Column Archive

You may not own a sewage plant, but...

Tim Rowland
2012-10-16

The most of us who don't farm or own sewage plants may think we have little to do with safeguarding the water in our creeks, rivers and bay, notes Tim Rowland. But, he cautions, let's reconsider that idea as we contemplate our lawns.


The Chesapeake Bay Restoration: A Partnership No More

Roy A. Hoagland
2012-10-09

The Chesapeake Bay restoration partnership, once celebrated as an example for the world, is now a partnership in name only, writes Roy Hoagland. Hoagland has worked on Chesapeake Bay issues more than 25 years, including several as a member and Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council's Citizens Advisory Committee. He writes from Virginia.


Pollution laws are only worth the effort to enforce them

Tom Horton
2012-10-02

Laws are only as good as their enforcement, Tom Horton notes, and sadly environmental agencies have cut down on their inspectors. There may be a cure ? a citizen corps to be the eyes for inspection agencies, he suggests. Horton has written widely about the environment.


Take a moonlit paddle to cure nature deficit disorder

Cindy Ross
2012-09-25

We will all need something to think about when we finally retreat to the rocking chair, and it better not be regretting the life we did not live, writes Cindy Ross. She suggests that adults are not immune from nature deficit disorder, and prescribes a night paddle. Ross writes from Pennsylvania.


A fall morning teaches how to savor the world

Tom Horton
2012-09-18

Stop and savor nature's glory, says Tom Horton, and she may well teach you life lessons. Horton has taught and written about the Chesapeake region for decades.


What goes around can go around again

Sara Kaplaniak
2012-09-11

Discarded tires are a visible reminder of damaging pollution that runs off the land, and the programs designed to recycle them can provide an example of the economic benefits of environmental restoration, writes Sara Kaplaniak.


Battling Invasive Plants, One Vine at a Time
When forest edges become frontlines

Carrie Madren
2012-09-04

Defeating invasive plant species means taking action yard by yard, writes Carrie Madren, as she chops her way through a jungle of vines in her own yard.


Chesapeake Born
Teaching The Bay

Tom Horton
2012-08-28

Teaching about Chesapeake requires a fine balance between exploration, facts, and giving hope, says Tom Horton, who has taught and written about the Chesapeake region for decades.


Faith Communities could lead an environmental revival

Nina Beth Cardin
2012-08-21

The crises of our air, water and soil pollution are, at the core, the result of the kind of lives we lead, writes Nina Beth Cardin. She suggests that Faith Communities can lead the way to healthier lives and a healthier world. Cardin, a rabbi, writes from Baltimore.


Bough fires warning shot, but is anyone listening?

Karen Hosler
2012-08-14

Drought is burning up half the country, storms are banging around the rest, and Karen Hosler is wondering whether anyone is paying attention and working on solutions to the really big problems we face. Hosler is a radio reporter in Baltimore and former editorial writer.


The End Game

Liza Field
2012-08-07

The Games may be at their end, but the big game of life on earth goes on. Keeping that game going is the only way to win, writes Liza Field. And that, she notes, means our political leaders best learn fast how to cooperate for the good of the Earth, and all of us.


If you want cooperation, don't throw your weight around

Tim Rowland
2012-07-31

Towns and counties far from Chesapeake Bay are required to take strong measures to improve water quality to reduce pollution to the bay. How the asking gets done makes a big difference, notes Tim Rowland.


Pilot project may bring more crabs, fewer rules to crabbers

Tom Horton
2012-07-24

Digital equipment and better reports may help crabbers and regulators reach the Holy Grail of fishery management: fewer rules and more crabs for the crabbers. Tom Horton applauds them for trying this bold step.


Made in the Shade

Liza Field
2012-07-17

The heat's back on in the mid-Atlantic, but will the power, and the cooling systems we've grown to depend on, stay on? Midsummer outages bring home a harsh awareness, Liza Field reminds us. Not only is our power grid vulnerable to a changing climate, but so are our homes, made oven-like by a reliance on electric power. She suggests an old American solution.


Park Quest: Family challenge draws thousands to Maryland's State Parks

Cindy Ross
2012-07-10

A creative park manager came up with a program that has drawn many families to Maryland's state parks to explore history and nature. Other states could easily copy the program, a model for how to introduce children to the outdoors and provide family fun, writes Cindy Ross.


The best way to improve the Chesapeake? Set a good example.

Carrie Madren
2012-07-03

Big public actions and small private actions are all needed to restore the health of our rivers and the Chesapeake, writes Carrie Madren. We can all help by demonstrating our stewardships.


Chesapeake Born
Agnes' historic rainfall taught watershed a concrete lesson

Tom Horton
2012-06-26

Forty years ago Tropical Storm Agnes flooded the Chesapeake watershed. The damage the storm caused, and the lessons it taught, are still being revealed writes Tom Horton in this column. This is one of a monthly series called "Chesapeake Born."


The art of turning trash to treasure

Cindy Ross
2012-06-19

Entrepreneurs in Lancaster, PA, showed author Cindy Ross artful ways to turn old materials headed for the dump into stylish, useful products, a practice that conserves resources. Ross suggests we could all follow their lead. She writes from Pennsylvania.


Feeding a City to Save the Bay

Sara Kaplaniak
2012-06-12

Can vacant lots in cities provide fertile ground for raising healthy food to feed neighborhoods where fresh food is hard to come by? Some cities in the region are testing this idea, and some would benefit if they did, writes Sara Kaplaniak.


Clean Water Act, loved and hated, needs support

Karen Hosler
2012-06-05

When Congress wrote The Clean Water Act, it didn't foresee some of the Chesapeake region's major pollution sources. As a result, campaigns to restore the region's rivers and the Chesapeake have had some success, but waters remain badly degraded. Still, opponents want to weaken the act, writes Karen Hosler, former editorial writer for the Baltimore Sun, who is a reporter, commentator and talk show host in Baltimore.


Eastern Cougartown: Return of a Native Predator

Chris Bolgiano
2012-05-29

On June 11 last year, a cougar was killed on a Connecticut highway, raising questions about whether the big cats have begun to reestablish themselves in the East, and whether that would be a good development. Chris Bolgiano is a co-founder of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation and author of "Mountain Lion: An Unnatural History of Pumas and People."


Summer, the season for discovery

Carrie Madren
2012-05-22

Summer is nearly here, and during those hot-weather months, kids across the mid-Atlantic will explore their local rivers or the Chesapeake Bay for the first time. They'll find lush riparian zones, herons stalking shallow-water prey, crayfish hiding in cool creeks, and silky marsh mud squishing between their toes.


Comeback of the American chestnut needs our help

Cindy Ross
2012-05-15

The American chestnut once dominated the Eastern woodland. Nearly wiped out by a blight in the early half of the 20th century, the valuable tree has become the focus of a volunteer-driven restoration effort we all can join, writes Cindy Ross. Ross writes from Pennsylvania.


Chesapeake Born
Hard charging waterman paints picture of a changing Chesapeake

Tom Horton
2012-05-08

Larry Simns may be the best known waterman on Chesapeake Bay. Now he?s written a book that Tom Horton says helps gives us insights on the man, his town, and the Bay itself. Horton has written extensively about Chesapeake Bay. This column is one in a continuing monthly series.


To know the bay, we need stories

Nina Beth Cardin
2012-05-01

Facts and figures don't persuade us to care or move us to action a much as stories do, writes Nina Beth Cardin. So it's time we find and tell the Chesapeake's great stories. Cardin, a Rabbi, writes from Baltimore. 

To know the bay, we need stories


Water v. Energy: The Marcellus Shale Saga

Tim Rowland
2012-04-24

Drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale creates jobs and improves our national energy supply, but poses risks to the mid-Atlantic's aquifers and streams. It's a conflict that may last a long time, writes Tim Rowland. Rowland lives in western Maryland.


Whooping Crane's slow return shows dangers of habitat loss

Cindy Ross
2012-04-17

In 1941 only about 20 Whooping Cranes remained alive, their numbers greatly reduced by loss of habitat and hunting. Now, after decades of work, the numbers worldwide have slowly increased, writes Cindy Ross. There are 400 endangered species in the United States, and Ross suggests that it would be wiser to protect habitat before more plants and animals  are nearly extinct than try to restore them later. Ross writes from Pennsylvania.


Chesapeake Born:
The skinny on the bay's decline? Our unhealthy appetite for fertilizer, fuel

Tom Horton
2012-04-10

How does the global obesity epidemic relate to the Chesapeake Bay? Tom Horton finds a link in a new book about fatness. Horton has written extensively about Chesapeake Bay. This column is one in a continuing monthly series.


Is Drilling and Pipelines Something We "Thneed?"

Sara Kaplaniak
2012-04-03

Dr. Seuss's The Lorax holds lessons for us adults, writes Sara Kaplaniak, lessons we should take to heart as we make important decisions about pipelines and natural gas drilling.


Conserve to get revenge on oil barons

Karen Hosler
2012-03-27

Americans, stung by rising fuel costs, are strongly opposed to new taxes on gasoline. Karen Hosler suggests protesting the greed of global oil speculators by stopping any new revenues to support local infrastructure may be shortsighted.


Are farmers still "the original environmentalists?"

Michael Akey
2012-03-20

Michael Akey, a farmer in Maryland, suggests it is time for farmers to pick up the mantle of "the original environmentalists" and take steps so they can wear it proudly once again. Akey raises beef and lamb in Carroll County, Md.


When will "natural foods" become just "groceries"?

Tim Rowland
2012-03-13

Supermarket food has taken us on a long, slow journey into blandness, writes Tim Rowland. Reversing that trend won't be easy, and there's no easy path to the time when healthy, locally raised foods are thought of as just plain groceries.


Restoring our waters requires vigilant monitoring

Tom Horton
2012-03-07

Taking a patient's vital signs remains the first thing doctors do, but we've neglected similar monitoring of the health of our waters and missed valuable information, writes Tom Horton. Horton has written six books about the Chesapeake.
Chesapeake Born


Imagine all the fruits trees can bear

Nina Beth Cardin
2012-02-28

From a little acorn, a mighty idea is growing ?can urban spaces provide places for fruit trees that could feed the hungry, beautify neighborhoods and provide many other services? Nina Beth Cardin thinks so. Cardin, a Rabbi, writes from Baltimore.


It's Time to Pay Attention to the Hard Working, Silent Partner That is Nature

Sara Kaplaniak
2012-02-21

Natural systems provide services we often overlook, but when we disrupt them and then have to pay to replace them, we begin to see their value, writes Sara Kaplaniak. Kaplaniak writes from Pennsylvania.


Cheap energy's hidden tax

Karen Hosler
2012-02-14

Maryland's Governor wants to apply the state's six percent sales tax to the wholesale price of gasoline. It's not a popular idea, but in the end, might it be a good one? Karen Hosler writes about the bright spot.


Rising tides suggest it's time to step back from the water

Tom Horton
2012-02-07

Water levels are creeping up and often overflow the Bay’s shallow rim, leading Tom Horton to suggest that it’s time to begin an orderly withdrawal from the shores. Horton has written six books about the Chesapeake.


Should Virginia Secede from the Menhaden Union?

Beau Beasley
2012-01-24

A Virginia senator, who represents a district where menhaden is king, has proposed that the Old Dominion leave the union – the union of states that govern the Atlantic coast fishery that is. But Beau Beasley writes that may not be a good idea, and certainly won’t win the war.


Cougars in Eastern woods give many pause

Tim Rowland
2012-01-17

Some enthusiastic big-cat supporters would like to see cougars living in Eastern forests once again. And while the cougars might help control deer numbers, game departments, farmers, and many others pause at the idea, writes Tim Rowland.


