The Dirt Blog

Saving the Hemlocks from Invasive Species

March 6, 2014

Insects smaller than your pointer finger are taking down the giant hemlocks, the “redwoods of the east” that can grow as high as 150 feet, says Randy Edwards in a Nature Conservancy blog. Only the most recent of a long line of devastating invasive species, the hemlock woolly adelgids are killing hemlocks from Georgia to […]

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Three Hours in the Triangle: American Tobacco Trail and Watt’s Grocery

February 28, 2014

Photos courtesy of 10 a.m. Arrive at the downtown Durham entrance to the American Tobacco Trail, 705 Willard Street, Durham. After a long awaited construction project, the 22+ rails-to-trails project has been completed and is open to the public. This historic trail connects with the East Coast Greenway, which stretches along the east coast […]

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Working to End Food Deserts in North Carolina

February 28, 2014

“More than 410,000 people live in 171 food deserts across North Carolina” – Jorge Valencia for WUNC North Carolina has a serious problem with food deserts, defined as “an area without access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet” in an […]

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Exploring the Little River Park and Natural Area

February 24, 2014

The weather was perfect for a morning walk outside. After a week of snow and sleet, the temperature gods had smiled upon us North Carolinians and granted a gorgeous weekend of sun. It was the ideal time to explore someplace new, and I chose the Little River Park and Natural Area. The park is managed […]

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Big Business: New Driver in Efforts to Stop Deforestation?

February 20, 2014

Unilever, a multinational company that owns brands such as Ben & Jerry’s, Dove, and Hellman’s mayonnaise, has emerged as a global leader in arresting deforestation. As an industry giant, “Unilever alone purchases about 3 percent of the total global palm oil output,” writes Tiffany Stecker in an article posted by Scientific American. As such, their […]

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Counting Birds (and not just crows!)

February 17, 2014

I arrived in mid-morning to the Johnston Mill Nature Preserve, my designated Great Backyard Bird Count site. The air was chilly but the sun was shining with the promise of warmer temperatures, and I could practically hear the snow melting from the forest floor and running into New Hope Creek. Even from the parking area […]

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The Search for Sustainable Bioplastics

February 14, 2014

Recycling is good. By placing glass, aluminum, plastic, and other materials in designated recycling bins or dropping them off at recycling centers, we are attempting to do our part for the environment by reducing waste. Still, according to the Container Recycling Institute 60 million water bottles are thrown away each day in the U.S., and […]

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Comfort: Hominy Bison Chili

February 12, 2014

A few years ago I took an epic journey to the Southwest – boarded a plane from Tampa to Chicago and then took the Amtrak Southwest Chief through America's heartland into Albuquerque, New Mexico. For two weeks, I traveled across the mystical lands of desert, buttes, canyons, and pueblos. In search of nature. In search […]

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New Farm Bill Signed by President – Conservation Update

February 8, 2014

  The Farm Bill, the massive federal legislation that funds everything from nutrition assistance to crop insurance to conservation, is being signed into law by President Obama today. Like any big piece of policy, there’s plenty of debate on the merits of the bill, which authorizes $956.4 billion over 10 years (see a good overview […]

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