A publication of Appalachian Voices


A publication of Appalachian Voices

Celebrating Appalachia’s magnificent biodiversity.



Sumac: A Winter Spice

The bright red berries of the sumac plant add color to the winter landscape. While poison sumac has earned a bad reputation, other varieties of the plant have a long and multicultural history of use, including as a spice and as a dye or tanning agent.


The Coyote Conundrum

Coyote populations in the Appalachian region are growing, and increasingly they are adapting to urban settings. As a result, interactions with humans are becoming more common.


Mounting Threats Imperil Two Appalachian Crayfish

There are more than 300 different species of crayfish in the southeastern United States, and two West Virginia species of these adaptable freshwater crustaceans may be declared federally endangered.


Scientists Go to Bat for the Bats

Scientists engaged in the years-long battle against the devastating white-nose syndrome have found bright spots in the fight to protect bats from the disease.


Caught red-handed! Or more accurately, red-beaked

Wood thrushes — and their appetite for bright-red ginseng berries — are helping the plant spread its range further north.


Elk Make Slow Return to Appalachia

When European colonists arrived in the 1400s, Eastern elk were the most widespread hooved animal on the continent, but the subspecies was declared extinct by 1880. Today, however, another type of elk are slowly returning to Appalachia.


The Lake Sturgeon: Ancient Fish, Modern Recovery

The lake sturgeon is the largest and longest-living freshwater fish native to the southeastern United States. In evolutionary terms, this primitive fish has changed little since it swam among dinosaurs, but its continued survival was in doubt until recently.


Sandhill Cranes: A Winter Spectacle in Southeast Tennessee

Each winter, thousands of redheaded, long-legged sandhill cranes descend upon the mud flats and grain fields along the banks of the Tennessee River at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Southeast Tennessee.


Forest Fugitives

Wanted: Six invasive species accussed of trespassing on American soil and robbing her of her natural resources.


Exploring Mountain Bogs

Although mountain bogs represent less than one percent of the southern Appalachian landscape, they are pockets of immense ecological and practical importance and provide a haven for many rare plants and animals.


Acrobats of the Forest: The Eastern Gray Treefrog

By Meredith Warfield It’s mating season in Appalachia, and the region’s deciduous forests are humming with life. Birdsongs may be heard by day, but by night the Eastern gray treefrogs have hopped out of the branches and flocked to nearby


New Trillium Species Discovered in Eastern Tennessee

By Meredith Warfield When Mark Dunaway and his wife purchased land in eastern Tennessee, they had no idea they would be moving in with an unheard-of species living in their backyard. The couple came across an unfamiliar, yellow-petaled wildflower while


The Forest's Bread and Butter

By Chris Samoray Bring down the mast. But hold on seafarers, leave the sails flying. In the forests of Appalachia, this lingo doesn’t refer to sailing. Instead, it’s used by outdoor folk to describe the fruits of plants and trees,


Peregrine Falcons: Diving Back into Appalachia

By Nolen Nychay High atop the cityscape, yellow-ringed eyes squinting in morning sun, the dark silhouette of a peregrine falcon lies in wait of the perfect ambush. As a low-flying pigeon approaches, the peregrine leaps into a dive, closing the


Otterly Amazing: Resilient Mammals Stage an Impressive Comeback in Appalachia

By Chelsey Fisher With short legs, a slender body, webbed toes and a generally friendly personality, American river otters are one of the most charismatic creatures in the country. These four-foot-long mammals once flourished in the eastern part of the