Farmed oysters delight the palate, challenge tradition

Tom Horton
2012-01-10

Oyster farming is growing rapidly, displacing the Chesapeake’s wild caught crop and prized traditions. Tom Horton says the oysters taste great, and suggests the shift may not be bad, just new. Horton has written several books about the bay and the mid-Atlantic environment.


Can the long view include septic tanks?

Karen Hosler
2012-01-03

Maryland’s Governor would like to limit the use of septic tanks for new development. He notes that are the fastest growing source of new pollution and could wipe out gains made to improve water quality, writes Karen Hosler.


Protect the forests to protect the streams

Tom Horton
2011-12-27

Forests are particularly good neighbors for streams, but in our many parts of our rapidly developing region they are being lost. Tom Horton writes that most of our states lack good forest protection strategies. Horton has written extensively about environmental issues.


Another Christmas Tree War

Liza Field
2011-12-20

While certain religious and political figures fight over dead trees, each Christmas, the living trees are dying for some human kindness and forethought. This commentary hails from the Christmas-tree land of Appalachian Virginia, where the "life" issues run deeper than politics or supply-side economics.


The Greening of Annapolis

Cindy Ross
2011-12-13

How green can a city be? Annapolis has started a program to encourage businesses and homeowners to reduce their pollution, and it’s catching on. Other cities are trying similar programs, writes Cindy Ross.


Buy Local for Health and Farmer Wealth Create family feasts from goods grown in your region

Carrie Madren
2011-12-07

Buying local produce gets you fresh, healthy food, saves energy, and puts money in the pockets of local farmers, and it’s getting easier. Carrie Madren suggests we try it during the holidays.


The two faces of Desire

Nina Beth Cardin
2011-11-29

Desire propels our curiosity and ambition. It also fuels our quest for more, often well beyond the point of enough. Nina Beth Cardin suggests we need to find the balance, and live within our earthly means. Cardin, a Rabbi, writes from Baltimore.


Chesapeake Born
The Grand Experiment

Tom Horton
2011-11-22

There’s been a grand experiment going on across the mid-Atlantic for the past few decades, and Tom Horton has been paying close attention. The question the experiment asks is, “can we save a troubled ecosystem in the face of unrelenting growth?” This is the second in a series called Chesapeake Born, a title taken from his song-writing friend and inspiration, the late Tom Wisner.


Why green is not the new black or brown

Fred Tutman
2011-11-15

The color-blind, class-blind environmental movement is too often blind to the needs of poor, non-white, urban residents, those with the least access to clean air, water and land, writes Fred Tutman. As a result, minorities rarely feel engaged, and the movement becomes a clique of upwardly mobile whites. Tutman is the Riverkeeper on the Patuxent River in Maryland.


Rod, reel, and lawyer

Beau Beasley
2011-11-08

A private landowner's claim to own a section of a Virginia river has led to a conflict between fishermen and private property interests. The case is now in court, and Beau Beasley wonders, Where's the attorney general, and where might this end.


Chesapeake Born
Saving the planet on the cheap

Tom Horton
2011-11-01

Tom Horton has authored nationally award winning books and thousands of articles about our region’s environment. He has lived with the Chesapeake Bay for more than 60 years and written about it for nearly 40. Starting this week, Bay Journal News Service is pleased to offer a monthly column from Tom. Tom has named the column “Chesapeake Born,” a title he’s taking from his song-writing friend and inspiration, the late Tom Wisner. We hope you like the columns and are able to use them regularly under the heading of “Chesapeake Born.” However, you are free to use them individually as well. The first column is attached. The second considers a broader question – can an affluent, technologically sophisticated society forge a sustainable relation with the earth?


Spend our money wisely

Kim Coble
2011-10-25

Local governments throughout the Chesapeake Bay’s 64,000 square mile watershed are studying new state water quality requirements to figure out what they need to do to comply. In the long run, writes Kim Coble, taking steps to improve water quality may save communities money, and improve their health. Coble is an executive director at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.


Menhaden Managers Should Think Like Firefighters

Beau Beasley
2011-10-18

A regional fishery management group is considering reduced harvests for menhaden, the oily little fish that is food for many other fish and the target of a large commercial fishery. Beau Beasley suggests the mangers act decisively, much like a fireman confronting a blaze. Beasley is a captain in his community’s fire service. He lives in Warrenton, Va.


Elk restoration provides a fall spectacle

Cindy Ross
2011-10-11

Elk, one extirpated from Pennsylvania have been reintroduced into a restored landscape. Cindy Ross reports the herd is doing well and provides a great fall spectacle. Ross writes from Pennsylvania.


Gardening: Healing the earth, and healing souls

Nina Beth Cardin
2011-10-04

Community gardening, now enjoying a resurgence, has a long history and many benefits. Nina Beth Cardin wonders if one of them might be that in the doing we offer an act of contrition to a battered earth. Cardin, a Rabbi, writes from Baltimore.


When it comes to clean air, must we choose jobs over health?

Karen Hosler
2011-09-27

Must we choose jobs over health? That's the question Congress asks as it wrangles over regulations to reduce air pollution. Karen Hosler suggests it's not an either or choice. Hosler is a writer, radio reporter and talk show host in Baltimore.


Stormy Waters Ahead for Eelgrass

Carrie Madren
2011-09-06

Eelgrass, a species of underwater vegetation important to crabs and other marine life, is dwindling. Carrie Madren notes that for the grasses to regain their strength they'll need improved water quality, something we can all help achieve.


Channeling Childhood for a Cleaner Chesapeake

Sara Kaplaniak
2011-08-30

Squabbling about cleaning up our environmental messes reminds Sara Kaplaniak and lessons from childhood.


Time to end the ethanol subsidy

Karen Hosler
2011-08-23

Corn-based ethanol, a bright hope for green energy has fallen into disfavor, and the Senate may cut its $6 billion subsidy. It's about time, thinks Karen Hosler, a writer, radio reporter and talk show host in Baltimore.


Ancient forests may be closer than you think

Tom Horton
2011-08-15

Most of the East was thoroughly timbered over the past centuries, but here and there, and closer than we think, are awe-inspiring remnants of ancient woods that have never been cut, writes Tom Horton. Horton covered the environment for 33 years for The Sun in Baltimore, and is author of six books about the Chesapeake.


News from the Healing World

Liza Field
2011-08-09

From broken politics to economy, ecosystems to immune systems, Americans need a good tonic. Researchers have rediscovered a very old one-a no-cost, made in America medicine, with a history of healing everything from cancer to warfare. Liza Field wonders if the rediscovery of this "purple pill" could begin reviving our land and people. Field writes from Virginia.


The New Backyard Animal Husband

Cindy Ross
2011-08-02

There's a growing trend to reconnect with our food sources and more and more people are raising their own backyard animals. Some say it's an easy way to save money, but Cindy Ross is finding out otherwise as husband Todd becomes an animal husband. Ross writes about the outdoors from Pennsylvania.


New Diet Trend Points to Roads

Sara Kaplaniak
2011-07-26

Transportation departments in the mid-Atlantic are trying out "Road Diets" that save room on the transportation menu for bicycle lanes, a trend that can lead to cleaner air, and healthy riders, writes Sara Kaplaniak.


Reforming septic tank rules could conserve land

Tom Horton
2011-07-19

Septic tanks, a technology that hasn't changed much in 50 years, may be much more tightly regulated, notes Tom Horton. That may be a good thing for land conservation. Horton covered the environment for 33 years for The Sun in Baltimore, and is author of six books about the Chesapeake.


Capturing Ghost Gear
Derelict fishing equipment haunts Bay waters

Carrie Madren
2011-07-05

Lost fishing gear continues to catch long after it goes astray. Carrie Madren notes the toll that gear as light as monofilament or heavy as a crab pot can take, and what fishermen can do.


Investments in natural assets yield high returns

Sara Kaplaniak
2011-06-21

Conservation easements protect land for future generations and yield financial and natural benefits for individuals, townships, and the region, writes Sara Kaplaniak.


A virtual power plant waiting for use

Karen Hosler
2011-06-07

What to do to get more energy? Nuclear has scary consequences; coal wrecks landscapes and heats the planet; gas comes with water pollution; windmills are ugly... So what's the answer? Karen Hosler suggests conservation, the thing we can all do now. Hosler is a writer, radio reporter and talk show host in Baltimore.


Fresh fish from a river near you

Tom Horton
2011-05-24

Watermen still work the Chesapeake region's rivers, bringing fresh fish to docks in many towns. Yet few residents know of this fresh, local food. Horton covered the environment for 33 years for The Sun in Baltimore, and is author of six books about the Chesapeake.


Bay Oysters: On the Brink of Recovery?

Carrie Madren
2011-05-10

Oysters, a bedrock species for Chesapeake Bay, have been hard-pressed by pollution, over harvesting, and disease. But some promising news has Carrie Madren optimistic about their future.


"Give Back" to Nature April 30; Take drugs to drop-offs

Sara Kaplaniak
2011-04-22

Next Saturday, April 30th, we have a chance to do something good for our communities, and for fish: take left over drugs to local drop off sites, writes Sara Kaplaniak. Scientists suspect these chemicals in some disturbing changes they see in fish throughout our region.


Septic Tanks, once subject of cocktail party chatter, now back in vogue

Tim Rowland
2011-04-12

Tim Rowland is a columnist for the Hagerstown (Md.) Herald-Mail and author of Maryland's Appalachian Highlands: Massacres, Moonshine and Mountaineering."


Resurgent snow geese now need control

Cindy Ross
2011-03-29

Snow geese, beautiful as they are, are the target of an, extended hunting season aimed at reducing their numbers. The geese have changed their habits and now find plentiful feed in Pennsylvania farm fields. Their numbers have quickly grown to the point that they are damaging their habitat, writes Cindy Ross.


Doing a Job on the Planet

Liza Field
2011-03-15

Do environmental protections really "kill jobs"? We've heard this claim so long-repeated by special interests that it's become an unquestioned assumption. But some conservativeâ??and conservationistâ??voices say the opposite. Protecting the environment takes more work than destroying it, according to conservative economist Charles Cicchetti. Doing that work is good for local economies and jobs, in the short run, and planetary life in the long run. Liza Field writes from southwest Virginia.


Offshore wind power gains speed

Carrie Madren
2011-03-01

Now is the time to develop offshore wind power, writes Carrie Madren. The Mid-Atlantic coastal waters have abundant wind resources and their proximity to major cities make them attractive sites for wind farms.


I forget I'm a radical

Tom Horton
2011-02-15

A recent letter to the editor got Tom Horton wondering about whether a verbal shoe fit. He decided it did, and now proudly wears it. Horton covered the environment for 33 years for The Sun in Baltimore, and is author of six books about the Chesapeake.


Pulling back the curtain on Industrial Wind

Ajax Eastman
2011-02-01

Wind turbines generate no carbon as they churn out electricity, but are they a sound choice upon which to base our power supply? Ajax Eastman argues that when compared to nuclear plants, wind farms come up short. Eastman has been involved in environmental and conservation issues since 1970, having served on the board of the Maryland Environmental Trust, as past President of the Maryland Conservation Council, Co-chairman of the Maryland Wildlands Committee, and on numerous State boards and commissions.


Life's a Little Sweeter Around the Bay

Sara Kaplaniak
2011-01-18

The humble sugar beet presents a sweet lesson on practices that solve problems (de-icing roads, for example) and protect water quality, writes Sara Kaplaniak.


Rich Green-Poor Green

Tom Horton
2011-01-04

How we build our homes offers big chances to reduce environmental impacts, writes Tom Horton, who has "greened" two houses, one new and the other old. Horton has written about the bay for three decades and authored six books about it.


