Articles

  • Field Guide to the Southern Piedmont

    This Piedmont field guide will take the mystery out of identifications

    When I was a novice birder, attending bird walks in New York’s Central Park, I asked the leader which field guide I should buy.  Without missing a beat, and without a hint of sarcasm, he replied, “All of them.”  While I’ve come to appreciate his wisdom, there’s also something to be said for having a basic, indispensable guide you can turn to again and again.
  • Suburbs in Charlotte are growing fast, as they are in many cities.

    Is the future of cities in the suburbs?

    As cities continue to grow and thrive, with downtowns reviving and old neighborhoods being redeveloped, is their future still really in the suburbs? That's what one advocate said this week at a real estate forum, provoking debate about growth, transit and sprawl.
  • Charlotte arts institutions seek out more diverse voices

    As Charlotte has become more urban and cosmopolitan, grassroots artists and organizations have energized the visual and performing arts. But some say there have largely been two separate arts scenes in Charlotte: One shaped by established arts institutions and the other by a more diverse group of artists and arts organizations emerging outside the establishment.
  • Camp North End in Charlotte

    “We are not giving ourselves credit." Charlotte’s arts scene is growing, changing.

    Is Charlotte's arts scene growing? Becoming more diverse? Does the city need a dedicated arts district? Read what some of the city’s key advocates and artists have to say about Charlotte's art community. 
  • Camp North End in Charlotte

    Charlotte's arts scene is growing - and at a crossroads

    As rapid growth and development reshapes Charlotte's urban personality, the cultural arts scene is expanding and becoming more dynamic, as a number of new festivals and venues show. But arts advocates say funding has stagnated, and more is needed to maintain the growth.   
  • Charlotte City Walks has almost 40 free events planned for 2019.

    Food, history and connections: Charlotte City Walks returns for 2019

    Charlotte City Walks has almost 40 free, community-led walking and bicycling tours planned for 2019, the most in the program's history.
  • Ely Portillo joins Urban Institute outreach team

    The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute is excited to announce that Ely Portillo, longtime reporter for The Charlotte Observer, will join the institute as Assistant Director for Outreach & Strategic Partnerships, beginning April 15. 
  • A compromise between town and country

     I was a preschooler with a bad case of eczema so my pediatrician sent us to an allergist in downtown Greensboro with an office on Elm Street.  Growing up in the Uwharries, I’d never laid my country eyes on anything so grand — block after block of offices and shops towering over the sidewalks. 
  • 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.