Environment/Conservation

Wild Ideas: Bunnies everywhere

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July 5
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Lately I’ve been observing numerous eastern cottontails, large and small, in the yard at dawn and dusk. It’s that time of year when our native rabbits are reproducing like, well, rabbits – big bunnies, little bunnies, bunnies everywhere in open spaces and along forest edges.
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Editorial: Remembering Agnes

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June 28
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Rappahannock County derives its name, of course, from the eponymous river, whose headwaters arise within our jurisdictional borders. So we should take some stakeholder interest in what happens downstream, particularly to the Chesapeake Bay, into which the Rappahannock’s waters ultimately empty.
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Letter: More than baby steps

In his editorial last week, the publisher said: “We have two choices in the face of environmental degradation. The first is to feel like we humans are all hospice patients just waiting for the inevitable, apocalyptic end. The other is to take action – countermeasures, albeit small but still meaningful to try to combat...
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Editorial: Birds, bees and baby steps

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June 21
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We have two choices in the face of the earth’s environmental degradation. The first is to feel like we humans are all hospice patients just waiting for the inevitable, apocalyptic end. The other is to take action – countermeasures, albeit small but still meaningful.
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Photos: RCCA takes the long ‘View’

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Last Saturday (June 16), the eighth annual Rappahannock Evening View was hosted by longtime Rappahannock County residents Martin and Cheri Woodard at their appropriately named Longview Farm. Photos and a report.
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Editorial: Farmland forever?

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June 14
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The cause is noble but, given human nature, perhaps inevitably doomed: preserving farmland and other open spaces. A lost cause, really? The question is timely and worthy of discussion, since the eighth annual Rappahannock Evening View, put on by the Rappahannock County Conservation Alliance (RCCA), is scheduled for Saturday evening (June 16). RCCA, made...
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On June 16, it’s a tuneful ‘Evening View’

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June 7
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Dawn Landes, the singer-songwriter who has recently graced the stage at Wolf Trap and Lincoln Center, is coming to Rappahannock to perform at the Rappahannock County Conservation Alliance’s (RCCA) eighth annual Rappahannock Evening View on Saturday evening, June 16.
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Test-driving the future of farming

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May 31
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Farming isn’t just a job. For most farmers, it's a way of life, a family enterprise, a connection with the land and a means of making a living Five local farmers spent last year analyzing those motivating forces, and in many cases altering their farming operations to improve profitability, sustainability and the quality...
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Town’s 9-acre deal seen as a potential conservation model

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The town of Washington plans to purchase one of the county's most develop-able commercial real estate tracts and, if all goes right, never develop it — except as a showcase of conservation.
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The Rapp for May 17

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Miss Rappahannock, Relay for Life and more this weekend; Pennsylvania bluegrass at the Theatre; how to learn more about Future Farming and invasive plants; another mural shaped in Flint Hill and shipped out; "students" return to Scrabble; a Father's Day folk date.
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Letter: A perfect day for a hayride

Letter: A perfect day for a hayride

The day was perfect for the Rappahannock Youth Group’s inaugural event last Sunday – great weather, good turnout of youths, leaders and parents, and a fantastic afternoon of fun for all. Thanks to John and Dee Vest for allowing us to gather on their wonderful property where we began the hayride. The group was...
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Osprey cam up and running at Smith Mountain Lake

DCR's osprey web cam at Smith Mountain Lake.

For the past seven years, only visitors to Smith Mountain Lake State Park’s Discovery Center could view nesting osprey live via a closed-circuit camera system. Now everyone can watch the growing osprey family.
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Editorial: ‘Earth Day’ weekend

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April 19

The weather forecast calls for possible rain on the parade of Fodderstack runners this Saturday. But few of these 10K racers will mind, I bet. Outdoor athletes are by definition in touch with the earth they pound – and understand that the small patch of the Planet Earth known as Rappahannock County could surely...
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Letter: Why burn brush? 

Woody material such as logs, branches, dead vines and leaves, all contain lots of carbon. Left scattered on the forest floor, they slowly decompose and enrich the soil. Or, in a pile in the backyard or meadow, they provide needed cover for birds and other wildlife while they slowly decompose to benefit the soil. If the...
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Wild Ideas: Native plants for wildlife

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March 29
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By mid-March, spring is fully underway and ahead of schedule because of the mild winter. Trees and shrubs are leafing out, early spring wildflowers are blooming, birdsong fills the air at dawn and butterflies and bees are flying everywhere.
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NRCS funds bay-related forestry practices

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is making $120,000 available to Virginia landowners in the York and Rappahannock watersheds who agree to implement forestry practices that will help restore the Chesapeake Bay. “For nearly two decades, NRCS has partnered with the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) to develop innovative approaches to conserving natural resources...
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Wild Ideas: Choosing native plants to grow

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March 15
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The planting season is rapidly approaching and, for those interested in incorporating native plants into their landscaping, the pressure is on.
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Town focuses on its more . . . fetching qualities

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March 15

The Washington Town Council, without much to vote on besides paying the monthly bills at its regular meeting Monday night (March 12), found itself engaged mostly in talk about appearances –  specifically, the keeping- and/or shoring-up thereof. For example: The town’s new website (found at washingtonva.gov), though it’s been online for several weeks, had...
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The never-been-to-Canada goose problem

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March 1
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While their characteristic flying-wedge formation is an iconic image of seasonal waterfowl migrations, not all Canada geese make those semi-annual trips to and from northern Canada.
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Sperryville column for March 1

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March 1
A drawing done by one of last year’s Rappahannock Nature Camp participants.