E-recycling challenges Mom's green intent

Cindy Ross
2010-12-21

Old computers and electronic devices can pile up around the home. Each is full of precious metals, so recycling is the answer. But as Cindy Ross learned, it's not quite that simple. 791 words.


Outgoing tide of eels connects mid-Atlantic to the sea

Tom Horton
2010-12-07

Every fall the eels' migration to the sea reminds us how connected our streams and rivers are to the oceans. Eels populate nearly every creek in the mid-Atlantic, yet their life-history holds many secrets. Author Tom Horton has written about the bay for three decades and authored six books about it.


Plug-In Electric Vehicles Gain Traction

Carrie Madren
2010-11-23

Electric cars are on the market now. Will this new technology help clean the air ? Will it be good for the region's environment? Carrie Madren has the answers in this 795-word piece.


The Other House For Sale

Liza Field
2010-11-09

Throughout a year of political campaigning on free-market values, where was the actual land of the free, America's environment, asks Liza Field, a resident of a conservative Appalachian town, as she follows the money trail up to some corporate headwaters. Field teaches high school and community college students in southwest Virginia.


A critical species disappears from the political scene

Tom Horton
2010-10-28

Somehow during the past 20 years an important political species has become endangered, writes Tom Horton. He doubts that the Chesapeake Bay's health can be restored until it recovers. Horton is the author of six books and many articles about the environment.


Open letter to an Alaskan mayor
After the gas is gone, what will we have?

Sara Kaplaniak
2010-10-12

Regional issues are often also global issues, as Sara Kaplaniak, who lives in central Pennsylvania, notes in this letter to an Alaskan mayor. 800 words


Will Climate Change Roast Our Corn Crops?

Carrie Madren
2010-09-28

A summer that has had a record number of 90-plus degree days lead Carrie Madren to ask, what will happen to one of our summertime favorites, sweet corn. The news is not good.


Maybe air conditioning is not so cool

Cindy Ross
2010-09-14

This summer tested all of our heat tolerance, and our air conditioners. But maybe we need to reassess the real costs of chilling, writes Cindy Ross. Ross has written extensively about the outdoors.


Climate Change Heats up Pollen Count and Allergie

Sarah and Jim Minick
2010-08-31

Every year about this time millions of us start to sneeze. It's hay fever time. Now research has found that warmer temperatures and higher levels of carbon dioxide give plants like ragweed longer growing seasons and more potent pollen. Sarah and Jim Minick suggest this is another reason to look for ways to slow climate change. The Minicks live in southwest Virginia where she is a reading teacher and he is author of The Blueberry Years, and a teacher at Radford University.


Keep the crab ladies in action

Karen Hosler
2010-08-17

Maryland and Virginia acted together two years ago to protect the crab population. Now, with a resurgent population, the states are relaxing their regulation. Karen Hosler suggests this is a rare moment, and notes we need to keep the crab ladies in action as we clean up the bay. Hosler is a writer, radio reporter, and talk show host in Baltimore.


Cleaning Up for Guests?

Carrie Madren
2010-08-03

A clean and healthy environment encourages tourism, particularly the outdoor visitors who want to boat, fish, hunt, bird watch and hike in the Chesapeake region. So cleaning up our waters pays off, writes Carrie Madren. 792 words.


Nitrogen and the rise of slime

Jim Minick
2010-07-20

In the natural order of things, nitrogen is our friend. However, through the production of inorganic fertilizers, large scale animal agriculture, and lots and lots of people, we?�ôve thrown the natural cycle out of balance and ushered in an era of slime, writes Jim Minick. Minick teaches English at Radford University in Virginia. 775 words.


Fracking: a new "f" word enters the language

Chris Bolgiano
2010-07-06

Fracking, the practice of pumping fluids and sand into underground shale to break it open in order to collect the natural gas it contains, is a new "f" word, writes Chris Bolgiano. She questions whether the environmental costs are worth the price, given the opportunities for developing renewable sources of energy. Bolgiano is the author of several books. 800 words.


Albemarle County seeks a population balance

Tom Horton
2010-06-22

Residents of Charlottesville, Va., have rejected the notion that growth can continue without end, and begun the search to answer the question, "How many people do we wish to house here?" Tom Horton writes that that's the essential question we must answer in each of the region's counties, and he notes it won't be easy. Horton is author of six books and many articles.800 words.


Pedal Power

Carrie Madren
2010-06-08

The League of American Bicyclists ranks the states for bike friendliness. In 2010, Delaware was 10th, Maryland 11th, Virginia 18th, New York 36th and Pennsylvania 42nd. Carrie Madren notes legislatures are looking for ways to make the world safer for cyclists, for good reasons. 774 words.


Spreading and spreading the chestnut tree

Tom Horton
2010-06-01

Restoring the American chestnut, once the grandest tree in our Eastern forests, is meeting some success, and hopes are high, writes Tom Horton. Horton is the author of six books about the Chesapeake region.


We need vision as clear as the seas

Liza Field
2010-05-25

If humans can spoil entire oceans, we should be capable of oceanic vision, writes Liza Field. But it's easier just to look at the surface, she notes in this commentary on the ambiguous nature of "oversight." Field teaches high school and community college students in southwest Virginia.


Grouchy gardener's labor of love

Sarah Minick
2010-05-18

Gardening is not for the faint of heart, but Sarah Minick finds the rewards of replanting and rabbit chasing worthwhile. She's among a growing number of Americans who raise their own food. Minick teaches reading, hikes and gardens in Virginia. 748 words


Trashing recycling provides dubious returns

David Berry
2010-05-11

The day before Earth Day, Ocean City, Md., announced it was ending is trashing recycling program, to save money. In the long run, David Berry suggests that's not a good idea. Berry lives and writes from Havre de Grace, Md. He has written two books.


Hiding pollution behind science

Tom Horton
2010-05-04

A widely used index developed by a group of soil scientists has led farmers to over apply millions of pounds of manure, writes Tom Horton, and despite the systems flaws, the scientists continue to promote it. Horton is the author of six books about the Chesapeake region. 746 words.


Breaking dams restores rivers

Cindy Ross
2010-04-27

Removing dams leads to healthier fisheries, public safety, and recreational opportunities, writes Cindy Ross. Several projects underway now will restore streams in the Chesapeake region. Ross has written extensively about the outdoors. 798 words.


Wise wind energy needs a deep green location

Chris Bolgiano
2010-04-20

Offshore winds are strong and steady, the perfect place for energy turbines. Chris Bolgiano says we should put them there, rather than on Appalachian ridges where they damage forests and harm wildlife. Bolgiano is a resident of western Virginia and is Faculty Emeritus at the James Madison University Library in Harrisonburg, VA. She has written five books and many articles for regional and national publications.


Robbing Paul Too

Jim Minick
2010-04-13

Nuclear power plants may be carbon free, but Jim Minick wouldn't trade in a coal mine to get one. Scrap both he suggests, and tackle the un-glamorous work of conserving. Minick teaches English at Radford University in Virginia. 800 words.


A Garden and So Much More

Sara Kaplaniak
2010-04-06

A little garden in your own back yard provides fresh food, and so much more, writes Sara Kaplaniak. Who knew that a few seeds and a bit of work could both boost spirits and address global issues? Kaplaniak writes from Camp Hill, PA. 700 words.


Emerge from Hibernation

Carrie Madren
2010-03-30

The natural world is reawakening after winter, and Carrie Madren suggests we get out there and enjoy early spring. There's no better time to get back in touch with our local parks and trails. 716 words.


The Other Tree

Liza Field
2010-03-23

Why does the Christian Right champion money more than life, when it comes to environmental protections? In this pre-Easter commentary, Liza Field, a self-described Bible Belt tree hugger, looks at the root of this dogma and the Values Industry promoting it.


Little endangered things tell the real story

Tom Horton
2010-03-16

The bald eagle may be off the threatened species list, but that's not the real story, writes Tom Horton. It's the little critters and unassuming plants we should pay attention to. They tell us the most about our region's health. Horton is the author of six books about the Chesapeake region. 800 words.


Stormwater: Pay me now, or later

Karen Hosler
2010-03-09

Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia are all debating new rules to better control storm water runoff. None are faring well. Karen Hosler notes the winter's snows as a slow motion example of what the issue is about, and that we'd best pay attention. Hosler is a radio reporter and talk show host in Baltimore.


Three Stages Of Environmental Truth

David Berry
2010-03-02

When it comes to recognizing a truth, not everyone arrives at the same conclusion at the same time, writes David Berry. So, while many understand the problems facing our waters, others don't agree. Continued dialogue is the way forward, he argues. Berry lives and writes from Havre de Grace, Md. He has written two books.


Restricting the Supply of Environmental Restoration Service

Robert Wieland
2010-02-23

Private for-profit firms are not generally eligible for Chesapeake Bay restoration funds, except at the end of a long line of sub-contracts to academic, non-profit, or government agencies. Robert Wieland, a resource economist, suggests that regime restricts the supply of environmental restoration services available to the bay restoration effort, and slows innovation.


Flawed concept may set back market-based bay-saving

Kurt Stephenson and Leonard Shabman
2010-02-16

Some bay advocates see nutrient trading as a way to funnel millions of dollars toward better controls on farm runoff, the bay's leading source of pollution. However Kurt Stephenson and Leonard Shabman, economists who have been involved in Bay issues for years, think the idea is flawed, and will steal time from more productive approaches. 767 words.


Critical thinkers needed

David Berry
2010-02-09

We need more critical thinkers to help solve some of the big environmental issues we face, writes David Berry. He notes that problems we face are rarely two dimensional, but the way we see them often is. Berry lives and writes from Havre de Grace, Md. He has written two books.


There's something in the water

John R. Wennersten
2010-02-02

Ten new chemicals are manufactured ever day, and many end up in the water. The effects on fish, and people, worry some scientists. But perhaps what's most worrisome is what we don't yet know, writes John R. Wennersten. Wennersten is the author of several books. 794 words


Drilling in the forests

Cindy Ross
2010-01-26

In an effort to balance its budget, Pennsylvania has opened state forests to companies drilling for natural gas. Drilling comes with environmental threats, Cindy Ross notes, including water pollution and breaking up the woods with roads. Ross has written extensively about the outdoors. 744 words.


Re-planting our cities; making an urban forest

Carrie Madren
2010-01-18

Many towns and cities across the watershed have set goals for increasing their tree canopies. Bringing back the canopy, however, is a long game of tug o'war, writes Carrie Madren. In the end, though, the effort to install slow-growing trees will be a win for local ecosystems and communities. 800 words.


Telling people the party's over

Robert Wieland
2010-01-12

How do you tell someone that a service they have enjoyed freely (say, robust oyster stocks, or drainage ditches that send stormwater to rivers) is no longer going to be free and easy? Robert Wieland, a resource economist, says no one likes to hear the party's over, and suggests how to shape policy that brings constructive change.


Tough state cops wanted to protect water

Karen Hosler
2010-01-05

The state agencies that protect our rivers and the bay are not up to the task, advocates say. Karen Hosler notes a recent complaint against the Maryland Department of Environment and suggests specific changes to strengthen their hand. Hosler is a radio reporter and talk show host in Baltimore. She formerly wrote editorials and covered politics for The Sun.


Resolutions for the bay

David Berry
2009-12-29

If Chesapeake Bay could ask us to make a couple of New Year's resolutions, the list would be brief, but difficult to keep, writes David Berry. Berry lives and writes from Havre de Grace, Md. He has written two books, "Maryland Skipjacks" and "Maryland's Lower Susquehanna River Valley; Where the River Meets the Bay."


