, North Cascades, Badlands, Olympic, Sequoia, Grand Canyon, Denali and Great Smoky Mountains. One that would be spread uniformly across the country instead […]

An ocean bird pays an unexpected visit to Stanly County

My sister and I once decided it would be a fine idea to tour the Mojave Desert in May. Being hard-headed women from the Uwharries, we forged ahead even after the Santa Ana winds kicked up and pushed temperatures into triple digits. The heat made for a memorable, if sometimes freakish, trip. Along the way, […]

They have a scary name, but ‘cicada killers’ are harmless helpers

Categories: General News Tags: Habitat, Insects

With fewer cars on the road and airplanes in the sky, I’ve enjoyed the sounds of summer even more, namely the chorus of cicadas in my leafy neighborhood. The male’s love song is loud and urgent – more Def Leppard than James Taylor – but to my ears, it is the soundtrack of lazy summer […]

Charlotte’s losing its green canopy, despite efforts to save trees

Charlotte is losing over three football fields a day worth of trees. That’s the sobering conclusion of a study by the University of Vermont in collaboration with TreesCharlotte, detailing how development, age, storms and other factors have cut down Charlotte’s tree canopy. The percentage of Charlotte covered by tree canopy fell from 49% to 45% […]

How to help fireflies — and save a bit of summer magic

Categories: General News Tags: ENVIRONMENT, Habitat, Insects

A bobwhite quail calling from the edge of a stubbled hayfield. Honeybees buzzing in every patch of clover. Fireflies hovering just beyond reach as dusk gives way to night. These are the images that come to mind when I think back to summers outdoors in the Uwharries when I was young. Little did I know […]

North Carolina’s parks showcase the state’s diverse landscapes

North Carolina is truly blessed with a fantastic and diverse system of state parks and nature preserves, stretching from the mountains to the coast. I’ve visited 19 of these in my 38 years, and I’m already making plans to see some of the ones I’ve missed. Below are some of my favorite experiences at some […]

Finding the exceptional in the ordinary: Goldenrod galls

Mama has a knack for finding four-leaf clovers. We’ll be strolling along, chatting, and she’ll stoop down and pluck one. She doesn’t break stride to stop and search – they just jump out at her. She doesn’t focus on finding the oddity. Instead, she takes in the sameness of the masses until something different catches […]

Here are the five best springtime Uwharries hikes

Cold and wintry weather have (finally) settled in, but spring will be upon us before you know it. In honor of the soon-to-be warmer weather, here are some of my favorite hikes for springtime in the Uwharries, east of Charlotte. There are lots of great places there to hike any time of year, but these […]

Enjoy hiking? You should help build a trail

Most people who hike trails don’t take time to think about who makes and maintains paths through the woods. In the Uwharries, as in most recreational areas, most trail-building is done by dedicated volunteers. The Uwharrie Trailblazers club hits the trails every second Saturday of the month to help maintain and establish trails in Randolph […]

Forging connections across the Carolinas – one greenway, trail and waterway at a time

Nestled off a quiet street of attractive suburban homes in Waxhaw, there’s a quarter-mile trail in the woods along the Twelve Mile Creek. Near the end of a stone stairway is a striking sight: A 160-foot suspension bridge connecting Waxhaw, North Carolina, and Indian Trail, South Carolina. You can embrace the bridge’s wobbles during the […]