Rappahannock Nature Camp: still time to sign up for June!
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Spring fire season has started

Spring fire season runs from Feb. 15 through April 30, and Gov. Bob McDonnell issued a warning earlier this month that the threat of wildfires is increased this year due to Virginia’s mild winter. “Wildfires in the Commonwealth are very weather-dependent,” McDonnell said. “When you combine the effects of the 2011 tornadoes and Hurricane...
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Letter: Hunting on Sundays, really?

As the saying goes, “Some of my best friends are hunters.” Another close friend is a high muckety-muck in the National Rifle Association. All this is preamble to the following opinion, which does not come from someone who wishes to see the Second Amendment undermined or hunting outlawed. But you can love the Constitution,...
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Wakefield students provide duck nest boxes

BOX BUNCH: Wakefield ninth-graders who planted the nests include (from left) Sam Mullany, Chris Payne, Tim Johns, Maeve Dale, Ashlyn Ramey, Anne Katherine Burns, Willow Lynn and Seong Won.

Fourteen ninth-grade biology students at Wakefield Country Day School placed eight wood duck wooden nest boxes at a local farm on Feb. 7. The students had constructed the boxes earlier in the month from plans by marking the lumber, making the cuts and following the assembly instructions. This project was the culmination of a...
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Letter: Join the Nature Camp community

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Are you 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12 years old? If so, this article is for you. We would like you to join our community this summer at the Rappahannock Nature Camp!
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Letter: Thanks to the Theatre

Wendy Weinberg once again hosted terrific community events at the Theatre at Washington. On Saturday, Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) representatives gave an informative talk on the dire prospects of uranium mining in Virginia. About a week ago, five staffers in Richmond were charged with writing regulations, by this summer, to oversee mining and storage...
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Uranium: ‘Not the time to relax’

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More than 50 attended a town hall meeting held by the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) last Saturday (Jan. 28) in Washington on the possibility – and the possible risks and impact – of uranium mining in Virginia, including in Rappahannock County and surrounding areas.
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Letter: Thanks for letting us keep up with Jones (and other neighbors) 

Rappahannock News reporter Alex Sharp VIII  did a nice job on the advance of the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection (RLEP) talk by our Long Mountain Road neighbor Bruce Jones. Bruce and Susan Jones are truly dedicated to the ideals of life in the county. The public talk is proof that RLEP is doing...
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‘Intricate Relationships’ matter

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Jan. 26
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The perpetual friction between “come-heres” and “from-heres” in Rappahannock County is not limited to humans. Homegrown naturalist Bruce Jones speaks on ways to bring native flora and fauna back home.
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Clark Hollow Ramblings: It ain’t so. It just ain’t so.

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Jan. 26
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I have been reading with some interest the issue of lead poisoning in our bald eagle population. First, I can’t tell you how glad I am that the bald eagles have taken up residency here, or returned here, whichever is the case. They are absolutely so majestic I am glad Ben Franklin didn’t get his way...
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The Rapp for Jan. 26

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Another Fourth (Estate) Friday meeting with our staff; two Friday films; oysters, Little Washington wine, art and a fundraiser Saturday; Israel at Trinity; uranium at the Theatre.
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The Rapp for Jan. 19

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Going wild in your backyard, and the Benevolent Fund's Plan B fundraiser.
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In 2011, 650-plus acres protected

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Data released this week shows that three properties in Rappahannock County totaling more than 650 acres were protected by conservation easements in 2011.
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Letter: Get the lead out of hunting ammunition

Last week’s article on the bald eagle killed by lead poisoning in Fauquier County – as well as news of a second eagle in Manassas that died of the same cause – is a sharp reminder of the need to get the lead out of hunting ammunition. Lead left in the gut piles of...
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Letter: If it’s hunters’ lead, why no dead vultures?

Regarding your Jan. 12 article reprinted from the Fauquier Times-Democrat: I find it to be a long stretch to blame hunters for the problem. The article, in quoting the Wildlife Center senior executives, makes it sound as if hunters are such a sorry lot that large amounts of...
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Lead said to be poisoning eagles

This story doesn't have a happy ending.

On Dec. 29, a Virginia conservation officer from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries rescued a bald eagle and brought it to the Wildlife Center in Waynesboro.
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Photo: The mitigators

Courtesy photo

From left, participants in last week’s Culpeper Soil & Water Conservation District (CSWCD) all-day workshop on restoring and protecting streambeds, wetlands and habitat included Rappahannockians Beverly Hunter, Jonathan Marquisee, David Massie, Don Loock and Donna Marquisee and CSWCD staffers Richard Jacobs and Evan Blumenthal. Attendees learned about private conservation-incentive programs (besides those long offered...
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SCBI: Making room for leopards, pandas and . . . students

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Nov. 18, 2011
LEOPARD SPOTS YOU: Clouded leopard Sa Ming, characteristically out to greet a visitor, is known to SCBI staff and students as the “party boy.”

Just two miles downhill from Chester Gap on U.S. 522, some of the world’s most exotic and endangered species are raising families within the heavily secured confines of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal – and they’re about to have company.
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The coyote is ‘here to stay’

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Nov. 10, 2011
A coyote up-close in California's Yosemite National Park.

That unusual sound you hear after dark in Rappahannock County – between the more familiar bark of distant dogs and the occasional passing plane – could very well be the yip and howl of the eastern coyote.
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The Rapp for Nov. 10

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Middle Street Gallery's grand opening, CCLC's annual fundraiser auction, a solar-energy talk at Hearthstone, and RCCA's annual meeting.
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Letter: Farming is the credential to consider

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In the 1930s, during the pit of the great depression, an ecologically disastrous event occurred in the heartland of America. Soil from barren, dry fields began blowing away and created what we now call the Dust Bowl. In the wake of this disaster, soil and water conservation districts were formed as a way to...
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