A tougher shade of green

Tom Horton
2009-12-22

Light green vs. dark green -A persistent critic of bay policy says the region's most influential environmental group, and all groups working for a healthier environment, must be tougher, writes Tom Horton. Horton is author of six books and many articles.


Sale Values

Liza Field
2009-12-15

What's the price we, and the Earth, really pay for the gifts we seek this time of year? Liza Field writes that the costs far exceed the dollars we spend, and suggests we seek some better values.


Feral pigs run wild

Cindy Ross
2009-12-08

Pigs gone wild are making a mess of Pennsylvania's woods, and could threaten nearby states. Game officials have declared an open season, an idea Cindy Ross endorses. Ross has written extensively about the outdoors. 732 words.


Oh, Tannenbaum, Which evergreen is the greenest Christmas tree of all?

Carrie Madren
2009-12-01

Which is the greenest of all the green Christmas trees? Which is friendliest to our streams, rivers and bay, wondered Carrie Madren, and she did some digging to find out. 800 words


Root for the ponies, and their farms

Karen Hosler
2009-11-24

Working farms and the industries they support, including horse racing, give the region much of its character. But horse racing is on the slide, and Karen Hosler says that losing it could end up costing us valued open space. Hosler is a radio reporter and commentator in Baltimore, where she formerly wrote editorials and covered politics for The Sun.


Motivating Energy Conservation at the Root

Robert Wieland
2009-11-17

What we need is an energy company that sells energy efficiency versus energy use, and Robert Wieland, a resource economist has a radical suggestion, one he suspects both liberals and conservatives may hate. He must be on to something good.


I don't know how to do that

David Berry
2009-11-10

There will always be people who simply don't care whether their actions harm our environment. Yet, there are many more who want to do the right thing, but may be simply overwhelmed by the task, writes David Berry. Berry lives and writes from Havre de Grace, Md. He has written two books, Maryland Skipjacks and Maryland' Lower Susquehanna River Valley; Where the River Meets the Bay.


A DISASTER IN WAITING

David Berry
2009-11-03

The sediment trapped by the Conowingo Dam pose an imminent threat to the Chesapeake, writes David Berry. He suggests that the Dam's upcoming licensing process provides an opportunity to address the problem. Berry lives and writes from Havre de Grace, Md., where he teaches sailing. He has written two books, Maryland Skipjacks and Maryland' Lower Susquehanna River Valley; Where the River Meets the Bay, and articles and columns for magazines and newspapers.


A Ray of Hope for the Bay

Howard Ernst
2009-10-27

Every President since Ronald Reagan and all regional office seekers have claimed support for the Chesapeake Bay's restoration. Their pledges have been bi-partisan, overwhelming, and inconsequential, notes Howard Ernst. But the latest promises from the Obama administration may prove different, and start a real struggle for the future of the bay. Ernst teaches political science at the United States Naval Academy, has written extensively, including two books about the Chesapeake. 850 words.


Region's environment leaders balk at alternatives to growth

Tom Horton
2009-10-20

The health of our rivers and the Chesapeake is driven by the ways humans act, notes Tom Horton. Every person brings more impact, yet challenging population and the notion that the economy must grow to prosper is tough, and at the moment, few environmental leaders are willing to even discuss it. Horton is author of six books and many articles. 800 words.


Conservation camps engage the next generation of leaders

Cindy Ross
2009-10-13

Conservation camps, many sponsored by local organizations, engage the next generation of stewards for the environment, writes Cindy Ross. She notes that now's the time to investigate camps for next summer. Ross lives in Pennsylvania and has written extensively about the outdoors. 800 words.


Pumpkins: Food You Can Play With

Carrie Madren
2009-10-06

It's pumpkin time and Carrie Madren invites us to join the fun inherent in this big squash we routinely hurl, carve, overfeed, and eat ourselves. 696-words.


Homeowners tackle their development's runoff woes

David Berry
2009-09-27

Urban and suburban runoff is the fastest growing category of pollution for our rivers and the Chesapeake. David Berry writes about how one community addressed their problem, and suggests how others can as well. Berry lives and writes from Havre de Grace, Md., where he teaches sailing and captains a charter boat. He has written two books, Maryland Skipjacks and Maryland's Lower Susquehanna River Valley; Where the River Meets the Bay, and articles and columns for magazines and newspapers.


Aid for honey bees starts at home

Cindy Ross
2009-09-22

What good's an apple tree without a honey bee? Not much, learned Cindy Ross, who writes that the honey bees' slow recovery from a population collapse would benefit from the helping hands of home gardeners. Ross lives in Pennsylvania and has written extensively about the outdoors. 767 words.


Should Uncle Sam Make Us Green Up?

Carrie Madren
2009-09-15

Green consumers as individuals can change markets slowly over time, but a new law or regulation can make an immediate, definite impact by getting everyone on board, notes Carrie Madren in this 755-word piece that notes some of the steps governments are taking to address environmental issues.


If you build it, they will come

Karen Hosler
2009-09-08

A major new power line and a planned new nuclear plant could combine to provide enough power on Delmarva to encourage a more than a million new homes, enough growth to drastically change the mostly rural region's nature. But no state agencies have looked at the growth implications of the new power, writes Karen Hosler, and none is likely to. Hosler is a radio reporter and commentator in Baltimore, where she formerly wrote editorials and covered politics for The Sun.


Humans on Acid, a World's Bellyache

Liza Field
2009-09-01

We are giving the earth a belly ache, writes Liza Field. Our diets and our reliance on coal and oil are acidifying both our bodies and world. The cure will require genuine universal health care for a globe whose health is also our own. 800 words.


The Recession and the Chesapeake

John R. Wennersten
2009-08-25

The current recession has slowed growth in areas as diverse as Adams County, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC, and that may be a good thing for the region's rivers and the Chesapeake, writes John R.Wennersten. Wennersten is the author of several books.


Leave No Rock Unturned In the Name of Learning

Sara Kaplaniak
2009-08-18

Summer gives Sara Kaplaniak�s children a chance to explore the outdoors free of schedules. It's a freedom she would like to hang on to year around because it gets them outdoors, where they learn much about nature and themselves. Kaplaniak writes from Camp Hill, PA. 786 words.


Stretching Our Green Wallets Thin

Carrie Madren
2009-08-11

Will the green-consumer ethic wilt in the heat of hard times? Carrie Madren finds a thinner wallet challenges green shoppers, but we may make long-term gains toward more sustainable consuming. 716-words


Will politics still stymie better oyster management?

Robert Wieland
2009-08-04

Years of political management have left Maryland with record low stocks of oysters. Now a government commission has suggested new policies that could dramatically increase the bay's oyster population. But, will legislators and fishery managers listen, asks Robert Wieland. Wieland is a resource economist who has studied the oyster industry.


Lawn be gone

Chris Bolgiano
2009-07-28

While shopping for an electric lawn mower, Chris Bolgiano discovered some unsettling facts about our love for lawns. She argues we'd have more fun and a healthier planet if we had less lawn to mow. (Facts in this article are based on EPA NEW ENGLAND REGIONAL LABORATORY Environmental Science Fact Sheet Natural Landscaping at EPA's Laboratory 901-F-03-004D August 2005 www.epa.gov/ne/lab.)


Fireflies Light the Way Back to Life

Liza Field
2009-07-21

Firefly season is drawing to a close. But...forever? Worldwide researchers hope not--and so do conservationists. Liza Field writes about the decline of this magical beetle, and what we can do to ensure its, and our, well-being. 775-words, includes subtitles, which could be cut.


Path to healthier farms, healthier waters

Cindy Ross
2009-07-14

Pennsylvania farmers can sign up before July 31 for a new program to help them change to organic practices. Maryland and Virginia offer similar programs. Organic practices can provide healthier land, food, and water, writes Cindy Ross. 750 words.


BYOB: A Guide to Prompting a Culture Shift

Karen Hosler
2009-07-07

Sometimes the best of intents just don't prevail over long-time habits, notes Karen Hosler. Such is the case with her addiction to plastic and paper bags. But addictions yield, she has learned when faced with a kick in the pocket book, and there-in lies one of several lesson for anti-litter and water pollution activists. Hosler is a radio reporter and commentator in Baltimore, where she formerly wrote editorials and covered politics for The Sun.


Extra credit for energy savings

Carrie Madren
2009-06-23

The economic stimulus program offers homeowners money-saving incentives to improve their home's energy efficiency, and that could provide a boost to the region's economy and environment, writes Carrie Madren in this 800-word piece.


My Eco-Friendly Father

Sarah Minick
2009-06-16

Here's a father's day column. Sarah Minick's eco-friendly father grew up in the depression and the years of World War II, and his frugal nature and conservation of resources reflects values common to the time. Saving the earth may not have been our parents and grandparents motivation, but their habits could teach us a few things about being eco-conscious, writes Minick. Minick teaches reading, and hikes and gardens in Virginia. 794 words.


Battling for Our Coastal Economy

James D. Watkins and Donald F. Boesch
2009-06-09

The federal government needs to lend support to regional efforts to prepare the Mid-Atlantic states for rising sea levels, say two leaders in ocean policy, Adm. James Watkins, and Donald Boesch.


Tipping Points For The Bay

Tom Horton
2009-06-02

Although scientists understand much about how the bay works, some things still confound them. Why are some areas improving more than expected, and why are some worse? Tom Horton writes about these unseen tipping points in this 800 word commentary.


Go Play in the Dirt

Cindy Ross
2009-05-26

It doesn't take rotating compost bins or fancy tools to grow a good garden, writes Cindy Ross. All it really requires is a willing attitude, labor, and a bit of knowledge to get the freshest vegetables you'll ever eat, and save money. 793 words.


The President's bold stroke for conserving Chesapeake landscapes

David O'Neill
2009-05-19

It could be easier for people to get to the bay, and irreplaceable landscapes and ecosystems could be conserved as a result of the President's new Executive Order, writes David O'Neill. O'Neill is executive director of the Friends of the John Smith Chesapeake Trail, a new national historic trail in the Chesapeake.


What comes after the great economic adjustment?

Robert Wieland
2009-05-13

With the stimulus package kicking in to restore the economy, Robert Wieland wonders whether we will create an economy that is more sustainable, or return to past practices that have unbalanced both our balance sheets and our environment. Wieland is a resource economist working to expand the application of economic analysis in environmental decision-making.


Helping Restore the Bay, One Battlefield at a Time

Bill Thompson
2009-05-05

How can muskets save mollusks, asks Bill Thompson? He found the answer in the non-profit Civil War Preservation Trust, and the battlefields they conserve. Thompson reported and wrote editorials for The Baltimore Sun. He is also the author of magazine articles and books about the Chesapeake region. 753-words.


Ride the big yellow bus

Jim and Sarah Minick
2009-04-28

School buses offer a green alternative for busy parents wanting to get their children safely to school, write Jim and Sarah Minick. School buses save fuel, reduce global-warming gases and congestion on the roads, and ease the strain on families. How come there's still a line of cars at every school?


A Breath of Fresh Air

Carrie Madren
2009-04-21

Spring provides time to renew gardens, and attitudes, writes Carrie Madren in this 736-word piece. Take advantage of it, soon we'?ll be swatting sweat bees, she cautions.


Trees: On the ground aid for an ailing planet

Liza Field
2009-04-13

Arbor Day, April 24th, is one of the nation's oldest "environmental" holidays. It remains a practical and perfect moment to do good for Mother Earth, writes Liza Field in this 751 word commentary (730 without the quote from Berry). Edit first sentence as needed for timing. Field teaches philosophy and English in Virginia Governor's School and Wytheville Community College and writes a weekly column for newspapers in southwestern Virginia.


