Greetings respected colleagues: I have started a blog to explore various stormwater and watershed topics. Thanks for reading, and let me know your thoughts and if you have ideas or topics that you’d like to explore together.
Hackberry: Very Small Persons’ Climbing Wall
The Hackberry tree (Celtis occidentalis) is also known as sugarberry, beaverwood, nettetree, or false elm. The spreading canopy of the Hackberry has been compared to Einstein’s hair. It derives its name from the Scottish “hag” (witch) or hagberry tree, and some refer to the drooping bushy branches as “witches’ brooms.” However, rather than creepy, the Hackberry is hard-working and has an uncomplaining nature. This blog will explain why and also reveal a little secret about this corky-barked floodplain friend.
Environmentalism & White Supremacy
The connection between environmentalism and white supremacy hadn’t crossed my mind, and I’m sure that holds true to many of you. However, a couple of months ago – before George Floyd’s murder and the current national outcry – I stumbled across an astonishing passage in a book that my son gave to me: Charles Mann’s The Wizard and the Prophet (Mann, 2018).
A Good Walk Unspoiled
The game of golf has been described as a good walk spoiled, with the quote attributed, likely incorrectly, to Mark Twain. The implication is that, without having to worry over the trajectory of the little white ball, it would be a most pleasant experience. The main ingredient of that experience is the landscape through which one traverses. Our local municipal golf course has been closed to golfers during COVID, but somewhat mysteriously available for walkers, most of whom, present company included, have been seeking places to walk that are not crowded cheek to jowl with others seeking a similar experience.
Earth Dave 1990
1990 was the 20th anniversary of Earth Day. I was a graduate student at Virginia Tech. I don’t recall how it happened, but I became the campus Earth Day coordinator. I received so many calls (remember land lines) from people wanting to speak to Dave about Earth Day, that my roommate Alison, who answered many of those calls, starting referring to me as Earth Dave. “Another call for you, Earth Dave,” she would exclaim, almost cheerfully.
Up Close in the Distance
Adhering to the social distancing mandate, Garnett and I decided to head up to the Blue Ridge this past weekend. The weather was cold and foggy. We headed to a spot called Humpback Rocks, which would normally be crawling with people on a fair weekend day, as its rocky escarpment offers spectacular views of the Piedmont to one side and Great Valley to the other. But on this cold morning, the top of the ridge was shrouded in fog and mist, and the crowds had stayed away.
An Environmental Restoration Workforce for the Future
by Lori Lilly, Howard EcoWorks
I lead an organization called Howard EcoWorks (EcoWorks) in Howard County, MD. We empower communities and diverse workforces to respect and restore our natural systems for future generations. For the first several years, we focused on one thing – building rain gardens. As our relationship with the County, our primary funder, grew, we started performing maintenance on the County’s stormwater and stream restoration practices. Our organization and its programs have been growing quickly and succeeding in many ways. However, I have also witnessed our County seat, Ellicott City, devastated by a series of freak, high intensity storm events. With each successive storm, my professional assumptions about how to restore a watershed, and my organization’s role in that, have changed.
Canal Boats, Locomotives, Interstate Highways. . .A River Runs Along It
Last fall, I rode my bike along the C&O towpath and the Great Alleghany Passage, following rivers for most of the journey. The C&O traces the banks of the Potomac River from Georgetown in Washington D.C. to Cumberland, MD. Travelling at the “speed of bike” is suitably slow to allow one to ponder the landscape, how it got to be the way it is today, and how transportation infrastructure has intersected with the river corridor over the years.
To the One in My Yard
I don’t mean to be crass
But I raked near a ton of your biomass (off of my grass)
At that yellow scarlet time of year