ENVIRONMENT

Dec 31, 2018
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.
Aug 23, 2018
An invasive berry vine that’s trying to take over the world – including a Charlotte park.
Jul 25, 2018
On a preserved tract in Gaston County, one determined man is fighting a long-term war to remove the invasive plant species that choke out native plants and wildlife.
Jul 03, 2018
It was time for young barn owl, raised at the Carolina Raptor Center, to be sent into the world. Would she be safe?
Jun 19, 2018
Charlotte first adopted a greenhouse gas emission reduction resolution in 2007.  Now, 11 years later, the City Council is considering a new resolution to move the initiative ahead.
Jun 13, 2018
I recently stumbled on an especially interesting habitat while exploring the flora and fauna on a site that once held granite quarries.
May 31, 2018
I saw it coming. Every time I saw the cable wrapped around that oak, I’d throw up my hands and think, “Too late now!” The oak slowly succumbed to strangulation. Last spring, it didn’t leaf out. Now, poison ivy creeps up the trunk, hiding my shame.
May 09, 2018
On the drab trunk of a single willow oak, one of many lining the street, my eye landed on a large, oblong cluster, golden against the mouse-brown bark.
Nov 28, 2017
Walking a property recently, we stumbled on a tree with heavily furrowed bark. It took a few minutes of pondering, but we finally decided it was a cottonwood tree.
Nov 14, 2017
One night, years ago, Mama looked out the window to a hay field and, for a moment, she wondered if thousands of tiny aliens had landed on Earth and settled in the grass.
Oct 25, 2017
The oldest trees east of the Rockies – some believed to be more than 2,000 years old – are found along this N.C. river.
Oct 17, 2017
Few plants are as gorgeous in fall as sumacs, a native plant that can also thrive in gardens. 
Oct 03, 2017
There will be no question what you’ve found if you see a star-nosed mole. The unusual animal can even detect seismic wave vibrations. Loss of wetlands, where it lives, can negatively affect this amazing creature.  
Sep 18, 2017
As I left town for a quick trip over Labor Day weekend, a dozen hungry monarch caterpillars were munching away on my swamp milkweed.  When I returned 32 hours later, they had vanished.
Aug 31, 2017
I’ve seen this cute little animal in very different places – in the N.C. mountains along the Appalachian Trail, on the sidewalk in Chapel Hill, and in Colorado while climbing Mount Elbert.
Aug 09, 2017
As the Charlotte region urbanizes, scientists from UNC Charlotte describe how they’ll use a Gaston County site as a long-term observatory to monitor natural systems.
Jul 26, 2017
The eastern towhee in my backyard seems to have misplaced his trill. What causes this variation in birdsong?
Jul 17, 2017
Some are rough and shaggy, others silvery and delicate. What these trees have in common is bark that peels away.
Jun 29, 2017
Growing up in the Uwharries, my sister and I were country girls through and through, right down to the soles of our feet. We went barefoot much of the summer. The red clay stained our feet the color of rust.
Jun 22, 2017
An area land trust launches an initiative inspired by the father of conservation, Aldo Leopold, that is teaching youth about the natural world and conservation issues.
Jun 07, 2017
This interactive map takes you on a virtual visit along the proposed Cross Charlotte Trail, with photos, updates on construction, little-known facts and information on plans for the future.
Jun 01, 2017
Robins have adapted to humans’ routines, and one example was on display during a recent day in the garden.
May 23, 2017
I recently had the opportunity to go out in the field with Kerry Brust, a red-cockaded woodpecker biologist in the North Carolina Sandhills.
May 10, 2017
I’ve spent time walking in the woods this spring, and I’m always excited by what I find.
May 04, 2017
To help native species, you don't always need to buy new plants. Here’s a way that just takes sweat equity.
Apr 17, 2017
The northern flicker is native to most of North America, parts of Central America, Cuba and the Cayman islands. It is one of a few species of woodpeckers that migrate.