Grounding the connection to what kids eat

Cindy Ross
2009-04-07

Farm to School programs create markets for local farms and help connect children to a healthier understanding of where food comes from, writes Cindy Ross. Most state's in the mid-Atlantic have Farm to School programs. Cindy Ross writes about the outdoors. She has authored six books.


Students provide gauge for energy conservation success

Amy Marasco Newton
2009-03-31

A band of high school students in a Virginia town have started an effort to easily conserve gasoline. They hope their effort will spread across the mid-Atlantic. It's a common-sense approach to conservation that we can all follow, writes Amy Marasco Newton. Newton is president of the Newton Marasco Foundation, a nonprofit that designs innovative programs to foster learning, appreciation and caring for our natural environment. 753 words.


Taking Out the Trash

Carrie Madren
2009-03-24

River cleanups start this month. While picking up litter may not solve the big environmental issues, it is a great way for people to be introduced to what it means to take care of our environment, writes Carrie Madren. 786 words. NOTE: We have included a list of other clean ups in the mid-Atlantic and corresponding websites. Editors can use this as a box, or edit the story to include a local cleanup.


Power to the People!

Chris Bolgiano
2009-03-17

Power to the People! says Chris Bolgiano in this piece that illustrates the many benefits of distributed generation -- or little power plants on every house. Bolgiano is a resident of western Virginia and has written five books and many articles for regional and national publications. 784 words.


Time for green groups to reassess

Bill Thompson
2009-03-10

Who watches the watchdogs, Bill Thompson asks? He suggests that the environmental groups engaged in restoring the Chesapeake Bay review their progress and develop strategies to energize the region's environmental movement. Thompson reported and wrote editorials for The Baltimore Sun. He is also the author of magazine articles and books about the Chesapeake region. 774 words.


Forests face big challenges from small bugs

Cindy Ross
2009-03-03

Tent caterpillars and web worms may look creepy, but these native insects present little danger to our forests, writes Cindy Ross. However, a steady invasion of aggressive, exotic species and the changing climate do hurt the woods, and present foresters from Virginia to New York new challenges.


You too can contribute to the scientific record

Sarah Minick
2009-02-24

Our readers and yours have been invited to contribute to the scientific record by joining in Project BudBurst, an effort to record the dates of natural events, like the first blossoms of spring or the arrival of migrant birds. Their record, reports Sarah Minick, will contribute to a database of observations reaching back to Henry David Thoreau and help answer big questions about our earth. Minick is a knitter, basket maker, and reading teacher. She hikes and gardens in Virginia. 730-words.


Stimulus could build green infrastructure, create jobs

Tom Horton
2009-02-17

The stimulus package the President plans to sign Tuesday ( 2 17 09) contains a small category of spending for water quality and green infrastructure improvements. Tom Horton reminds us that under President Roosevelt a similar effort created millions of jobs and some of our nation's most lasting treasures. Horton is author of several books on the environment and a free lance writer.


Taking the Birds to Heart

Liza Field
2009-02-10

Valentine's Day is for the birds, literally, says Liza Field. So as the bluebirds start to scout for nest sites and other birds begin to stir, it's time for us to get outside, and pay attention to the decline in many of our best loved songbird species. Field teaches English and philosophy in the Virginia Governor's School and Wytheville Community College and writes a weekly column for local papers.


Time for new approach to bay restoration

Robert Wieland
2009-02-03

The effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay's health has failed to achieve its goals, notes Robert Wieland, a resource economist working to expand the application of economic analysis in environmental decision-making. So, perhaps we should try a different and market-based approach to how we spend public money and create environmental policy. Wieland owns Main Street Economics and wrote "Why People Catch Too Many Fish" (Center for Marine Conservation) and "Fish, Markets, and Fishermen" (Island Press).


Backyard Chickens Represent a Return to Basics

Sara Kaplaniak
2009-01-27

The quest for healthy food of known provenance has fueled renewed interest in keeping chickens, an idea that's out of synch with community rules in many towns and suburbs, writes Sara Kaplaniak in this 732-word piece. But could backyard chickens be good for the region's environment, and for our diets


Clean water advocates find legal gold in desert stream

Karl Blankenship
2009-01-20

A dispute over a stream in the Arizona desert may provide clean water advocates with an effective tool for cleaning up our region's waters, reports Karl Blankenship. But the tool, the product of a court case, comes with ramifications. Blankenship is a veteran environmental journalist and edits the 50,000 circulation Bay Journal. He has reported for daily newspapers in Michigan and Pennsylvania, won numerous awards for his work and been widely published in regional and national magazines.


Bank executives see what President Bush did not

Jim Minick
2008-01-13

Recently Bank of America said it would no longer finance surface mining projects that bury streams, yet President Bush ratified a change in federal law that takes away a buffer that protected mountain streams. Jim Minick suggests we need to take back the moral high ground. Minick teaches English at Radford University in Virginia. 668 words.


Swans bring a winter message

Tom Horton
2008-01-06

Tundra swans fly to the Chesapeake's rivers from as far away as Alaska's North Slope, looking for the perfect place to winter. Their long migration tells us something about the value of protecting forests, a place these big waterfowl would never land, writes Tom Horton in this 697-word commentary.


Crisis in the Eastern Hemlock Forests

Cindy Ross
2008-12-30

The cold that has gripped the Mid-Atlantic the past weeks has one good effect - it slows the spread of an invasive species that is killing millions of majestic hemlocks across the East. Cindy Ross reminds us how devastating invasive species can be, and says the hemlock wooly adelgid might rival the chestnut blight in the damage it does.


Letting Heaven and Nature Sing

Liza Field
2008-12-23

In this season in which we sing "Joy to the World," Liza Field finds herself baffled by radio preachers who come down hard on nature and call environmentalists "a cult." After all, the Bible talks about God's presence in nature, she notes. And, if the earth is the Lord's, she wonders, wouldn't believers want to protect the place?


The Train Has Finally Left the Station

John W. Frece
2008-12-16

Trains serve multiple purposes at a time when we can no longer afford the luxury of single-purpose investments, says John Frece, and transportation experts agree. They see rail as a way to reduce greenhouse gases, offset high gas prices, mitigate or at least avoid highway congestion, and foster transit-oriented city living. Frece observed state governments for years as a news reporter. For the past decade he has been a policy adviser and spokesperson on Smart Growth issues and written extensively on the subject.


Manure, the main event in a yearly cycle

Jon Rutter
2008-12-09

Manure, and lots of it, makes Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, a fecund, fertile place, writes Jon Rutter. But all that manure is far too much of a good thing for the local waters and Chesapeake Bay, and the state is struggling to do something about it. Rutter writes for the Lancaster (PA) Sunday News. He completed a Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting at University of Rhode Island in 2005. In his spare time he cycles his county's back roads.


Time to rethink growth

Tom Horton
2008-12-02

When a bad economy results in better air, it's probably not a sign of long-term sustainability, suggests Tom Horton in this 800 word commentary. Horton writes that we need to rethink how we measure progress and wean ourselves off the idea that we need more growth and more people to increase our economy.


I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas
Spread glad tidings with sustainable gifts

Carrie Madren
2008-11-25

Buy local doesn't have to stop when the farmer's market closes, says Carrie Madren. There are many ways to think locally and sustainably when shopping for the holidays. 745 words.


Rescuing another bank

Liza Field
2008-11-18

Individuals may not be able to ease the global financial crisis, but they can help save our bank of groundwater, writes Liza Field. Field teaches philosophy and English in the Virginia Governor's School and Wytheville Community College and writes a weekly column for her local papers.


When going green, little things mean a lot

Katherine Unger
2008-11-11

Little things still make a difference, notes Katherine Unger, so at a time when we are thinking of grand strategies to stop global warming and wean ourselves off petroleum, why not re-emphasize things learned as an eight-year old, like turning off the lights when you leave a room? 653-words. Unger writes from Bethesda, Maryland.


Gutting the Endangered Species Act

Sharon Guynup
2008-11-04

The Bush administration has proposed a series of end-of-term changes to regulations, including changes which weaken the Endangered Species Act that protects hundreds of species in the mid-Atlantic region. Sharon Guynup is an environmental writer for national magazines. 760 words.


A golden moment to stop sprawl

Dick Cooper
2008-10-28

High gasoline prices, tight credit and a falling housing market have stopped development and offer a breathing space in which policy makers can create new policies to protect our region's farms and forests - writes Dick Cooper. Will we have the political courage to seize the moment, he wonders. NOTE meeting on November 7. Dick Cooper spent 36 years as a newspaper reporter and editor, and in 1972 won the Pulitzer Prize for General Local Reporting


Autumn Apples: Last Fruits of the Season

Carrie Madren
2008-10-21

Apples, the last fruit of summer, remind Carrie Madren of the past spring and summer and give us one more way to support local farmers. Madren writes about environmental issues and sustainable living. 667-words.


Crabbers feel regulations pinch

Dick Cooper
2008-10-14

A ban on harvesting female crabs has cut into watermen's profits. Now, Dick Cooper reports that despite a federal declaration that the Chesapeake crab industry is a disaster, the watermen are criticizing the wisdom of the restrictions meant to rebuild the crab stocks.


Signs of stress for season'?s symbols

Sara Kaplaniak
2008-10-07

Bats, bees, and fireflies lead to crickets, and each has a season. They connect Sara Kaplaniak's year. Now, she notes three are connected in a disturbing way, all suffering population declines and mysterious plagues. Is there a larger, common problem? 789 words.


Barack Obama: Platform contains Chesapeake-specific policies

David Bancroft
2008-09-30

This special two-part commentary from Bay Journal News Service presents the views of the Republican and Democratic candidates for President. This piece, written by David Bancroft, who is an energy and environment advisor to the Obama/Biden campaign explains why voting for Senator Barack Obama would be good for the environment in our region. A companion piece on Senator McCain accompanies this piece. We urge editors to present both to their readers.


John McCain: Stewardship ethic would guide decisions

David Jenkins
2008-09-30

This special two-part commentary from Bay Journal News Service presents the views of the Republican and Democratic candidates for President. This piece, written by David Jenkins, who is the government affairs director for Republicans for Environmental Protection, explains why voting for Senator John McCain would be good for the environment in our region. Jenkins serves as National Coordinator of the Environmental Stewardship Coalition for McCain-Palin 2008. A companion piece on Senator Obama accompanies this piece. We urge editors to present both to their readers.


Celebrating public lands

Katherine Unger
2008-09-23

You don't have to drive to Yosemite to visit some great public lands. From town parks to national forests, they are close by, writes Katherine Unger in this 773-word commentary. This Saturday is Public Lands Day, a perfect time to support these underfunded public treasures. Unger is a staff writer for The Wildlife Society in Bethesda, Maryland.


Bear Wisdom

Sarah Minick
2008-09-16

Every summer bears meet humans in unlikely places. Last week a bear wandered down Maryland's Eastern Shore, far from current bear territory, and many people have moved into traditional bear country. People can help keep bears safe, and in the wild with some easy practices, writes Sarah Minick in this 796 -word commentary. Minick is a knitter, basket maker, and reading teacher. She hikes and gardens in Virginia with her husband and three dogs.


Turning a Shambles of the Past into a Promise for the Future

John W. Frece
2008-08-09

The shambles of an abandoned hotel became the sparkplug for a downtown revival in Hagerstown, Maryland. It's a success story that any city seeking a place to locate a new facility might emulate, writes John Frece in this799-word commentary. Frece observed state governments for years as a news reporter. For the past decade he has been a policy adviser and spokesperson on Smart Growth issues and written extensively on the subject.


Cracking Local Eggs

Jim Minick
2008-09-02

Entrepreneurs from Virginia to New York are experimenting with ways to create local businesses, the kind that rebuild the town's economy and draw on local resources. Jim Minick shows us a good example and suggests that if we want to find more sustainable models for communities we need to crack some local eggs. Minick teaches English at Radford University in Virginia.


