Articles

  • Identifying little brown jobs and Savannah sparrows

    Beginning birders face some notorious identification challenges.  Empidonax flycatchers and “confusing fall warblers” come to mind.  Sparrows also test a birder’s proficiency.  Not only do they tend to skulk in heavy brush, making it hard to get a decent look, most are small and mottled brown, with subtle distinguishing characteristics.  I’ve been in the field with expert birders who are sometimes reduced to calling one an LBJ, short for “little brown job.”
  • Getting lost in the woods

    No matter how much I hate to admit, I have found myself at times lost in the woods. Not just disoriented, but completely turned around. One such trip was on a property adjoining the Birkhead Wilderness Area, 6,000 acres of open forest, and it was on my birthday.
  • Everybody counts

    Everyone wants to be included and accounted for. This is no different for our homeless population, a group that often feels overlooked and ignored. Charlotte-Mecklenburg is doing their best to remedy this with their annual Point-In-Time Count. 
  • Soaring Airbnb rentals make Mecklenburg County No. 2 in N.C.

    Nearly five years ago, Amber Lineback bought a bungalow in Charlotte’s Plaza Midwood neighborhood not only to enjoy the eclectic community and its proximity to Uptown, but as a place where her parents might one day live too.
  • 2018 North Mecklenburg Demographic and Housing Assessment

    On February 4, 2019, the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and Lake Norman Economic Development Corporation released the 2018 North Mecklenburg Demographic and Housing Assessment. This report presents the findings from a demographics and housing assessment for the northern part of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina (North Mecklenburg).
  • Food waste composting project in North End to get larger test

    For years, food waste has been cast as a financial and moral issue, with money and opportunities to feed the hungry lost when food is tossed in the garbage. It also is increasingly becoming an environmental problem as scraps and spoiled food fill landfills across the country, where they emit potent greenhouse gases.
  • The delusions of a gardener

    For vegetable gardeners in the Piedmont, 2018 was a challenging year. The weather whipsawed between mundane and extreme.
  • Q&A with urban planner Ryan Gravel, author of ‘Where We Want to Live’

    Journalist Mae Israel spoke with Gravel recently about his ideas for creating more livable cities. His comments have been edited for clarity and brevity.
  • Book review: Birds of the Central Carolinas

    This book aspires to be much more than just another field guide. It’s a longitudinal documentation of avian life in the Piedmont, a region undergoing tremendous change.
  • Golden Anniversary year: Celebrating our history, changing to greet our future

    As the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019, we are reflecting on how our history and growth mirror both the region we focus on and the university that nurtures us.