Nature Blog Network The Moth and Me I and the Bird eBird Circus of the Spineless
April 2021
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Member of:

Society for Ecological Restoration Ecological Society of America Delmarva Ornithological Society

Critical Moment for Conservation on Farmland

In short, the Farm Services Agency is accepting public comments on the environmental impact of two possible policy alternatives for the Conservation Reserve Program, an important mechanism for protection of wildlife habitat and biodiversity on working farms. At the same time that biofuels are threatening to reduce CRP acreage via economic competition, FSA is considering (see Alternative 2 below) reducing the CRP acreage enrollment cap from 32 million acres (the cap authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill) to 24 million acres, a full 25% reduction. […]


Southern Spiders #2: The Green Lynx

Green Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans) Family: Oxyopidae

Lynx spiders (family Oxyopidae) are some of my favorites.  They’re big, charismatic, and colorful.  The family is a distinctive one with only 3 genera and 18 species in North America.  Lynx spiders have prominent, long, straight spines on the legs, and a characteristic hexagonal arrangement of the […]


Southern Spiders #1

The Lined Orbweaver is a common spider that is widespread throughout the eastern United States. In the southeast, it is especially abundant in grassy pond pine (Pinus serotina) savannas like the one shown below. […]


Knocking Out Knapweed

Another July has come and gone, but not all of the fireworks are over.  The striking pink display of spotted knapweed, Centaurea stoebe ssp. micranthos, is still going strong in rangelands and old fields and along highways and railroad grades across the country.  Native to Europe, spotted knapweed was introduced accidentally to North America […]


Pennsylvania Passes Prescribed Burning Act

Many ecological communities in Pennsylvania (including native grasslands, oak-hickory forests, and serpentine barrens) depend on periodic fires to maintain their plant community composition and structure.  In an even wider range of habitats, fire can be a tool to help combat invasion by non-native plant species.  But conducting prescribed burns on private land has been […]


Biofuels and Habitat Loss

Renewable.  Sustainable.  Green.

All of these buzzwords make us feel good about our progress toward mainstreaming alternative energy sources.  We need to power an increasingly energy-hungry world in the face of global climate change, and we all know that fossil fuels are not the solution.

What often gets lost in the excitement surrounding “green” […]


Down on the Farm

I recently returned from spending several days hard at work on my “farm”.  Why the quotation marks?  Well, the 116-acre property, which has been in my family since the early 1900s, doesn’t grow crops or livestock these days, but does produce both Grasshopper Sparrows and Henslow’s Sparrows on 80+ acres of reclaimed strip mine.