Tired

Sierra Gladfelter
2008-08-26

Do streams have a magnetic pull on tires? Do all tires dream of swimming with the trout? After a day on a stream clean-up, Sierra Gladfelter thinks they must. 792-words. Gladfelter is a Temple University freshman. She is as passionate about writing as she is about environmental issues and community.


A Gold Rushing Wind

Chris Bolgiano
2008-08-19

You can hear the trees in the Appalachians sighing in the wind. Anxiety? Maybe. Chris Bolgiano says that wind power may be an important part of our energy future, but not in the forests of Appalachia. There the breezes are unpredictable, the wildlife vulnerable, and the forests are the real gold. Bolgiano is a resident of western Virginia and is now Faculty Emeritus at the James Madison University Library in Harrisonburg, VA. She has written five books and many articles for regional and national publications.


Chesapeake Bay: You can't get there from here, but if you do, it's worth the effort

Dick Cooper
2008-08-12

A third of Americans live within a day's drive of Chesapeake Bay, yet public access to the bay is limited. Improving access may improve public understanding and support for the Chesapeake's restoration, says Dick Cooper in this749-word commentary. While a reporter at the Rochester (N.Y.) Times-Union, Cooper won the Pulitzer Prize for General Local Reporting. He is now president of Cooper Media Associates, and lives and sails in St. Michaels, Maryland.


Supplying "the Pump"

Liza Field
2008-08-05

Banking groundwater? It's a dividend paying idea that Easterners need to adopt, writes Liza Field, in this 791-word commentary. Photo available. Field teaches philosophy and English in the Virginia Governor's School and Wytheville Community College, plants trees and writes a weekly column for her local papers.


Counting Mayflies

Tim Zink
2008-07-29

The far-reaching disruptions to ecology caused by mining and drilling in the Appalachian mountains often goes uncounted when we add up the price of energy, writes Tim Zink in this 800-word commentary. Zink is a contributing editor at Bay Journal News Service and is Director of Communications for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a coalition of national hunting, fishing and conservation organizations.


Living together: maybe it's a mother's thing?

Cindy Ross
2008-07-22

It's a big world, but when it comes to the pea patch it's not that big, Cindy Ross finds in this 767-word commentary. How we share it is the question. Ross lives in Pennsylvania and has written extensively about hiking, travel and recreation.


Choosing A Cradle of Sustainability Over A Grave of Waste

Sara Kaplaniak
2008-07-15

Wall-E, the hero in a new movie, can inspire us to search for innovative ways to sustain life on earth, notes Sara Kaplaniak in this 800 - word commentary. But right now, she'd be happy if movie theaters recycled. Kaplaniak is a freelance writer, and was formerly a staff member for U.S. Senator Harris Wofford, and worked for the Nature Conservancy and Island Press publishing company. She lives in Pennsylvania.


The Weight of a Balloon

Sarah Minick
2008-07-08

Balloons seem weightless, yet when released burden the environment, particularly marine mammals. Sarah Minnick suggests we celebrate with the earth-friendliest balloons possible in this 792-word piece. Minick is a knitter, basket maker, and reading teacher. She hikes and gardens in Virginia.


Reason to Celebrate

Cindy Ross
2008-07-01

It's summer. Is there a better reason to celebrate? Cindy Ross suggests in this 736-word commentary that outdoor celebrations build traditions. Ross lives in Pennsylvania and has written extensively about hiking, travel and recreation.


We should mine the sea's last big gift

Liza Field
2008-06-24

Our seas and the life they nurture are in trouble. WeÃ?Â?ve overharvested their resources and over fertilized them with our wastes. Now thereÃ?Â?s talk of offshore drilling. Yet there is one resource the seas offer that weÃ?Â?ve barely touched, but should mine deeply, writes Liza Field, in this 776-word commentary. Field teaches philosophy and English in Virginia Governor's School and Wytheville Community College and writes a weekly column for newspapers in southwestern Virginia.


A Greener 'I Do'

Katherine Unger
2008-06-17

The "wedding-industrial-complex" generates a serious carbon footprint, notes Katherine Unger in this 652-word commentary. But the modern, eco-conscious bride and groom can make choices that lower the impact and provide an extra note for that all-important day. Unger, who is planning her own wedding, is a staff writer for The Wildlife Society in Bethesda, Maryland.


Mid-Atlantic natural gas offers a promise and a threa

Nathaniel Gillespie
2008-06-10

The Marcellus Shale, a geologic formation that spans the mid-Atlantic and is rich in natural gas, has drawn the attention of energy companies, and raised concerns about how to protect water and air quality, writes Nat Gillespie in this 798-word commentary. Gillespie is a fisheries scientist and a woodsman.


Public Access: A Growing Problem in the Chesapeake Country

John R. Wennersten
2008-06-03

The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure, but it's not so easy for the public to get to the water. John R. Wennersten notes governments are working to increase access, but suggests that developers have a role to play as well. 679 words. Wennersten is the author of several books and is a frequent contributor to the Bay Journal News Service.


The Pennsylvania Navy Sails Again

Dick Cooper
2008-05-27

The geese are long gone. The ospreys are hatching their young. Now a new migration is underway. The Pennsylvania Navy is streaming south to the Chesapeake Bay, intent on squeezing the most out of every weekend, writes Dick Cooper. Cooper has retired his commission in the Pennsylvania Navy. He now lives and sails in St. Michael's, Maryland. He spent 36 years as a newspaper reporter and editor, the last 28 on the staff of The Philadelphia Inquirer. While a reporter at the Rochester (N.Y.) Times-Union, Cooper and fellow writer John Machacek won the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for General Local Reporting.


It all began with the Appalachian Trail

Cindy Ross
2008-05-20

June 7th is National Trail Day and this year the day it helps mark the 40th anniversary of the congressional act that created our nation's system of national trails. Getting involved with one of our many trails is a great way for people to get outdoors, says Cindy Ross in this 800-word commentary. Ross, and her husband Todd, are Triple Crown Hikers, having hiked the length of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, and the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. She lives in Pennsylvania and has written extensively about the outdoors.


A natural gem slipping away

Dick Cooper
2008-05-13

Visitors from around the world go to Blackwater Wildlife Refuge to view the waterfowl and eagles that make the big marsh home. But the refuge is slipping away as the bay's waters rise. In this 741-word commentary, Dick Cooper argues we need to step in to stop the erosion. Cooper spent 36 years as a newspaper reporter and editor, the last 28 on the staff of The Philadelphia Inquirer. While a reporter at the Rochester (N.Y.) Times-Union, Cooper and fellow writer John Machacek won the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for General Local Reporting. He is now president of Cooper Media Associates, a media consulting and writing firm. He lives and sails in St. Michaels, Maryland.


Baptizing the Christians

Liza Field
2008-05-06

Polar opposites have come together. Al Sharpton and Pat Robertson agree on global warming. The typically divisive Christians are working together to protect an Earth they commonly agree is "the Lord's." Perhaps, writes Liza Field, the world is small enough and faith large enough that both can be kept alive. 812 words with quote; 757 without quotes. Field teaches philosophy and English in Virginia Governor's School and Wytheville Community College and writes a weekly column for newspapers in southwestern Virginia.


The Face of Our Food

Sara Kaplaniak
2008-04-29

Community supported agriculture puts a face on food, supports local farmers, provides healthier food, and has environmental benefits, notes Sara Kaplaniak in this 712-word commentary. Plus, the food tastes so fresh! Kaplaniak is a freelance writer, and was formerly a staff member for U.S. Senator Harris Wofford, and worked for the Nature Conservancy and Island Press publishing company. She lives in Pennsylvania.


The Real Gift of Spring Gobbler Hunting

Cindy Ross
2008-04-22

When you find the moment, seize it -get outside and observe the world. That's the message Cindy Ross gives us in this 777 - word commentary on spring gobbler hunting. Ross lives in Pennsylvania and has written extensively about the outdoors.


The New Cheap Cars and Sustainability

John R. Wennersten
2008-04-15

Nano, a little car that promises mobility to millions in the world's developing nations, has received a frosty reception because it and its brethren may push up gasoline prices and carbon emissions. Yet it has a lesson for us all - develop new modes of transportation, says John R. Wennersten in this 635-word commentary. Wennersten is the author of several books and is a frequent contributor to the Bay Journal News Service.


Carbon Offsets a Future for Bay Farmers?

Nat Gillespie
2008-04-08

Trees and wetlands pull carbon dioxide, one of the global warming gasses, from the air and lock it away in their cells. That natural ability may provide farmers and landowners a new source of money, and provide a boost for the restoration of rivers and the Chesapeake, writes Nat Gillespie in this 742-word commentary. Gillespie is a fisheries scientist and a woodsman.


Greener gardens for bluer waters

Bill Matuszeski
2008-04-01

Green gardens can help keep our streams, rivers, and bays clean and blue, says Bill Matuszeski in this 791-word commentary. Matuszeski, who's a long-time gardener, retired in 2001 after 10 years as Director of Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay Program Office.


We Know Knot What We Do

Chris Bolgiano
2008-03-25

Honoring an environmental ethic while dealing with life's little challenges makes for some head-scratching moments, notes Chris Bolgiano in this 701-word commentary. Bolgiano is a resident of western Virginia and Faculty Emeritus at the James Madison University Library in Harrisonburg, VA. She has written five books and many articles for regional and national publications.


Spring: Time to think like a deer to avoid collisions

Cindy Ross
2008-03-18

In springtime wildlife is on the move and the chances of a car-and-deer collision greatly increase, reports Cindy Ross in this 771-word commentary. We can improve our chance of avoiding collisions by thinking like a deer, she suggests. Ross has written extensively, including 6 books, about nature, hiking, and the great outdoors


Cats and Birds; or If Only Sylvester Wasn't Such a Good Hunter

Jim Minick
2008-03-11

To put it bluntly, cats are a non-native, invasive species overrunning their habitats, Jim Minick reports in this 663-word piece. Like starlings, zebra mussels, and multiflora roses, all the Garfields of the world have no real controls to limit their populations. They are "subsidized predators," well-fed little killers that annually kill more than a billion birds and small animals, according to wildlife biologists. Minick, who once owned and loved a cat, teaches English at Radford University in Virginia.


Our Fertile Crescent

Tim Zink
2008-03-04

Mid-Atlantic business and political leaders have begun an initiative to encourage green technology, building design, and energy conservation and Tim Zink knows just where they should begin - on traffic choked Interstate 95. Zink is a contributing editor at Bay Journal News Service and is Director of Communications for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a coalition of national hunting, fishing and conservation organizations. 730-words.


Nurturing a love of nature in the backyard

Sara Kaplaniak
2008-02-26

Are backyard bird feeders good for birds? Sara Kaplaniak was struggling with this question until her children showed her the answer. 662-words. Kaplaniak is a freelance writer, and was formerly a staff member for U.S. Senator Harris Wofford, worked for the Nature Conservancy and Island Press publishing company. She lives in Pennsylvania.


Going Tubeless

Sarah D. Minick
2008-02-19

Want to gain nine years of activity over a 65-year lifespan? Sarah Minnick gives us a plan in this 786 -word commentary. Minick is a knitter, basket maker, and reading teacher. She hikes and gardens in Virginia with her husband and three dogs


Whose liability is it anyway?

Robert Wieland
2008-02-12

So, if government is accountable, what happens if an environmental experiment goes awry, asks Robert Wieland in this 683-word commentary? Basically, "Who you gonna sue?" Wieland is a resource economist working to expand the application of economic analysis in environmental decision-making. He owns Main Street Economics and wrote "Why People Catch Too Many Fish" (Center for Marine Conservation) and "Fish, Markets, and Fishermen" (Island Press).


