Forests for the Bay

Winter in the Forests of the Chesapeake

Colder temperatures, snowpack, shorter days, and reduced food sources create challenges for many organisms throughout the forests of the Bay watershed.

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The American Eel: International Fish of Mystery

The American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) is a fish that has fascinated me since childhood. It began at an early age while fishing at my family’s cabin. We were night-fishing in a small stream for bullhead catfish when I hooked into something that was obviously too large to be a bullhead. By the time I hauled …

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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 …

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Fall Volunteer Tree Plantings: Socially Distanced and Still A Success

Volunteers planted over 3,500 trees to reforest 19 acres across 12 sites in south-central Pennsylvania.

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The Ghost Forests of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, often referred to as the “Everglades of the North” encompasses an extensive amount of plant, animal, and habitat diversity.

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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, …

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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 strive …

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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 on …

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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 indeed …

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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 intersected …

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