Apr 10, 2017
The vast majority of loblollies in the N.C. Piedmont are harvested long before they reach maturity. But a national park in South Carolina displays their glorious potential.  
Apr 04, 2017
In 1988, the city built a coliseum off Tyvola Road. In 2007 the city demolished it, and new development has covered most of the site. But nature is reclaiming the one crumbling parking lot that remains ... 
Mar 23, 2017
North America’s only stork, the wood stork, has been spotted in Anson County, once thought to be out of its natural range. Habitat loss, pesticides, invasive plants and pythons threaten the species.
Mar 13, 2017
A mysterious line of smoke blew across the field, then dissipated. Was something burning, out of sight? No, it was another kind of fire ...
Mar 10, 2017
Teams of fourth- and fifth-graders competed to learn who knew the most about water pollution and local science, history and geography related to the creeks in Charlotte. 
Mar 06, 2017
A new initiative is using prizes as incentive to encourage people to reduce single-occupancy trips by car. The project runs March 1-Oct. 31.
Feb 23, 2017
Birds’ futures and fortunes are inextricably twined with those of humankind. As lands and buildings change with development across the Piedmont, bird species are profoundly affected. Part of KEEPING WATCH on HABITAT.
Feb 21, 2017
When a wildlife habitat lacks natural predators, some species become over-abundant. Deer herds are healthier, experts say, when controlled hunting is allowed. Part of the 2017 KEEPING WATCH on HABITAT project.
Feb 13, 2017
Birds and animals need food, water, cover and a spot to raise young. If you can provide those things, you can help create wildlife habitat, even in the city. A part of our KEEPING WATCH on HABITAT project.
Feb 13, 2017
How some local residents scrapped pesticides and herbicides and created a haven for native plants and animals – and even welcome insects. Part of KEEPING WATCH on HABITAT.
Nov 16, 2016
A hike through the English moors in Devon illustrates how 10,000 years of land use changes the landscape over time. 
Nov 15, 2016
Charlotte's tree canopy faces serious long-term threats. An urban forestry management plan in the works would encourage more public involvement and education.
Oct 06, 2016
The colorful blossoms of this wetland wildflower signal a plant with unusual qualities – seed pods that explode when touched and leaves that can relieve skin irritations, including poison ivy rashes.
Sep 19, 2016
North Carolina’s rarest butterfly depends for its survival on hard-to-find habitats formed by beaver ponds and fires. The butterfly is found almost exclusively on Fort Bragg artillery ranges.
Sep 09, 2016
With more than 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs, willows are found throughout the Northern Hemisphere as well as in myth, legend and literature.
Sep 09, 2016
An almost forgotten sapling bears unexpected fruit, opening a door into new explorations. A photo essay.
Aug 31, 2016
Concerned about Charlotte’s tree canopy? The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and the nonprofit TreesCharlotte are sponsoring an Urban Forestry Summit on Sept. 20. The event is free and open to the public. 
Aug 24, 2016
Maritime woods can seem magical places, and some of the plants sheltered there can thrive in Piedmont gardens.
Aug 16, 2016
Mecklenburg County wants to hear from residents about recycling. With the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute’s help, the county has launched an online survey. Those who take it can register for a chance to win an Apple iPad.
Jun 29, 2016
You don’t have to build a solar farm or buy expensive equipment to take advantage of solar energy. All it takes is a length of wire or rope. 
Jun 23, 2016
Barn swallows are common, cliff swallows less so. But this small species of bird has a remarkable story.
Jun 21, 2016
The pace of growth in northern York County concerns residents, who worry officials aren’t paying enough attention to the environment or moving quickly enough to deal with problems.
Mar 28, 2016
Lurking silently beneath the beauty of Charlotte’s tree canopy is a persistent problem with ailing trees. The issue significantly affects the city’s efforts to preserve and replenish its most treasured amenity.
Mar 25, 2016
With spring upon us, many Charlotteans might have already taken notice of the numerous butterflies seen dancing around the area. Chances are you've run into an Eastern tiger swallowtail, the butterfly most common to this area.