Dangerous Doppelgangers of Native Trees

Oh, the horror! Controlling invasive plants can be grisly work, and in the heat of hunting down and hacking away at victims of land management, mistaken identity can result in tragedy. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard landowners say that they’ve committed ghastly acts against trees and shrubs that they thought were invasive

Fall Volunteer Tree Plantings: Socially Distanced and Still A Success

At the Alliance, we consider volunteer tree plantings to be a critical part of our work to restore the Chesapeake Bay watershed; the fight to reforest our landscape begins and ends with our communities welcoming trees and wanting more. And there’s no better way to create forest enthusiasts than to get people involved in planting

The Ghost Forests of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Photo Credit: Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program You arrive expecting a lush, green, forest of oak and loblolly pines, but an earie presence follows you through the refuge. Tall structures covered in a white, black, almost ashy hue appear just out of sight. Was there a fire – you ask yourself? Did an

  • Photo of the fungus, Dead Man's Fingers (Xylaria polymorpha)

Carnivorous Plants of the Chesapeake Bay

For some, fall weather and thoughts of Halloween bring to mind spooky decorations. Often those decorations include sticky spider webs and bubbling cauldrons of unknown substances. But did you know that our plant world has its own spooky substances? In fact, various types of carnivorous plants lurk within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Like spider webs,

The Great Hack of 2020

As I finally finish regaling another successful and collaborative spring tree planting season and the last of the maintenance is being implemented, I can’t help but to praise the various tree species that have worked so hard over the season to help us realize our lofty dreams of more forests in our landscape. We

  • A photo of a goldenrod plant in bloom.

Glorious Goldenrod!

Hazy, late afternoon summer sun. Blue skies, drowsy hum of busy insects, and calls of bobolinks, song sparrows and eastern meadowlarks. Picking blackberries. Old fields behind the barn, seas of yellow and green, stand out in my mind’s eye. Deep breaths of that crushed scent – lingering and distinct – bringing the outdoors inside

  • A close up photo of the eldeberry inflorescence (flower)

Respect Your Elderberries

Despite being scruffy, warty, and alien-looking, common elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) is a magnificent shrub. It is hugely beneficial to pollinators and other wildlife and produces a fruit that is prized for food and medicine alike. Elderberry is also incredibly hardy, fast-growing, and prolific, making it a surefire choice for restoration plantings. Though it is

Of Willows and Willow Flycatchers

Fitz-bew! This year I didn’t hear the familiar bird song until mid-May. I was checking up on a riparian forest buffer site which I am always delighted to visit. The landowner is enthusiastic, generous, and a great steward, and had recently enrolled in the Alliance’s buffer program to reforest a wet pasture that is

The Covert Next Door: A Bobwhite Quail Story

It was a warm spring late afternoon several years ago, much like it finally is now as I write this article. My wife and I were walking our dog and young children around our rather suburban neighborhood outside of Annapolis. We had just turned the last corner onto our road when I heard a

Forests for the Birds – An Egg-Sighting Edition

Think Spring! At the Alliance, we have birds on the brain. After a few months of colder weather, shorter days and muted colors, we get excited to see the first signs of Spring throughout the Bay watershed. From the first erupting skunk cabbages, budding willows and blooming wildflowers, to the early courting songs

Forest Birds: The Spice of Life!

When you hear the phrase, “forest birds,” what comes to mind? Tall, mature oaks and pines spanning ridge tops? Riverbank guardians of sycamore and willows? Thick, young stands of aspen and birch? Low-lying bottomlands of red maple and black gum? The amazing assortment of plant communities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed sets the stage

MLB: Major League Birds

Are you missing professional sports as the nation pulls together to slow the spread of COVID-19? In case watching old games is getting...well...old, we figured that our first ever Forests for the Birds celebration of spring would be the perfect occasion to highlight the avian Major League Baseball mascots and the teams that endear