Embrace Mother Nature; fall in love

Liza Field
2008-02-05

Get out; embrace nature, because what this old world needs love, sweet love, writes Liza Field in this 724-word valentine (689 words without the quotes from Stegner and Shakespeare) Field teaches philosophy and English in Virginia Governor's School and Wytheville Community College and writes a weekly column for newspapers in southwestern Virginia..


Countering Carbon<

Richard Whiteford
2008-01-29

When it comes to creating a much hotter world, scientists say we are dangerously close to an irreversible tipping point. Yet with concerted action, by all of us, we may head it off, says Richard Whiteford in this 800-word commentary. Whiteford has written more than 500 articles and a book, Wild Pennsylvania, and is a member of the Climate Project.


Little boats can cause big problems

Brett Prettyman
2008-01-22

Our recreational boats are spreading invasive species like zebra mussels into pristine waters as far flung as lakes in the Southwest, reports Brett Prettyman in this 725-word commentary. He notes that if we take some simple precautions, we can protect the waters we love. Prettyman has been an outdoors writer at the Salt Lake Tribune in Salt Lake City, Utah, since 1990 and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America since 1991. He lives in Salt Lake.


Sojourning On The Shenandoah
Finding a Watershed Address

Chris Bolgiano
2008-01-15

Wet to the bone, Chris Bolgiano discovered, as she flowed downstream on the rain-swollen Shenandoah, just what it is to be a part of the great hydrological circle, and just how meaningful our watershed addresses really are. 743 words. She is a resident of western Virginia and is now Faculty Emeritus at the James Madison University Library in Harrisonburg, VA. She has written five books and many articles for regional and national publications.


To Flush or Not to Flush: The Moral Dilemma of Bathing Our Feces

Sarah and Jim Minic
2008-01-08

The 1.6 gallons our toilets use per flush represents 26.7 percent of daily household water usage. Daily we flush away 11.75 billion gallons of water, enough to fill a lake 2 miles wide, 3 miles long, and ten feet deep. That's not such a big lake, you think. But consider its size after a year, 365 days of our daily flush. Jim and Sarah Minick, well-water users in south-west Virginia explore ways to save some water in this 734-word commentary. Sarah is a reading teacher and Jim teaches English at Radford University in Virginia.


Vanishing Acts: The mid-Atlantic's disappearing landscapes

John R. Wennersten
2007-12-31

In this 777-word commentary, John R. Wennersten asks, "What's the force behind the changes we see in our landscape and our waters?" Sprawl, environmental and economic change, certainly. But, he concludes, behind all of them are political decisions and power. Wennersten is the author of several books and is a frequent contributor to the Bay Journal News Service.


Gift of water, gift of life

Liza Field
2007-12-24

Liza Field once wanted a creek for Christmas, a gift she's finally gotten. But her little brook's re-emergence after a summer of drought brings to mind some old truths worth remembering, she writes in this 782-word column. Field teaches philosophy and English in Virginia Governor's School and Wytheville Community College and writes a weekly column for newspapers in southwestern Virginia.


Eagles and kestrels, a tale of celebration and concern

Cindy Ross
2007-12-18

The wind funnels the hawks and song birds along the Appalachian chain and past Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania, where the most complete record of the eastern migration is kept. The numbers collected there each fall tell us something about the health of birds, and our environment, writes Cindy Ross in this 679-word commentary.


Paper or plastic? There's a better choice

Sara Kaplaniak
2007-12-10

It's time to bag plastic bags, writes Sara Kaplaniak in this 759-word commentary. Making the bags requires millions of barrels of oil and the bags themselves become an environmental problem. Across the country cities are talking about bans, and around the world several nations have acted. Kaplaniak was a staff member for U.S. Senator Harris Wofford, and worked for Nature Conservancy and Island Press publishing company. She lives and writes in Pennsylvania.


Creating Winter Warmth

Sarah Minick
2007-12-04

Generating inner warmth may be an antidote for global warming, and the morning chill, says Sarah Minick in this 707-word commentary. Plus, it can save you money on heat. Minick is a knitter, basket maker, and reading teacher. She hikes and gardens in Virginia with her husband and three dogs.


Doing the Right Thing?
Developers, Social Responsibility and the Environment

John R. Wennersten
2007-11-27

Do Developers have a responsibility to protect the environment beyond their legal obligation? Maybe not, but consumer trends and community pressures suggest they would be wise to adopt the best practices of new green development, writes John R. Wennersten in this 681-word commentary. Wennersten is the author of several books.


The Gift of Hunting

Cindy Ross
2007-11-21

A lot has changed since Cindy Ross started hunting when she was a rebellious teen. There are fewer hunters now, and less land open for hunters. Yet some things, perhaps the real gifts of the sport, haven't changed at all. Ross is an outdoor and travel writer living in Pennsylvania.


In mountain top removal, which side are you on?

Jim Minick
2007-11-13

Rumbling blats and lumbering machines are taking the tops off mountain throughout Appalachia to provide coal for electricity generation. The desecration of the landscape and the destruction of forests, rivers and valleys is easy to oppose. Yet everyone who flips on a light switch draws from the coal river that flows from the mountains. Which side are you on, asks Jim Minick in this 658-word commentary.


Really Sound Science

Tim Zink
2007-11-06

Shhhhhhhh. Even when we're quiet, there's lots of noise, notes Tim Zink in this 653 word commentary. That background hiss - dubbed noise pollution -- saps a lot of our energy. Now, innovative National Park Service folks are experimenting with quiet zones, places where we can find real quiet. Zink is a contributing editor at Bay Journal News Service and is Director of Communications for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a coalition of national hunting, fishing and conservation organizations.


A speedy way to save gas, help Mother Earth

Tom Horton
2007-11-01

Want to do something good for your pocket book, water quality and global warming? Want to do it fast? Then slow down. That's the advice Tom Horton has for us in this -730-word commentary. If we all drove 55, the savings in gasoline and emissions would be immediate, and significant. And we'd save money. Horton is the award-winning author of six books about the Chesapeake Bay.


Bambi ate my rhododendrons:
The growing cost of an ecological imbalance

Nat Gillespie
2007-10-13

What suburban homeowner doesn't have a deer-in-the-back yard story? What wildlife manager doesn't have a too-many-deer-in-the-woods worry? The White-tailed deer has reached record-high population levels and is munching forest understory and the patio rhododendron, Nat Gillespie tells us in this 782-word commentary. Gillespie is a fisheries scientist and a woodsman.


To Fish is to Hope

Cindy Ross
2007-10-16

Therapy for the body and soul comes in different forms. In this 684-word commentary Cindy Ross writes about a new program for wounded veterans that uses the art of fly fishing to restore physical and emotional balance. Ross is an outdoor and travel writer living in Pennsylvania.


Leaving the Lawn

Liza Field
2007-10-09

One day Liza Field looked at her wide-open lawn, considered the hours it took to mow it, and came to a conclusion. She wanted her lawn gone. She wanted trees. So, as she writes in this 775-word commentary, she started raking leaves in reverse. Field teaches philosophy and English in Virginia Governor's School and Wytheville Community College and writes a weekly column for newspapers in southwestern Virginia.


Living with Biofuels

Bill Matuszeski
2007-10-02

BioFuels offer the region's farmers strong prices, but bring along higher prices for food and a risk of more pollution to our rivers and the Chesapeake. What we need to do, says Bill Matuszeski in this 778-word commentary, is take extra measures to protect our waterways and move fast to become a national leader in a new kind of biofuels-those derived from cellulose.

Matuszeski retired in 2001 after 10 years as Director of Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay Program Office. He recently was Project Leader for the Chesapeake Bay Commission's biofuels study.


A view of the Chesapeake from a very slow boat

Andrew Bystrom
2007-09-25

If you go slowly you see many things, and this summer Andrew Bystrom traveled 1,500 miles around the Chesapeake Bay in a 17th century-style workboat, following in the wake of Capt. John Smith's famous exploration of the region 400 years ago. In the bay region, military test explosions and industrial ports are next door neighbors to rich underwater grass beds and eagle nests. But, Bystrom writes, there's only a tenuous balance between man's works and nature's.


Three tough steps to restore the Chesapeake

Gerald W. Winegrad
2007-09-18

We've done the easy work to restore the bay, now, if we want to make progress, we must mandate the hard things, writes Gerald W. Winegrad, an adjunct professor at the University Of Maryland School Of Public Policy in this 767-word piece. Winegrad says voluntary programs haven't worked, and we need to require pollution controls on agricultural lands, do better land planning, and plant more forests. Winegrad was in the Maryland legislature 16 years and is responsible for many bay initiatives, including the state's phosphate detergent ban.


Death by 10,000 Culverts

Nat Gillespie
2007-09-11

All over the mid-Atlantic, poorly designed or installed road culverts cut streams into segments, dividing fish habitat in ways that harm the region's brook trout population. These fish are the canaries-in-the-coal mine of our region's water quality, and restoring streams connectivity is a critical priority for fisheries biologists, writes Nat Gillespie, a fisheries scientist, in this 799-word commentary.


Furry crabs, twining vines, and other threats

John R. Wennersten
2007-09-04

New plants and animals enter the region all the time, notes Jack Wennersten. Some of them become invasive and threaten the order of our native ecosystems. In this 771-word commentary he suggests that vigilance, aggressive eradication and some common sense will help prevent problems.

Wennersten is the author of several books and recently served as a Senior Fellow in Environment and Technology at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. He enjoys examining the "fixed ideas" that many people have about their social environment. He is Professor Emeritus of Environmental History at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.


A lesson from a dauntless fish

Tom Horton
2007-08-28

Tom Horton, noted author of six books about the Chesapeake Bay and award-winning environmental journalist, says his optimism about restoring Chesapeake Bay has waned. Still, there's reason to hope, and he takes a lesson from a fish that has never given up hope.


Talking Transit-ion

John W. Frece
2007-08-21

Have you heard your political leaders tell you they'll solve your traffic problems? So has John Frece. In this 799-word commentary he writes that he'd like them to quit trying to fool us and tell us the facts instead. Frece observed state governments for years as a news reporter. For the past decade he has been a policy adviser and spokesperson on Smart Growth issues and written extensively on the subject.


Walking On Watershed

Liza Field
2007-08-14

We don't need more scientific conventions to save our watersheds, writes Liza Field in this 783-word commentary. What we need is a walk. Only by getting out, seeing the problems and finding their solutions will we protect our streams and rivers, she writes. Field teaches philosophy and English in Virginia Governor's School and Wytheville Community College and writes a weekly column for newspapers in southwestern Virginia.


Eco-Forestry, A Clear-cut Idea

Jim Minick
2007-08-07

Forestry practices that keep forests intact, maintain a healthy habitat, and provide long-term yields of valuable timber are gaining ground against clear cutting. Every consumer can aid this trend, writes Jim Minnick, a teacher and a forester, in this 794-word commentary.


Sharing the Wind

Sara Kaplaniak
2007-07-31

Appropriately sited, wind farms could be a beautiful thing, writes Sara Kaplaniak in this 744-word commentary. However, in the wrong place, she notes, they will destroy habitat and upset nature's rhythms. Kaplaniak spent more than a decade working to advance environmental causes. She held several positions at The Nature Conservancy and was a staff member for U.S. Senator Harris Wofford. Sara began her career as an assistant at Island Press, an environmental publishing company in Washington, D.C. She lives and writes in Pennsylvania, where she reduces, reuses and recycles along with her husband and two kids.


