Forests for the Bay

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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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 distinguishing …

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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 for …

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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 these …

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A single trout lily plant growing among the leaf litter on a forest flower.

Spring Ephemeral Wildflowers: Fleeting Friends of the Forest Floor

I love being in the woods at all times of the year. I’ll even gladly take the bitter cold of winter or sweltering heat of summer. But forests in the spring are exciting! A good month before most trees leaf out, another cadre of old friends return to our lives: spring ephemeral wildflowers. There is …

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