Issue 1: February 2003

Tennessee Road Project Unearths Miocene Relicts

In life, all roads lead somewhere, be they of the asphalt variety or the figurative kind that meander through our lives each and every day. For Dr. Steven C. Wallace, an assistant professor and vertebrate paleontologist at East Tennessee State University, an ordinary road project in Gray opened up a new route of investigation […]

Ambassadors For the Species at Bay Mountain

In 1997 Clarissa Pinkola Estes wrote a book titled, Women Who Run With the Wolves. But Sue Everett Shanks can top that – she has raised wolves. In the summer of 1995, Shanks coordinated the raising and integration of three gray wolf puppies into an existing pack of adult gray wolves at Bays Mountain […]

American Beech: Thin Skin, Shallow Roots, Long Life

In a wooded area near my house stands a large, impressive American beech (Fagus grandifolia). Curious about its age, I measure the tree’s girth and consult a simple table developed to estimate the age of beech trees. This method is not entirely reliable, but useful nevertheless for determining a broad age range. From the formula, […]

NC's First Wildlife Refuge Was in Black Mountains

Early in the summer of 1927 four men walked into the Black Mountain Hardware Company and bought five sticks of dynamite and 15 feet of fuse. Telling a suspicious clerk that they planned to blow up some stumps, the men climbed into a green sedan and drove up the Swannanoa’s North Fork to the […]

Muskie Mania!

Most people go fishing with the expectation, or at least the prospect, of catching a fish or two. Muskie fisherman, however, are a different breed altogether. Anglers who pursue the mighty muskellunge — a toothy member of the pike family that grow locally up to 35 pounds and reach lengths of 50 inches — come […]

Weighing Windpower

Could wind energy be a viable source of electricity in North Carolina? Could it help improve our air quality? How much electricity could we produce and could we do it without negatively affecting the economy or the environment? These are questions that the U.S. Department of Energy, N.C. State Energy Office, researchers at Appalachian […]

Primitive Fish Species Live On In Appalachians

“I can’t figure out what in the world this thing is. It looks like a shark, but has this Pinocchio-looking nose.” That’s what West Virginia fisheries biologist Scott Morrison hears virtually every time someone catches a paddlefish in his district. Anglers rarely hook a paddlefish, but when they do, they call Morrison. By the 1950s, […]

Carolinas & Georgia Ahead in Identifying Important Bird Areas

On spring mornings, Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest teems with bird life. Tanagers, vireos, orioles and warblers heading for their summer breeding grounds search for caterpillars and other insect life to fuel their journey north. On an upland ridgetop where a hurricane knocked down trees a few years ago, Cerulean warblers seek nesting sites. High above […]

Virginia TNC Preserve Protects Rare Pine Barrens

Nestled among the craggy peaks and rolling valleys of the Alleghany Highlands of western Virginia, Bath County has long retained its rural and rustic character, even as other Appalachian mountain communities fall victim to the pressures of increasing development and population explosions. Though it has been home to the famed Homestead resort for more than […]

Mature Forest Key To Virginia Black Bear’s Success

It’s the time of year when human thoughts, especially mine, turn to spring. Looking out at the snow-silhouetted trees, the birds and their fluffed feathers, the glassy knives of icicles dangling from the eaves, it is difficult to imagine that green, growing things exist. But change has already begun. Since the winter solstice, the days […]