Time for Congress to kill the dead zones

Scott Faber
2007-07-24

Every summer huge areas of the Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, and other estuaries are declared "dead zones," areas so low in oxygen that almost nothing can live in them. Scott Faber writes in this 800-word commentary that a group of eminent scientists has prescribed a cure and that Congress could apply it with changes in the Farm Bill and the Energy Bill. Faber has been a campaign director at Environmental Defense for seven years and serves on the Board of Directors of Protected Harvest, which certifies sustainably grown foods. He previously worked at American Rivers and holds a JD from Georgetown.


The Argument of Simple Living

Cindy Ross
2007-07-17

How simple is simple? What choices and sacrifices should we make to keep our planet healthy? Does our definition change? Cindy Ross explores the idea of simple living and what makes a happy life in this 800-word commentary.


Summertime, a time to watch the mercury

Sharon Guynup
2007-07-10

Summertime and fishing naturally go together. Now, so does fishing and reading your state's fish consumption advisories, Sharon Guynup, an environmental writer for national magazines, notes in this 799 - word commentary. She argues for stronger controls on mercury emissions and eliminating coal-fired power plants.


Family forests: public utilities that deserve support

Jim Minick
2007-07-02

Family-owned forests produce most of the nation's timber and provide other important public services. However, family forests are facing a difficult period. Jim Minick, a teacher and a forester, says in this 766-word commentary that changes in public policy could help protect these natural resources.


Swimming Lessons

Liza Field
2007-06-26

Liza Field, a writer and teacher in Wytheville, Virginia, writes in this 774-word commentary that understanding the connections between details and facts and the larger world helps students learn, and may help us protect our future. Some of the best lessons, she says, are learned swimming in rivers. Field writes a weekly column for newspapers in southwestern Virginia and teaches philosophy and English in Virginia Governor's School and Wytheville Community College.


The Potomac: Last Chance Watershed?

John R. Wennersten
2007-06-19

The little reaches of the headwaters are the places we need to concentrate to clean up our big rivers, says Jack Wennersten. In this 785 - word commentary about the Potomac, Wennersten notes how the river briefly improved, but has begun to deteriorate due to burgeoning population and a growing poultry industry in its headwaters. Wennersten is the author of several books and recently served as a Senior Fellow in Environment and Technology at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. He enjoys examining the "fixed ideas" that many people have about their social environment. He is Professor Emeritus of Environmental History at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.


Changing Behavior When the Facts Change

John W. Frece
2007-06-12

We are at a tipping point where we need to change our notions about land use and the rights of land owners in order to ensure better growth patterns for our future, John Frece writes in this 798-word commentary. Frece observed state governments for years as a news reporter. For the past decade he has been a policy adviser and spokesperson on Smart Growth issues and written extensively on the subject.


No Child Left Inside: Saving our kids from Nature Deficit Disorder

Cindy Ross
2007-06-05

There is startling new evidence that spending time in nature is as important to children as good nutrition and adequate sleep, Cindy Ross notes in this 743-word commentary. We adults need to get our children outdoors, she argues, and let them explore. Ross is the author of several books on outdoor adventures.


Yes, Virginia, There Is a Choice

H. Bruce Franklin
2007-05-29

Menhaden are small, bony and oily, hardly a delicacy for anyone's plate. However, H. Bruce Franklin argues the menhaden's dual role as filter and food makes it a key to the health of our coastal waters and says it's time to protect the fish. This essay is based on his new book, Menhaden, The Most Important Fish in the Sea. Franklin is the John Cotton Dana Professor of English and American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark and the author of eighteen books and many articles.


The Parched East

John R. Wennersten
2007-05-22

Easterners, long accustomed to plenty of water, can expect increasing water shortages, says John R. Wennersten in this 800-word commentary. The shortages may bring their own economic, social and environmental impacts. Wennersten is the author of several books and recently served as a Senior Fellow in Environment and Technology at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Wennersten enjoys examining the "fixed ideas" that many people have about their social environment. He is Professor Emeritus of Environmental History at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.


Shad and Shared Cars

Tim Zink
2007-05-15

Every spring Tim Zink suffers a peculiar malady. He explains in this 780-word commentary how a new car sharing service soothes the symptoms, helps address some of our region's environmental issues, and makes life simpler for urban dwellers. Zink is a contributing editor at Bay Journal News Service and Director of Communications for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a coalition of national hunting, fishing and conservation organizations. He lives in Washington, D.C.


Glimpses of John Smith's Chesapeake, and ours

Tom Horton
2007-05-08

On the occasion of Jamestown's 400th anniversary this weekend, Tom Horton, noted author of six books about the Chesapeake Bay and award-winning environmental journalist, says we can still catch sight of the Chesapeake explorer John Smith saw 400 years ago, but there are differences, some surprising, between the Bay he saw and the one we live with.


Diplomacy by Brook Trout

Nat Gillespie
2007-05-02

The little brook trout, state fish for New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, could be a hero in the effort to restore streams and rivers in the mid-Atlantic, writes Nat Gillespie, a fisheries scientist, in this 814-word commentary.


A worthwhile investment in buffers

Jim Minick
2007-04-24

Two conservation programs up for renewal this year have helped farmers protect water quality and provide wildlife habitat. Nationally, the programs need more money, but in our region, Jim Minick points out in this 800-word piece, they need more farmers participating.


Losing The Moonlight

Jack Greer
2007-04-16

All across the region, bright lights are changing our dark, rural skies. In this 708 word commentary, Jack Greer says we're losing a "night sky attitude" and an appreciation of the dark. Greer writes about Chesapeake Bay science and policy for the University of Maryland Sea Grant College.


Sheet Music

Jim Minick
2007-04-10

April 19th is national "Hanging Out Day" and Jim Minick celebrates the beauty of the idea in this 800-word commentary. Why not use the sun and the wind to dry our clothes, he asks. It would save us money and wear and tear on clothes and on the environment. Plus, it's an art!


Farm Bill Offers Best Chance for Bay

Scott Faber
2007-04-03

Congress is designing a new Farm Bill. The policies and funding it includes will greatly influence the pace of restoration of our streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay, says Scott Faber in this 800-word commentary.

Scott Faber has been a campaign director at Environmental Defense for seven years and serves on the Board of Directors of Protected Harvest, which certifies sustainably grown foods. He previously worked at American Rivers and holds a JD from Georgetown.


Redistributing the Passengers

John W. Frece
2007-03-24

In this 825-word piece about Smart Growth John Frece argues that it seems increasingly clear there must be a limit to the growth we can absorb, a finite "carrying capacity of our land" and a point beyond which we inevitably become different people living in a different place. There is a point beyond which our landscapes, our array of towns and our environment will become unrecognizable, dysfunctional, or both, he says.

Frece observed state governments for years as a news reporter. For the past decade he has been a policy adviser and spokesperson on Smart Growth issues and written extensively on the subject.


EPA torches public's right to know

Karl Blankenship
2007-03-20

What would you do if the chemical plant next door burst into flame? Karl Blankenship, the author of this 798-word column went on-line to find out what might be going up in the smoke around his house, but others may not have that opportunity unless Congress undoes a change recently made by the Environmental Protection Agency. The change would reduce the value of the Toxic Release Inventory, meaning we will have less access to information about the chemicals in the plant next door. (NOTE: STATE SPECIFIC INSERTS AT END OF STORY).

Blankenship is a veteran environmental journalist and edits the 47,000 circulation Bay Journal. He has reported for daily newspapers in Michigan and Pennsylvania, won numerous awards for his work and been widely published in regional and national magazines.


How much is enough?

Jan Eliassen
2007-03-13

In our running public argument about growth, we often hear the phrase, "Growth is good." Yet we will readily admit that somewhere between our current population and 100 million more people, there is a line we should not cross, a point where enough is enough. Jan Eliassen argues in this 774-word piece that once we have made that admission, we have the obligation to begin planning for a sustainable future.

Eliassen served on the planning council of Virginia Beach. He was active in the protection and restoration of Back Bay, Virginia. An expert on agricultural policy, he has written extensively on conservation, growth and agriculture issues.


Creek Walking

Rick Van Noy
2007-03-06

Creek walking is not an official after school sport, yet like other sports it requires skills, teaches values and -- equally important in this sedentary age of digital devices -- gets kids outdoors, writes author Rick Van Noy in this 800 word column.. Unlike sports on a field, creek walking puts kids in touch with natural terrain and living things, and its playing surface is always shifting.

Van Noy is a lifelong creek walker, but his passion for the sport has rekindled as he introduces his two children to the game. Van Noy teaches literature and writing at Radford University in southwestern Virginia and is presently working on a collection of literary nonfiction called Nature Knows Best: Essays on Getting Kids Outside.


Twilight on Beards Creek

Jack Greer
2007-02-27

Jack Greer writes about Chesapeake Bay science and policy for the University of Maryland Sea Grant College. In this commentary he writes about Beards Creek, a tributary of the South River off Chesapeake Bay. Near his community dock a stormwater discharge pipe pours sediment from upstream development into the creek. Our demand for shopping centers, roads, and subdivisions fuels the major part of sediment runoff he notes. Perhaps we should all share the costs of the state-of-the-art storm water systems needed to protect our streams and rivers, he suggests.


Rowing against the tide:
Environmental restoration in the face of population growth

Tom Horton
2007-02-20

In this commentary Tom Horton, noted author of six books about the Chesapeake Bay and award-winning environmental journalist, says trying to restore the Chesapeake Bay without also trying to limit population growth gives us a doubly difficult task: to restore the bay we need to roll-back the levels of pollution by 50 years; yet population is already twice what it was 50 years ago, and is likely to increase by 50 percent in the next 50. Try to explain this, he says, to international audiences that seriously try to limit population growth.


A Walk by the Old Dog Park

Tim Zink
2007-02-13

In this column, Tim Zink suggests we pay attention when our local trees are threatened. He notes that trees make great neighbors and excellent public engineers. According to Tim, a regular contributor to Bay Journal News Service who writes from Washington, DC, trees work for us in unappreciated ways. Urban trees reduce the flood that races to storm drains. They cool our houses in summer, break the winter wind, and suck-up air pollutants. Trees cool streams for fish and provide shelter for birds. They also do heavy-duty environmental engineering. New York City does not need expensive filtration equipment on the water supplies it draws from three forested watersheds sitting between 25 and 125 miles of Manhattan. These intact watersheds deliver remarkably pure water to more than 10 million people. At taste tests, New York City's tap water has been recognized among the best in the world. (Seven municipalities in the mid-Atlantic have signed onto the urban tree goal for the Chesapeake Bay Region. They are Leesburg, VA, Columbia, PA, and Annapolis, Baltimore, Cumberland, Hyattsville and Rockville, and Baltimore County in MD).


Foreign invaders enter our gardens; threaten our woods

Jim Minick
2007-02-06

Fanciful invaders from outer space are no where near as scary as the aliens that Jim Minick reports have already invaded our gardens and woods. Minick, who teaches English at Radford University in Radford , VA and writes a column for the Roanoke Times New River Current  has spent considerable time tramping the fields and woods of his native Pennsylvania and adopted Virginia . He writes about how foreign species, as different as bittersweet, hemlock wooly adelgid, and nutria have taken hold in the mid-Atlantic and are doing tremendous harm. We need a better national policy to keep them out, he suggests. Noting they lack natural predators, he suggests it may be time to eat them.


A Changing Climate for the Chesapeake Bay

Donald F. Boesch
2007-01-30

This week's author, Don Boesch, a noted estuarine scientist, knows about systems. If you shift one piece the whole system must adjust. He writes that science, the public, and nearly all politicians now agree that man contributes to global warming. Now as we think about environmental policies to save our region, we need to ask how our decisions about green-house gasses will influence our efforts to restore the environment, and vice-versa.