Blog Archives

Snail Tales

snail shell

Did you know Appalachia has the most snail species out of any region in North America? Discover the important role our slimy little friends play in the ecosystem in this issue’s Naturalist’s Notebook.

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Wildflower Wonders

appalachian grass of parnassus

Wildflowers are one of Appalachia’s most vibrant symbols of summer. As the season’s end nears, we explore a few beautiful, unique flowers that blossom in late summer along mountain trails, forests and riverbeds.

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Leave it to Beavers

beaver

Beavers are sometimes called “nature’s engineers,” and for good reason. By building lodges and dams as their homes, they physically alter the landscape to suit their own needs, similar to humans.

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A Sweet Maple Harvest

mapling

A resurgence in mapling has opened a booming market for Appalachian syrup.

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Ponies of the Grayson Highlands

The wild ponies of Grayson Highlands State Park and Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in Southwest Virginia attract hikers of all ages — but take heed, don’t feed the ponies!

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American Kestrel

The American kestrel is North America’s smallest falcon. This bird, whose population is declining, adapts well to nest boxes installed by conservationists.

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Mistaken Identity: Recognizing the northern water snake

The non-venomous northern water snake is frequently spotted at swimming holes and rivers in Appalachia — and sometimes mistaken for its venomous cousin, the copperhead.

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A Magical Mycology Tapestry

The mushrooms of Appalachia offer diverse tastes and medicinal benefits for the wild forager. But be careful, since many edible mushrooms have poisonous look-alikes.

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Meet The Elusive American Woodcock

Characterized by a long bill, short and stout stature, extravagant mating display and a nickname like timberdoodle, the American Woodcock would seem to be a bird that stands out. But that is not the case.

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Cougar: Ghost of Appalachia

The Eastern cougar was declared extinct in 2011 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But that doesn’t keep other species of mountain lions from passing through the region, leaving behind blurry pictures and occasional eerie screams in the forest.

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